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March 8, 2008 at 3:32 pm #548
I see where (RPSC) have posted for the position as Communications Operator At the McMurdo Station for the Aug/Sep 2008 thru Feb. 2009.My question would be if you have any idea how long of a line there is for such a position.I have sent them my resume and wondering if someone that has not worked there in the past would have a snowball chance in Las Vegas in the summer time of optaining such a position even with a major back ground in such a feild.Only wondering can only try right.But I am 47 now and wondering if age may also play a factor in there filling of that open position.Thank you much for your time.
FreddieMarch 9, 2008 at 1:49 am #5111
They hire people all the time. In general they tend to hire women in those positions, but not always. They tend to have crisp clear voices. They also tend to like people who have previous radio dispatch experience. The job is less about operating radios as it is about keeping track of who is due in and when they are supposed to check in. You would also be one of the first points of initial call outs for emergency operations.
That being said, it is also likely that nobody with that experience will apply. That leaves the door open for people like you that are radio savvy as a second option. In general I don’t think that the powers that be think of Ham operators any different than a guy who is a very active CBer. Keep that in mind when talking with them. Radio protocol, procedures, ability to track people out in the field and make decisions are probably more important. The frequencies are fixed. You have to behave and work the same as all the other operators to keep things standard for the folks in the field. Also keep in mind that Comms is 24 hours not a 9 hour day. Generally they work a rotating shift with days off in the middle of the week.
You’ve already sent the resume. You are now in with everyone else and you have a couple of options.
First do nothing and see if someone thinks you are better than the rest. This is the least likely thing to happen. However lots of people get hired this way. It’s just that you don’t get any advantage over anyone else.
The second and best option is to go to the job fair in Denver. I haven’t looked it up to see when it is. Probably the end of March or start of April. Just going doesn’t really increase your odds as there are hundreds of people who show up. What makes it better is that you get to use a little sense after the job fair. You need to make a good impression first of all and if they like you, the most important thing is to get permission to keep in touch. Don’t be a pest. Calling every day will make you look bad. You’ll have to be the judge on what is good. Also don’t get too discouraged if you don’t get anything up front. If offered an alternate position, take it. By the time August comes around, people will be dropping out right and left and your chances increase greatly of moving to primary. Same if you get nothing now. You may find a friendly ear later in the season if they are having a hard time filling the positions.
Last option and maybe the best is to apply for and take any job you may be qualified for the first year and move into something better in subsequent years. We have tons of janitors with Phds. DA dining attendant jobs tend to be the worst jobs. Janitors mostly like the job, they just don’t like the low pay. GA general assistants are also low paying but get you into the system.
Let me know what happens.
MikeMarch 10, 2008 at 10:57 am #5112
Thank you for your reply Mike.Well to make a long story short I have been and Operator or 34 years.But I have been a communications contartctor for 20 in the Tower feild Broadcast land mobile Microwave and for the biggest part of the last 12 years it has been mostly the Cellular industry.Now after sending in my resume for the operator position Raytheon sent me and email from the job site page saying that I was put on the list for a Tower riggers position that is open also.I had knew that position was open but was side stepping it not knowing what kind of weather a person would intell while doing such task but I will stand by and see what becomes of it and go from there.If you have any info on what the Antenna riggers life is like there or any buddies that have filled that position in the past or that are still in those positions please pass it along so that it would help me in my moving forward in such.It has always been a dream of mine to make such an adventure and now would be a good time in life in doing so.
Thank you much
FreddieMarch 10, 2008 at 9:56 pm #5113SciencetechKeymaster
Your skills seem most appropriate for a Comms Tech position. Keep an eye out for an opening.
glennMarch 11, 2008 at 5:04 am #5114
The antenna rigger is a pretty cool job. You are right, you will be out in the weather, but to be honest you get used to it. The gear is pretty good. The good side is that you get helicoptered around to some of the neatest places. There is also a good chance you will get to the pole as well. The comms techs also get out to repeater sites as well.
MMarch 12, 2008 at 4:43 am #5115
Thank you Glenn & Mike
A couple of more questions if not to burden you guys.(1st) does any one know who the Antenna Riggers Hiring Supervisor would be for the purpose of maybe tracking them down at one of the Job Fairs and by the way there is no postings for the Denver area haveing such a fair as of yet closest for me would be San Dieago coming up soon. But I don’t have any idea if the right butt would be there to lick Hi Hi. (2nd) Something I can not find during my search engine on the subject is what are the basic tower highths for the Comm Op’s there around McM. From what I have seen from What picture are from the area they are mostly lil towers because they are using the lay of the land and hilltopping which only problem I see with that is Power on site.Reason for asking I don’t know if I want to get caught on a 300 foot rohn 25 in bad weather been there done that.And from the looks of things they are big fans of such Rohn towers but not sure what Average center line of the antennas are Hi Hi. Also FYI Tower rigging has been my bread and butter now going on 19 years was hoping to take a break away from the likes. In the last 10 years I am also involed with alot of the equipment installs along with the antenna line testing and troubleshooting.I have been involed with all aspects of the Tower business from Big Iron Broadcast sites which included but not limited to the erction of some major 1500′ 2000′ 14′ face towers to small what I call fence post on Mt.Tops.But enough said for now and thanks a bunch guys hope you are enjoying the warmer weather now that you are off the ICE.
Look forward to your replys
And also you folks have a great site here that anyone can gain much knowledge of what the life of the ICE people must be like from setting behind the screen and just watching I really want to get my hands cold. Why havent you guys signed up for the Discovery Channels Dirty Jobs Show hi hiMarch 12, 2008 at 9:57 am #5116
We have too much fun to be considered a dirty job.
Most of the towers are small, but not always. We have a few humdingers. Again, I’ve never really heard the riggers complain. They get flown around to all the coolest places in Antarctica and I guess it balances out. I think for the most part, they are safety conscious and wouldn’t go up a tall tower if the weather wasn’t coopererating. I’d give it a go at least once. You and the comms techs will be installing all kinds of equipment for the various camps, so even if you don’t like the rigger job, you should make enough contacts with the comms dept to move there in a following year.
Atlas couldn’t find the Job Fair info. He suggested calling the home office at 1.800.688.8606 to get the info. The Denver Job fair has more of the Dept heads to talk to. I think the others around the country are just the HR dept and they don’t necessarily know the nitty gritty details of the jobs. Write me and I’ll give a name to look for.
March 14, 2008 at 4:28 am #5117
Hey Mike and the crew.Gotta another one for ya.When I first sent in my resume on the Ray jobs site it would not take a Microsoft word Doc. resume I had to copy and paste.Now that I keep going back ther and checking on things I thought I would try to download my Words Doc. resume again.Well it still will not download it I was doing so in order for my resume to look more well should I say proffesional.Any in site to what is up with that is it me or is that something that has been going on kinda like I had to figure out that The Mcm jobs you couldnt put McMurdo Staion I finally just put it under Denver Co. and that went through.Oh well still hoping to get on the ICE and you know guess doing what I do best and that is Tower Rigging and Antenna installation and testing/troubleshooting then so be it.Guess I could do my radio operating from you guys anf gals shack on days off if you and they dont mind letting other borrow the rig from time to time.And I bet that is a hum dinger calling CQ from the ICE it dont take long for a pile up.That can be good and bad cause you know its nice to be able to seat down and have a good rag chewing with someone with out a pile up waiting.
Hope you guys are enjoying your time state side
KD4WENMarch 14, 2008 at 4:45 am #5118
Freddie, the Job Fair is on the 28th of March. Your best bet is to go there. Write me and I’ll give you a name to look for with the antenna riggers.
Ham radio is fun down there. Our antenna is in sad shape. High SWR. It would be nice to have a rigger check it out. I’m guessing a bad balun, but we are not allowed to climb the tower and the riggers this year were pretty busy.
We’ve been at the bottom of the sun cycle for a few years. I’m guessing it will be a few more years before it gets back to a peak. The last peak years started around 2000 to 2004 or so. 11 years would put it around 2011 for the next peak. Back then all you had to do was whisper Antarctica and the pileups started. These days it’s a search to get through to anyone. If you have an HF radio bring it down. Ours has seen better days. Rumor has it the radio and antenna will be upgraded this year, but I’m not holding my breath.
I also brought down a rigblaster this previous year and was just getting started with sending digital signals. It was fun. I also dabbled in SSTV. More next year.
You will operate the MCM station as KC4USB.
KE6ZYKMarch 14, 2008 at 9:27 am #5119MightyAtlasModerator
Raytheon Polar Services Job Fair
Friday, March 28, 2008
10:00 AM-6:00 PM
Raytheon Polar Services
7400 S. Tucson Way
Centennial, CO 80112 Details:
Open to the public. If you would like to stay in a hotel that provides shuttle service to and from the job fair, contact Staybridge Suites in Park Meadows.March 14, 2008 at 11:12 am #5120mrguardMember
Its too bad we couldn’t take our calls with us and operate /kc4usb…
W8WWMarch 14, 2008 at 8:35 pm #5121
Some people will operate the station with their call signs and a KC4/locator. The rules say to use the station call sign, but what the hey. The real problem with people using their own calls is that years down the road people start asking for QSL cards from KC4USV and there is no record of it.
MMarch 15, 2008 at 9:23 pm #5122mrguardMember
I wonder how many people actually put in applications for Com Ops and the other radio related jobs.
I wonder what it would take to get new antennas shipped down lol.
W8WWMarch 15, 2008 at 10:01 pm #5123
The antenna now is a big 10 15 20 tribander on a 30 foot tower. It’s too big and too expensive of an antenna for me to buy out of my pocket and donate to the cause. In any case the head of comms told me last year he was planning on purchasing a new radio and antenna for us. We’ll see if he came through when we get there in October.
In the past we’ve done some other things. If we have enough people a ham club is always fun. Without a club, after working a six day 54 hour week, I find it hard to trudge the quarter mile to the shack only to hear static. When with a group it’s fun whether you make contacts or not. In the coming years as propagation increases with sun activity, this will be less of a problem.
A favorite when propagation was at a peak was to set up a portable spider or dipole antenna out on the ice shelf using bamboo poles stuck in the snow. A mini dxepedition of sorts. The radio community loved it. I’ve also done some tag teaming with the south pole. Anyone reaching me in MCM got moved on to KC4AAA. The operator got 2 Antarctic contacts at the same time, a real treat .
One thing I found was that pileups are great fun at first, but when you are on the pointy end of the pileups, it gets old after a while just giving out signal reports. In later years I’ve craved the rag chewing more and pretty much now require everyone to ask an Antarctic question. It keeps it interesting for me and keeps it interesting for everyone else listening in.
The current HF rig leaves the tech class VHF people out. If we have enough people we can form a club and let them use the rig with us a control operators. If enough people send down 2m HTs we can do club things like fox hunts. A few years back we all built collapsable Yagis out of old metal tape measures and used them to find someone operating a hidden transmitter. It was fun, but the transmitters all broadcast on full power and we didn’t have attenuators on the receiving side, so the hunters could only get so close before losing signal directionability. Next time I’m ordering parts to build attenuator arrays.
This year I just started learning how send digital signals over HF. It’s different and fun. Propagation was still too low to do much, but I did manage to send a few photos by radio. Texting worked a little better.
March 16, 2008 at 12:31 am #5124
Mike and the gang
I have already put in the motion some cool stuff for the station at McM.I really don’t understand where in the past someone hadnt aleady done some of these things.And the digital is really getting some really good feed back as more modes and more stations are moving that direction.You know under bad conditions PSK31 and a few of the new digital Voice modes are getting through on DX HF when other modes can’t.Even at lower power out puts digital is doing the job.Back to equipment at the McM shack.I have spoke with a few guys that would like to see better equipment at such sites for the better of Amature radio in general to have such stations is great promotion for our hobby and such a hooby is really a good hobby being that Kids that have a light go off in there head when they have been introduced to it in a big part carry that with them the rest of there life.I for one have been one of those kids and I am in the communications feild as to make a living now. I am pretty good at resourcing and during my free time I am getting in contact with differant folks pushing such.If you didnt know equipment venders donate nice gear for Dxpiditions all the time.Well I have already been in touch with one such vendor that is producing one of the new Software defined radios and seems that they like the idea of having one of there radios being part of a station at McM.And just maybe willing to have one donated for such use.Also I have sent and email to one of the antenna companies and I know they would have no problem getting one or more of there antennas put into operation at the McM site.See to them it is the cheapest advertisment they can buy donating equipment that will be advertised as being on the shack list at McMurdo Station and moving foward They will be looking at trying to get such equipment at the pole also.Back to the jobs I have put in for I am trying to make arrangements to be at the job fair but not 100% sure I will be able to make it on such short notice.But even if I dont get on board this time I will try again next year but I am geting older every year. I will not stop trying to get the McM shack rigged with some really nice gear and even computers seeing what seemed to be an outdated computer in use at the shack there hi hi also noticed you or someone stating about the noise floor getting high when that computer is running.Now I have some tech questions for you (1) is how is the grounding at McM and the shack you all have there.(2) Is how about the shipping of such donated equipment do the higher ups kick such back as low priority.(note)this could be a good point to bring up to the higher ups (It would mean that they would have some really nice equipment as back up equipment during any emergancy if one should arise.) (3) Is there a security problem with HF rigs running at the Stations there on the ICE. Also I would like to see some HF becons activated on the ICE that way everyone will have a better idea of propagtion. Well enough for now and let me know you alls thought on such
And thnk you folks for all your input on trying to help me get on the ICE
73’s for now
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