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Remote Station Engineering - Testing Facilities

Testing Facilities Used By UNAVCO For Development Of Polar Technologies

Photo Location Comments Status
McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Testing Chronology

Installed in January 2006, currently located on Observation Hill. Allows testing of complete systems under Antarctic conditions with year-round support from the McMurdo Research Associate.

Our thanks to Rebecca Batchelor, Jason Bryenton (four times!), Brian Nelson, Kris Perry, and Elizabeth Widen for excellent support at McMurdo, and to Robert Furhmann, Ethan Good (twice!), and Marco Tortonese for the same with our prototype at South Pole (now decommissioned).
This test site has delivered a wealth of valuable information on enclosures, lead-acid and lithium battery performance, survivability and performance of various wind turbines, Iridium and point-to-point communications, and GPS receiver performance (especially power handling characteristics). A prototype Automatic Weather Station, developed jointly with University of Wisconsin, was also tested here for 1 year.
University of Colorado Niwot Ridge Tundra Lab

Testing Chronology

Located at 11,600ft elevation on the continental divide. Provides a remote alpine environment for system testing and validation, along with amenities such as ethernet, real-time and historical weather data, and a live webcam. Current testing includes an ongoing evaluation of the Aerogen 4 wind turbine under alpine conditions, and testing of improved power management of the Trimble NetR9 receiver.
UCAR Facility, Marshall Colorado Located just south of Boulder. Provides a secure, remote location for prototyping, development, and long duration burn-in testing of complete systems prior to deployment in polar locations. Current testing includes new Trimble NetRS firmware, NAL Research A3LA-X Iridium modem, new timer switch, dual GPS receiver power inputs, new Iridium antennas, and long duration burn-in testing. Past testing has included optimizing Iridium data download techniques to increase reliability and reduce power consumption, wind turbine testing, active enclosure heating, and improving Iridium communications with Trimble NetRS receiver.
Thermotron Environmental Test Chamber, Boulder UNAVCO office -70C to +70C temperature range. Ideal for testing individual components outside manufacturers' specifications. Past and present testing includes cold-worthiness of individual components, cold-culling of complete electronic systems prior to deployment, and SLA battery performance down to -70C. Photo shows cold-testing of Antarctic Plateau testbed system prior to deployment at South Pole.

Last modified: 2019-12-24  02:12:27  America/Denver