Monday, April 26, 2010

I go to store (For 45 days)

A big hello to both of our followers and anyone else who is reading this blog! I'm Pat Skinner, a first-year PhD student in Wind Science and Engineering at Texas Tech and I'll be blogging about our two Ka-band mobile radars over the coming weeks. However, to start things off, I thought I'd talk about some of the more practical preparations members of V2 need to make before hitting the road.

Aside from the technical preparations of getting the communications equipment in order and performing mass tests/mock deployments of the StickNet and Ka-band radars, each member has to deal with how to essentially put their life on hold for a month and a half while they are in the field. The problems range from the mundane (who's going to pick up my mail/pay my rent?) to the much, much more difficult (saying goodbye to children/spouses/significant others). Though it's mainly an excuse to post a picture of my dog, I'll try to detail a couple of specific problems below:

One of the great advantages of the TTU team is that we're able to deploy a tremendous amount of assets (24 StickNet probes and two mobile radars) using only six vehicles. While this setup is fantastic for keeping the gas costs of driving 11000+ miles down, it doesn't leave much room for the possesions of the 18 team members. Luckily, we have some help from two vehicles from the University of Michigan that serve primarily as radar scouts, but just as importantly (for our well-being at least) as porters for our luggage. Still, each member has to cram everything they'll need on the 45 day trip into luggage that would pass the carry-on requirements for airlines. After about a week on the road this results in a mad rush for available hotel washing mashines and spare quarters becoming a precious commodity.

Secondly, since we can't bring a few mascots along with us, we have to find someone to take care of our pets. That's why I spent last weekend driving up to Denver to drop my dog (and VORTEX2-2009 good luck charm) L.C. (pictured on the right) off at my parent's place. Fortunately she seems to be getting along great with my parents new dog Stringer Belle (on the left), so no last minute doggy-day-care reservations are necessary. I'm told that she spent her first day without her beloved owner going on a 3-mile walk and chasing squirrels in the backyard. I guess dogs express their grief in different ways.

That's all I've got for now, I look forward to interacting with everyone over the course of the project. In the meantime, I'll be scrounging quarters from around the house.


  1. awww, poor baby. you could be in for trouble down the road. they tend to bond and you could have separation anxiety once you pick up LC.

  2. I know, I'm a little worried about that. She's getting spoiled rotten back in CO

  3. Now that I've found your blog, I'm catching up. LC certainly does have a great few weeks ahead in the resort-like pet atmosphere in Colorado with your folks. You must have taken the photo -- the dogs are looking WAAAAYY up! Continued good wishes on your tornado hunt.