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. Good communications are also important to ensure safety when working in pairs in different parts of the study area where weather conditions and injuries could mean researchers may become stuck in isolation.
The use of Iridium satellite phone technology enabled our teams to communicate with each other and in emergencies with Scott Base, when line of site transmitters and high frequency radios could not be used. These phones use an orbiting satellite network to transmit calls between phones quickly enough that there is little delay. These phones could even be used to contact other scientists and family at home. The only problem with using satellite phones in such narrow and steep sided valleys is that satellite signals can be dropped regularly when the satellite currently being used passes over the ridges between the valleys.