Friday, 10 February 2012

Heart of Halley.

One of the key points this season was confirming that HalleyVI was the station that would winter in 2012 and that Halley V would be shut down. Once this decision was made then no end of science experiments, equipment, food, vehicles etc moved across to Halley VI. However the heart of Halley moved across when the communications and the surgery moved across.

The comms room
The comms room contains all the radio equipment, HF radios for talking to planes and ships, VHF radios for communications locally around the station, and of course the equipment that we use to connect to a satellite for internet and phones.

There is a fully equipped doctor's surgery, which we hope never to use of course, but its comforting to know its there if it is needed. Here is the doctor, Kaz, giving Penny a checkup in the new surgery at Halley VI.

Did you see Penny in the comms room, she was making herself hard to see.


  1. Could you explain a little more how the satellite internet link works?

    Does your latitude allow reception by geosynchronus satellite?

    Otherwise do you use a motorised system to track passing low orbit satellites? Is this made more complex by the fact the base is on a moving ice sheet?

    How does the satellite dish fair in sub-zero temps, is it heated to prevent snow buildup?

    Would really appreciate if you could answer these Q's, thanks.

    1. Halley is at about the southern limit for geosynchronous satellite coverage, the dish is pretty much aimed at the northern horizon. The dish itself is pretty big, about 2m diameter and does have components like the motors and some of the electronics heated. The dome does need motors to keep it locked on top the satellite, partly because of the movement of the iceshelf and settling of the dome structure itself but also with a dome that big the beam angle is so small that the dome needs to be tweaked to overcome atmospheric refraction and satellite wobbles. I'll post a picture of the dome.

    2. Hey there,

      Photos would be great thanks. Out of interest which satellite do you point at? There can't be too many with a footprint extending to the south pole. : )

      I presume you use C-Band as it's more forgiving to rain etc than Ku Band would be.

      It amazes me you have internet access in such a remote place.

      Greetings from a somewhat sunny United Kingdom (Devon).