Supervising Communications Technical Officer / Emergency Response Team / Amenities Officer/ Hydroponics Team / Brewing Team / Moustache Master
Tom, what have been your previous trips to Antarctica and what keeps you coming back?
I previously wintered at Casey in 2010. I enjoy the work, the environment and the small community lifestyle.
What is it like being the Supervising Comms Tech here?
It’s a constant battle against ignorance, fear, uncertainty, doubt and bandwidth hogs. If I wasn’t doing this job I would like to be a geologist. I hear that’s easy.
(So many wannabe geologists here at Davis. Ali’s ‘Rock of the Week’ has really had an impact!)
Best gig as a Comms Tech?
Other than Antarctica, the month I spent in Fiji surveying the Fijian Electrical Authorities’ communications sites.
What has been your best experience and what do you love about Antarctica?
This time, summer iceberg cruises and also being the star of the midwinter’s play.
During my previous season, traversing to Cape Poinsett.
I love the deep cyan that ice shadows can be on sunny days, the wildlife, the wide open spaces on the plateau, the lack of insects, the sunsets and even the blizzards.
Who inspires you Tom?
Roger Millie. He just doesn’t care what other people think.
Tom, what have you learnt about living in our little Davis family over the winter?
If you notice something that needs doing, just do it, especially if it will have a comedic effect.
If you were granted one wish, what would it be?
That I could reverse the Dunning-Kruger effect.
So Tom, if you where a car, what would you be?
1938 Phantom Corsair. Way ahead of its time and [there was] only one ever made.
Tom, your aurora time lapses have been amazing, how do you achieve them?
A lot of trial and error. Also having a camera that is relatively noise free at high ISO settings is a real advantage.
What is the funniest/worst thing you have ever seen done to a computer?
I have accidentally put a few hundred thousand volts through a few, on two separate occasions. Once testing my Telsa coil and again when using a lighting test generator, but even allowing for that, I still think the worst thing you can do to a computer is give it to a dieso.
(Tom, you obviously haven’t seen what they can do with a toboggan)
Do you think being an Apple or a Microsoft person reveals a deeper insight into a person’s qualities and attributes?
Absolutely. Microsoft PCs tend to attract people who like to tinker and get the most out of things, people who would prefer some control over their hardware and software. Apple’s PCs attract people who are prepared to pay a premium price for under-performing hardware bundled with a software package that just works without (much) messing around.
What is your favourite bit of comms kit around Davis and why?
I’m quite fond of our Agilent Fieldfox. It’s a very versatile and portable bit of test equipment. As well as diagnosing complex RF faults it’s robust enough to beat recalcitrant computer users into submission.
Tom, thank you for your entertaining thoughts and a peek into the mysterious world of Comms! I have leant a great deal, not the least being that Messrs Dunning and Kruger have given a name to a phenomenon that I have witnessed myself, but never really understood.