Whereas weather was excellent the whole leg, there were nearly daily delays waiting for tidal currents and Gulf Stream eddies to moderate. Often the edge of the current was visible on radar, looking like a squall front approaching. The eddies were also visible during daylight hours as slicks on the calm water.

Cellular phone service was spotty on site even with the directional antenna. Being positioned 80 km off the New Jersey shore pushed the limits of the cellular phone system. Rain and cloudy weather attenuated the reception to zero. Incoming calls were rarely received as the antenna was pointing in the wrong direction or conditions were bad. System Busy signals were also common. Some e-mail transfers were possible and a few business calls were made.

Special Projects

The replacement air conditioner for the unit that failed on Leg 171 was received and installed in the subsea shop. The engineers found that the unit was 1/4 in. longer than the original unit, resulting in some frame modifications.

The first helicopter full of visitors also delivered an Ashtech GG24 GPS receiver and antenna. The antenna was mounted with the port group of antennas located between the stacks, and the antenna lead was added to previous runs through SEDCO spaces. Using supplied PC software, the unit was immediately displaying position dispersement the same or better than the dGPS display. The unit was integrated into the WinFrog navigation system for a test on the last day on Site 1073. The refined positioning capabilities are possible, because the receiver can use the Russian GLONASS GPS constellation, in addition to the U.S. complement. The Russian positions are also more accurate, as they are not degraded.

The METS group participated in or was available to contribute to three fire drills. Fire gear was donned, and breathing apparatus were fitted for a fire drill in the lab stack. There was little practice or re-familiarization offered.

As Site 1073 progressed, the technical staff mentioned that they were tripping on a 3/4 in. differential in the solid fibergrate decking at a seam in the aft third of the core-receiving platform. The problem was the result of one of the supporting cross beams sagging. The fibergrate was removed and two new steel angles welded in place. The pieces replaced were add-ons that were used to accommodate the spacing of the fibergrate.

The Lamont sponsored MARISAT-B communications system that was scheduled for removal in Halifax received a last minute reprieve and was left aboard. The system was not used during the leg and the System Managers see no future use for it aboard the JR. LDEO has not shared their plans with the ship; Las Palmas was said to be the port of disposition for this system.

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