Success! A message from Keith/KG5HOK
On September 22, 2017, the JSCARC members and the JSC Center Operations Rigging Team, successfully replaced our aging 80′ tower and antennas. Incredibly, within 6 hours, the tower and antennas were disassembled onto the ground, and a refurbished tower with new antennas were installed. This accomplishment is nothing short of a miracle and it’s an example of terrific teamwork (and heavy lifting!)
We collected a ton of photos. Here are just a few…
This is pretty cool how world records can be broken with actually relatively modest equipment and extreme analysis, attention to details and perseverance. This the stuff that invokes the scientist in every one of us. From qrznow.com- “A new 10-GHz Earth-Moon-Earth (EME or moon bounce) world record has been set. On September 9, Rex Moncur, VK7MO, and Jim Malone, WA3LBI, completed a 18,949.4-kilometer contact using QRA64D. This extends by approximately 600 kilometers the previous world record of 18,337 kilometers held by DL7FJ and ZL1GSG, who used CW.
Ian is one of our future superstars. He’s an avid student scientist/engineer and he’s on target to get his Tech license perhaps next month! Many thanks go to Ian and his dad, Chatwin KG5URC, for spending this Saturday at the W5RRR shack to digest the instructions and patiently assemble the Cushcraft D40 40m rotatable dipole kit.
This is what I call ham radio mechanical music.
Listen to the rhythmic sounds of clattering relays as our EOC autotunes (under repair) searches for an impedance match for the load.
I’ve been working on trying to repair the Building 30 Emergency Ops Center external tuner. This is a big deal since our club is chartered to support the center emergency radio capability. Thanks goodness it wasn’t needed during Harvey.
The defective tuner is an MFJ 998RT full KW remote tuner unfortunately with a known speckled reputation of reliability.
Our EOC capability is currently inop due to this broken device, likely hit by lightning.
After valiant clever attempts to fixed the “No Interface PIC” and “Wake up” circuitry and after a replacement of a a PIC controller, the tuner is still not working.
The club has acquired a Cushcraft D40 40m rotatable dipole!
The good news:
- It’s cheap
- It’s lightweight (16lbs)
- It’s received good review from eham users
- It’s going to be delivered to us by tomorrow (Wed) and will be ready for our 9/22 tower raising party
The bad news:
- The mounting design is weak (photos from Nov 2000 QST Hints & Kinks authored by K9CC)
Our W5RRR shack survived another hurricane with flying colors.
Here’s a photo of the outside a few days after the historical flooding of 40″ that hit the Houston area.
Of sort, it’s a miracle that the JSC area, in general, sustained recoverable water damage across the center and the nearby areas.
However, immediately outside the surrounding 1mile perimeter one could see very uneven distribution of housing that sustained minimal to heavy flood damage.
For the W5RRR shack, water penetrated the front and back door seals and sprinkled a very moist layer of water across our aged carpet. Unfortunately, this causes mold spores as well as a rich medium for the colonization of mosquitos by the back wall. Not a new finding since it’s been a problem of the shack and flooding from past experience. Photos show blowers in place to dry out the carpet. Pictured are Keith KG5HOK and Chatwin KG5URC who arrived early to monitor the dry out. Keith has secured an agreement in principle with the Gilruth to replace our treasured carpet with new tiled flooring. Volunteers are sought to re-house the displaced mosquitos. And in our backyard, our TH7DX which was being staged for installation onto of the 80′ tower was smartly anchored down on Tanner’s saw horses prior to the hurricane. Early, we had considered laying the tribander directly on the ground (to mitigate Wizard of Oz wind gust events), but luckily we mounted these above ground. All is good.
The W5RRR IC-781 was taken out of commission during 2017 Field Day because we observed intermittant noise crackling on the receive and transmit signals.
It got on the bench for troubleshooting. Based on online owner’s knowledge sharing, areas of known weakness were:
cracked solder joints at the crystal filter in IF
Phased Lock Loop unlock
IF FET 2SK125s
We’ll I screwed something up. After removing the RF module the whole receiver chain is white noise.
In preparation of the TH7 Yagi, Keith, Jerry, and John put finishing touches on the beam by re-measuring and lightning connections while the beam lay on the saw horses.
A final check with the MFJ259 VSWR bridge showed a poor resonance with at 20m. Even we knew that the resonance with be displaced due to the close grounding effects, the 13 MHz resonance was way out of normal. John quickly checked the traps for continuity and immediately found an open. The team used Jerry’s tailgate to conduct a quick disassembly and inspection. Oddly, the connections looked normal, but one end of the coiled wires had poor connection to the aluminum tube. John flattened the wire, burnished surfaces, applied some Penetrox compound, and nursed it back into it’s protective shell. Upon completion, the resonance was definitely better, but still low. After the storm we’ll inspect the others.
Here’s a series of photos of the team that came out on Saturday.
CLARC (Kelvin, Levi) teamed up with us (Keith, Larry, Jerry, Bob, Tanner and Dave) and together, we worked all morning thru mid afternoon.
The tower sections are pre-assembled and the TH7DX is pre-assembled as well. All major work is ready for the Friday Aug 25 big tower/antenna construction event.