• Costs & Expenses to Date

    Lorin Briand08/03/2016 at 14:56 0 comments

    So far, I have invested $20,000 in this project, and the architect's bill to be paid is $16,000.

    We anticipate that the final bill will be in the area of $5M.

  • Yearly update....

    Lorin Briand07/27/2016 at 19:04 0 comments

    Greetings Radio Telescope enthusiasts!

    The prolonged silence on this project log is not due to inactivity. We have been busy reconditioning the dome and doing many other things. I have just been so busy doing that I forgot to update for you. Here we go with the major news:

    Engineer's report:

    Before we bought the property, we made sure to get an engineer's report done on the suitability of the structure for our needs. Well, rest assured, a structure built of 18 inch structural steel girders and solid concrete will last the test of time!

    Being constructed in the 1950s, asbestos was a major concern. It turns out the concern was unwarranted as our Engineer confirmed there is no asbestos present.

    Big thanks to Errol Castle from Castle Design and Marketing for the report that allowed us to proceed with the purchase.

    Architect's drawings

    We had Architects in North Battleford, Jeff Mannix from RBM Architecture, to draw up sketches for the planned interior. I will post a PDF of the drawings and plans in the files section.

    Fund raising:

    Here we are hitting a couple of snags. First off is crowd funding is more complicated than I first thought.

    Second, I have asked for help wording our application for Charitable status from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

    We will need funds to pay for things like the architect's work and the first round of fixes to the building.

    Finding contractors

    Our immediate next step is to find contractors who are willing to work step by step. A project of this size is a big commitment for any contractor. The more work we can offer up front, the more success we will have in attracting bidders. Our timing was not the best, however. We posted ads in Kindersley and Oyen (two nearby cities) for general contractors right before the fires in the Fort McMurray area. These fires made international headlines. But, in case you missed it, whole sub-divisions in the Alberta city of Fort McMurray were wiped out by a forest fire that got into the city. The whole city was evacuated. Many contractors have gone to Fort Mac (as we in the West call it) to get early work on insurance claim funded repairs, rehabilitation and reconstruction. We wish the people of Fort Mac well and are happy to wait for that work before our needs. WE have had interest from some contractors in the North Battleford area. None have, as of yet, been able to visit the site.

    Finding contractors will allow us to...

    Repair the entry.

    The entryway into the building, as it stands now, is a dreadful mess. A new door, set of stairs and general replacement of the weather beaten gyp rock and wood floor will make a better first impression and make access so much easier.

    Repairing the entry will improve....

    Security at the site.

    Yup. Remember the telescope that was stolen? Well, we never did get it back. We have some easier to use optical telescopes now along with some 1 meter dishes. The telescopes remain at my house for security's sake. There are also oscilloscopes and signal generators that I have acquired. I won't move them to the site until there is a locking door on the building.

    Still looking for a CASCA member to join the Executive.

    That's right! We are still looking for a Canadian professional astronomer to sit on our Board of Directors. I am continuing to reach out to members of the profession via email, and I won't be shy about just showing up at your office if invited.

  • Good News, Bad News and Ugly News.

    Lorin Briand05/20/2015 at 01:26 0 comments

    Good News! The company has been approved. In a few days we should have a bank account and begin work in earnest.

    Bad News! After asking around, the only way to really handle the razor wire left behind by the military is to get chain mail gloves and chest piece. Imagine such a high-tech place needing a partial suit of armour. Fortunately, a co-worker has a suit that might work. If not, I'll have to MAKE a suit ( gauntlets & chest piece).

    Ugly news! I had been storing some optical equipment (a 5-inch optical telescope) up at the site. Someone broke into the site and stole it. This means that securing the site is going to be priority one, now.

  • First Entry: We bought the land

    Lorin Briand02/28/2015 at 02:52 0 comments

    Welcome to the first log entry on the rehabilitation, renovation and renewal of the old Alsask Pinetree Line RADAR dome. My name is Lorin Briand. I sit on the board of the Alsask Observatory Project (inc.); a non-profit charitable organization that aims to make an observatory for amateur and professional Astronomers on the site of the RADAR dome.

    Right now you're wondering:

    Where is Alsask?

    As the name suggests, Alsask is a town on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan in Western Canada. The site is at 51°23′31″N 110°00′10″W. Feel free to look it up on Wikipedia, Google Earth or your favourite map program.

    Why Alsask?... It's the middle of nowhere.

    Correct. We are just off Highway 7 (SK) /9(AB). The nearest large town is 60 km in any direction. The nearest city is 300 km away. That suits an observatory just fine. Astronomers want two things: Dark Skies and Radio Quiet. This place has both. The low population density means that we will have excellent conditions for both Optical and Radio observations.

    Why a Radio Telescope?

    Good question! The answer is two-fold. First of all, the dome that protects the equipment inside is Radio transparent. Second, it is a historic site; which means we cannot change the exterior of the building substantially, or any other of the 'Historic Attributes.'

    An Optical observatory requires a different kind of dome entirely from what is currently there. We'd have to make a change that would not be consistent with the historic nature of the building.

    That does not exclude the FUTURE construction of an optical telescope on the site. For now, baby steps. This project can be realized one step at a time.

    I will answer your questions as they come up. I'll be posting updates as milestones on the project are reached. The first one was buying the land. I just did that.

    Feel free to give us skulls (once we show results) and post comments.

    Clear Skies,