Technical Operations News Items

Blackstone Wireless Hop Upgrade Trip, March 2018

By: ksterne  on: Fri., Mar. 16, 2018 01:56 PM EDT  (36 Reads)
Following an extended period of problems with the network connection to the site, a trip was planned after some new equipment was purchased to replace the aging wireless bridge system. The network connection has been a problem since the site was constructed, and in particular since the installation of new radios in 2011. However, through late 2017 and early 2018, the network connection was mostly down leading to long backlogs of data. To resolve this problem, new antennas, mounting hardware, and Ethernet cable were taken out to the site along with replacement radios that were in the lab. This trip was made while Mike and Kevin were coming back from Wallops Island in the two days prior. Of course, upon arriving to the site, the network connection was working.

Wallops Island Antenna Assessment Trip, March 2018

By: ksterne  on: Fri., Mar. 16, 2018 01:07 PM EDT  (34 Reads)
After examining the condition of many of the radars, it was determined that a major effort should be put into repairing the antenna array at Wallops Island. This effort also follows work done by Mike and Ethan along with Rob Pfaff to get the grounds around the antenna arrays cleared out and maintained in late 2016 and 2017. During this trip, Mike and Kevin took stock of what exactly needed to be repaired on the antenna arrays and get some order sheets going. With additional time, the RF performance of the transmitters and antennas would be measured to quantify the amount of repairs needed. Dr. Ethan Miller and Dr. Patrick Dandenault from APL joined us for a day to review the antenna array repair project.

Fort Hays Reflector Rebuild Trip Part 2, Aug. 2017

By: ksterne  on: Wed., Oct. 04, 2017 11:16 AM EDT  (1007 Reads)
Following the May 2017 trip, the west main reflector array still needed to be rebuilt with a little over half of the wires still needing to be strung up. This trip would also serve as the last tune up of the radar prior to the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017.

Fort Hays Reflector Rebuild Trip, May 2017

By: ksterne  on: Tue., Oct. 03, 2017 04:06 PM EDT  (804 Reads)
Following an ice storm in January 2017 and an assessment trip in Feb. 2017 a major trip was made to make repairs to the West main antenna array reflector so that the west radar was fully functional well prior to the August 2017 solar eclipse.

Blackstone Trip, March 2017

By: ksterne  on: Mon., Apr. 10, 2017 02:00 PM EDT  (1486 Reads)
Following the November 2016 trip, the correct size (5/8” rod) of CADweld mold was ordered in order to complete the grounding work that had been long overdue. However, winter cold and wet set in and so the work could not be completed until better temperatures arrived. In the month prior to this trip the internet connection to the site had been out for several days if not weeks at a time going on 3 to 4 weeks. So with these issues, a trip was planned to take care of these issues and make sure the radar was running fairly well (with known issues on the antennas).

Fort Hays Reflector Wire Repair Trip, Feb. 2017

By: ksterne  on: Mon., Feb. 27, 2017 01:38 PM EST  (1837 Reads)
Hays, KS sustained a major freezing rain and icing event in mid-January 2017. Following reports from FHSU student intern, Brett Chrisler, of significant damage to the West main antenna array a trip was made by engineer Kevin Sterne to assess the damage at the radar site. As well, this trip would be allow for preparations to be made for a future repair trip.

Blackstone Trip, Nov. 2016

By: ksterne  on: Mon., Nov. 07, 2016 03:34 PM EST  (2096 Reads)
After many, many years, the grounding work along the antenna poles had not been completed. On each antenna pole, a ground rod had been driven into the ground and a copper busbar had been attached under one of the bolts on the base of the pole. So a trip was made to the site by Kevin Sterne, Shibaji Chakraborty and Muhammad Rafiq to complete the grounding work.

Blackstone Trip, July 2016

By: ksterne  on: Fri., Sep. 02, 2016 03:17 PM EDT  (2216 Reads)
Brett Chrisler, the Fort Hays State University student intern, made a trip to the Blacksburg SuperDARN lab in early July. During his trip, Brett would review research areas that he can explore with our group as well as to make a trip to the Blackstone radar to show him another style of SuperDARN radar and gain more hands-on training.

Goose Bay Trip, June 2016

By: ksterne  on: Fri., Sep. 02, 2016 03:10 PM EDT  (1396 Reads)
The replacement of the ground coax is a longstanding project that needed to be completed at Goose Bay. In preparation for this project, a work order was placed with Serco to clear all the trees and brush that have taken over the antenna array grounds over the years.

Blackstone Trip, Jan. 2016

By: ksterne  on: Wed., Jan. 27, 2016 11:07 AM EST  (3457 Reads)
Shortly before the winter break, the internet connection to the radar site went down. Being patient since the availability of people to check on it would probably be low, the connection remained off over the two week winter break. However, our local contact was able to check on the connection for us and noted that the Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) power supply had melted and thus the internet connection was broken. The damage to the PoE unit and the RJ45 connector can be seen in the picture. In order to keep the linux computer’s hard drive from filling up, a trip to the radar site was made to restore the connection. In addition, this trip would be used to install the newly acquired and configured linux computer.

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