K1TTT
RSS

Navigation Links


Upcoming Events


Current Events


Social Junk


History


Search

Quick Search
»
Advanced Search »



Contact Info

David Robbins, K1TTT

K1TTT@arrl.net



Admin

2011 Maintenance and Upgrade Blog




1/2 Cleaned up all the logging computer hard drives and defragged them for the first time in years.

1/12 Global warming my a$$... 28" snow in about 12 hours. Nice day in Peru.

During the heavy snow in the morning, only about 18" at this point.

Image

This is what happens when the flash goes off during a snowstorm. This is about 4pm after most of the snow was over. There was another 2" or so that night.

Image

View out the front window over the deck.

Image

View out towards BIG!.

Image

1/19 More global warming last night. Looks like about 3/4" of ice on the antennas as of 9am, but not all the way around, just on top. For those of you who wonder why I keep a telescope in the living room, this is what I use it for. (Click on these for high resolution version, 6mb each!)

Ice on one of the 70' 40m4lldd element loading lines.

Image

Ice on the 70' 40m4lldd element truss support.

Image

Ice on the 180' 40m4lldd feedpoint.

Image

The 70' 40m4lldd.

Image

The 150' 20m4dx and the VHF/UHF antennas

Image

1/23 Looks like the top 40m Yagi is stuck pointing at Europe now, or at least its not tracking the control box display. I'll leave it where it is and hope it isn't windmilling for now.

2/5 Snow after snow after snow with layers of ice in between, no January thaw either, we haven't been above freezing since 1/2. For probably only the second or third time in 27 years up here I have been shoveling off snow from the roof of the house, the first time for the shed and garage. There was at least 2' of snow layered with ice on all of them. I got about half of it off the house but more off the shed and garage. I'll have to borrow a roof rake to get the peak of the house if this stuff doesn't start melting soon. I have also shoveled off the sides of the deck around the house twice now. The south end is now drifted up to the railings, i don't worry about that as much since it has support all the way around.

2/10 Gusty winds combined with ice still on antennas has tilted the 30' 15m Yagi about 30 degrees. The 60' 20m one is also tilted but only 10-15 degrees. The top 40m one may also be tilted slightly, but there is still ice on it so it may just be sagging more on one side than the other. All 3 of them are in TIC ring rotors.

2/13 A 'relatively' nice day today, snow flurries, 25f, winds only 10-20mph, so decided to go ski the Beverages. Even after all the ice and wind there was no damage on any of them, and the 80m 4-square radials were ok also. Ordered memory upgrade for 6 logging computers from 128+512M to 2x1G. Had 3 of them running ok with full RBN spot feed and last year's CQWW CW log and they seemed ok, but this can't hurt in the long run. Memory is a lot cheaper now than it was when I bought those machines.

3/27 Snow crusted over hard enough to walk back in the woods now. Toured the Beverages and only had one branch down on the far end of the N/S one that broke an insulator.

4/3 New snow Friday now frozen over. Found a white birch and a branch down on a couple of the 160m L radials on the north end.

4/11 After a short illness Lucky Dog's luck finally ran out early this morning. RIP Lucky Dog.

Image

4/30 Well, the snow finally melted and the ground dried out a bit so I rolled up the 80m 4-square ground fencing today. Had a bit of help from a 2 year old Lab/Hound/Great Dane? mix named Pablo that is on trial period for adoption.

Image

5/1 More spring cleaning. Moved flea market pile into the garage to get more room in the shed for when the new ring for 40m arrives, hopefully this week. This is the first real nice day for climbing, 55f at 10am but no wind and sunny. Went up the 15m tower and leveled out the bottom Yagi that had slipped in the ring rotor cradle. Did the same with the 60' one on the 20m tower.

5/6 K0XG ring rotor arrived. 500# box had to be unloaded at the end of the road because the trucking company sent a 45' box rig to deliver it.

5/7 Got new chainsaw running and cut down the ugly birch that was starting to lean over the parking area. Welded up the DR Mower, replaced the blade drive belt, and cut a bit of the stuff I didn't get to last fall.

5/8 Unpacked the K0XG ring hardware and started to prepare it for transport up the tower. The hardware is definitely impressive, but the manual leaves a bit to be desired. It has schematics for several versions of the hardware, but doesn't label them for applicability. It also doesn't have specs for weights, windloads, or the motor current and voltage.

Image

The Green Heron control box and remote motor power supply and relay box. The motor runs on full wave rectified 110vdc.

Image

Closeup of the remote box. Two big contactors up top are the reversing relays, the smaller ones on the bottom right are controlled by the 24v from the Green Heron box. The one standing up on the bottom left is the power-on relay for the box.

Image

The motor and gear reduction unit.

Image

Top view of the top of the ring. The brackets with the blue rollers flip over and ride under the ring gear to hold the top part down on the gear. They are flipped over hear to allow removal of the top from the bottom.

Image

The boom clamp and truss assembly.

Image

The ring gear. In the K0XG design the gear is clamped to the tower and the motor rotates around the tower with the antenna.

Image

Bottom view of the moving part of the ring. The 3 sideways rollers roll op top of the ring, there are 2 vertical rollers that keep it centered and provide something for the drive gear to push against. At each of the 3 sideways rollers there is one of the blue rollers that will hold the ring down.

Image

One to get the feeling for the size of it.

5/12 Started disassembling the ring to transport up the tower. This is the bottom part almost ready to go.

Image

5/20 Finished disassembling the ring and getting it rigged to lift. Also had to make a list of wrenches for each section since it uses a variety of nuts, most bigger than the normal 1/2" or 9/16" wrenches. Will need 11/16", 3/4", and 7/8" for various parts of this one. Here it is pretty well ready to lift.

Image

5/21 Took big branch off N-S Beverage just past the 80m 4-square. Wired up the K0XG power box and Green Heron controller on the shack end of the 180' cable.

5/22 George came up to help after the fog lifted and we got the lifting rope up the 180' tower. I also took up the pot assembly and power cord for the motor and spliced them in to the cable. Found two broken welds on the old ring, tied it in place to try to prevent further damage until it can be replaced.

5/25 George, KJ1K, and KB1W came up to help after I got home from work. We got the bottom part of the ring up and assembled. That took about 2.5 hours, hopefully the rest will go a bit quicker.

This is one of the broken welds on the old TIC ring:

Image

The top view of part of the new ring over the old one. Note the numbered bolt holes to make sure everything got back where it came from. The yellow cable is the power for the motor.

Image

George stuck around in the bugs until I was down and we put away the ropes.

Image

5/27 George came up again and K1MK is here for WPX CW so we put up the top part of the ring and moved the antenna onto it. About 3.5 hours up the tower. I had to improvise a bit to keep the phasing line on the 40m4lldd from shorting on the boom brace bracket on this one... picture below, I'll have to replace that with a better standoff. Right now its just a piece of that Dacron rope folded over 4 thick, then wrapped in tape and taped to the bracket.

Image

The tower also gives a good view of the wildlife. The poles on the right are 2x4 posts holding the ends of the 80m 4-square radials.

Image

5/29 Had to swap the SO2R HF-2500 amp with the spare, it blew the HV fuse, which I replaced and then it was working ok... but it started making a random popping noise while on RX.

5/31 Weekend was too busy and windy to do anything, but this is what it looks like from the ground with the antenna on the new ring and the old one still under it.

Image

6/2 Well, the tornadoes missed here, but we did get golf ball size hail and a bit of wind. But lightning took out the primary line fuses on the road, killed the control board on the generator transfer switch (after it got transferred and started), and blew the internal 2a fuse on the QS1R... will have to turn everything else on shortly to see if there is any other damage. Power was off for about 12 hours here.

6/4 George came up and we got the motor in place on the new ring and got it turning. There are a few little things to sort out and maybe adjust but its working now anyway. Its hard to get pictures of it while up there since it is bigger and there is no good place to get an over all view.

Pablo as few have seen him:

Image

The indicator pot is in the white housing on top of the gold plate. The shaft and gear below it are connected via the belt to a small gear under the main drive gear which is behind that galvanized piece. I added the piece of aluminum wire just in case I dropped the belt, and the tape below the pot gear so it couldn't slide off the shaft. I left that in place just in case the plate loosens up before I figure out how to do it right. The instructions say to clamp that gold plate under one of the motor mounting bolts, but when I tried that the belt was too short, so I bolted it to the plate that was meant for the strain relief for the pot cable on the left side of the bolt.

Image

This is one of three hold down rollers. This one is the one under the antenna. It doesn't seem to be in far enough.

Image

6/10 N2KW was here so I went up and we took down the remains of the TIC ring from 180'... Film at 11.



6/12 A perfectly dreary day in Peru. Took apart the HF-2500 that had been making popping noises and found this under the RF deck...

Image

The popping noise was probably arcing across the equalizing resistors when the voltage got high enough. It looks like it actually blew the end of 4 of them off the board.

Image

6/18 Put away tools for now, cleaned up the shed, put old TIC ring back together for sale. Started cleaning up and moving stuff to garage for town-wide tag sale next Saturday.

6/20 New capacitors showed up from Digikey. Took out the one bad one and put in a new one. Then started looking at it some more and started wondering about the domed tops on the other 7 caps... the new one had a nice flat top. I cut an X in one of them and it looked ok underneath, but then started pressing and feeling the others and got some fluid from one of them so I cut that top also and it had leaked. So I pulled off the other 7 and will replace those also. Now that the board only has one cap its easier to see the internal damage.

Here is an X-Ray(well, kinda) of the bad part of the board:

Image

And in normal light:

Image

6/22 Now I know how a dentist feels when drilling out a cavity. I used the high speed cutter and burr to remove all the carbonized stuff I could see, hoping to prevent any future arcing through the damaged board.

Image

6/23 Stuffed the board and bridged the gaps with solid copper. Boy its nice to work on a board where you don't need a magnifier and can use the Weller gun without fear of vaporizing a track.

Image

Image

I temporarily hooked it back up, lifted the tube cap connections, and applied power. It came right up to voltage and self discharged properly. Now I have to think about what to do with the partially melted low band inductor form... do I just leave it in place, or rework it into a mono-band amp, or try to maybe make it 40m-10m and see if that keeps it from melting completely.

6/24 While waiting for the hoards of eager shoppers from the town-wide tag sale to take away all my junk I fixed the webcam pages for cameras 1-3 and the outside one to work with Firefox and IE9. They are just a bit pickier on their Java Script.

Just to make sure the motors were ok I froze the newer motors from the 180' TIC ring. I may put one of them up on the 150' ring since it had trouble when it got cold last winter.

6/26 Took the low band coil out of the HF-2500 with the repaired power supply. It was pretty well melted. Took off the 80m and 160m coils, replaced the end piece that was about half gone with one from the spares box, and put it back in. Now that amp is good for 40m through 10m... but should be ok on 40m RTTY now that it won't have the shorted coils.

The 419b filter on the left SO2R radio is not passing 10m very well, looks like about 20db down. Its also not very good on 20m.

7/2 Determined that several of the silver mica capacitors in the 419b have shifted value so the 10m and 20m filters weren't working properly. There is also an intermittent bad relay contact on 80m. Capacitors are on order to fix the bad bands.

7/9 Replaced the capacitors in the 419b filter and now its working fine again.

8/7 Mostly been working out in the yard and on the house. I did make up a power line filter for the K0XG ring rotor, haven't had time to install it yet. Its just a simple low pass filter enclosed in an exterior electrical box. I'll also take up a couple more cores and wind some of the extra cable through them as a common mode choke.

Image

We have had some nice rainbow weather recently also.

Image

If you like rainbows here are some more. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

8/12 First part of heavy construction here got done today. The removal of the rock wall from the field between the 40m and 15m towers should make mowing lots easier. He also removed other rock piles and some stumps. Had to remove the N-S Beverage wires for access.

Image

8/19 Conduit for phone line buried today, and rock wall area graded... got everything seeded then we had big thunderstorm that washed it all away. Reconnected the N-S Beverage.

8/27 Batten down the hatches for Irene... guess its about time to finish cleaning up the down trees from the ice storm almost 3 years ago.

8/28 Noon and the rain started to let up after 4.5" since 8pm. For the first time in 27 years my pond is over its outlet culvert. Pics of the pond below:

Image

Image

8/29 Nice breezy autumn morning. Took Pablo for his first tour of the Beverages. Had to cut off branches or whole trees from all 3 of them and one of the radials on the 80m 4-square. The phone wire trench needed some more fill in a couple spots that must not have been compacted enough.

9/3 Bottom 40m beam wouldn't turn past North to the East. Went up and found one of the hold down rollers had come off and wedged in the outside of the ring and would jam when it got to the motor.

9/10 Finished mowing the brush around the 80m 4-square, broke the DR Mower deck swivel again.

9/11 Ah, the things you see when you don't have a camera... the stream finally went down enough to get to the far end of the NE/SW Beverage. Several of the beaver dams have washed out so the water level was down quite a bit, but still had to walk across a couple downed trees to reach some of the branches on the wires to cut them and get across. There was one big broken up tree down near the end, fortunately the wires were under just the ends of the bigger pieces so I was able to easily get them out from under one part, but they refused to budge from another one. After digging out the end of the log it looked like the wires were grown right into the middle of it. This would have been impossible since they hadn't been there that long and the point where they were would have been about 20' up in the air. What must have happened was that as the piece broke off and came down it had a crack that caught both wires then closed up and stabbed them into the ground under it. I was just about ready to walk back and get the chain saw but was able to roll it enough using a couple branches to cut away a partially rotted side of it with the pole saw and then break them out of it.

9/16 Replacement part for DR Mower arrived, back to work mowing now. Verizon tech showed up to pull cables underground, except he didn't know he needed cable and a helper to pull, so he'll be back Monday. Plumber came and replaced the toilet in the downstairs bathroom.

9/17 Started pulling the stumps of the trees that fell over by the pond in the ice storm almost 3 years ago.

9/18 Finished pulling the stumps. Put a new vertical behind the garage for the QS1R/Skimmer.

9/19 Different Verizon tech here today, still no cable and no helper so rescheduled for tomorrow.

9/20 Third try is the charm... Verizon got two techs AND a roll of 6 pair underground cable here to replace the 2 overhead lines! Replaced the worn out chair mats in the shack.

9/23 80m section of Beverage switch box has a bad relay or two. Switched 80m over to the 160m section for this weekend. 10m antenna selector is acting flakey, release circuit seems to not work all the time.

9/24 10m amp would not go into operate in the morning, swapped in spare amp. In the evening the 15m amp smoked, swapped it with 160m amp. Cut some brush in the RX 4-Square area.

9/25 15m smoked amp still turns on, but crackles and transformer smokes... anyone need a big stinking door stop? 10m amp that wouldn't go into operate has an intermittent switch. Stood up the other 3 verticals in the RX 4-Square... Spacing is 40' on a side, write that down somewhere for the records!

9/29 Fixed 80m Beverage switch by swapping the relay with a bad section with the relay that is only half used.

9/30 Ordered a 7806 regulator and a spare for repairing one of the Yaesu rotor controlers and some spare relays for the Beverage switch box. Cleared out a few trees and cut up some downed stuff around the RX 4-Square area.

10/1 Another perfectly dreary day in the Berkshires, rain started last night and still going. Almost 3" so far from this storm. But a good day to fix inside stuff, repaired the 10m antenna switch controller. There were 2 pins from the main board to the switch board that carried the 12v to the power switch, they were never soldered properly. I removed the solder and tried to clean them but they refused to take solder. As a fix I just ran a jumper between the boards for the power. Now it switches reliably again.

10/5 New carpet upstairs... Looks kind of empty though.

Image

10/7 I love it when a plan comes together... Over a month ago I arranged for new carpet installation and ordered some furniture from LLBean. Then I told the neighbor across the street he could have the old couches if he wanted them, which he did to put in his basement for visiting grandkids rec-room. Last week the carpet installer called and arrange for installation Wednesday this week. So I told the neighbor the furniture had to be out by Tuesday, so he said he would be over Sunday. I then got an email notice that the furniture had been shipped, but they couldn't say when it would show up as that was up to the trucker. The neighbor kept putting off moving stuff till Tuesday night when his helper had to back out so it was just the two of us using his tractor bucket to get the stuff down from the deck... Not a good thing, he dropped the sleeper couch, but didn't really damage it much, so we carried the long one down the steps. Then he asked if he could get a piece of the old carpet for the basement also... Well, Wednesday the installer shows up and is happy he doesn't have to move the couches so is fine with cutting him out a piece as that is less trash for him to dispose of anyway. After they rip out the old stuff I tried to patch a few squeeky spots in the floor, there is no plywood on that floor, it is tongue and groove on the wide spaced beams. I glued a couple spots with construction adhesive squeezed into small holes drilled in the joints, and added a bunch of short deck screws as wedges in the joints. They finished up installation about 2pm. About noon I got a call from the truck dispatcher who said they could deliver between 10am-2pm Thursday... Thursday about 11am the driver himself called and said the dispatcher didn't know what he was doing and it would definitely be after 2pm. I had another neighbor waiting to help since the truck was going to be a full size tractor trailer, which just doesn't work on my road. So I borrowed the neighbor's(the one who got the sofas) old pickup bed trailer, and a ball that wasn't the right size from the other neighbor, and hitched it up to the JD mower and had that waiting to drag the stuff up the road from the corner where there is room to turn the truck around and unload. 4:30pm the driver finally calls and says he is leaving Pittsfield and will meet us in about 20 minutes. Right on time the neighbor(the one with the hitch ball) and I meet him at the end of the road and we unload all 7 boxes into the trailer. The neighbor and his wife walk up the road next to the trailer to make sure nothing falls off and then helped unload and get the stuff upstairs and into the house. The sofa neighbor comes over and helps a bit, then loads the carpet onto the trailer which I drag across the road and unhitch for him. Then the other neighbor helps attach legs and arrange the furniture... So a bit after 6pm we are done and break down the cardboard for going to the recycle bin at the dump Saturday... Just in time for contests the next 2 weekends and a visit from the local IEEE section members who wanted to come see the solar array after I gave them a presentation on the construction back in the spring.

Image

Pablo isn't sure about these changes yet.

Image

10/9 Beverages aren't working right so take a walk around them. The N/S one had one wire on the reflection transformer pulled off. The NW/SE one had the ground on the reflection transformer off. Cleaned up the RX 4-Square area some more.

10/10 Hooked up the RX 4-Square. Had to replace another F connector on the box end of the cable and had to check the splices in the power cable.

10/16 Wind is getting cold, and there is snow in the forecast... well, not for here, but at least in the lower 48. So must be time to really check out the Beverages. They were working a bit better after a quick check of the connections a couple weeks ago, but when I put the TDR on them they still aren't right.

The NE/SW one first: Had bad solder connection on one wire going to the reflection transformer, so I replaced both jumpers. Also replaced the reflection transformer with the spare, just in case... and it did test bad back at the shack... one of the connections from the transformer to the board had lifted off. Repaired and retested the reflection transformer.

Next the NW/SE one: Looked bad at the box when pinging the NW input. Box rattles when taken off the post, this can't be good! Replaced box with spare. Now it looks better, but something wrong at far end. Hmm, the reflection transformer case is blown out at the top and bottom, and it rattles also. Must have been direct hit or side flash to this Beverage.

Outside of NW/SE Beverage Box: Image

Inside of NW/SE Beverage Box, note the lifted traces and the capacitor in the background: Image

The reflection transformer, note the top and bottom are bent outwards: Image

Finally the N/S one: This one also looked bad at the box on one input. It didn't rattle, but had some burned off wires on the S direction transformer. On the plus side, the reflection transformer seems intact.

Ordered 2 replacements from DX Engineering and queried about replacement transformer availability.

10/18 Replaced the 30' jumper from the hardline to the relay box on the 40m tower. The hardline connector was pretty corroded between the shell and aluminum jacket, and the pin had pulled back about 1/4". Also swapped relays in the box for the top Yagi as that one seemed to have a slightly burned contact. After replacement the tuning changed a bit, and some cracklies I was hearing on 6m when transmitting on 40m seem to be gone. In a short test I could not get the RX sensitivity drop that I had been seeing Sunday when testing it.

10/19 New Beverage boxes in, installed N/S one. Below is a set of new TDR traces. The top trace is the conventional TDR image of the selected direction. The bottom trace is the return signal on the opposite direction, this should show that the reflection transformer is doing something. Sweep speed is .5usec/div.

A timeline of what you see on the top trace from left to right... The initial step is the start of the pulse. The little smudged part about .1usec long is the 50 ohm jumper from the TDR to the 75 ohm feedline out to the box, plus a little ringing. The first flat part is the 75 ohm line to the box. Then there is a spike probably from the L/C components in the box used to separate control voltage from the RF. Then the long slightly wavy part about 2usec is the wires going through the woods, it slopes down because of the loss into the ground and weak radiation. The discontinuity near the middle is the reflection transformer and should line up with the return signal on the bottom trace.

There is a slight difference in the first 3 vs the last 3 because N/NE/SE are all the 'forward' direction where the difference signal is generated by the reflection transformer, and the S/SW/NW are the 'backward' direction where the signal is coming in phase down the length of the pair of wires.

North

Image

NorthEast

Image

SouthEast

Image

South

Image

SouthWest

Image

NorthWest

Image

10/21 Did a bit of clean up and taped some of the feedline runs that were looking ugly. Fixed broken cable support wire where 40m 4-square and RX 4-square feedlines split.

10/22 Berkshire Section IEEE Power Society visited BIG, the PV array, and the station for a lunch meeting. It was mostly centered on the PV array installation and operation.

Image

Image

10/23 Cut brush around North-West guy of the 20m tower. Hooked up a pre-amp for the RX 4-square. Snow in the forecast this week for here, so cleaned up the garage, moved the brush mower and trimmer to the shed, swapped the mower deck for the snow blower on the JD, and put the shovel back by the front door.

10/28 6" of snow last night. 160m UPS dead. 180' 10m hardline connector appears to be open again up on the tower. 150' 20m rotor was frozen for a while until the ice from the wet snow melted a bit this morning. Walked the Beverages, only a few small branches down.

10/29 Cleaned up feed points and radials of 160m Inverted-L's because there was lots of arcing noise from it last night. Had to replace 160m UPS again, guess the spare one wasn't all that good either. Top 20m rotor freezing up again when temperature drops, must be water in the motor. Made new rake for cleaning the solar array.

The old handle on the right, the new broom on the left. The handle and braces are from a roof rake.

Image

Detail of the broom head. Braces are attached to broom with just short drywall screws.

Image

The handle is attached using a 1/4"-20 bolt, the one needed is a bit longer than the one that came with the handle because the broom head is thicker than the rake head.

Image

Stowing the broom under the array. It also fits in the end of the pipe but sticks out farther due to the braces.

Image

10/30 20-24" of snow last night measured by the big dog estimation method.

Nice and warm while the snow falls.

Image

After the first round of snow blowing.

Image

The snow must have been afraid of the new rake so it cleared itself off the array this time.

Image

The big dog snow depth estimation method at work.

Image

You could also use the BBQ to measure the snow. Its a good thing I decided to cook all the sausage for lunch yesterday.

Image

11/2 Nice evening for a climb, about 50f and 3-4mph breeze up on tower. Went up 180' and removed the 10m hardline connector after confirming the center conductor had pulled back. Cut off N connector on RG-213 and just spliced them together. Also checked 160m Inverted-V connector, it was one of my plumbing fitting connectors but suffered almost the same problem. On that the center pin of the barrel connector had pulled back and was just barely making contact. I was able to jam it farther down in and tighten back up so it should be ok for this winter.

11/21 Replace batteries in 2 APC UPS's, one replaced a failed one from 15m, the other is now a fresh spare.

Pablo's best one day shoe collection yet:

Image

11/23 Ice!

8am Pictures

150' 20m stack

Image

Image

70' 40m Yagi

Image

180' 40m Yagi

Image

180' 40m Yagi feedpoint

Image

180' 40m Yagi boom bracket and RG-213 jumper for reference.

Image

While waiting for the ice to melt (it never did) I did some adjustments to the HF-2500 that was repaired back in June. The 40m tuning was not quite right on it, the tune capacitor was always at the minimum so there was no real peak/dip. I first took out one turn from the inductor. That helped, but it moved the best spot more on the load capacitor than it did on the tune one, but at least the tune capacitor had a real peak/dip point. Next I disconnected the extra section of the tune capacitor that gets added in on 40m. This moved the tune peak up near the middle of the range, but I'll have to wait till the ice melts to get a better feeling of the tuning range.

11/24 Ice still mostly hanging on. Wind didn't get too bad, maybe 15-20mph. Chunks of ice that came off confirmed about 1/2" thick coating with icicles on top antennas. More pictures around sunrise:

70' 40m in sun

Image

trees backlit

Image

150' 20m and wires

Image

More if you like ice:
If finally warmed up late in the afternoon and stayed above freezing over night so by Friday morning all the ice was gone and everything looked ok.

11/25 Walked the Beverages, only some small branches down around them.

11/30 Deer knocked down part of NE/SW Beverage when Pablo stampeded them when we went for our evening walk. A branch was down on the near end of the NW/SE Beverage. Both were fixed with the insulators found on the ground.

12/3 Nice morning for climbing towers... 27f and no wind at 8am, so went up 150' tower. Top ring motor is frozen, confirmed that the output gear didn't even try to move. Replaced it with a newer motor and it turns fine. Taped up some loose cables and adjusted the 120' 20m boom brace on the way down.

Water that came out of the first gear box. I had already removed the plug on the second gear box and didn't see any water in it, that one is pretty well packed with grease. But the first reduction box wasn't packed with grease.

Image

Peeling the motor. It had something like Gorilla tape on the outside, then foil tape, then electrical tape holding the filter board in place and wrapping it.

Image

The filter board.

Image

I couldn't get the back end screws out of the motor. I did take out the brushes and it looked nice and clean inside. I also did a freeze test on just the motor and it spun up just fine after several hours in the freezer.

12/9 Found more damage inside Beverage relay box. At least 2 relays are shorted and another one isn't switching. Would give weird effect of paralleling multiple Beverages depending on combinations of station selections. Ordered parts to build new relay system, going to try three Ameritron RCS-10 boxes, one for each band. This will also give 2 more positions since they are 8 input boxes, I'll just have to change the coding on the 3 wires to do the full 3 bit count.

12/13 Received the 3 RCS-10 switches from HRO. Modified the 3 Beverage controllers to send the full 0-7 binary code to enable all 8 ports on the switches. Hooked up one of them with the Beverages and RX 4-Square to try the isolation and switching from the SO2R position. Seems to be fine, may need aluminum foil on the plastic cover, but isn't bad at all on a quiet night.

Building new 8x3 RX Antenna switch from off the shelf components.

This is a single RCS-10 switch hooked up to the already modified Beverage controller.

Image

I thought I had enough jumpers and adapters to hook all 3 of them up, but the input connectors are too close together so the T's and cables wouldn't fit. So I had to rethink and order up a few more adapters and cables. Here are 2 of them amost hooked up. The 3 boxes wrapped in heavy duty foil on top of the MT-3000 are the RCS-10 boxes. The Beverages and RX 4-Square come in to the jumble of connectors hanging down in front and are split 3 ways. The preamps for the 4-Square and Beverages are stuck between the tuners and amp.

Image

12/16 Got more cables in and finished the basic hookup.

The 3 RCS-10 switches are mounted on a piece of 1x3 that has 5/16" bolts through it. The cables still need to be dressed up a bit. The left preamp is for the RX 4-Square. The right one is for 160m or the SO2R position. The bandpass filters are in the boxes on top of the switches, the 40m one is bypassed through the preamp now because the station is in SO2R configuration for the Stew Perry 160m contest.

Image

12/18 Finished zipping up and renaming lots of old contest data. Combined contest data with dx spot databases and book stuff into new download data site. Looking to set up mirrors on fatter pipes as even just the first announcement clogged the dsl line.

12/22 Finished dressing up cables for new RX antenna switches. Added RigRunner to power pre-amps.

12/23 Got first two mirrors up for the download site.

http://dxc.wc2l.com/k1ttt/

http://www.wc4j.net

anonymous ftp ftp://wc4j.net

12/27 New dining room table is here... chairs are still being finished so won't be here for another week or two.

12/28 Replaced GFI breaker that was shutting off the kitchen lights when the low 80m dipole was used. Also replaced some other odd breakers with regular QO single pole breakers.

Top