Jul 31 2006
Journalists can be such ignoramouses. Check out this hyperventilating piece about a ground station in New Zealand, which one writer attempts to understand in the most hillarious ways. In fact, some of this is a direct rip-off of Wikipedia’s entry on the site. My favorite line is this one:
Its two satellite interception dishes (shielded from public view by giant domes) intercept a huge volume of telephone calls, telexes, faxes, e-mail and computer data communications.
Emphasis mine. I could go on and on correcting all the errors in the silly speculation, but then I would also be giving these fools help in understanding what they are dealing with. So I will just share this chuckle with you good folks who read this site. Those ‘big domes’ are called radomes (the Wikipedia link has a picture of them), and they are not there to hide the dishes, they are there to protect the dishes from storms, high winds and corrosion. The domes don’t hide much from a trained eye. I can guess the size of the dish from the size of the radome and do a lot of backwards engineering from there. But domes like this are only seen on satellite ground stations – so they aren’t hiding much.
NASA once attempted to put an unprotected antenna in Puerto Rico, trying to save some money by not buying the Radome. Sure enough a hurricane came through and knocked it down. When they rebuilt the second one they bought the radome. Radomes have a purpose and it is a pretty simple one.
Wikipedia has a great map feature, which tells a lot about those two antennas. The location is pretty far south, which actually is not optimal for the purposes assumed by all the leftwing sites I perused. It is also blocked by large mountains to the north, making certain viewing angles tough. Let’s just say these leftwing sites have as much understanding of the possible applications of this site as they have in understanding what those ‘large domes’ are for. New Zealand has plenty of storms that could tear apart an open satellite dish, and being tens of miles from the ocean means the ability to block out the sea air will minimize the salt corrosion. Anyway, thought I would share some fun at the lefties’ expense.