A visit to the mountains

A visit to the mountains

Life as the comms dude is never dull. Regular duties include maintaining the satellite link to Australia, photocopier maintenance, geoscience magnetic observations, trying to work out what the Plant Inspector has done to his laptop, filter changes for the ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) radionuclide monitoring station and maintaining the VHF radio network used around station and in the field.

This last duty required a visit to one of the field radio repeaters that was not operating correctly. Mark Savage (our Field Training Officer) and I took the opportunity of a forecast weather window on Wednesday to visit the Mt Henderson VHF radio repeater site to perform some adjustments and to visit three of our field huts to check the radio transceivers there as well. Mark also had some gear checks to perform at the huts.

After a night of 40 to 50 knot winds, Wednesday dawned with a perfectly clear sky and just a slight breeze. The Hägglunds over snow vehicle was packed and we set off surrounded by the soft pastel orange glow of the rising sun on the surrounding snow and ice.

First stop was Henderson Hut where, after a brief de-icing of the hut door by Mark, the VHF radio and antenna were tested and found to be in excellent condition. The VHF radio repeater situated on a hill behind the hut was tested and adjusted.

We then departed for Rumdoodle Hut.Tests on the Rum Hut radios also indicated they were in excellent working order.

The final stop for the day was Fang Hut, named for the shape of a nearby mountain peak, where again the radio was tested and found to be in working order. So after a check of the hut’s supplies and equipment by Mark we were able to depart for station.

All in all a successful, but uneventful trip (the best kind).

Tom Luttrell

Station Communications Technical Officer 2020