Friendly Radiation

John Jacobsen
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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Earlier post A Place That Wants You Dead southpole

Later post Fruition southpole

Tuesday, Jan. 18 2011 1:14 a.m. UTC

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Running out of time on this satellite pass for a blog post. Took tons of photos today… this morning we had a tour of the satellite antennas at the very end of Summer Camp. The weather was fantastic, maybe -15F with no wind and high clouds which shed a magic crystalline light on everything. Satellite technician James and his winter-over colleague Glen showed us around, with some of the best views of the Station I’ve ever had.

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The satellite stations and the Hercules flights are our ONLY regular link to the outside world. So aside from the inherent technical interest (what geek doesn’t like large satellite dishes and racks of hyper-specialized electronics), there is also an emotional impact to seeing the intricate fragility of our communications uplinks. Every bit of data I’ve sent off station (or sent from various offices in Chicago, Madison or elsewhere TO the Pole) has passed through these humble structures and the networks that connect them to the rest of the Station.

One of our tour guides spent three years in Tikrit, Iraq. Now he is wintering at the Pole — from +130 F to -100 F. I expect his situation to be safer here.

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Figure 4: Satellite Uplinks

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Figure 5: John and Jamees approach the SPTR Dome

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Figure 6: John Vader

Earlier post A Place That Wants You Dead southpole

Later post Fruition southpole

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