Yearly update....

A project log for Alsask Observatory Project

We will retrofit a 1960's era Cold War RADAR dome to a Radio Observatory

Lorin BriandLorin Briand 07/27/2016 at 19:040 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.