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  • NORTH to UNGAVA -- Technology

     Getting pictures and words out from a remote location like the George River may not be an easy thing to do - but it's certainly quite possible and that wasn't true a few years ago.
     The North to Ungava Expedition will be carrying a Mitsubishi ST151 satellite telephone. At 20 pounds it's not the lightest phone on the market but it has been around for a few years and proven itself quite reliable. We thank Bell Mobility Satellite Services for the loan of the phone for this trip.
     The pictures are taken by Toronto Sun photographer Michael Peake on a Nikon E2N digital still camera. The great advantage of this camera is that it uses all Nikon lenses and at their regular focal lengths. Many high-end digital cameras have a lens multiplication factor of up to 2.4 times. The pictures of up to four different file sizes are stored on a small data card that is put into an Apple Powerbook computer loaned to us by Venture Computers of Toronto. The pictures are then sized for transmission (JPEG) and then sent with the stories through the satellite phone.
     The data which moves at a relatively slow 4800 baud (it will be getting faster in the near future) relays to the offices at CANOE.CA through the MSAT, 36,000 km up in space and to satellite dish at TMI in Ottawa, a BCE subsidiary.
     They then patch it through to the normal phone lines and you end up seeing it here.
     The expedition has a solar charging system designed by Environergie of Quebec. The solar panels will lay on top of the canoes as we paddle, and charge a gell cell battery (see below) which in turn powers the satphone, laptops and digital camera.
     That's how it is supposed to work. And you'll find out every day if it really does!

    Why a gell cell battery?

     From Clement Bergeron, ENVIRONERGIE
     1- No acid spilling, if they breake the battery case.
     2- Deep cycle battery, it can support very higher discharge than car battery.
     3- It doesn't have to be up side up to work, a car battery have to be up side up, if there is a medium inclination, the acid will gets out.
     4- Gell cell battery will be less affected by low temperature than car lead acid battery.
     5- You will get more than twice the usable power fron a gell cell battery comparatively to a car battery, and the two batteries will weights about the samething.
     6- The sealed gell cell is OK to take the plane, which is not the same situation for car lead acid battery.

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