Crew 281 Journalist Report 20 May 2023
By: Rachel Jones
Sol 6, We Put Out Sticks.
Okay, not really, but it’s hard to rhyme six and an antenna.
Sol 6 was a busy day, and it started early. Ana, KC, and Ritu went on an EVA to Kissing Camel Ridge to gather more rock data from scan lines, test the geotechnical tools, and capture aerial drone footage. This was a longer EVA to start the day. Then, after a quick lunch, Megan and I performed an EVA to set up the High Frequency (HF) antenna. We set up a Chameleon HF Modular Portable Antenna System 2.0 in the portable vertical configuration. While both of these EVAs sound simple, I assure you the extreme Utah weather, in addition to the cumbersome EVA suits, makes any action outside the Hab an adventure.
With the antenna set up, the afternoon sent us all on our various tasks. Megan took on the GreenHab and checked on her chocolate plants. Ana prepared the robotic scoop Pegasus for tomorrow’s EVA. Ritu designed a dummy medical play load for her drone with KCs assistance. I, of course, was on the airways trying to make QSL contacts. Learning new equipment is always challenging, but I hope to get as many contacts as possible (pending weather/band corporation). The HF Antenna is connected via coax to a Shack-in-a-box configured to an Icom 7300, LDG tuner, and external speaker. Unfortunately, while I heard my friend Dan (N4MI) in Grovetown, GA, and Arkansas’ QSL Party, the bands didn’t support reliable conversation. I’m hoping to try again once to sunsets.
Dinner tonight focused on emptying the fridge of leftovers (one of my least favorite things). On Mars, should a crew eat group meals together? Or should individuals be required to meet specific caloric goals (i.e., you’re required to clean your plate)? I can see the pros and cons of both. Our crew enjoys the meals spent together around the table for now.
Till next time, please find me on the air! (KO4HLC/MDRS)