Jeff was born and raised on the island of Kauai. He is currently attending the Electronics Technology program at Kauai CC, pursuing his associate degree. He is also an Infantryman with the Hawaii Army National Guard and plans to reclass to a different military occupational specialty (MOS) in the electronic communications field after graduating from college. Jeff has always had a passion for electronics, understanding devices, and learning how they function. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, camping, the beach, weight training, and spending time with family and friends.
Home Island: Kauai
Institute when accepted: Kauai Community College
Akamai Project: Heater Upgrade for a Summit Precipitation Gauge
Project Site: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)
Mentor: Billie Chitwood
Like all observatories, the Smithsonian Submillimeter Array (SMA) must accurately monitor ambient weather conditions, including precipitation, for a number of reasons. SMA staff and observers work at the summit around the clock, so weather must be monitored to ensure the safety of personnel. Also, precipitation, or simply high levels of atmospheric water vapor, causes the atmosphere to be opaque to submillimeter waves, inhibiting observations. Finally, heavy rainfall can cause the intrusion of moisture into electrical equipment, causing electrical damage to the antennas. The SMA facility has an existing rain gauge located at the Mauna Kea summit, but since temperatures at the summit frequently drop below freezing, precipitation can freeze before it can be measured by the gauge. To address this problem, we are designing, building, and installing an electrical unit to provide power to a new rain gauge with a built-in heater. When the temperature at the summit drops below 45 degrees F, the thermostat will begin to cycle. After construction and installation of the electrical box, testing will be conducted to record and check the accuracy of precipitation data from the new heated gauge.