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Chapter 3
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 areas.

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 MACOPS.

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 the field.

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.

In summary:

1.	Make an appointment with the MacElex ET shop to pick up your
	radios.
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
	shakedown.
5.	Return your radio(s) to MacElex's ET shop  at the end of your
	field season.	  

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.

3.4 Food for Field Parties

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.


On to Section 4: Standards of Conduct in the Field.

 
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