The techs keep it ticking, the AGSOs and the Drums, auroras, and a new interviews feature,The Doctor’s Dozen, from Davis this week.

Accessories for Seals

And so it came to be that another week had flown by at The Riviera of the South with so many achievements and goings on. The now cooler and shorter, but sunny, days are aiding in these happenings, but serving as a gentle reminder of the summer season drawing to a close.

Firstly this week, a big pat on the back and a gold star for our team of sealers – Clive, Bonny and Marine. Their program has now reached the grand total of 25 elephant seals pimped and now sporting bling in the form of tags and fashionable trackers, sure to be the envy of all other seals.

Keep it Ticking Over

With a multitude of plant and equipment on station, ranging from heavy earth moving machinery, aircraft, satellite systems, to complex scientific instrumentation, who are the expeditioners that keep it all finely tuned and running?

Expedition Mechanics

The dedicated Davis team of mechanics include Rob Cullen (Plant Inspector, aka ‘Angry!’) and Diesos Jose Campos & Joseph Glacken. Repairs and maintenance to heavy plant, vehicles, quads, outboard motors, electrical generating equipment, chainsaws and ice drills are all in a day’s work for these guys.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AME)

Transportation throughout the Vestfold Hills region of Antarctica and beyond occurs primarily by either ski-equipped fixed-wing aircraft or via helicopter. Helicopters are extensively used at Davis to provide logistical support to resupply and field operations, including cargo and personnel transfers, deep field sling loading of equipment & fuel, and aerial photography. With a permanent posting of helicopters throughout the summer season at Davis, keeping these machines flying and in tip top shape comes down to two base engineers Jeremy Dyer (LAME) and Ben Thomas (AME).


Communications Technical Officers (CTO)

A vital part of station operations is keeping the lines of communication on ground and to the outside world open. This is an important role conducted by Tom Luttrell (SCTO), Greg Wilson (CTO), Craig Ingrames (CTO/CO). A day’s work can include maintaining and monitoring the ANARESAT system, computer data networks and providing that essential IT support when things go wrong. Other tasks include keeping the Davis Icy FM radio station in tune and providing VHF/HF Radio support to aviation, boating and field activities conducted throughout the seasons.


Meet Tech Cathie

The dynamic weather that Antarctica can whip up is closely monitored by a group of forecasters and observers stationed at Davis from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). What the weather is doing is important in planning for field operations and aviation activities. Monitoring equipment that is relied upon to provide this crucial weather data has to function within environmental extremes. Someone has to look after this gear, and this gets down to the work performed by Cathie Young.

Cathie’s position, Technical Officer (Engineering) with the BoM, includes both contributing to the observation programs and the maintenance, repair, installation & configuring of meteorological equipment. This includes satellite receiving equipment, automatic weather stations (AWS), hydrogen generating equipment for weather balloons, and computer network & data systems.

CPC Technical Officers (Electronics)

Some scientific experiments conducted at Davis utilise sophisticated equipment such as radar, LIDAR and spectrophotometers to study upper atmosphere dynamics, while others require a technical arrangement of wiz bang electronics, cameras and detectors to collect the information the scientists seek in there Antarctic studies (See This Week at Davis — 17th February 2012). All these systems and instruments at times require a little TLC in the form of preventative maintenance and that all important fine tweaking. Who are these tweakers?

Adam Christensen and David Tulloh conduct that all important maintenance, supporting the scientific community at Davis through their electronic and instrumentation expertise.



The Doctor’s Dozen

Last year in This Week at Davis, one of the most popular features was ‘Jenn’s Ten’. This was a riveting series of expeditioner interviews conducted by Jenn McGhee which sought to delve deep into the psyche of those special people who journey south to live and work in the vast white continent that is Antarctica. This year the tradition continues with our Expedition Medical Officer Jan Wallace taking over the reins to probe deeply (in a non-medical fashion) to reveal the inner selves of our expeditioners. This new and exciting segment for 2012 will be known as ‘Doc’s Dozen’.

Doc’s Dozen #1

An interview with David Hosken — Lidar Scientist/Fireteam/SAR Team/Hydroponics Gardener/Beard Grower Extraordinaire

Laser Dave, is this your first trip to Antarctica and what brought you here? (and why have you been here so long?)
This is my first trip to Antarctica. I left Hobart on Voyage 1 in October 2010 and won’t be back in Australia until mid April 2012. Hopefully I will clock up 500 days at Davis. I came here from Adelaide after completing my PhD in laser development, so this was an opportunity to work in the field and my first real job after being a professional student.

What is it like being a Lidar Scientist here?
It’s really good. I am up when everyone else is asleep plus I get to see lots of auroras and wake other people up. The down side is trying to sleep during the day.

If not a Lidar Scientist what job would you do?
I would teach high school maths and physics. I would love to inspire the students to study science. A lot of teachers don’t have practical experience in science and I would like to show the students that science can take you to exciting places.

Best gig as a Lidar Scientist?
This has been my only job, so that would be here. As a student it was spending 5 months at MIT in Boston.

Best experience in Antarctica?
My trip to the Rauer Islands in a Haggland last September was a highlight, also watching auroras from a field hut is fantastic.

What do you love about Antarctica?
Playing golf next to the Sørsdal Glacier was excellent and I love the Adélie penguins. They are so full of character.

Who inspires you?
My Grandfather who has just passed away recently. He always brought out the best in people and had a great love of family and traveling.

What have you learned living in a small community?
Heaps! Relax, smell the roses, watch the grass grow (note to self…he really has been here too long). I have learned about the nature of change in the environment, the light, the sea ice. Change is inevitable.

If you were granted one wish, what would it be?
I would have done this sooner.

If you were a car, what would you be?
Nothing fancy, a Commodore or Falcon that does the job, but I would like to be a Mustang!

What is in store when you return home?
I can’t wait to meet my 14 month old nephew Bailey Jack and start corrupting him. I will be getting rid of the beard and moving to Western Australia with my other half to finally grow up and get a real job.

Laser Dave, how did you get your nick name ‘Fluffy’?
Hoops and Slumpy McGhee were responsible. After last Mid Winter’s hair dye, my hair was so dry I had to saturate it in conditioner and when it was dry it fluffed up like a shitsu. (Dr Fluffy is one on the most hirsute men I have ever seen!)

Laser Lights

Over the past week of clear and cold nights, as team LIDAR have been busy shooting their lasers skywards there have been some spectacular Auroras. Now one would assume that 3am on station would be quiet time but not this week when cold porch doors could be heard in full swing with the steady stream of avid photographer’s passing in and out to catch the nightly light show. 

AGSOs Drum Collection

At the end of a successful season, the list of priority jobs having been steadily marked off, time can now be made for other ‘non priority’ jobs such as removing old drums from the Plateau. AGSO’s Dave and Matt headed off on a treasure hunting trip from Woop Woop this week to retrieve old marker drums that have long since shifted away from now current GPS lines. Making the most of the good weather the fellas managed to find and dig out 22 old and unused marker drums. Not everyone’s idea of a good time but we all know how AGSO’s love their fuel drums.”,“sans-serif”;”>