Diversions

Still no progress to speak of on the K2 RF board.  I was having some issues matching up the capacitor values in the manual with what I had pulled out of the bag.  Turns out there was another bag of caps hiding in the box!  Work will resume soon on the RF board and hopefully it will go quicker now since I took an inventory and measurement of all the caps I had laid out.

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I’ve also been pursuing other radio endeavors.  As I mentioned before the new version of WSJTX is out and I’ve been running quite a lot of JT65 on 160m.  I’m up to 45 states worked on the band.  I’m already kicking around antenna ideas to get AK and HI in the log.

I’ve also managed to break over 100 unique countries/entities.  This will finish out my DXCC.  I’m just waiting on one more card or LOtW confirmation to come through.  I’m super excited to get that piece of wallpaper.

The last big diversion has been getting on the air with 10m meteor scatter.  I’m not much for antenna building but a 2 element 10 meter beam made out of whips sounded easy enough.  Building a mast sounded easy enough.  Getting and installing a rotor sounded easy enough.  Running a new feedline and control cable sounded easy enough.  You get the idea.  It turned into a much bigger project than I anticipated and had a few pitfalls here and there.  I still need to put an analyser on it to see if its even close to being where I want it.

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For better or worse there it is.  It probably not resonant and it’s definitely too heavy.  I wasn’t really thinking about the diameter of the reflector until it got to the point that I had to reinforce where it connects to the boom.  For this I just used another piece of the same material and Ubolts.  Unfortunately the material I used is EMT conduit.  This would have been fine for the boom but way too heavy for the elements.

The other major problem I ran into was with my control cable.  I ended up going with 22AWG control cable for the rotor.  This is normally fine for short runs but I went with 200′ for this run.  (I’m hoping to reuse some of these materials for a future tower project).  The rotor worked fine when I tested it on the ground but the night I got it mounted on the mast it wouldn’t turn.

We had a cold spell roll through Colorado as I was working on this project.  As it turns out the grease in these rotors will stiffen up when it’s cold out.  This isn’t normally a problem but since I had selected the smaller gauge control cable I wasn’t able to deliver the amperage needed to drive the motor through the stiff grease.  18AWG control cable is on the way to replace it.

The good news is I do seem to get some directivity out of this thing.  I definitely hear more noise in some directions and less in others.  I’m not sure if the nulls are off of the back of the beam or the ends of the dipole but it’s something I guess.  I spent a bit of time on the #redditnet IRC channel last night and tried to work a few people with no success.  I’ll be on ping jockey trying to drum up some traffic over the next few days as 10m isn’t the most popular scatter band.

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