Monthly Archives: September 2011 - Page 2

openASC has got rotator support

I’ve done some coding on the openASC project. I took a KR-400 rotator home with me which SE2T gave me, which I earlier converted to be controlled with an openASC box. Now I’ve written the code to both rotate antennas with preset or manually. I also implemented so that one can configure a rotator board through the USB port of an openASC box. That way we don’t need to physically access the rotator board when configuring it. It seem to work well, both on rotators which are centered north and south. That is now indicated on the display, so that when we manually rotate antennas we have an indicator telling us if we should go over north or south.

Now I will need to build boards for all my rotators and put them in, hopefully I can have the openASC system controlling all rotators @SJ2W before CQWW CW, which means our 4-radio openASC positions are pretty much completed with full control of the whole station from each position.

I will need to write some support for rotators which we don’t control by pushing its buttons with a relay, but those rotators who have built in presets etc and can be communicated with through RS232. The openASC rotator board does support this, I just need to implement some communication protocols. Since I bought an alfa spid I assume that will be the first, but if I implement for example DCU-1 protocol, it should work with most rotators.

I’m also building a 4-SQ box for the 80m 4-SQ array, so that SM2NOG can get his COMTEK box back which I borrowed when the QTH was bought. I will post some pictures of that maybe tomorrow so stay tuned!

The excavator paid a visit

This weekend me and my girlfriend went down to the QTH on Friday. I did put up boards on one of the walls in the barn and after that I spent some time upgrading the openASC boxes to the newest firmware, and a bug I have been struggling to find seem to have been solved. On Saturday I did spend time to prepare for having the excavator over but when I called him he was out flying, so he said he’d be there on Sunday instead.

I continued some outdoor work mixing concrete in the wheelbarrow since the concrete mixer was borrowed by SA2AWO for his tower project. It needed four of those wheelbarrows full with concrete to fill up the hole I dug for the 18m tower. The result is quite nice, I will need to adjust the bottom bracket for the tower a bit but that is easily done with four nuts under the bracket.

When I was inside resting I heard a horn from a car sound, and when I checked SM3JLA came driving and apparently he did morse code on the horn but I was so surprised so I didn’t copy it, but he states he was signaling a very inappropriate Swedish word which I will not mention here ­čśë Anyway, we spent the evening finishing up the elements for the 40m Yagi and tensioned the element guy support. On Sunday we carried them out to the field where the boom was waiting, and we mounted them onto the boom and also mounted the boom strut and its guy lines. Now I’ll let it hang for a week until next weekend when I will tighten it and mount the parts for the feed system, coax etc. We also finished up the elements for the 10m Yagi, so now it is missing the coax and then its ready to be tuned and hoisted. Unfortunately this will not happen before SAC CW, but hopefully before SAC SSB at least.

On Sunday afternoon after SM3JLA left, G├Âran from a local company in the village came by with his ├ůkerman H3 excavator. He dug holes for the 18m tower guy anchors which we hoisted down and filled up again. We also fixed the anchors for the 40m military tower project and did dig the hole for the base of that tower, and finally he made a ditch between the house and barn where I will put down another 110mm tube to pull cables through. I need to buy some bends for that tube and we can start filling it up again next weekend.

Some milling done

Today I milled bigger holes in two type of gears which will be used to give a 2:1 ratio between a stepper motor and an 10-turn pot, which will give us an absolute position of the capacitors. This will be used to convert one of our manual tuned amps to an preset tuned one. Hopefully if I get this working before CQWW SSB it will solve our amplifier problem since I can use it on most bands thus freeing up the 4CX1500B amp to be used on the 2nd radio. The idea is that the double axle stepper motor will be put in “series” with the capacitor axle. So the idea is to tune the amp as usual, and when you have it at maximum output power we just press save and it saves the position for the current band and segment. That way the openASC box can inform the amp of which band its currently on and the amp will tune to that position. I will make a real maneuver box for it in the future, similar to the openASC but for amps. However this is a lot of work and will be built in the future, now I want to get the amp functional.

The 2x4CX1500B amp project will continue when the outdoor work at SJ2W has stopped because of snow, so hopefully I can finish that amp up this winter too.

The excavator will probably dig some holes at the QTH this weekend, stay tuned!