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David Robbins, K1TTT



2019 Maintenance and Upgrade Blog

Schematics Index

1/2 Walked the Beverages today after the big New Year's Day wind storm... no problems!

1/20 Swapped the FT-2000d on the SO2R station for the plain FT-2000 on 20m so that both radios are the same on the SO2R station. Also the non-d version gives better control of low power settings for operators who want to do QRP.

2/4 Realigned the 30' 10m ring rotor. Adjusted the ring tightness a bit and moved the pot gear up a bit on the shaft to give it better engagement.

2/24 ICE! Barely had time to melt off before the sun went down after the temperature held at 32f +/- 0.5f for most of the day, then spiked up to 36f for a half hour before the wind started!

2/25 WIND! Had gust hit 60mph measured on the WX station, which means it was probably more, especially 100-150' up. The rope on the 160m Inverted L's was up against the 180' tower guy wires and wore through the protection I put on it and broke. George Greule came up and helped me untangle it from the 10m tower and tie it down. It only bent the director on the 90' European beam before we got it under control. Fortunately we were able to untangle it from the guy wires so I should be able to fix it and get it back up before ARRL DX SSB next weekend. The bent element won't affect 10m for the next couple years, so that can wait till summer to fix.

After some power spikes the TrippLite 3000va UPS started complaining about it's battery. Had to shutdown everything except the web server and personal laptop to keep it running until replacements show up.

2/26 More wind damage. The driven element on the top 20m Yagi is missing it's last two sections on one side so it is out of the game for now. Also the 60' 20m Yagi on the TIC Ring Rotor is slightly tilted, it shouldn't interfere with rotation.

Just in case there is more wrong with the TrippLite UPS than batteries I ordered 3 new APC 1500va UPS's. I can divide up the loads to use two of them in place of the single 3000va one or replace the 3 smaller ones still running single band stations so I can protect the radios better.

Took a quick walk around to count elements and stuff on the towers. Found the top 20m element parts hanging in a tree near the road about 200' from the tower. There is a broken tree near the 150' tower but it didn't hit anything. I'm sure there are trees and branches down along the Beverages but they can wait until its easier walking out there.

Shuffled power around to energize all the bands one at a time. Found high SWR on the 80m 4-Square. That was two hikes, one to find a broken feed point and another to fix it. Note to self, those cute little butane torches are worthless outside in the wind for soldering at 15f. Connection is crimped, hopefully it will last till I get down there with a real torch.

2/27 Busy morning today. George Greule came up and helped to splice the support rope for the two 160m Inverted-L antennas then pull them back up. The pictures show the rope protector after I finished taping it up in the shack, and George Greule holding one end of it while I was tying knots and taping it to the rope. The protector is a piece of 3/4" PVC conduit covered with a layer of Gorilla Tape, 2 layers of cheap electrical tape, and one layer of good Scotch Super 33+ tape. I also wrapped tape around the ends of the conduit to prevent chafing of the ropes. I cut off the rope that was inside the old protector and tied 3 new ropes through the new protector with multiple half hitches on each end then use the good tape to cover over the knots.



We also temporarily fixed a broken support wire on the cable run from the 10m tower going to the 40m 4-Square. Then I went up to the 60' 20m TIC Ring Rotor and put the Yagi back horizontal again.

I knew I was saving all those pieces of the broken Yagis from the last big ice storm. I found enough of the right pieces to put together a whole half of a 20m4dx driven element. I spent an hour or so taking them apart from center insulators and other pieces then cleaning them up from the damage the old bolts always do to the ends. So now they fit together easy enough to assemble up the tower. I have 2 options, if I can remove the broken piece from the end of the first section i'll just put in the end section and not have to disassemble the feedpoint. Otherwise I'll have to take the end tube off the insulator and put on a new piece for that plus the end pieces.

About 1:30pm the UPS and battery delivery from Staples arrived. By 2pm I had replaced the batteries in the big UPS and was bringing the rest of the normally running stuff back online. The server, 2 skimmers, 2 remote stations, no problems besides having to restart a couple things manually that didn't like cold starting for some reason. Then I went to recover the outside webcam. It had reset itself to factory settings which meant having to run an ethernet cable out the window, taking off the dome, putting it back on wireless so I could close the window, and then reprogramming it from scratch because it said the last backup configuration file was bad! Done by 4:30pm.

2/28 So the big UPS seems to be happy with it's new batteries, so now I have 3 new 1500va UPS boxes to unpack and install. These are replacing the last 3 small UPSs that couldn't handle the radios. So now 20m, 160m, and 80m all have their radios protected which means that all the radios in the shack are now on UPSs. This allows me to remove the 3 old UPSs and 3 old dusty power strips that have been screwed down to the backs of the tables behind the radios for years. This is what got removed:


3/3 Finally got to walk all the way around the Beverages. Amazing there were only 2 insulators missing on the NW/SE line because of one big branch that was easily removed. But there is a tree down across the very end of the N/S line that will need a chainsaw visit. That one broke one of the wire jumpers to the reflection transformer that I could fix right there so there is no real rush to cut the tree apart.

3/9 Saw the first sure sign of spring in the hills... a hubcap sticking out of the snowbank along the road! Its a nice day and I was thinking of fixing the 150' 20m Yagi driven element, but then thought about it some more and decided that I'll wait a bit more and get more than just George here to turn stuff. I'll take a rope up and have people on the ground handle the weight while I twist and turn it to reach the broken end.

So, with the Yagi decision made I decided to take the chainsaw for a walk down the N/S Beverage trail and clean up some stuff. I cut up the tree that fell on the end of the Beverage and another one next to it that was mostly dead. Then cleaned up some around the 80m 4-Square on my way back. There is a badly leaning birch that I'll need a rope and come-a-long to drop safely and probably a few more that should come down on the upwind side.

3/12 Reconfigured the SO2R computer USB ports to get rid of hanging unpowered hubs, replaced them with a 10 port powered hub. Of course the Prolific USB-Com cables needed to be reconfigured as they forgot their port numbers. Had to reset the other Com ports as the Prolific ones messed up the others. Also had to reconfigure audio because of the USB sound card. Don't you just love Windoze?!?!?!

3/14 Reconfigured the GreenHeron server computer and touchscreen USB ports to get rid of the hanging unpowered hub, replaced it with a 10 port powered hub. This one was totally painless, came up the first time with no problem... of course all the devices on this one were from GreenHeron.

3/25 Still some snow on the ground, but good strong sun today. Took the scraps of guy wire someone had given me years ago and spliced them together to make a new messenger cable for the cable run from the 10m tower to the 40m 4-Square. Got it up on the supports today, will start re-taping the feedlines and control cables tomorrow probably.

4/3 Started cutting down dozens of dead pine trees north of the 150' tower. One broke off in one of the big winds and fell out of the woods toward the tower so figured it was time for more of them to go. They could also fall across the NNW Beverage and the xc ski trail.

4/7 Pulled apart the VHF station, cut off the bottom of the whiteboard, mounted a shelf under it, then cleaned up the cables and simplified the station a bit. This is what it looks like now.


4/23 It stopped raining!!! Still pretty muddy and wet but not bad enough to stop me from cutting down a bunch of dead or deformed pine trees north of the 150' tower. Only a couple left and one of those will require some rigging to be sure it goes away from the tower.

4/25 I'm going to regret this tomorrow, but it was worth it... Cut down the one big pine that I was kind of worried about north of the 150' tower. I rigged it with a come-a-long and over compensated a bit so missed on dropping it where I wanted it so ended up over the NNW Beverage trail. This meant much more work cutting off branches and slicing up the trunk so I was pretty pooped by the time that was done. There is rain coming and there were only a couple more trees in that area I wanted to get down so went back out after lunch and finished them off, including one that went the other way and had to be cut apart and thrown back into the brush pile.

4/29 I realized the TS-2000 on the VHF station wasn't hearing very well so packed it up and shipped it off to Kenwood repair facility to get fixed up. Guess they closed the east coast one, the only authorized site they have is in California now.

4/30 Replaced the two new UPS's that APC sent replacements for under warranty because they had failed to turn on a couple times.

5/13 Bought another FT-2000 and ACOM-2000A from an estate sale. Installed both on 160m. I am testing out new software that links the GreenHeron server to the ACOM-2000A to select antenna specific tuning settings on the ACOM. It seems to be working reasonably well so far. I do seem to be having problems with the Prolific USB-Serial cables I am using between the computer and amps though, have smoked 3 of them recently and I'm not sure why.

5/14 Middle of May, fresh snow on the ground, more rain/snow on the way... good day to do laundry and rotate the amps. Took Commander #720 off 160m yesterday to install the ACOM so put it on 15m today and put #435 into spares storage and listed it for sale. Brought #765 out of spares and put it on 20m in place of #427 that is also listed for sale. Noticed another distinguishing feature between older and newer Commander amps... the older ones have square holes in the case for air flow, the newer ones have round holes.

5/22 Well, it wasn't the best day for tower work, wind was a bit gustier than I like for handling antennas up a tower, but we got it down. With the help of George, Lenny KB1W, and Mark WY1G we got the top 20m Yagi repaired from the ice damage months ago. Weather up to now has been either cold and snowy, we had snow only a week ago that stuck on the ground, really windy, or rainy. Today, until I got back on the ground and the wind quit, it was 5-10mph with gusts to 15-20mph. Despite the wind I took up a lifting line, pulled up tools and parts and a tag line and got to work. I removed the first director as it was going to be in the way no matter what I did. Then unhooked the boom truss ropes after tying a small line between them so they couldn't get lost. I tied the lifting rope to the boom just about where the first director was and took out the inside bolts on the TIC Ring boom cradle. I had to loosen the outer bolts to get enough clearance and then popped the boom out of the cradle. After dropping an inverted V that was in the way and turning the VHF antennas a bit I was able to work the broken element end close enough to the tower to work on it. The broken stub pulled out easily with special tool number 1:


Then the replacement element section went right in and everything was returned to normal.


5/24 Ooops, bottom 15m TIC rotor won't turn CCW past about 127 degrees. Unsticking it was easy, a piece of rope I had used to pad the boom in the cradle had come loose because the electrical tape broke and was jammed in the drive gear. But now it's also about 45 degrees misaligned. That will take a little longer to fix so I just recalibrated the GreenHeron rotor controller, now it displays right but won't turn CCW past about 225 degrees.

5/31 Realigned bottom 15m TIC rotor and controller.

6/1 Boy, two nice days in a row, that has been pretty rare this spring. Got George and Tom W1TO here to watch me climb the 10m tower to fix the bent element. This one was bent when the 160m Inverted-L rope broke in the big wind storm. The rope got against the end of the element and just bent it a bit. It doesn't really affect performance of the stack, especially at this point in the sunspot cycle for an antenna aimed at Europe, but I'm afraid it wouldn't last through another ice storm after being stressed like that. So this is the problem:


I found this nest on top of the ring rotor motor on the way up. Fortunately mama isn't being protective of it right now.


So I untaped the spare coax to get some room to maneuver, then took off the boom to mast bolts. I left the boom brace ropes connected and used them to hold the weight of the antenna. I tipped it up, twisted it around, and tied it off so I could reach the end of that element. I took off the tip tube which is just held with a hose clamp, took the end cap off and pulled out the anti-vibration rope, put the rope in the other end and put the cap back on, then put the other end of the tubing into the swaged joint. This puts the short bent end at the tip like this:


You can't really see the bent part from the ground now unless you look very closely, and this restores the joint to full strength without having to buy, measure, and cut another piece of tubing!

6/11 Well, it's the end of an era here... I sold off the last 3 of the FT-1000mp's and purchased 2 more FT-2000's to finish the conversion of all the HF radios. Just waiting on some thin coax to do the SDR mods on the new radios then they'll be installed on the 10m and 15m stations.

I also pulled the 2m PacketCluster radio out of the cabinet, I'm not sure the antenna is working now and I haven't seen an RF user since K1BW's dumb terminal died... So now I guess I am officially off RF Packet for the first time since just after it started up.

I have had one of the new 16 bit Red Pitayas hooked up but only running a few bands because it was having trouble dropping data if I pushed it to its limit. I bought 2 new 5 port gigabit ethernet switches from NetGear and today I pulled both computers and all the wiring out of the top of the rack. I found a half dozen unused cables and some other stuff back there and cleaned that all out. While I was at it I vacuumed out both computers. Then I put in a new power strip just for the skimmer stuff, added the 2 switches, and hooked back up the computers and Red Pitayas. It all works nice and smoothly now without disrupting other network stuff. Now the new one is running 8 bands at 192khz and looking good.

6/14 Got thin coax in late yesterday so today I modified both of the new FT-2000's with my SDR mod. Installed one of them on 15m and the other on 10m.

Found the 15m AlphaDelta Delta-2 switch was intermittent in the local position, it seems solid in the SO2R position. Pulled it out for repair and put older manual switch in it's place for now.

6/18 Cleaned the contacts in the 15m AlphaDelta Delta-2 switch and made sure the tension was right. Put it back in line.

7/8 Cleaned out the rotted wire reel and other junk from under the pipe rack then vacuumed out the dead leafs and other matter from on top of the landscape fabric using the DR Leaf and Lawn Vacuum.

7/9 Climbed up to the 2m Packet antenna on the 180' tower. Adjusted the top support arm to straighten it out. The paint on the fiberglass is giving up so it probably won't survive too much longer but for now it is working fine. Did some inspection and retaping of stuff on the way down.

7/24 While working some European DX on 6m FT8 the TS-2000 on the VHF station started shutting off when going into transmit. It only did it above about 70w, below that it seemed to function normally. It keyed up ok with full power on both 2m and 70cm, but failed at about the same power on HF bands into a dummy load. I monitored the power supply voltage and it seemed to be adequately regulated. I replaced the radio with the spare one that had just come back from being serviced and it did the same thing. I made an extension cord and plugged the radio into the 12v in the server rack and it worked properly at full power on 6m. Looks like something is wrong with the Astron RS-20A.

8/3 HF-2500 s/n 765 has been doing weird things. It would work ok, then it would stop keying, then if I swapped cables it would work for a while then quit. Before last weekend's operation it would key by itself and flicker the TX light. I pulled it out and put a spare in it's place on 20m. Found the 12v regulator on the control and bias board wasn't regulating, it was measuring like 11.5v. It still seemed to work but I replaced it today anyway and put it back on 20m to test.

8/4 Tested the Astron RS-20A. It was going out of regulation at about 70w from the TS-2000, the voltage would suddenly drop from 13.7 to about 9.7 but the radio would keep going most of the time. There was no excess ripple on the output and the internal 24v was still high enough to support regulation. But the two pass transistors were not taking equal load, one was much hotter than the other. Replaced both pass transistors and it now only drops from 13.7v to 13.68v at a full 100w from the radio... I think that is adequate regulation.

9/3 Finally collected all the pieces and made the first experimental flights to see how well drones might measure in situ antenna patterns. To do this I am feeding a wire antenna with an Elecraft XG3 RF source that is putting out a 0dbm signal on 10m. The drone is a DJI Mavic Pro that I bought used. I had to buy a new IPad as my old one wouldn't load any of the software for the Mavic Pro, it is now running Litchi which allows pre-planning waypoints to fly via GPS or other pre-planned missions. I had made a couple quick test flights to make sure the antenna and XG3 didn't bother the DJI's navigation or flying capabilities, which seemed to work properly. I then made a small addition to my FT-2000 remote user app so it could record the S-Meter and time tag the data. So today I made two different flights, one just to see how the data would match up, and another to test 3 different methods of flying the circles around the antenna. I picked the 180' high 10m Yagi because that is out of the way of everything else and would keep the drone safely above the other towers. I picked a flight altitude of 65m and a 100m radius circle which I drew kind of eyeballing it for the waypoints, but of course the Litchi app drew for the 'Orbit' flight.

First, the hardware... The IPad clamped to the controller showing the Litchi app.


The controller under the IPad.


Left side of the drone showing the route of one antenna wire (red).


Right side with the other antenna wire (black).


Top of drone showing location of XG3 which is held to the battery with 2 velcro strips.


This is the circle I was attempting to fly centered on the 180' tower.


The data comes from my FT-2000 app which saves s-meter readings (0-255 linear scale) and UTC time every second or two or however often I want to make it do a reading. For this case I was using 1 second samples. The flight data comes from the Litchi flight logs on the IPad and are downloaded using the iTunes file sharing capabilities. For now I am manually culling the data I want from those two files and processing it into relatively crude graphs.

First are a couple of data quality graphs. The bottom one shows the bearing of the drone from the center of the flight path(hopefully close to the tower base). The first two loops went counter-clockwise as shown by the sloped lines going from 360 down to 0 and back again. These two loops were flown with Litchi's Orbit capability which is simple to set up, you pick the center, diameter, and height, and away it goes. Then there was a pause as I loaded the 8 waypoint path which was flown with automatically smoothed corners, it was flown clockwise so the bearings go from 0 to 360 sloping up in time. Then another pause and the 16 waypoint path which was flown with straight lines which causes the drone to pause at each point for a couple seconds which you can see from the last stairstep looking bearings. The top graph shows the distance(in degrees) from the center, it should be about .001 and straight across, but obviously there were some repeatable errors as each circle has about the same error pattern, I 'think' this is due to some wind during the flight, but I'll have to repeat the tests on a calmer day to tell for sure.


Then the results which are just the s-meter reading plotted as the distance from the center using the bearing around the middle. The antenna was pointed north which was where all the circles began. I did just a little bit of playing with filtering the s-meter data. The one I went with here is taking the lowest value of 3 consecutive samples. I think that gives better results when the signal is weak off the sides and back.

The first one is the result of 2 Orbits just because I didn't know it wouldn't stop after the first one so I let it go around again before I stopped it manually. You can see from this the data is relatively repeatable.


This one is 8 waypoints with smoothed corners. When doing this the drone starts the turn early and doesn't pause at the waypoints. There is a bit of overlap because I wasn't sure how to get a good closure on the circle as it wouldn't smooth the return to the starting place so I duplicated the next point and made it fly around the 0 degree corner to that one and then back to the start.


The last one was 16 waypoints but using straight lines between them. This results in the drone stopping at each point (where I could have it take a picture or do other stuff), then it turns and flys on to the next point. This results in that stairstep pattern in the bearing data which might be useful to do s-meter averaging or something else to get better results. Unfortunately during this one the XG3 timed out so the last half of the s-meter data was lost. I have since reprogrammed the XG3 for a 20 minute timeout instead of the default 10 minutes which should last about as long as the drone can fly on one battery.


9/17 Did a few more test flights with the XG3 on the drone last week and am not real happy with the data. You can see patterns but they are noisy. As these are done on 10m I would only expect the data to get worse as I go down in frequency where the antenna is relatively smaller and smaller. So last week I ordered up a Raspberry Pi 3B+, an RSP1A SDR, and an Adafruit Ultimate GPS module. I've spent a couple days configuring the Raspberry Pi and figuring out how to write software for collecting data from the RSP1A and GPS. I just got in a battery pack and better case for the Raspberry Pi so am almost ready to fly.

This is the hardware stack just sitting stacked up, nothing is tied down yet and i'm going to need to address a couple cable issues. From the top down is the Adafruit GPS. Right now it is on an outside antenna and is using the GPIO header, I have a USB adapter coming for it that may be better, otherwise I'll have to tie those header wires down somehow. For flight use the GPS has a built-in antenna. Then there is the Raspberry Pi in its new case with a fan and heatsinks. Under that is the 4000mAHr 5v battery pack which is still on the charger. Then on the bottom is the RSP1A which is connected to the XG3 to supply signals for testing the software, for flying it I'll try the same looped dipole as I was using for flying the XG3.


This is what the software looks like running in a VNC window (which I can also access from the IPAD which flies the drone). The black terminal window is running an adaption of cgps which is a demo program supplied with the gpsd program suite which talks to the GPS. It shows the GPS status and down in the bottom right corner shows the signal strength data coming in via UDP from the other window that is a receiver talking to the RSP1A. The receiver is built with the GNU Radio Companion program which lets you graphically build SDR applications. It is basically receiving raw I/Q data from the RSP1A, sending commands to the RSP1A to set frequency and gain, then filtering the stream, doing an FFT, and reporting on the strongest signal it finds in the fairly narrow passband. That may need adjustment later when I try some other bands but for now it seems pretty stable and can capture about a 60db range of data before overloading.


9/20 Got everything packaged up to try flying the SDR receiver and Raspberry Pi on the drone. This is what it looks like sitting on the launchpad. The GPS is mounted on the top of the Raspberry Pi case with 2 screws and standoffs, the battery is under the Raspberry Pi, and the SDRPlay RSP1A is on the bottom with the velcro to hold it to the drone battery. The whole assembly weighs in at about 390gm.


I forgot to point both the 10m and 40m antennas North so I could compare with the other tests, so this is with the 10m antenna pointing East and the 40m antenna pointing NorthEast... I have suspected that the 40m antenna upsets the 10m pattern, we'll see when I do the next flight with both of them pointing north. It was a bit breezier than the other tests so the distance wasn't as consistent also. This is the QC graph showing the distance variation and even some distortion of the bearing rate.


And the pattern results of 2 orbits. In this one the axis are in db but just relative to the minimum reading.


Second flight of the day. This time with both 10m and 40m beams pointing North. The QC graph shows now breezy it was, the drone overshot the starting point and looks like it made a shortcut to catch up but over all wasn't too far off. It did have some stability problems coming down for the landing, it went into a pretty good oscillation as it descended for a while.


And the pattern results of 2 orbits. In this one the axis are in db but just relative to the minimum reading.


9/25 Got in 2 flights this morning before the wind came up. This time I did the two 40m4lldd Yagis. Again I flew a 100m circle around the tower at 65m high and moving about 2deg/sec. Analyzing the data showed a weakness in my data scaling where I was adjusting based on the minimum signal received. That works ok if there are good deep nulls, but when I did the pair of antennas the nulls were much less deep so the pattern looked smaller. So instead of using that I have changed to a constant scale factor (105db for now) that is essentially brings the receiver noise level up to 0db so all readings should be positive values which are easier to plot and interpret. These were done at 7120khz with about 20w to the antennas.

So this is just the top (180' high) 40m4lldd.


And this is the pair of them(180'/70') fed in phase.


Kind of as expected the pair of them has a poorer f/b ratio and the side nulls aren't as deep. This is likely do to the interaction of the lower one with the guy wires and other stuff nearer to the ground. When I get everything recharged and the wind quits I'll try the lower one by itself to see how that looks.

9/27 And this is what the bottom 40m (70') looks like by itself.


10/8 Spent lots of time in the garden this summer, today I pulled out the fence. Only some carrots and horseradish left to harvest. But today George came up to help and we replaced the old RG-11 feedline to the skimmer vertical behind the garage with the flooded RG-6. While we were doing it I left in my long snake from the shack all the way to the garage to hopefully pull in Spectrum's fiber when they start installations. While doing this I also removed 4 or 5 unused cables and reclaimed a handful of adapters from the unused stuff.

10/9 Finally finished cutting the brush in the 40m Vertical RX Array's area... yuck.

10/11 Went back to cutting brush and weeds around 20m and 15m towers.

For the drone Raspberry Pi I wanted a smaller battery and a better way to mount the stuff on the drone. The problems were the clumsiness of the battery mount because of the short cord. It also was kind of annoying because plugging the charger into the battery would turn on the Pi, and the on/off button didn't seem to work as expected. Also the USB cable was interfering with the drone's GPS view of the sky, it was ok once it took off but was slow to get it's first fix on the ground. And I may be trying out a smaller antenna just for receiving since I don't have to worry as much about signal strength doing it this way.

The new battery for the Raspberry Pi is actually a 2500mAH UPS 'hat' that plugs into the GPIO header and then mounts right to the board with standoffs. This is good, except it doesn't quite fit in the case I had bought... so new maker stuff, meet old school maker tools... A little snip snip here and grind grind there and in it goes.


10/12 A bit more grinding and snipping to mount the fan on the side because the battery hat is in the way of the airflow from the top of the case and this is where I am today. Now I need to wire up and trim down the USB connectors to keep them farther out of the way of the drone GPS.


Also did almost annual maintenance tests on the 40m RX Array because K1MK didn't think it was working last night. Did 4 types of tests on it. First I put the XG3 out at the feedline from the array to the shack, that gave good signals in the shack and lets me test the preamp and in-shack switching between radios. Then I took the AA-230 Zoom out and tested from the box input to the whole array, each of the 6 antennas, and the output of each of the combiners (3 verticals each), all combinations looked fine. Then I put the XG3 with a short antenna about a 1/4 wave from one of the pairs to the SW and was able to barely hear it and see the F/B switching which seemed ok. And finally I found some stations on the air and checked the F/B again which seemed ok.

Connected the USB and tried a quick flight test. Total mass now 330gm. GPS on the drone works a little better but still takes a while to get it's first fix on the ground.

10/14 Toured the Beverages, then went back with the chainsaw on the NW trail to take down a live broken tree that was hanging on the wires about half way back.

10/15 Have I mentioned the Glossy Buckthorn before? I had thought all these little weed trees were Choke Cherry, after looking up something else about Choke Cherry I realized most of these things weren't. It took some research through the UMass Extension Service to figure out they were an invasive shrub/tree called Glossy Buckthorn. Most of the little undergrowth in the 40m RX Array I have been cutting down is that stuff. I just cut down the mother of all buckthorns and a bunch of offspring between the 40m 4-Square and the pond... it was also starting to shed branches in the winter causing problems for the 40m radials.

10/17 Windy and raining, power went out 3 times today for short periods. Took time to build new rabbit ears antenna to try on the drone.


10/18 Big Nor'Easter just about done. Took chainsaw for a walk around the Beverages and cleared up some down branches and some future threatening trees. Pond is full again and all the streams are flowing after being very low for over a month.

10/19 Put some more mid-span supports on 80m 4-Square radials that go over the N-S Beverage wires. Retied a couple of other radials.

11/4 Cut a bunch of mostly dead pine trees near the end of the NE guy wire for the 150' tower. One live one was getting big enough I was starting to worry about it and the others had to go to make room to drop it safely away from the tower.

11/13 Worked on the audio on the SO2R station that seemed odd and noisy during CQWW SSB. Tried new USB SoundBlaster which was better but still had background USB noise. Then added another one of the Pyle noise isolation filters between the computer speaker out and the YCCC SO2R box which got rid of the background noise.

11/15 Taped up some spots on the feedline runs that had broken tape or just needed some more... Less than a roll of tape used so it wasn't too bad.

11/22 Cut down the last of the threatening pines north east of the 150' tower.

11/30 Started extending the north bound ski trail toward the property line and cut down some dangerous trees up along the road.

12/5 Argh! K1EP is here for the ARRL 160m contest and wants to use his K3, but forgot a power supply for it. We tried setting it up with my old 20a supply but the voltage sag was way too much. When getting ready to swap it for the 35a supply in the server rack it died. So I made up a 15' or so jumper to run the server rack off the 10a supply that runs the SO2R and other antenna switches and gave him the 35a Astron which sags about .01v at 100w out of the K3.

Meanwhile the ASUS EEEBox running the GreenHeron server crashes hard... determine it is a hard drive failure. Use disk cloning USB drive dock to get some data off it.

12/6 Buy a new desktop box for the GreenHeron server... realize I didn't get all the data I needed off the ASUS disk to have to open it back up and copy off the configuration files. Fortunately it only takes 3 reboots to get the new computer set up and install the hardware drivers and software for the GreenHeron server and clients for the SO2R station.

20a power supply was blowing fuses instantly when turned on, traced to full wave rectifier(which they are only using half of). Replaced out of spare parts and put on VHF station to get it back on the air.

12/8 Go skiing with dogs around Beverage trail, all is well. Start to clean up 160m station wiring rats nest.

12/9 Rainy day, put 35a Astron back in server rack and make new extension cord to power VHF TS-2000 off of it. Continue cleaning up 160m rats nest... got everything pretty well untangled, now have to put radio back in place.


12/15 Found big branch down on NW-SE Beverage lines, needed chainsaw to cut it up.

12/16 Spent some time to track down a couple local network issues. First, found that most recent AnyDesk is set up look for other clients on the LAN and if found it trades icons and desktop images, every 2 minutes or so... the desktop images are big and sent out several times for some reason causing network congestion and some dropped packets so I turned off the options for discovering other clients and trading desktops and user icons. Then I went after the Windows Defender auto updates that of course always want to run as soon as a machine that has been off for a while starts up. I resorted to Safe Mode and renaming the directories for Windows Defender and the Microsoft Security Client under both Program Files and Program Files (x86)... This affected 10m, 15m, 20m, 80m, and 160m stations, the Hub and Upstairs must have come with some other security software which was removed during installation. 40m and the remote antenna control machines are Windows 10 and are set as metered connections which should prevent them from downloading stuff, at least for a while I hope.

12/30 A bit of ice this morning. Storm only about half over. Top of 150' tower.