Post Contest Repairs begin

Posted By: W3DIO

I got on for the 2 meter fall sprint and quickly found out that I couldn’t rotate the antennas.  I ended up loosening the rotor bolts and turning the mast to point northeast and working the sprint pointing in that direction the entire time.  I still did pretty good and I ended up working a few more contacts on CW since I had to work some stations off the back and side lobes of the beam.  Today, Dad and I layed the mast back down on the roof and strapped the antennas down.  We unbolted the hinge join and disconnected the steel cable that raises and lowers the mast.  Then we disconnected the bolts that provide support on the house bracket we have mounted to the back of the RV and removed the lower mast.  After we did that we then removed the rotor plate from its bumper mount that we built and then removed the rotor plate from the bottom of the rotor.  We performed several tests but the rotor still would not turn.  We then decided to add a tether line to the antenna mast on the roof to ensure that it didn’t go anywhere while we worked this out over the next few days.   We will need to locate another HAM-M controller we have and test it to ensure that the starter capacitors aren’t shot in our current controller.  Once we rule that out, we will then either open up the rotor and find the source of the problem or test and install one of 3 other HAM-M rotors we have laying around.

On top of this problem, the 6 meter moxon will need to be rebuilt … AGAIN.. The exhaust has some gasket issues, the linkage for putting the car from Drive into second gear is stuck or broke,  and there is some squeeling noise on some belt or wheel that seems to be temperature effected.  That will need to be looked into as well.  But since those repairs will most likely be quite costly, they will have to wait till next year probably.  Oh well..

2009 September VHF Contest

Posted By: K3LFO

Thursday night we decided that we were out of time to get the new 900 Mhz 250 watt amplifier running. The 903 transverter drive level was adjusted on for full power and reinstalled in the rack. The 1296 amplifier was reinstalled. Then everything was tested. The equipment for this contest was as follows:

50 Mhz – TS2000X – TE Systems 400 Watt Amplifier to PAR Moxon Antenna
144 Mhz – TS2000X – TE Systems 400 Watt Amplifier to DS 6 element Rover Antenna
222 Mhz – TS2000X – DEMI 222-28 Transverter to Mirage 110 Watt Amplifier to DS 10el Rover
432 Mhz – TS2000X – TE Systems 184 Watt Amplifier to DS 15 Element Rover Antenna
903 Mhz – TS2000X – DEMI 902-28 Transverter 30Watts to DS 33 Element Loop Yagi
1296 Mhz – TS2000X – DEMI 23120 120 Watt Amplifier to DS 45 Element Loop Yagi
2304 Mhz – TS2000X – SSB Elec RX – TX converters to Spectrum 40 Watt Amp and DS 45 Element
3456 Mhz – TS2000X – DEMI 3456-144 Transverter 1 Watt to DS 76 Element Loop Yagi

WE spent 4 ½ hours Saturday Morning traveling to our starting point on Camelback Mountain in FN21hb. The weather was terrible with pouring down rain most of the way. Once on the mountain we could not enjoy the view for the thick Fog. The propagation was poor but with Camelback overlooking a large number of VHF stations the activity was brisk. WA2FGK was only 29 miles away and drove the S meter up to 60 db over s9 on 3456! Bill K3EGE had warned me that it would be hard to leave that sight but we managed to call it quits after about 3 ½ hours and 111 QSO’s. We took another half hour to eat a bite of lunch (or was it really dinner?), pack up and leave.

Our next stop was an overgrown parking lot in front of an abandoned building along the road in FN11wa. This proved to be a terrible site. No microwave contacts were made and the surrounding terrain prevented us from hearing N3NGE who was close by in FN20!

Next we drove to the west side of Hazleton, PA in FN10xw. This was not a great location either with QRN on 6 meters. Only a couple of microwave contacts were made and it was still raining!

We moved over to the east side of Hazleton in FM20ax. We still did not hear N3NGE. Conditions were the same and activity had wound down due to the late hour.

We drove about 4 hours to arrive at Dave’s QTH in FM19jj around 0300 local to catch some sleep.

The next morning Dave overslept and we decided to stick around for a big breakfast prepared by his XYL. I went out to the Rover and made a few contacts on the Square loops while waiting to eat.

The first stop on Sunday was Sideling Hill in FM09ve. Activity was low plus we were late on our schedule so we only made a few contacts then headed out.

Next we’re off for Hogback overlook in FM08us. Things really picked up here. The tropo was still flat but due to the site altitude we were doing quite well. Unfortunately we had to leave after only 2 hours to make room for another rover. Sunday evenings at Hogback are always awesome!

One more stop to make. We ran up Rt 17 until we were into FM18aw near Delaplane, VA. A quick stop on the side of the road activated grid number 8 with a hand full of contacts.

That’s it for September!

When it rains it poors

Posted By: W3DIO

Well quite literally this evening.  We believe we have isolated the problem with the 1296 amplifier down to a combination of a voltage drop on the power cable going from the 75 amp powerpole distribution block to the 1296 amp and some minor SWR.  We belive the voltage drop plus the swr is causing it to trip the high swr relay.    So we believe we have temporarily alleviated that problem by adding a short piece of coax in line .

Upon testing the 900 mhz amplifier we got a whopping 0 watts out.  Upon further investigation we found a minor mishap in a set of pins being in the wrong spot.  After we fixed that we saw the bias voltage and had a few amps of current draw when the amplifier was keyed.  We thought we had solved the problem.  The end result was only 10 watts out.  Unfortunately we can do atleast 30 out of the transverter by itself.  We played with the drive levels but it didn’t seem to improve.  So we are still looking into what is going on with this project.  Hopefully we will get it figured out before we have to make a final decision on whether it stays or goes on Wednesday.

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