The day had come, one I had been dreading. The task was simple, yet daunting. The job was to get roughly 300kg of communications equipment from the bottom of the hill to the top. Four brave souls volunteered to put their bodies on the line for the comms team. They were: Kyle Turner, boilermaker/welder and crafter of the finest repeater sleds; Flynn Jackman, field training officer; Braiden Richards, mechanic; and Ben Callahan, plumber. They joined Nelson Clegg and Warren Nicholas, communications technical officers.
We departed a foggy Casey station around 0630. Not far up the A-Line, a beautiful day presented itself through the clouds. The 60km journey to Browning Peninsula would take us four hours across sastrugi-swept terrain.
Once we arrived, the arduous task of ferrying batteries, tools and equipment up the hill began. The biggest item was the newly built frame that housed the solar panels, batteries and radio repeater – it took four people to carry to the top. The team was rewarded with phenomenal views of the Vanderford Glacier to the west and Penny Bay to the east. Once all the equipment was carried to the summit, it was hastily connected and successfully tested with the station. Being the highest vantage point in the area, the channel 21 radio repeater provides radio coverage for much of Casey station’s operational area. Getting this installed will allow field parties to reliably communicate with Casey.
Many thanks to those who helped get it done, particularly to Kyle Turner for his magnificent craftsmanship in building the new repeater sled. This kind of task is a true testament to the cross-trade collaborative working environment that is required to successfully complete work in this harsh but beautiful place. Hopefully no one has to repeat this job for some time to come.
-Nelson Clegg, Communications technical officer