2007 Alum

An Overview

Development of a power and communication system for remote autonomous GPS and seismic stations in Antarctica

Academic Affiliation: Senior, University of Texas at El Paso, Geophysics
Science Research Mentor: Seth White - UNAVCO
Writing and Communication Mentor: William Prescott - UNAVCO
Community Mentor: Matthew Beldyk - UNAVCO
Peer Mentor: Nicole Ngo


We are addressing the challenge of operating a permanent GPS station in the harsh environment in Antarctica. The power and communication systems must operate year-round in the polar region where it is freezing, windy, and dark during the winter. We are working on three major parts of the GPS station: improving the power system, communication system, and mechanical design. We are investigating four areas related to the design of permanent GPS stations for the polar regions. 1). Analysis of wind power data was performed to compare wind speed versus power generated from wind turbine. 2). A test series was performed by applying varying voltages to power ports A and B of a GPS receiver. This was done to understand the power switching behavior of the receiver when it is powered from two independent sources. 3). A battery tester was evaluated to determine its accuracy. This tester may be used by engineers in the field to evaluate battery health, so ensuring its accuracy is critical. 4). Testing to determine GPS receiver and Iridium antenna interference was also done. This testing focused on understanding what distance between antennas was necessary to reduce the interference. The data and experiments with the equipment produced helpful results for the project and will improve permanent GPS technology for the polar regions.