PRIC Visitor Jianjun Liu makes working trip to the Blackstone radar

By: miker  on: Tue., Jan. 14, 2020 03:54 PM EST  (1311 Reads)
Dr. Jianjun Liu from the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) made a working trip to the SuperDARN Blackstone site on January 13, 2020 and assisted in bringing this radar back on line. The crew included SuperDARN regulars Kevin Sterne and Mike Ruohoniemi and Virginia Tech undergrad Ian Kelley who performed significant diagnostics on the damaged parts. The PRIC is a member of the international SuperDARN collaboration (PI: Dr. Hongqiao Hu) and operates a SuperDARN radar at the Chinese Antarctic base at Zhongshan Station where Jianjun wintered over during a 14 month stay. He has been visiting the VT SuperDARN group since December and will return home later this week. The photo shows (from left to right) Jianjun, Kevin, and Mike standing in front of the Blackstone electronics.

Photo credit: Ian Kelley
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Visiting scientists tour the site of the Blackstone radar

By: miker  on: Fri., Apr. 26, 2019 05:02 PM EDT  (3174 Reads)
On April 25 a group of visitors was led by Kevin Sterne to make a tour of the Blackstone SuperDARN radar. Drs. Nozomu Nishitani and Tomo Hori and graduate student Kento Oya from ISEE Nagoya University were joined by Dr. Erxiao Liu from Hangzhou Dianzi University. The photograph shows the Japanese visitors with Kevin and towers of the two arrays and the equipment shelter in the background.

(Photo credit and missing from photo: Dr. Erxiao Liu)
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Kapuskasing Aug. 2018 Trip

By: ksterne  on: Fri., Feb. 01, 2019 10:55 AM EST  (2676 Reads)
During the installation of the low loss coaxial cable in Oct. 2015, only the main array had new ground coax cable installed as time ran out to finish installing ground coax cables to the interferometer array. With a push from Simon Shepherd at Dartmouth College to get more radars collecting elevation angle, a trip to the Kapuskasing radar was planned for Kevin Sterne, Paul Kennedy, Mike Ruohoniemi and Simon Shepherd. In addition to installing the ground coax cables, the condition of the antennas along both array and the transmitters would be investigated and checked as the last service trip was the Oct. 2015 trip. Lastly, this trip was necessary to install signage around the site in order to comply with safety standards with the Canadian government.

Blackstone Trip, July 2018

By: ksterne  on: Wed., Sep. 26, 2018 01:46 PM EDT  (2361 Reads)
With the visit of FHSU student intern Kelly Strecker and with the repairs of some transmitters from the May 2018 trip, this trip to the Blackstone radar introduced Kelly to more radar hardware and allowed the installation of the transmitters. The goal with the transmitters was to get all of them firing as all of the antennas were repaired earlier in the year. With the two recently repaired transmitters, the radar was left running on all antennas at the end of this trip. However, two additional transmitters were found to not be running so these were brought back to the Blacksburg lab for repairs. These transmitters will be spares at the site once repaired and returned.

In addition to these items, a check of the electrical lengths along the coax and inside in the electronics was performed as gathering correct elevation angle data has become an emphasis across SuperDARN. The time delay was found to be close to previous values, with some small differences. This new difference will be reflected in the hdw.dat file for Blackstone.

Wallops Island Antenna Overhaul Trip Part I, May 2018

By: ksterne  on: Mon., July 02, 2018 02:56 PM EDT  (2507 Reads)
After a trip in March 2018, the next steps in making repairs to the antenna array would be the removal of the old reflector wires as well as the upper and lower horizontal guy wires. A trip was made to the site in mid-May as the availability of personnel and a lift from Wallops Island’s facilities coincided at this time. Thanks needs to be given to Philip Smith with NASA/Wallops Island for coordinating a lift for us. A majority of materials ordered following the March 2018 trip would also be on hand by this time which would facilitate the initial steps needed for the repairs.

Blackstone Antenna Repair Trip, May 2018

By: ksterne  on: Fri., June 29, 2018 02:44 PM EDT  (2271 Reads)
Following the April 2018 overnight trip to Blackstone when many of the transmitters were repaired, a trip was needed to make some repairs to the antenna array. On leaving the radar during the April trip, there were more transmitters in working condition that there were antennas. A trip was organized in order to make repairs to the antenna array including antenna feeder cables, antenna wires, baluns, resistor boxes, and reflector wires. Dr. Mike Ruohoniemi, Paul Kennedy, and Kevin Sterne made 2-day trip to the site in order to make these repairs and investigate any other issues along the antenna arrays.
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