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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

Curved ice line
Jagged line
Jagged line
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Day 10 - May 15 2006

This morning dawned cloudy, cold (~10� F, -11� C) and snowy. We slept in to catch up on some badly needed rest. Since most of the food was still in cargo boxes, breakfast was very simple: juice, coffee, hot chocolate, cold cereal and instant milk. After breakfast we went about the task of organizing the food, the kitchen, and our electronic gear, and setting up the power grid. We had a problem with the 5-kW diesel generator that was to power our camp. The electronic starter switch and systems monitor was not working properly. Fortunately we had a second identical generator and we were able to swap the switch from the backup generator onto the primary system and it fired right up. Our jubilation was short lived, however, since it stopped working almost as suddenly as it had started. A sensor on the switch indicated we were low on oil. Although we knew this was not true, and the generator started again, the problem persisted. A check of the oil dipstick revealed the problem. The air was so cold that the oil looked more like grease. It was too viscous in this weather to give adequate lubrication to the cylinders. The solution was to let the engine sit and allow the heat from multiple startups of a few seconds to soak through to the oil and warm it up. Soon we had the generator running smoothly and we had electricity for the camp. After that, we focused on setting up our shortwave radio, Iridium phone and Internet connections.

The completed weatherport

Tidying up the cargo line

By now it was time for dinner. Lars had taken the first shift and prepared onion soup, porkchops and mixed vegetables with the aid of the electric stove and microwave. After our hard work in the cold, it tasted wonderful. Next we washed dishes and continued working on the power grid and communications inside the weatherport where we could stay warm. We went to bed around 11 pm.

The sleeping tent line (left) and generators. The backup mogas (unleaded gas) generator is in the foreground, the problematic primary diesel generator is in the background on the right.


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