Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Construction plans — Part 3

Starting on the 6th June 2011, the main site works begins. In the first instance, this means setting up the site and establishing an operations base. Mundane items such as storage cabins, site power and water need to be set up. Then site mark out can occur. Some of this is low-precision marking (indicating parking, transit and storage areas), but there are some precision surveying items that are done at this time. This includes the set-out of the reference marks, which will be used for the main array surveys.

For site power, feeder pillars need to be built, which means trenching, concrete foundations and termination points. Cable will need to be drawn/laid and then tested before final power is applied. Fortunately for us, there is a power source point not too far away from the site, so the additional stretch that will need to be covered is only a few hundred metres.

In the meantime, the ground works will have started. This means the rough levelling of the site, application of the drainage pipes (there will be agricultural drains put under the base soil, to facilitate drainage of water and thus minimise the impact of ground freezing in the autumn.

Once the pipes are in place, the cover soil is put in place, and then smoothed to get it roughly level. This is then washed and left to stand for 24 hours, before being checked for level, and packed solid again. This ensures that we have a firm based on which to deploy the HBA.

While this has been going on, work on the RF-container will have started. The RF-container is the standard shipping crate which will contain the signal processing electronics. In order to put this onto the field, a suitable area must be established for it. So an area of ground will need to be prepared, following a placement survey. The foundation holes will be drilled and a steel support frame put in place. The container is actually mounted on this frame, above the ground. The reason for this is that it allows snow to pass underneath, provides an easier way to level the container on the rough ground, the raised placement serves as additional container-to-ground isolation and it will make the cabling from the arrays easier.

Once the frame is in place and leveled, then the holes can be backfilled and concreted thus completing the preparation of the container location. The RF-container can then be delivered to the site and deployed, ready for fitting, installation and commissioning.

At the end of June, there is a small pause for the mid-summer, and then the work resumes in July.

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