Inband work and new towers

I worked a lot before CQWW CW and managed to get most stuff operational. We had quite fun even though propagation’s sucked big time. We had 1/3 of the score from 2014 but the inband test was a success even though we had a bit of phase noise issues when both towers were beaming US. In most other directions the problems were surprisingly small. Especially on 40 and 80m there were no problems at all to come quite close to the run frequency.

SM2VTS called me a while ago and said he knew of four 14m high freestanding light towers, something I had been looking for for the planned move of the 80m 4-SQ. I gave them an offer for them and they accepted it. SM2UVU was very kind and said he could with help of his friend with a truck with crane, take them down and transport them up to SJ2W. They also had 16 pcs of Metal-halide lamps of 2000W each, I will put one or two up at SJ2W to light up the yard when needed. When SM2UVU arrived there he instantly said “These are not 14m, they are probably 20m” and he was correct. Kind of perfect for an 80m 4-SQ but they are almost too good for it, but since they are conical the only use for them except 4-SQ is a small 20m tower, which is not much use. I am almost starting to consider a 27-30m high vertical 4-SQ for 160m ūüėČ

I need to update the site with the results from CQWW SSB and CQWW CW, but I have the scores at SJ2W. In the SSB part there were a guys of contesting “rookies” of mixed ages and even though conds were horrible they seemed to have fun.

Better late then never :)

I have a couple of big updates coming now. I have been so occupied working and on the spare time trying to get the station ready for CQWW CW. The inband stuff has been a lot of work but I did manage to finish it up pretty well before CQWW. We had some issues but it was solved and it worked quite well, a bit of noisy on 10-20m when both the stations were beaming US but on 80 and 40m there was really no problem at all which is interesting, since it was the other way around with the vertical.

Rotor repair

Last weekend I spent some time at SJ2W fixing the rotor for the Moskojärvi tower and also added some cover for the gear to the Military tower. I ran out of material though but I hope that I can finish it up this coming weekend. The moskojärvi repair went great and now it does turn a bit slower which is nice. Still could need to put an VFD on the two 60m towers to have soft start/stop on them though.

SA2CLC worked quite some hours in SAC SSB and did very well and I think he enjoyed it.

This coming weekend I hope to get more work done on the inband tower electronics and maybe also some on the control for the RX-array. That is however lower priority.

RX-array QRV

This weekend I got great help from SA2KNG and SA2FDR which was highly appreciated. The winter season is coming quickly and there is still some stuff that need to be finished up before the winter, but this weekend we managed to get some of that crossed of the list.

I went down already on Thursday and started working on some stuff on Friday. I managed to get the cabinet for the RX-array mounted and also all hoses clamped and hooked up. I also put 75m of RG-6TS through 16x2mm water hose so that the cable leading to the RX array is protected from animals. The rest (about 270m) hangs in the air in the trees leading up to the beverage cross point on the north side of the QTH.

On Saturday I started going out with the first 75m of coax to the RX array and hooked that up. Then I pulled two more RG-6TS cables over the road, so now we have 2 pcs of RG-6 and 5 pcs of RG-58 over the road. I had some problems with this but managed after a few hours. Then SA2FDR and SA2KNG showed up and we pulled out the rest of the coax and managed to get everything connected and it all worked at once. I did some tests and the F/B looks promising on the array but conditions turned really poor so I have not been able to really test it out. The switching of the directions is currently done through the laptop but I will finish up some programming so that I can switch it through he openASC system instead.

The dishwasher broke a few weeks ago and I told SA2FDR that either they do the dishes on Sunday or they fix the dishwasher, so they spent a few hours on Saturday evening/night and managed to fix it which I am very thankful of. I made them pie, I need to keep the guys helping happy so they come back ūüôā

On Sunday we went out to the inband site and mounted the cabinet which hold batteries, antenna switching and the control electronics. I would not have been able to do it myself since the screw in anchors are tough to get down in sandy/stony ground. It turned out great so now I just need to finish up the last programming and put the 868 MHz link up in the tower, so we get the antennas switchable and rotatable. Left to do at the inband site after that is putting up an 80m dipole.

It was a very productive weekend and we had fun! The sun is still warm but it was very windy this weekend with cold winds, so it was a bit of a struggle to be outside.

Next weekend I hope to get the Moskojärvi tower rotating again, doing some more work on the inband tower electronics and maybe work on the snow cover for the Military tower.