Communication and Survival
Antarctica New Zealand and United States Antarctica Program (USAP) maintain a number of permanent Refuge Huts and emergency caches located in the Ross Dependency.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are important to carrying out research in the Dry Valleys as they provide a means of both navigating the remote valleys and finding the correct locations to collect samples.
The Very High Frequency (VHF) radio units used by Antarctica New Zealand are very similar to the handheld radios equipped on recreational motorized crafts (aka your dad’s boat).
The nzTABS field expeditions required tremendous coordination and organisation. Good communication between teams, both in the field and those working at McMurdo Station’s Crary Lab, was required to ensure the large scale operation could be successfully carried out in the time available.
High Frequency (HF) radio units utilize radio frequencies between 3 and 30 MHz, which means the wavelengths are quite long (10 to 100 meters) and are readily refracted by the ionosphere (the upper most part of the atmosphere). This means that we can use the HF radio for medium- to long-range communications.
Because of Antarctica’s extreme weather conditions, including freezing temperatures, high winds, high levels of solar radiation and snow, Antarctica New Zealand provides researchers with specialist clothing for working in Antarctica.
After a hard day hiking in an Antarctic Dry Valley, dinner is the nicest thing to have (short of a long, hot bath). Eating is an important part of Antarctic field work because it gives us the energy to get through the day and a chance to catch up with other people in camp.
To keep warm and comfortable in extremely cold temperatures, down filled sleeping bags were issued at Scott Base that are designed so that there was an outer bag and an optional inner bag that could be zipped together to form a single sleeping bag.
Antarctica New Zealand has a number of different tents for use by field parties.
In a pristine environment like the Dry Valleys, proper waste management is one of the top priorities.
Being the hardworking, diligent scientists that we are, we don't have much time for entertainment in the field (except watching half-naked colleagues chasing blown away toilet seats, of course).