Our Buildings & Our History
Hillary Field Centre Work Stations
The Hillary Field Centre upgrade was completed in September 2015. Part of this upgrade included an area where 15 workstations and 3 individual meeting rooms are situated. The Technical Support staff and servers are also located in this facility. There are public computers available for internet access or working. The computers are Windows 7 and have Office 2013 with access to a nearby printer. The area is designed to be a quiet area where data processing, writing and internet access can be carried out. Off to the side of this area is a ‘breakout space’ where one can nurse a hot coffee while sharing stories or planning their work. Laptops can be connected to the TV display monitor for planning presentations or discussions.
Scott Base is powered from a grid that feeds both Scott Base and McMurdo Station. Power is fed into the grid from three sources: generators at McMurdo, Antarctica New Zealand wind turbines and Scott Base generators.
- Scott Base - three x 200kW AN8 Cat Generators
- Windfarm - three x 330kW Enercon E33 wind turbines
- McMurdo Station - five x 1400kW AN8 Cat Generators
The average load at Scott Base is around 120kW and can run two main generators at any time with a backup generator in the event of a blackout. The generators also supply waste heat to the interconnected buildings that make up the base. When generators aren't running heat is supplied using AN8 fuelled boilers.
Antarctica New Zealand with the help of Meridian Energy installed three 330kW Enercon E33 wind turbines on Crater Hill above Scott Base, creating the southernmost wind farm in the world. The windfarm supplies energy to both Scott Base and the neighbouring McMurdo Station, forming part of Antarctica New Zealand's contribution to the joint logistics pool with the United States Antarctic Program. The three turbines reduce the amount of fuel required for power generation by around 463,000 litres and cut CO2 emissions by 1242 tonnes per year.
The US and NZ have worked closely to try minimise fuel use across both bases. Automatic generation at Scott Base has recently been implemented to minimise running more than one of their big generators at McMurdo, by supplementing energy with the Scott Base generators. By combining the energy generated by the wind farm and the Scott Base generators, it is now possible to supply power to McMurdo with only one of their big generators running.
Scott Base Communications
Scott Base has a modern communications network. A small, fully featured telephone exchange provides a link to New Zealand through the SPARK satellite earth station at Arrival Heights. With the station dish pointing approximately 3 degrees above the horizon, the earth station is almost as far south as the limit of communication using geo-stationary satellites stationed above the equator. Connecting the exchange and the earth station is a fibre optic cable system.
The grey satellite station dome itself is located near Arrival Heights and consists of a dish that is nine metres in diameter. This is housed inside a 14 metre diameter, geodesic dome that has been designed to withstand the severe weather conditions that can occur in Antarctica. The dome is built on a large, steel structure, which is anchored to the ground. There is a fibre cable link to our neighbours at McMurdo Station. The two bases form a small free-calling area. This provides both Antarctica New Zealand and the United States Antarctic Program with a Ross Island network that allows access through each other’s telephone systems to New Zealand, the United States and the rest of the world. During the summer season, three lines are provided from the Scott Base exchange, using VHF radio links, to enable the Italian Antarctic Programme at Terra Nova Bay to also join our network.
Using a device called a bandwidth manager and using speech compression techniques, a considerable number of circuits can be fitted on the small signal carrier being transmitted to the satellite from Arrival Heights. This gives us the ability to simply pick up the telephone and dial without having to wait for a circuit. Both Antarctica New Zealand and the United States Antarctic Program utilise the Scott Base system for data links to New Zealand. The high-speed data links also allow us to carry radio signals. The first television pictures of the new millennium were beamed live to the world from Scott Base, shortly after midnight, using our satellite link.
The Satellite we are currently using for all communications is Intelsat 19. This also provides us with New Zealand TV content which is broadcast from New Zealand to the Pacific Island Broadcasters and Scott Base. Currently this includes daily TV1 and TV3 nightly news, sporting and documentaries broadcast by Pacific Corporation Broadcasting Ltd which is funded by MFAT. There are TV’s in public areas at Scott Base where people can watch this content. Our system is part of the Spark New Zealand network. As such, users at Scott Base are able to share some of the calling specials that apply from time to time. This can make communication to and from Scott Base quite cheap for those that work there and regular contact with home makes life a little easier, especially during winter.