Communication is key, not only for planning the fieldwork, but also for survival. While boating (including our trips to Litchfield Island) we always bring a radio and communicate to Palmer Station to let them know where you are, where you are going, and how many people are with you on the boat (or on the island if you dropped them off).
Here is an example of Leslie Neu with the radio (she also took the last photo in this blog).
Radio communication at larger distances is possible because we have a repeater on top of the glacier. A repeater receives a signal at one frequency and transmits the same signal at a different frequency. It is solar powered because of the remoteness. It needs to be on a high spot in the landscape, because signals travel in a straight line (thus it cannot curve around a hill). It is analogous to what stickers say on a semitruck: if you cannot see me (in my mirror), I cannot see you. Same with the repeater - it can only receive and transmit if you can see it, even from afar (but you would need binoculars to see it!).
So, the top of the glacier is ideal!
It is absolutely beautiful there. The repeater sees the following amazing view every day:
Apparently, even the penguins make it on top of the glacier as you can see from their tobogganing tracks.
Our smooth way of communication is possible because of the hard work by PJ. PJ has become a good friend of mine. He is working hard to ensure the research at Palmer Station is successful. Thank you PJ!