ATA Un-Hibernation - Day 2

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September 08, 2011

The picture to the left is of Mount Lassen. It still has snow!

Today was the second day I was at the ATA to help with the ATA un-hibernation. Today we concentrated on antenna maintenance. Every 6 months each antenna is scheduled to be inspected, greased, and repaired if necessary.

Because the ATA has been in hibernation since April 15, 2011, none of the antennas have has their maintenance on time.

We will begin getting the maintenance up to date in the following weeks. The maintenance process requires the antenna dish to be moved to several locations. To facilitate this in the field (literally "in the field") we open up the node house that provides all the network and air cooling to the dish antenna.



Inside the node house we open up the network router cabinet and plug in the laptop. With the laptop connected we can TCP into the antenna and control the antenna dish position during maintenance:



We position the antenna so that the alidade, the bulge at the top of the mast which contains the computers and gears, is shaded from the sun.




It is at this time my camera batteries died! Someone else has picture and I'll post them when I get them.

We performed the following actions:

  • Remove alidade cover. Inspect cable wear from dish rotation
  • Inspect the AZ drive belt and oil
  • Inspect various items for wear
  • Clean anything too dirty
  • Apply oil to various locations
  • Remove the cover on the elevation drive shaft. Clean out old oil and dirt. Re-oil and replace cover
  • Inspect inside the radome. Inspect all supports, radome cover for tears
  • Move the antenna focus in and out. Does it work?

Finally, rotate the antenna dish 180 degrees. As it is moving, hold your ear to one of the mast support poles. There should not be any strange grinding or knocking noises.