We both finally felt like we got a good night’s sleep last night, but it didn’t make the mornings any better for me. Bob and I had decided to head out to visit all of the instruments that I will be working on for the year. Most of my instruments are located in an area called “The Clean-Air Sector”, which is grid North-West of the station near the ARO (Atmospheric Research Observatory) building. A cable is run from each of the instruments in through the roof of the lab inside the main station. I can do all of my daily tasks from inside, however, if anything goes wrong with one of the instruments in the field, it will be my job to go out, find the problem, and fix it.
After a not-so-early start, we put on our ECWs and headed out to the field. Our first stop was the V-8 vault. We brushed off the snow from the vault, opened it up and crawled inside. The vault is about 10 feet deep, a room that’s about 20 feet by 10 feet, buried under the snow. Several cables run into the vault and a hooked up to some electronics. A large cable runs out of the electronics and back out of the cable, towards the station. We took a picture of the electronics and then climbed out of the vault and put the lid back on.
We wondered out bit further to another smaller vault. This one held a magnetometer. While we were there, we leveled the instrument. As the snow compacts under the load of the year’s accumulation, it settles and shifts, which causes the instrument to tilt slightly. I’ll have to level it one more time at the end of the summer. Further still were several antennas, which we walked out to so that I could get familiar with their location. The pre-amplifiers for one of the antennas is bad, so I will have to return in order to replace it when the replacement arrives. By this time we were about 1km from station, which is about as far as I’ll likely get while I’m here. Here’s a picture of me standing by the Stanford VLF receiving antenna (click for bigger version). You can see the station, just to the left of the antenna, in the background.
We visited the last vault of the day, which is where some electronics for the Stanford VLF (very long frequency) receiver are kept. This vault had been dug about 12 years ago, and it was very deep. In fact, at one point, the vault had to be extended upwards, which created a two-story, underground cavern. To make things even more interesting, snow had apparently been making its way into the vault and had made a large drift in the fist level down, overhanging the second level below it. It was a very cool looking site. We thought about removing it, but we weren’t sure if it was necessary, and we didn’t really have the tools anyway. I later emailed the PI and he asked that I go back out at some point and remove the drift. I’m looking forward to that! Here’s a picture, looking down into the vault (click for larger version).
We made our way back to ARO where we did a calibration of the BSI UV detector, which took a couple of hours. We then headed back to the station and into the lab where we went over the steps involved in upgrading the software of the UMD DAS, which may be necessary over the course of the year. We then went over a few more miscellaneous tasks and called it a day. Overall, it was a very productive day.
I know that I mentioned several instruments, and I’ll describe all of the projects and related instruments in a future blog.