On arriving home from one of our expeditions to Guernsey only to find that the Xyl has painted the shack in a wonderful mint green color, not being one of my favorite color schemes, I decided to repaint it in a much more pleasing and warmer shade of magnolia. or at least that was the plan.
Being ex military I adopted the strategy of if it moves salute it, if not paint it,. sound plan!
I decided to move the heaviest item in the shack, my Acom 2000a amplifier's rf deck. So I disconnect the beast and picked it up to place it in a safe place so as not to cover it in paint. good idea! My chose of of location was the conservatory, so off I go. All was well until I got to the step going into the conservatory, then it happened, I tripped, and away flew the Acom!
It landed on the tiled floor with a loud thud, and I just stood there looking at it., family members run in to see what was the cause of the house shaking noise and then started telling me how stupid I was for not asking for help. Just what I needed to hear at this moment in time .
Time for coffee... �lots and lots of coffee! The next day I contacted the insurance company dreading the hassle and forms, to my shock and surprise it was sorted in about ten minutes! and a week later I took ownership of a brand new Acomm 2000a and was able to keep the old one!
although there is a really good ending to this tale of woe, I was still in the doghouse with the Xyl,this is because the linear broke the floor tile when it dropped, and in the excitement of the positive outcome over the linear, I forgot to ask about the tile. I continue to get grief about it, and in typical style to all OM's , it's on my must do list and hidden under the rug (out of sight out of mind)
let me share some photo's of my.. 5000 pounds worth of "door stop".
When mother nature decides to give you a wake up call and lets you know that she is the one in control, doesn't it make you feel Humble and P**s you off? So much for the weather forecast . Any way after a freak gust of wind, over it went. The video below is my son making an initial assessment and then stating the obvious! As he is the one who climbs the tower, I have to be careful not to upset him too much, at least until the new tower and the antenna are installed. Above are photo's of the top section of a 60 foot tower and Hy-gain TH 11 buried into my roof, Fortunately it did not damage the house! The following photo's show various stage's of the new 100 foot tower replacing the weaker 60 footer, and then the repaired TH11 installed and another picture with my son Barry fine tuning it.. The Photograph at the bottom is my other son Lee who is terrified of heights, but still climbed the scaffold to help. I would really like to express my gratatude and thank them both, without their help I would still be off the "air". Well done lad's the drinks are on your Mum!.
I have the pleasure of operating with my good friend Ron G4DIY from the islands of Jersey, call sign GH0STH, and from Guernsey, call sign GP0STH. We have been operating together since 2002 and over the years we have put thousands of QSO's into our logs, and made a lot of new friends along the way. So we have decided to share some of the photo's of our antenna system and the station with you.
The antenna is a telescopic aluminum vertical which covers 10 mtrs through to 40 mtrs.This is mounted on the generator which supports both the base for the antenna and also the ground radials for the counterpoise.
We use on average around 150 ground radials on the ground side of the antenna base, these consist of none resonating lengths of multi core alarm cable which we lay on the ground around the base of the antenna. They vary in length from six feet in length to 30 feet in length. These are of course cut so they are not resonate lengths for the band we are operating on, as they are there to act only as a ground counterpoise.
The station we use comprises of the HF radio which is an Icom 765 pro 2, the linear is a Dentron MLA 2500. The rest of the station is the pwr/swr meter, loud speaker, and dynamic Mike. Hand on heart Ron is the guy who operates the cw side of things, this is because he is much better than me! I deal mostly with the phone side of the operation, but I do help Ron pick out the weak stations in the cw pile ups!!
I have posted some photographs of the rig and layout in the the car we operate from,also some photographs show the antenna, and the counterpoise system.
This is the station that we operate from within the car, the Icom you see in this picture has since been replaced by an Icom 756 pro 2. As you can see we use an old 286 laptop for logging, this runs in DOS which only takes seconds to reboot if the computer crashes, where as windows takes too long and we can miss out on a lot of qso's waiting for the program to re-start.
This is the Honda generator that provides the power for all our needs, the red light is supposed to signify danger and warn members of the public to avoid the wires, unfortunately It does not stop dogs from urinating and marking their territory !!
View of the generator, and the view of the sea in the backdrop.
Birds eye view of the radial system.
Ron G4DIY laying out the counterpoise in a local park prior to our leaving for Guernsey, Brave man (funny looks from locals)
This picture shows some of the radials for 30 mtrs and 40 mtrs. By holding the end lug that fastens the radials to the earth sie of the antenna base, you can walk in a straight line and the cable will lay in the position you can see, they can then be put onto the spool you can see on the generator that we use to pack the radials away for transportation.
I hope you have a chance to work us when we next go to the Channel Islands. Thank you all for calling us and making it a really enjoyable experience. I would also like to thank the staff at the Wayside cheer hotel for putting up with us, thanks to the councilor who believed me when I told him we were seismologists!! And the old lady who thought we were spies and called the police! And the church ladies for the tea and cakes. My biggest thanks go to Ron G4DIY, who make this all possible and puts up with me,and lastl but not least,to the bin men (refuse collectors). You know who you are.....
I seem to be very unlucky when it comes to problems related to the weather. In late January after having my antenna lowered due to the severe winds we were getting from the Atlantic, I decided to crank up the tower only to find that the rotator was not turning the antenna. It was stuck in a north easterly direction which would be no good to me if I wanted to get the upcoming K1N dxperdition and get my penultimate one on cw. Bringing down the tower, and erecting the scaffold around it was the order of the day. After a visual inspection my son informed me there was no pyhsical signs of failure. so off it came. Passing the rotator down to me I could not help but notice that there was a strange tinkling sound when I shook it! That did not sound right, so off to the bench and time to strip it. I opened the case and inside the whole gear housing had smashed, including the two limiting switches. My respect for Yaseu gx 1000 rotator's ended right then.
I wasn't to concerned as I had my trusty hy-gain T2X to fall back on, but when it was offered up to the rotator cage it was apparent it would not fit inside without jamming when turned, the head unit was not wide enough, so it was clear unless I changed the head unit I was not going to be able to fit the tail twister.
There was one more solution left to me and that was to install a older rotator that I had here which was a Create RC5 L. The rotator was fine but the control box had a problem, the gearbox behind the indicator was stripped and the needle did not turn to show the direction the antenna was pointing.So the plan was to install the Create up in the tower and just turn it to the direction of K1N,
Just before installing the rotator, I recieved a call off my good friend and mentor Ron G4DIY,during the course of conversation he told me that he had a similar failure on a Diawa control box and thought of a solution for it. He told me that before he put the project together a spare control box become available so he did not go through with it. like all great ideas it was simple, use led's to indicate the antennas direction. Ron and I went through the mechanics and what would be needed to make it work. Most of the componants were here in the shack, a quick trip to the alarm shop got the rest of what was needed.
The parts consist of eight led's, a three watt 4.7 ohm resistor, eight alarm door contact switches pre-wired and with magnets.a roll of twelve core alarm cable. a small waterproof box three inch x three inch, some drain pipe about six inches long and about four inches diameter' and a piece of waste water pipe three inches long and two inches diameter. a tube of silicone and some scrap perspex. The contact switches I used were about two inches long and about a quarter inch wide, after marking off the the four inch pipe every 45 degree's with a permanent marker pen, I then screwed the reed switches onto the pipe on each mark I then used a little silicone to secure them permantly. Next I cut a piece of the perspex to fit into the rotator cage to act as a base for the pipe holding the contact switches. I marked out the center of the base plate and cut a three inch diameter hole in it to allow the rotator stub mast to pass through. Then I cut the next piece of perspex for the top of the pipe with the conact switches. this also had a hole cut in for the stub mast, but I made this hole two and a quarter inches.I then used the silicone to secure the outside of the pipe to the base and top where it met the perspex. using the perminent marker I then labled each contact switch with a number 1 through to 8 . one being north and going clockwise to number eight. Each contact switch was pre-wired so puting some white insulation tape on each cable, I again marked each with the number on the contact. The next thing was to cut and fix the perspex for the side walls completing the box, the first two sides were placed in and siliconed I also used a cabletie to keep them in place until the silicone cured. The last pespex side had the three inch box mounted and a hole drilled to allow the cables from the contact switches to come in and be connected to the twelve core cable. The final side to the pespex box was then put in place and silicone used to seal it, again using a cabletie to sucure it. Finally it just remains to connect the twelve core cable to the contact reed switches. Each of the contacts had a wire labled 1 through to 8, each cable contains two wires, one black and the other red. Bringing the twelve core cable into the box I then soldered the red wire in the 12 core to ALL the red wires from the contact switches and put heat shrink on to insulate the joint. Next I got my note pad and wrote down 1 to 8 and then as I soldered and heatshrunk each other black wire from each corresponding contact switch to a different coloured wire in the twelve core cable ie 1=pink 2= green 3 = blue etc. When this was completed, I packed the box with vasaline and sealed the box.
This just leaves the magnets to mount on the stub mast. Using the two inch diameter waste pipe I mounted two of the magnets onto the pipe and then siliconed them for extra grip. I then used a hacksaw and cut the pipe so I could open it up to fit over the stub mast.Once the magnet was on the mast then turn the rotator to either north or south depending on your preference, then sliding the magnet up the pole ensure it is opposite the number one marked contact switch. This is the work completed on the the rotator side of the indicator.
Now down to the controller side of things, I was going to take the original bezel off the control box and drill it at the north,northwest ,west etc and install the led's into the bezel, but it would be hard for me to see them. I found I had an old quartz clock which with a little bit of a trim would fit a smaller version of the great circle map. I drilled the eight holes around the map and I then installed the led's. Next I opened up the control box and located the positive side of the festoon bulb which lights up when the control box is switched on. after soldering a small fly lead to the positive side I then soldered a 4.7 ohm resistor in line and onr the other side of the resistor I then soldered the red wire in the twelve core cable. Using the colours I had marked in my note book I then soldered each wire in the twelve core cable to the anode of each led. so in my case north led went to the pink wire northeast to the green wire etc. When all the wires are soldered to each anode of the led, I then soldered a black wire to each cathode on the led's and then joined each black wire together and took it to ground in the control box put the control box back together and the result can be seen in the videos below. This method can be used on any controller on any rotator. I hope this helps those of you that have a simalar problem to mine Special thanks to Ron G4DIY for all his input and Lee my son who without his help I would never have got the job done or the K1N in the log..