Weather Delays

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It is December 4th, and we are three days late starting the uncapping of the radome. As the wind requirements are 12 mph or less, a delay is not unexpected.

The preparation of the antenna went almost without a hitch. The old antenna electronics and cabling were removed as well as the wave guide that was in the way of the lift points on the antenna reflector. L-3 ESSCO and L-3 Datron worked the weekend of out Saturday Thanksgiving to prepare for the lifts. On Monday we had an all hands lift meeting and a safety walkthrough of the site by everyone involved. We also began to get our three day weather forecasts. Unlike back in the States, a forecast of three days is the best we can get here. It makes planning a weather dependant activity very hard.

L-3 ESSCO Scaffolding inside the radome

L-3 ESSCO constructed the scaffolding, which can be moved around the radome, required to reach the level where they need to remove bolts in the radome panels to allow separation and lift of the radome cap. Five bolts remained fastened on each panel in a ring around the radome for structural support.

L-3 ESSCO/James McClellan prepares
the randome for opening.

The lift operations, with the 75 ton capacity crane, entails the unloading of the new pedestal and train assemblies from their shipping containers, opening of the radome, destacking the antenna pedestal, replacement of the X-Band feed, restacking the antenna pedestal and closing the radome. On November 30th, Lift #1 (Pedestal Placement) was completed this morning in -25 degree F wind-chill. Crane operations were suspended afterward due to winds. We were in great shape to uncap the radome the next day.

HTSI/William Kambard (Left) and RPSC/William Gollehon guide the new pedestal into position next to the randome.

On the morning of December 1st we had very good conditions but the three day weather forecast predicted winds 15kts to 25kts with gusts to 35kts for the next two days. After consulting with our prime contractor site lead, THC/Michael Condon, I cancelled the planned lift. Once the radome is opened, it has greatly reduced structural integrity. Since we did not anticipate being able to conduct the lifts for two days, leaving the radome open was not prudent. The actual winds for December 1 – 4 were worse than first predicted.


Summary weather data from the Building 71 Weather Station.

While we wait for good weather the team did as much work as possible, including some activities originally scheduled for after the lift operations were complete, such as removal and replacement of the S-band feed.

LJT/Chuck Bradford (left) and HTSI/William Kambarn on the service platform after removing the old S-band feed.

This afternoon I got some good weather news! The storm is predicted to clear up Monday afternoon and the winds should die down to allow us to conduct lift operations on Monday afternoon and Tuesday. This evening Michael Condon and I will lay out a plan for Monday and Tuesday and hope the forecast holds.

One thought on “Weather Delays

  1. Jill Taylor Post author

    great photos! i’m glad things are going well. we got your postcard — a fun surprise! can you receive mail? if so, we’d love to have the boys send you a post card while you are down there. let us know if & how we can get it to you 🙂

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