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After the storm

Submitter: Derek McKay-Bukowski & Caroline Callard
Description: Gale force winds which exceeded 100 km/h and battered the United Kingdom on the 3rd and 5th January 2012 unfortunately didnít spare the LOFAR-UK608 station at the STFC Chilbolton Observatory. The station suffered damage with 3 destroyed low-band aerials, 11 more badly damaged and 1 damaged high-band tile. Although the station continued to remain operational, some serious maintenance work was required to set things back to full capacity.
During the build of the station, back in June 2010, an army of undergraduate and post-graduate students, along with professors from the LOFAR-UK consortium universities, assisted with the installation of the antennas. These volunteers were recalled to help with repairing the station and on the 15th February 2012, the LOFAR station at Chilbolton again became a hive of activity.
With sturdy boots, safety gloves and a willingness to help, twenty-eight students from Portsmouth, Southampton, Oxford and Manchester Universities arrived on site ready to work. Under the guidance of local staff, the students were able to make repairs and rectify the damage caused by the extreme weather, and putting in place additional defences should similar conditions occur in the future. Further work has been carried out since then, with the final replacement LBA aerial being repaired on 2nd March.
More details and photographs can be found on the LOFAR-UK weblog.
Copyright: Caroline Callard, STFC
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