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Sunday, 25 October 2015

A repeater, Really?


Whilst musing at the recent HamFest myself and my chum Vince, G0ORC decided it might be a good idea to learn something of the new System Fusion technology.

Having studied a repeater coverage map and concluding there was nothing near us, we decided that the best thing we could do was to put a repeater on the air.

This started the application process for GB3BP a 70cm System Fusion repeater.

We spoke to our friends at LAM Communications and they agreed to sponsor the repeater and provide the Yaesu DR-1XE we need.

So far we have frequency clearance for Input 438.4875 MHz and Output 430.8875 Mhz, and we are waiting for the NoV from Ofcom. We also need to purchase a Duplexer and it's looking like this is the one for the job:

More to follow, but we should be up and running soon.

This page includes the calculated coverage map which looks very pessimistic to me:

and here is a page I have setup for the repeater itself:

Fun egh? Local conditions.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Antennamabob Swap


Having played with the antenna I installed back here  for a while now, I have decided to go back to the Cushcraft MA5B that I had previously.

I have found that the Q52 antenna had little or no front to back, furthermore there was a switch on the control box that was supposed to "remove" the reflector to make the two element antenna into a dipole, whilst this altered the SWR very slightly, I found no difference whatsoever to signal strength from the front or the back of the antenna. Extended tests in both dipole and beam mode showed no signal strength difference from the front or the back of the antenna. Tom, N6BT, for reasons only be-known to him, chooses to ignore my email requests for technical support - so I haven't been able to get any. I did climb a ladder and conferm that I could hear the relays going click in both the director and reflector when the band switch was altered on the control box, I also double checked the control box to antenna wiring - not sure what else I can do to test the setup.

More recently, 500W of CW to the Q52 antenna has caused the relay box on the driven element to fail. Investigation shows that there are signs of arcing on the element connections - this antenna has proved to be a very expensive mistake!

I have also been having some concerns recently over the amount of weight on the mast and it's ability (or inability) to hold everything. I've therefore designed myself a new mast arrangement, there is no telescoping in this design, but it's much stronger and sturdier (and heavier) than the previous arrangement.

Here we are in the midst of the swap:

The Base section of the mast is 2.5 inch, thick walled box Aluminium, and that is then topped with a 48.3 mm OD stainless steel tube to the rotator cage. The stainless tube drops into the box section with a 2 meter overlap - the two items are bolted together in opposing angles so it can't move or turn. The rotator cage is made from galvanized steel and was manufactured by Tennamast. The stub mast is currently a 48.4 mm OD steel scaffold pole, but I have ordered a 3 meter long aluminium replacement to try and reduce the weight a little.

The mast all pivots and is lifted into the vertical using a winch and steel cable.

Once I have the replacement stub mast I will put back the VHF antennas and all will be well. The rotator is a replacement and is the G-1000 from Yaesu.

Here are the SWR curves from the MA5B as installed:

local conditions.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Well, What did you win?


Look what's just come through the post:

Local conditions.

Good, egh?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Its a funny old world


I have a good relationship with the chaps at LAM Communications in Barnsley. I received a parcel from them today which was addressed thus:

Which was fairly amusing....

I have also recently done a video for them on Digital Modes and the FT-991 which can be found here:

Good egh? Local conditions.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A Starter for 10GHz - RX Test


Myself and Vince, G0ORC headed to Alport today:

We aimed the antenna at the Leicester repeater GB3LEX on 10368.955MHz and here's what we heard:

It was rather foggy, but an excellent site that we will certainly visit again:

Whilst a very feeble distance:

This feels like one of my greatest achievements to date!

Local conditions.