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Station Installation

PASSCAL can help guide you through various aspects of Station Installation, including Tasks, Time required, Crews needed, Recordkeeping considerations, and Suggested Materials. For broadband experiments the PI and students come to PASSCAL for several days of training before your experiment's field campaign begins. During the training session details of the experiment's logistic and climatic conditions are discussed and considered for the station design and installation procedures.

TASKS: Tasks depend on the station design, but the task list for a typical broadband station would be the following. Site the station with proper permissions. Build the sensor vault: dig the hole ~1 meter deep; construct the vault (often involves mixing and pouring concrete) with a level pad for the sensor; mark the orientation on the sensor pad. Set up the 'Station enclosure' (separate from sensor vault): make sure distance to sensor vault is appropriate, dig the enclosure a few inches into the ground; make sure there are ways to thread cables (sensor, solar panel, and GPS) into the station enclosure. Set up the Solar Panel: construct the solar panel mount, either ground mount or pole mount (or roof mount, etc.); test the solar panel(s); mount the solar panels; mount the GPS; at some point combine and protect the solar panel and GPS cables; dig a few-inch deep trench from the solar panel mount to the station enclosure for the protected cables and lay the cabling in the trench; thread cables into station enclosure. Set up station enclosure: place battery or batteries, DAS, power box, sensor breakout box, and interconnecting cables in enclosure; connect cables and begin filling out Installation Sheet. Set up sensor: orient and level sensor inside sensor vault, noting its serial number; power, unlock, and center sensor; check sensor functions; bury sensor. Complete station: check power, DAS functions; complete Installation Sheet (many checks are included there); finish all waterproofing and animal-proofing tasks, e.g. sealants, tarps, fence building.

TIME: Station Installation time should average approximately 1 to 5 hours depending on the complexity of the station setup requirements and the number of people per installation team. Often the driving time between stations takes longer than the installation itself, especially in remote areas with poor roads (sometimes merely tracks). Also, be aware that the first few stations in any experiment usually take much longer than (most) subsequent stations. Crews become proficient and crew members tend to divide the tasks required and stick to the same subset of tasks for each installation.

CREW: An installation team should consist of a minimum of 2 people for safety concerns.  If the sensor vault needs to be constructed or fences are required then a third person is suggested.

RECORDKEEPING: Click for details.
An example of an Installation Sheet for a stand-alone station with a broadband sensor and a RefTek RT-130 DAS can be found here. Please have PASSCAL review the Installation Sheets (and Service Sheets) you plan on using for your experiment, even if you downloaded them from the PASSCAL website. We tailor the Sheets to your experiment, specifically the equipment you've borrowed. Plus datalogger firmware changes, newly discovered bugs, etc. necessitate revisions to these Sheets. 

SUGGESTED MATERIALS: Click for details.

STATION DESIGN: Professor Mike West, prior to his PASSCAL CODEX experiment on the Colima Volcano in Mexico, drew a station schematic, provided below. Details differ by experiment, but this illustration can be helpful, if you've never constructed a station before.

Attached Files
File IMG_5743 ASF 640x480C.jpg
File instrt1303t.pdf

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