Day 2.1: Ready to Roll 'n' Rock

On the second day of our problem solving expedition, we began our morning earlier than usual.  Given that we had arrived to the site pretty late the day before, we wanted more time to address the problems.  We were ready to rock ‘n’ roll, or as Hamdi put it “roll ‘n’ rock”!

Hamdi testing the EDGES system

It took us longer than expected to get going from the Boolardy Station this morning because Hamdi was repeatedly examining the EDGES receiver unit while continuously saying “just one more thing”.  It’s important to note how easy it is to lose track of time when you’re thoroughly focused on finding a problem.  There was some bouncing of ideas on the way to site, which ended in Hamdi betting his lunch that the problem was related to temperature.

Arriving at the DARE site

We promptly arrived to the site once again, primarily focusing our attention to DARE.  The method of attack was use metal plates (that had a previous life of being cabinet dividers) to pry open the DARE enclosure. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as we had hoped.

Referencing previous pictures

Given few options left, we finally went with the contingency plan of cutting the top off the DARE enclosure.  With an image from a prior trip of how the antenna was positioned inside the enclosure, the team carefully made some horizontal incisions across the foam and raised the top portion of the box, opening the system for inspection.  Tragically, a spider was injured during this process – we hope that it is doing well.  Before we altered anything, Hamdi made sure to take a spectrum sample to use for later references – like yesterday, it’s always important to record what happens before you change the system.

Opening up DARE

Nostalgically remembering his time working in Goldstone Observatory, Hamdi expressed that he was excited to be tackling this problem despite the pestering flies and steady heat.  With a spectrum established from 1 to 200 MHz, the team expected to find a change in the amplitude of the signals.  We then proceeded to examine the antenna itself.  We also used a total power meter to measure the power connected and disconnected to the antenna.

Dust Devil

With less sun but more flies, our second day has produced a bit more results than the first.  The fieldwork here has proven to be substantial but we realize that all the efforts ultimately turn into both fun and challenging experiences.