Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kongsfjord Mid-Winter Report

Today was my first visit to Kongsfjord in 2012! Checking antennas and replacing the QDFA battery was long overdue, with weather being the limiting factor. Last weekend saw temperatures down to -25 Celsius and winds up to 25 meters per second. The result is razor-sharp ice particles blowing around.  You don't want to work outside in conditions like that. The picture below from Kongsfjord International Scuba School (copyright) should illustrate my point. My house is just outside the left frame.

Today though was mild and relatively calm, allowing me to replace the last beverage lamp cord feedline with a Belden Twinax. Works fine.

The QDFA inspection was rather disappointing. One of the clamps securing the secondary fiber glass rods had snapped, probably as a result of the temperature and wind. Also, two of the loop wires had snapped, probably of the same reason. Lesson learned is that we need more durable wires for our QDFA. And another example of the mechanical challenges loop arrays are in areas with extreme weather conditions and without being able to look after the array on a daily basis. But we live and learn! Maybe next season the QDFA will be operational all winter!