Ross Island Earth Station (RIES) Completion

the antenna after installation
A view of the antenna on 18 November 2021, two days after installation was completed (link to original).

The 13m dish was lifted into place on 18 November...below, some sequence shots. Note that the photos with a "link to original" are from the USAP Photo Library and credited to NSF unless indicated otherwise. The uncredited photos were grabbed from the McM webcam as things were happening.

a closeup of the antenna pedestal before the pick
A closeup view of the pedestal before the lift. Note the Grove crane...a Linkbelt did the actual lift (link to original).
the antenna dish is staged
The antenna dish is staged.
the Linkbelt shows up
The Linkbelt crane arrives to do what needs to be done.
the pick
The dish being picked (link to original).
lowering the dish onto the pedestal
Lowering the dish...(link to original).
attaching the dish to its base
...and attaching it to the pedestal (link to original).
the antenna installation team

At left, a hero shot of the installation team by Nate Parkinson (NSF)...the full caption: The Ross Island Earth Station (RIES) installation team poses for a group photo near McMurdo Station. Kneeling in front, left to right: Pablo Prado, Guillermo Sosa, Julio Sosa Jr, and Guillermo Sosa Jr. Standing in back, left to right: Carlos Flores, Héctor López, Carlos Chavarría, Julio Sosa, Pablo Guerra, and Samuel Hernández. (link to original).
installing the radome base ring
2 December...laying out the base ring for the 21m diameter radome and welding it to the weld pads on the precast concrete foundation.
the antenna on 11 December
11 December...the radome base ring looks to be completed, and the antenna has been moved!. As the radome is erected, the antenna will disappear from view.
beginning to erect the radome
About 20 December...radome construction has begun. It's typical to construct top portions of a radome this way...the South Pole dome was mostly constructed from the top down, although a (hand cranked !) erection tower was used to lift the top of the dome, instead of a crane.
radome construction as of 26 DecemberHere's the webcam view on 26 December.
picking the top of the radome
New Years Eve...picking the top of the radome...
setting the top in place
...and the radome top is set into place.

This project will become the primary McMurdo communications station, although Black Island will be retained as a fact, two new generator sets were installed at Black Island this season to improve its reliability, and battery replacement is planned for next season. This April 2021 Future USAP page explains things a bit...and as for Black Island, I've extensively documented the history of that place as well.

Stay tuned...this project is scheduled for completion in January 2022. coverage of the 2018-19 beginnings of the project, with more technical detail, is here. Also, the webcam continues to show the latest view of the project.

Interestingly...other options have been considered...including a fiber optic cable from McMurdo to New Zealand or Australia, per this November 2021 The Verge article which describes a June NSF-sponsored workshop which addressed this subject. A detailed account of this workshop, including the final report, was posted by the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota.