The communications (comms) team are here to support all at the research station with travelling, working, and playing.
The comms officers (Mick and Sam) are everyone’s central point of contact and coordination when out and about, on or off station. They go on high alert when you miss a scheduled call in (there is a fine for that!), and are relieved when everyone makes it home in one piece and on time. They also have to manage a lot of radio channels and two phone lines.
When helicopter or fixed wing flights are buzzing around they have to keep up to date with arrival and departures to ensure safe operations and to keep other users clear of the heli ops zone. They also keep track of the longer flights from other stations.
We supply services like internet, phone, IT systems, email, and counselling for when Mick talks harshly to you (just kidding with the last one). Sometimes we have to try to manage heavy users without being big brother, so that there is fair access to the internet for everyone. We are essentially the lifeline back to the soft warm squishy world, so we encourage everyone on station to play nice!
There are two backup systems for the ANARESAT system that links us to the rest of the world — BGAN and Iridium. These are low data rate, or voice only systems that are only used should the main satellite link fail for some reason (very rare, but it can have glitches when the power fails for an extended time). It feels good to have double backup for your essential communications back to Australia.
Equipment we support and/or maintain includes radios, GPSs, carbon monoxide detectors, computers, printers, servers, projectors, data loggers, pagers, scientific equipment, phones (now including mobile!) and network equipment plus more. Many of these systems are out of sight to the average user but that means you use something we support many times a day.
We like giving each other a hard time (playfully) and enjoy helping people with work or play — how many comms sections will fix your Lego train remote controller? We encourage everyone on station to grab any of us at pretty well any time, but we do need some sleep!
The comms team