I am spending the week down at the station preparing for WPX CW coming up and also doing some work on the house. I decided to get a concrete floor in the room where I have the openASC driver cards and also the pump for the water in the house. For some reason only half of the floor was concrete and the rest was sand, so I decided to change that. It was a bit tough work though mixing the concrete will the drill and doing it by myself, I had a walk with buckets down and pour it. It did harden quite fast so I had to hurry as well…when I do the big room we need to be more people and also I need to use a real concrete mixer.
Last week I also built a unit which will solve the inband issues I had with PTTing that I will try to install tomorrow so I have plenty of time fixing if something doesn’t work as intended. On Thursday I am going to get a visit from my father together with SM3LIC and SM3UZS which will be fun. LB3HC will arrive on Thursday evening and will be spending a few days at SJ2W and also working WPX CW with us.
I also finished up some minor things on the house, so now two sides are completely done and one side is 95% done, so pretty much just one side left to do, which I hope to have done in June so the rest of the year can be spent on radio stuff.
I spent a few days down at SJ2W. I had a couple of computers I had gotten from work that will fit well into the shack upgrading a couple of the computers a bit. It’s old P4 but the latest models and with 4GB RAM, so they will be useful as logging computers. SM2XJP said he could come up and get them so I got to ride with him down to the QTH and when I got there SM2LIY was already there.
The weather was bad most of the days but I managed to get the inband electronics installed and me and SM2LIY played around a bit trying it out in CQ-M. I decided to try a W7IUV preamp instead of the MMIC I had built but after a little while the W7IUV acted very strange and I suspect I fried it, so we put the MMIC back and it seem to work OK. However we plan to move the vertical to a location which is SE from the main antennas, which should be a direction that we rarely beam much, especially not with the bigger antennas. I noticed a problem though which I have made a little card with a micro-controller that will solve.
I got a lot of stuff attached to the ground system we laid down last year. Now I feel quite confident in the grounding of the shack, and since the coaxes between the barn and shack gets disconnected, only direct path from the antennas to the shack are the control cables. I will add GDTs to these along with the MOVs that are already in place.
Me and SM2XJP also went to SM2RMG and picked up two K-600 tower sections, manufatured by the CUE DEE company which was created by the famous SM2DMU. SM2RMG had gotten them from work and gave them to us for free. One will be used to help making the foundation of the military tower. SM2UVU is working on making a plate that attaches the base bearing to the K-600 tower section.
Hopefully I’ll spend most of next week down at the QTH getting more work done.
This weekend me and the girlfriend went down to the station with a trailer we borrowed from a friend. I got some 7/8″ cable from SM2OAN earlier (5 pcs of rolls, about 50-70m long) that we took down and also some shelves and other stuff that was going to be thrown away at work. SM2RIX managed to get us a 220m roll of 1 1/4″ coaxial cable last year and I am missing about 220m more to have coax that we can use for the inband tower planned to be put up in the future, some 400-500m away from the other antennas. Hopefully I can manage to find a longer piece of coax for that so we don’t need to have so many possible failure points. However, in worst case that would be OK too. These coaxes will be used for the 40m tower project this summer and might also be enough for the 2nd 60m tower planned next year, for 80 and 15m.
I got the shelf put up in the basement which is good since I have a lot of stuff lying everywhere, so it’s pretty hard to keep things tidy, however every place to store things is a step in the right direction, but since I tend to just get more junk I guess I will never get rid of this problem
I also cut down an old bush that had been beaten by the snow a couple of winters, so now it can grow up and be pretty again. I also did some work preparing to fix the yard since we dug it up last year I will need to fill in with soil so we get grass there again and make it a bit more even. And it was very muddy, if we would have needed to stop on the road to the QTH I believe we would probably have gotten stuck, however its “only” about 1.5km so it’s not too bad. The yard is a mess too, very muddy so we had to park the car out by the road. The snow is melting very fast and there is barely any snow left in the woods, so the inband vertical should be useful for WPX CW so I will need to put the amp project on hold a while and fix the electronics for WPX CW so we can use it.
I took a few days off work to get down to SJ2W and try to prepare it for the contests. I had some plans to maybe do ARRL CW next weekend and I have not yet decided if I will do it or not. Right now I don’t really feel motivated but we will see, if not I will do it part time remotely or if the girlfriend wants to come here next weekend I might go down with her.
These days I have almost gotten position for radio 1 and 2 (also SO2R position) running with some small things left to do. I have also plans to get the IC-7400 (Pos 4) up and running so that SM2LIY can listen to the beverages. However the neighbor has cut down trees so half of them are broken and there is a lot of snow, so fixing them is out of the question. Positive thing is that that piece of the forest wont be worked in for 25 years…
I also made it possible to turn on and off the electronics in the basement, so that we can reboot everything if needed remotely. The openASC system seem to be quite stable, but a few times this winter SM2XJP has had to go here to the station to reboot it. Now we can do that remotely so he should not need to go here *knock on wood*.
I am pretty happy with the result, its a huge improvement but still a bit left to do. I am gonna try to save some money to get another radio for position 3 or 4 so hopefully we’ll have 3xFT1000 MKV in the future, which would be really nice since it would also be a spare rig when doing SO2R contests. But first, the summer projects need to be paid