Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 2006-07: VUWAE 51
Suitability and effectiveness of the radio equipment
Radio communication from Whitehall Glacier was difficult. The instruction for the provided HF radio antenna suggested that the antenna should be deployed 70 feet above ground. In most field settings this is unpractical. We deployed the antenna approximately 4m above ground, tied to double flag poles. Overall, reception at Whitehall Glacier was of good quality. However, transmission from Whitehall Glacier was often difficult to read for both, Scott Base and Mario Zuchelli Station. In addition, the provided battery of the radio was un-chargeable in negative temperatures. We rewired the radio to one of our batteries. The provided satellite phone was a good and practical alternative, in particular when relaying detailed information on flight schedules etc. At Mt Erebus Saddle page 23 we used VHF radio. Despite the high gain antenna, reception and transmission often was marginal. The satellite phone was again a practical alternative when radio communication was particularly difficult.
Reception/transmission conditions and suitability of radio schedule timing
The timing of the radio schedule was well handled and practical. With our team shifting between day and night shifts, we had to change the radio schedule to allow for resting times at appropriate times. We appreciate the flexibility of communication officers to accommodate this.
Scott Base's general efficiency during radio schedule
The communication officers were efficient, reliable and friendly. Their efforts are much appreciated.
The performance of batteries for both HF and VHF is at times unsatisfactory. To better distinguish between well performing and marginal batteries, they should be tested after storage in the Scott Base Science Freezer to replicate the higher strain of field conditions. In addition, the solar panel for charging VHF batteries would be improved if it could be secured in windy but sunny conditions.