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OK Folks, MM0VTV booked to help, midweek.
OK, appreciate it was a bit short notice. I re-primed the house fascia boards instead but have taken out all the lengths of plywood and pencilled on all parts that require sawing. I did drag the table saw out but the wood sheets are just too long for one person to cut them safely and accurately. Is anyone available for about 1/2hr some night this week to do this?
Next stage of the tower/shack project will be worked on Saturday. I’ve already fitted the plywood floor but could really do with some help fitting the ply sheets for the walls and roof. I need to cut these using my table saw, but they are just a bit on the big side to handle carefully/accurately on my own.
All help appreciated.
Cheers for replies/suggestions so far folks. I agree with the mismatch between the dongle’s QRP and the higher power from the cellsite however this would throw up another question:
Why, eslewhere, can I maintain a solid (though not usually as fast) connection when my received signal drops to 1 or 2 bars? Surely the mismatch would be even greater then, and the chance of connection even slimmer?
Geoff, FYI I’m on Orange/EE. Benbecula site is near a T-Mobile cell which is ropey for voice calls. Hopefully the EE merger allows me access and the yagi increases the signal.
Thanks as always for the many photos, Geoff.
Thanks to all for their efforts over the weekend. Despite half the team being unable to arrive on the Friday afternoon, there was an amazing effort put in to have the antenna farm all but ready by beer o´clock on the Friday evening. Pats on backs all round. Was good to see the team eventually increase to 10 by late Saturday and probably for the best in terms of operator numbers as well.
Apart from the customary pre-amp switching, there were no equipment issues of note once again, and the WX could not have been any better IMO. Add to that the great radio cndx, great food (tnx AHO), cool beer (tnx DXC), and company (all except VTV – only kidding) and this has to rank as one of, if not the best VHF FD to date.
Look forward to meeting up with as many of you as possible asap, most likely at GB2LBN. I hear a Friday evening arrival might be on the cards \_(o.o)_/
DXC – Yes to beer supplies. I’ll bring 2 tables and if you could bring 2 as well, that will mean one spare to go in the food tent. Happy to leave at 12 if all loaded. As Texted to you earlier, I’m working late tomorrow but will come straight to the Thorntree to discuss VHFFD. Will get equipment list out shortly.
AHO – Food requests – good Tea Bags please, Typhoo fits the bill. Please confirm that as well as 70cm yagis, you also still have the phasing harness. 6m Amp – Colin bringing his OM Power amp which ran well off the club and CCC gennys a fortnight ago. If possible if you have space, please still bring Acom1000 as you never know! Again for 6m station, fine for you to add in a pre amp, and I note you are doing so via a sequencer, but you’ll still need to consider
1. CW Keying (please sort with GPZ) will also need to go via sequencer, and
2. your i-Mate would key the rig direct, not via sequencer, so we’d be looking instead at an external DVK, which will also need a lead made up that re-routes the MIC plug PTT to the sequencer. i.e. the same as we do on 2m and 70cm.
UYZ – OK on 70cm sequencer leads, thanks for confirming. Colin has a 6m QRO Bandpass filter which we can put on 6m.
Van hire is sorted, picking up last thing Thursday. All the rental Lutons at our usual hire place are ex-NHS jobs, and no longer have “Lutons” above the drivers cabin, so space will be at a premium and will mean almost everything of a non-radio description will have to be stored outwith. On the plus side they are 12 footers so a wee bit longer than the CCC Luton. They also have a small side roller-shutter so we can bring all coax/mains/rot cables in this door, and seal it with a blanket. That way, all can come in and out the back during the day, and this can get closed when colder at night, and it keeps everyone away from the cables.
Have OK’d use of site again with Nick.
Thats all for now, see some of you tomorrow.
GM0RLZ also going though half expecting work to mean a late arrival. Cephas also likely to go but unable to put up antennas, I said he can whipcrack the riggers instead.
I reckon we only have one person who can tow – Cambell – if we assume Geoff is towing the genny. This will likely mean the tower will be for 6m/4m so 8×7 wont be possible on 2m, especially as the 2x5ele for 6m have not been repaired and the 7ele we use instead, needs half of the 2m H-Frame as a boom.
I’ll draft the equipment list up shortly but I suspect 2m will be 2x9ele M2 from Gordon.
After a 7 month gap over the Winter, the CCC Tower was brought out to work on the next task – add in a metal frame to build a small shack. Geoff MM5AHO (and son Matt) had arranged to come through to work on this yesterday (Sat 25th) and Colin GM0RLZ also visited, complete with Mig welder.
As you can see in the photos, the first major obstacle was that the brake hangs down form the lattice section, and sits within the area we were looking to use for shack space. As it couldnt go any higher up the tower (it was only 1 rung from the top) Geoff suggested relocating it to another side of the lattice, and Matt got to work fabricating a new bar with lugs to pivot the brake on.
Meanwhile Geoff removed the far end support which holds the lattice section when in the lowered position. Although this 2-part support had always been ceased together, Geoff, when galvanising the tower, had managed to separate the 2 sections (I was unaware of this) and a quick strike or two with the hammer and they were again separated. We then put the lower section back on the tower, and inserted the upper section at a slightly higher height which again bought us extra headroom for the shack. The lattice section, whilst in its lowered position, now sits horizontal, just like the versatowers, whereas before it was pointing downwards at the front. Another repair was carried out at this stage. The plate at the bottom of the support was mis-shapen, causing the support to sit off-centre. A few hammer hits soon solved this.
Next up was another problem that the lattice sections sat slightly off-centre in the far end support. To fix this, we loosened off the tower base plate, plus the 4 diagonal struts that give it extra support. Whilst Matt moved the lattice sections into a more central position, Geoff and myself quickly fastened the base plate and 4 struts back down. Tower now sits nice and central.
Next up was the shack frame and with Colin now also on site, he was able to cut and form one side of the frame, whilst Geoff was already putting the other onto the tower chassis. This all came together nice and neat in no time at all and with the bonus of having some extra angle steel left over, it was decided to add in a door frame as well.
Later in the evening, I sanded down the new angle steel and coated with Galvafroid. One coat left to do, and then I need to start adding in the plywood walls/floor/roof.
This has been a really satisfying project to do (even if I took a big backseat at not being able to weld) and if the end result is a towable tower & shack in one, that keeps some us of doing contests over the Summer season, then it will have been worth all the effort. I still need to look at the raising wiring of the lattice sections and I now also have a wheel bearing problem on one side, but that can wait for another day. Links to some photos of the days work are listed below as I’m unsure if pics can be attached.
Matt, fabricating the new bar and pivot for the brake
The Two Welders
The first side of the shack frame, in place on the tower
Geoff, adding a curve onto the hook part of the brake
Colin, forming the second side of the shack frame
Lattice sections rested on the newly raised support, and brake removed.
Geoff joining the final corner of the shack frame
The brake, prior to removal, and how it was in the way of the roof space of the shack
The finished frame, a few hours later, after coating with Galvafroid.
A mock layout of the inside of the shack to confirm there would be sufficient space for 2 ops.
The finished article, covered with Galvafroid, looking from the corner where the door will be located
Also, what signal is the station that you are trying to work?
Alan, in all but the busiest of contests, it’s normal practice to listen after calling for about 5 seconds or more. That should be plenty time for you to announce your callsign back to them. Even if it takes you longer than that to say your callsign, as soon as the person at the other end hears a reply, I’d expect them to stay listening, rather than going back to CQ’ing their callsign again.
My suspicion is they are not hearing you, due to one of the following:
Local noise at their end
Your signal to them is marginal
They are working others with stronger signals (propagation and how it varies)
What band are you on? What antenna are you using? What height is the antenna at? What is your power out?
If you can answer these questions we can maybe narrow things down a bit.
The 4 relays (2 for 2m, 2 for 70cm) and the pre-amp leads will also be thrown in as part of the deal. Apparently he has already donated the sequencers to the club.
FB re Yagis, Bob. Have txt’d Colin about the yagis. £200 for the 8.
Having re-thought the 2m yagi situation, I recall Cambell’s comment last year that the wider lobe yagis (like when we used 4×7 stacked instead of 8×7 stacked) might suffer more QRM from the windfarm and that proved to be the case, as Gordon’s 12ele had much less QRM.
This is probably a good case to go back to the 8×7, tower-permitting.
Gordon MM0GPZ has confirmed his attendance again this year and has also asked if Iain GM0OQV could join in. Given the lack of Aye’s so far I don’t see any probs with us having too many ops. Are all attending OK with this?
***CANCELLED*** Please ignore previous.
Tnx for replies so far.
Geoff, 6m is more or less your show anyway (apart from antenna/coax) so if you think you can implement the pre-amp with sequencing/hard switching (or even a separate RX feedline) then you have my blessing to go ahead with this. The FT2000 with 2 ops on each RX didnt really get going last year so probably as well to revert to your IC756proIII.
Happy to use the big tent again, although careful checking of WX forecast will be needed, unless anyone else can supply something more heavy duty?
As for van hire, the big rental companies are now £80 plus per day for a Luton Van. The place we often use in Haddington is just under £60/day. I could ask for a 12′ Luton (mine was 10′) or we could maybe look at something even bigger, though I’m not sure what/where.
I’ll try and get to the Thorntree some Tuesday to discuss what the plans are. Is Tue 14 May OK with folks?
We also need to revisit the situation with the 2m Yagis. It’s 3 years now since we last used all 8. I really dont have the room to store them, even with a new garage, it’s already chockers with poles and other antenna parts. There was (more or less) consensus we should buy them from Colin but were we to do so, this doesnt address the storage issue. Personally, I’d like to change to something even shorter boom length than the 7’s. 4x5ele is good gain and not much beam turning. If someone is prepared to store 2 of these, I’d keep the other 2, but storing 8×7 is too much.
Belated Happy New Year to all at CPSARC from me too. Hope your next DX is a good one!