Crew 281 Journalist Report 23 May 2023
By: Rachel Jones
Sol 9 and Things are Going Fine
Despite the early EVA, I slept in. The crew mercifully agreed I could sleep in and that KC and Megan could help Ana and Ritu prepare for their 0745 EVA. I woke up just in time to see them start to drive the rover away from the hab. Ana and Ritu were going on a long EVA to the Overlook region. This area is really special because it has gypsum (which glows when exposed to UV light). In the past, this region was nicknamed the “Moon” region because the grey and white sand features resemble the moon.
KC was Hab Comm for the EVA. Hab Comm is a member of the crew that attempts to maintain contact with the EVA while they are in the field. We were warned that the Overlook region and the paths to get there had very bad/spotty communications. Given the current band conditions, I imagine this matter was expounded. While I was never able to resolve my Software Defined Radio (SDR) sound issue, we did observe the waterfall of the crew transmission frequency (i.e. we could see when they were transmitting), even when our radios did not register the transmission. I only wonder if we would have been able to hear them if my speakers were working.
Overall, the EVA was a success and lots of aerial footage and loose samples were collected.
For lunch today, KC went overboard in the best possible way. He handmade noodles from scratch and turned our normal rehydrated and freeze-dried ingredients into an amazing soup. I again tried to get on the OMISS (Old Man International Sideband Society) net but do not think I was heard today. The bands were all over the place.
After lunch, Ana, Ritu, Megan, and I filmed an outreach video of an experiment for the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). Then we had a rapid segment of high wind and a light dusting of rain.
Before dinner, I was very successful at making amateur radio contacts on 20 meters. Then my friend Tony (NR1Z) helped me make my first Morse Code contact. Morse Code is a method of communication that uses dots and dashes (dits and dahs) to code a message. Morse Code holds some advantages over voice communications as the transmission often requires less power and (some people.…not me yet) is faster. This makes Morse Code very efficient for emergency situations and most associate it with signaling S.O.S (… – – – …). I’m not sure yet, but I might be the first person to have made a Morse Code contact from MDRS.
I continue to imagine what communications on Mars will be like, but till then, I’m signing off: 73s.