The antenna party on Saturday 9/18/04 resulted in much successful work
accomplished! Plus, those who came out enjoyed some hot/fresh donuts!
Thanks to everyone who came out and helped: Susan Tipton, K9PDL; Andrew
Lilly, KG4VUH; Kevin Crosby, KG4RNA; Michael Morris (prospective new ham
in the Tech class); and Todd Sherman, KB4MHH,
GARC president, Andrew Lilly, KG4VUH, was particularly busy most of the
day Saturday working on removing one antenna and installing another. The
2-meter Ringo Ranger and mast that was atop the HF tower was removed.
This was no small feat! After wrangling with the 'gin' pole, Andrew was
able to secure the antenna, loosen it from its clamps, and lower it to the
Unfortunately, the antenna is not in good working order. It has an SWR of
8-to-1 on 2-meters. It appears to have been hit by lightning. But other
than the cap being blown apart on the end (tip) of the antenna, there does
not appear to be any other visible damage. The antenna is a Cushcraft
ARX-2B Ringo Ranger II. If anyone has any ideas on what might be wrong
with it, I have it in my truck.
The G5RV HF dipole antenna was not placed back in service, although it
will be easier to do so when someone wants to put it up. A line was
strung to the APRS digipeater tower to hoist the G5RV. For now, anyone
wanting to work HF can use the Mosley beam--it seems to work fine.
Another new installation was a UHF dipole (vertically polarized). It is
fed using the G5RV coax and installed on the center tower. It works GREAT
as a television antenna! The G5RV coax is being used temporarily---until
someone wants to put up the G5RV then just disconnect the coax from the
UHF dipole and put it back on the G5RV.
We also replaced the lightning ground connection on the APRS digipeater
tower. The old connection was a copper braid wire and clamp that had
corroded quite severely. We did not have an opportunity to work on the
configuration file for the APRS digipeater. Everything seems to be
operational, but some hams are not getting their packets digipeated. The
latest plans are to install CAT-5 network cable and try to establish a
serial connection to the TNC from the club station (150-200' away).
That would allow for remote access to program the TNC for the APRS digi.
Andrew also installed some u-bolts on the Cushcraft AR-270B dual-band
antenna mast atop the central tower. The mast mounting was looking a bit
frazzled after the storm so Andrew got it straightened out and secured.
WEATHER STATION UPDATE:
The commercially manufactured bracket for mounting the rain gauge finally
arrived. Although a temporary mount worked flawlessly during the storm,
we decided to go with the professional clamp for a permanent mount. The
mounting arm still needs to be raised higher up the tower (for better
airflow and more reliable wind speed/direction readings) but all the
sensors are installed and working properly.
Todd Sherman replaced the broken dipole on the EMWIN antenna using a
section of aluminum tubing cut to proper length and drilled to fit. The
antenna still needs testing with the MFJ antennalyzer. Then it will be
raised back up a few feet. The antenna is now 10' shorter after the
bottom section (where it was bent) was cut off. It is now 30' instead of
40'. The EMWIN retransmitter will be turned on after raising the antenna.
TO DO FUTURE:
The 6-meter Cushcraft vertical was not assembled or installed. A suitable
location for it should be identified. 200' of coax (9913F) is available.
The antenna could be side-mounted on one of the towers or placed atop the
HF tower where the bad 2-meter Ringo Ranger antenna came down.
The UHF and VHF satellite (OSCAR) antennas need inspection and testing.
The elevation rotator needs to be evaluated, repaired, or replaced if the
OSCAR array is to be re-installed. The pair of UHF/VHF antennas was
designed for satellite work although the VHF beam could be used to work
simplex 2-meters or distant repeaters if it were to be installed. The
azimuth rotor seems to work.
At this time there is only one VHF antenna available for general purpose
use in the club. Normally it is connected to the ICOM 706. Three VHF
antennas have been damaged by lightning in the past year--the APRS digi
Ringo, the dualband Ringo-Ranger, and the Ringo on the HF tower. Having a
spare 2-meter antenna for emergency replacement might be a good idea.
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