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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » Electronics Seminar - Nov. 5 (JRS)

Electronics Seminar - Nov. 5 (JRS)

Today, Bob taught a seminar on practical electronics in Antarctica to about a dozen people (Lynette & I both attended).  In the morning, he spent a couple of hours going over a PowerPoint presentation covering several aspects of electronics that are particular to the South Pole, being a very cold and dry place.  After the morning session, we went to eat brunch, which is a wonderful time of the week.  The food is fabulous, with omelets made-to-order, fresh baked croissants, a huge cheese platter and plenty more.
After brunch, Lynette went and spent most of the afternoon in her office catching up on paperwork (mostly tracking the training that everyone has received so far) and I went and met with Al in order to go over my pre-season expectations.  While at the South Pole, I will be judged on safety, job performance and community involvement.  We talked about my regular tasks, as well as some summer and year-long projects that he would like to see me work on.  When our meeting was over, Bob and I headed out to ARO to do our daily tasks for the UV detector.  We also completed the weekly task of leveling all of the auxiliary instruments on the roof (to within 0.1 degrees in all directions).
In the afternoon, Bob set up some practical applications to follow up his classroom lecture.  The applications included debugging a simple piece of electronics that he had constructed, tapping a ¼-20 hole while outside in the cold, soldering some wires to a connector, cable length-finding using a special device (which would help locate a break in a cable that was run out into the field), and a hole-drilling technique that minimized that amount of work that needs to be done outdoors.
That evening, Lynette and I felt that we had acclimated to the altitude enough to play some volleyball.  We played from about an hour and a half and had a blast.  After that we ate some dinner, then sat in on the weekly Science Seminar.  It was getting late, so we headed to bed.
Not long after getting to our room, the station alarm sounded.  This was the first alarm since the drill a few days earlier.  Our hearts were pounding as we rushed to throw some clothes on.  I ran for my fire gear as Lynette ran towards the B1 Pod, where the emergency response system indicated that the alarm had been triggered.  About the time that Lynette was arriving on scene, and I was pulling on my fire pants, an announcement went out over the radios that the problem had been found.  Someone’s humidifier was blowing too close to the smoke detector.  Soon after, Andy (the incident commander for all emergency responses, and also the Winter Site Manager) called for a stand down of all teams.  It was a false alarm, and from what we heard from people who had been here before, it would certainly not be the last.  It sure got the adrenaline pumping, though, being the first real fire alarm of the year.  Lynette and I spent the rest of the night talking about emergency response issues with a few other people in the hall before heading to bed.

-JRS

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