We do some major service on one engine in the main power house and celebrate Eurovision 2012 in style with a ‘Bad Taste Bling Nite’ at Mawson station.

Major service in main power house

At Mawson the Main Power House (MPH) uses a combination of 4 Caterpillar 3306 engines each with a 125kva generator together with wind power to produce electricity and heat from the running engines helps to maintain the heating of the site services. In suitable conditions one generator runs in conjunction with the wind turbines reducing fuel consumption by up to 30%.
Last Monday the MPH was shut down. The Emergency Power House (EPH) Caterpillar 3412 motor with a 500kva generator was started and ran the station independently until midday Thursday.
While the EPH was running the mechanical, plumbing and electrical sections worked together to complete a 20,000 hr service on Engine Number 3 in the MPH.
The service involved a major overhaul, replacing the water pump, coolant, radiator hoses, engine oil and filter, both primary and secondary fuel filters, rear main oil seal, valve lash adjustment, changing out the turbo (this involves changing a cartridge), replacing the bearing on the generator and a general check over.
Once the generator was removed it was discovered that the flywheel housing was leaking oil.  This was removed and a new gasket fitted. The fly wheel housing is connected to the sump gasket which even with considerable care was damaged. It was decided to replace the sump gasket as well to ensure all attempts were made to reduce possible oil leaks and minimise oil consumption.
To improve emissions in the MPH a new breather system was fitted on each of the engines.

Ian Petty

Bad Taste Bling Nite

Our news this week is dominated by blizzards, blowing snow, wind and more wind.  By Thursday 2:30pm, Vicki and Kelvin in the Mawson met office had recorded blizzards on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday with 8282 kilometres of wind passing over the station from Sunday. This means the average wind speed over the 5 days was 69km/hr.  The lowest temperature recorded on Sunday was −30.6C and by Thursday the highest temperature was −3.3C.  It is amazing how the temperatures rise significantly during blizzards.  On Thursday afternoon the wind dropped and we rushed around doing the gash run, removing empty boxes and packaging from the ARPANSA building and drilling the sea-ice thickness at the four local study sites.

The most exciting event this week was the ‘Bad Taste Bling Nite’ in celebration of Eurovision 2012.  Our dedicated Comms Team of Hendo and Anders had downloaded the Eurovision Final 2 weeks earlier.  Pete blew up balloons and Bron served a do it yourself burger with salads for dinner accompanied by a nice trifle for dessert.  We then all retired to the viewing area for four hours of frivolity.  Everyone got into the swing of things with Vicki helping out with outfits from the dress-up cupboard.  There were many outstanding outfits with Chris looking resplendent in a suit purchased whilst he was walking aimlessly though the Balinese markets.  There should be many opportunities for Chris to wear this fine attire again.  I might even suggest a tour guide for when the first Bassler flight lands at Mawson.  Even Bob made an effort with lots of assistance from Vicki with a shirt and bling and Michael who made a couple of rings.  Mel experimented with long hair and a flower power outfit, Pete raided the plumbing shop for bling whilst Robert showcased the latest in Antarctic tradie fashion with a focus on the Mawson sparkie. He demonstrated the enthralling combination of the latest safety gear with fitted king gees, arm bands, stainless steel chain (the plumbers really want that back for the melt bell), specialty helmet and work boots all in orange, silver and blue.

Our usual excellent Saturday dinner followed the next day.  Paul was tasked with setting up the dinner table as a Saturday duty.  He asked Bron how she wanted the table set up and apparently she said “We need a stand-out centre piece”.  Paul obliged by providing a very large wooden boat thought to be built by Jeremy Wills a few years ago.  The dinner was interrupted by a hydrogen alarm and everyone was impressed by the speed with which Vicki and Kelvin responded.  Fire Chief Ian was on standby but it was not needed as it was a false alarm owing to a faulty sensor which Kelvin identified and quickly rectified.  Many retired to the bar for darts and chatting and it seems midnight chompers was eaten and some went to bed in the wee hours of Sunday.