Basic Field-Party Preparation Procedures
A field party is a USAP "group" that has been assigned a "S" or "T"
number and is working outside of the local McMurdo/South Pole Station
This chapter provides the basic preparation procedures to be carried
out by all field parties (i.e., local sea ice, helicopter-supported, and
LC-130-supported groups) after arriving in McMurdo. Chapter
6: Helicopter Transport and Chapter
7: LC-130 Transport also provide information specifically for helicopter-supported
and LC-130 supported groups. Different rules, timetables, and guidelines
apply for each type of transport into the field. It will take a minimum
of one week in McMurdo to prepare the logistics for your field camp put-in.
3.1 Field Communications: Radios
You will need to make an appointment with MacElex's Electronics (ET)
shop (first floor of Building 165, Mac Center) to schedule a time to pick
up your radios and attend a demonstration class.
Before MacElex will issue radios, a Frequency Assignment Plan must be
obtained from the Field Operations Communication Center (FOCC), which
is located on the second floor of Building 165. The FOCC call sign is
The FOCC staff will provide you with the information you will need to
make radio contact from the field. The FOCC staff will also ask you when
you wish to schedule your daily safety check-in times, as well when you
will leave McMurdo for the field and when you will return to McMurdo from
Please note that you will need to have your radios with you when you
attend the Field Safety Training course.
After your field season, return your radios to MacElex's ET shop. There
is no other "drop off" location for returned radios.
1. Make an appointment with the MacElex ET shop to pick up your
2. Obtain a Frequency Assignment Plan from the FOCC and discuss
field radio contact plans with the FOCC staff.
3. Pick up your radio(s) from MacElex and attend a demonstration.
4. Field test your radio(s) prior to your field season--either
during the Field Safety Training course or during an equipment
5. Return your radio(s) to MacElex's ET shop at the end of your
3.2 Field-Equipment Preparation Space
Each group that requests a substantial amount of field equipment from
the BFC is issued a "cage space." Locked cages are on the ground floor
of both the BFC and Science Cargo buildings and must be shared either
concurrently or consecutively with different groups. Space is limited,
so remember when you go into the field someone else may use the space
you were working in.
Your cage location and lock combination will be given to you at the
science meeting. An introduction to the BFC will be conducted immediately
after your science meeting. Field equipment requested in your Support
Information Package (SIP) will be prestaged in your cage.
Please note that the BFC has a limited amount of secured storage for
items you may wish to leave in McMurdo while you are in the field.
3.3 Field-Safety Training
All new personnel in the USAP, regardless of their skill level and
experience, must attend an overnight two-day field-safety course that
includes cold weather camping skills, cold weather first aid, and emergency
shelter building. For deep-field groups, this requirement is in addition
to the equipment shakedown. The schedule for your training will be arranged
during your introductory meeting at the BFC.
Food is issued to USAP field parties who are working and living at
remote locations. Use the Food Room "planning sheet" (given out during
the science meeting) to select food for your group. The Food Room staff
will help you to determine quantities needed, but it is important that
the entire field party review the list and make requests on this form.
The Food Room staff will help plan food amounts for both put-in and
resupply. New groups should rely on the Food Room staff's experience
and use the resupply system. It is difficult to keep foods frozen in
the Dry Valleys. Some groups have initially taken an entire season's
supply of food into the field, where much of it spoiled. Please let
the Food Room staff help you in this planning process.
When planning food for the season, we suggest you use regular food
stock to cover the length of time you expect to be in the field. Take
an emergency back-up of 2 to 4 weeks' dehydrated food (depending on
how remote the location) in case the pull-put flight is delayed because
of weather or some other problem.
3.4a Packing Food
After your group has selected food for the field, designate one person
to be in charge of organizing the food for camp put-in. It will take
a minimum of one entire day to gather, package, and weigh the (boxes
of) food for your group.
3.5 Field Equipment
Assign one person from your group to survey your issued field equipment
inventory to ensure that it is complete. Notify the BFC if there are
any discrepancies. Select one person to be your BFC point-of- contact.
He/she will be the only person from your group to make changes, return,
or exchange your issued field equipment.
3.5a Packing Equipment
There are different ways to pack cargo for helicopter and LC-130 put-ins.
Please refer to Chapter 6: Helicopter Transport and Chapter 7: LC-130
Transport for specific information.
3.6 Mechanical Equipment
A minimum of 48 hours advance notice is required for the MEC to prepare
your mechanical equipment for all flight operations. Any time needed
for equipment repair after your shakedown will be in addition to this
time. A half-day field maintenance training should be completed before
your equipment shakedown. Schedule this field maintenance training with
the MEC Supervisor or Lead Snowmobile Mechanic.
A standardized spare parts issue is provided with each piece of MEC
equipment. A representative from your group should survey the spare
parts issue and make adjustments as necessary.
Operator training for any vehicle is mandatory and should be scheduled
through the MEC prior to your deployment to the field.
3.7 Field-Camp Liquor Rations
Alcohol is rationed. One case of beer or one bottle of liquor or two
bottles of wine may be purchased per person per week.
Forms for field camp liquor rations are available from the ASA administration
personnel located in the Chalet. Return your completed ration form with
exact cash (no checks) to the Chalet personnel. They will contact NSFA/MWR
(Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) to make an appointment to pick up
your ration an will notify you of the appointment time. Make sure to
pick up your liquor ration early prior to departing for the field so
that it can be packed with the rest of your cargo.
3.8 Rock Boxes
If rock boxes are requested for sample retrograde, they will need
to be prepared prior to field camp put-in. Preparations include banding
around the circumference of each box and stenciling your name and university
address on top. You can use the empty boxes for camp put-in by filling
them with food and equipment.
Section 4: Standards of Conduct in the Field.