Friday, August 23, 2013

Huntsville Hamfest 2013

Here is the group photo taken at the Huntsville Hamfest on 8/17/2013. Click on the photo to enlarge. Gary N4OLN again provided the services of his camera. It appears that the volunteer photographer did not allow enough time for the camera to auto-focus.  

Tim WA4PTZ added labels to identify those in the photo. The numbers correspond to positions from left to right.

You can see many, many more photos here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lightning Protection & Grounding

This topic generates lots of interest and discussion each time it appears in our morning QSOs. Today we enjoyed some excellent discussion by W8NSA on the related concept of a ground window to ensure equal ground potential for all components that are exposed to lightning-related surges.  KB4XX found this 3-page article about the ground window concept.

Jim's Bell System experience with central office grounding provides him with a clear understanding of how to apply the concepts to ham radio as well as commercial installations. We look forward to his contributions to future discussions of this subject.

I'm including below some links to previously collected articles on the overall subject. These may help to refresh your knowledge of the subject and to support future on-air discussions.

Back in 2008 we discussed the subject, too, as evidenced by this earlier blog posting. Its link to the QST articles is no longer valid, but they are available from the link noted above.

Let me know if there are other references you'd like to add. Comments are welcome, but are being moderated to exclude spam, so they may not be posted right away.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bell Ringer Ale

I found this South Carolina craft brew at a local grocery that has a superb selection of beer, ale, stout, etc. from around the world. I had to bring home a bottle due to its name. Here are two photos I captured at home.

Their web site provides the following history of the microbrewery:

RJ Rockers Brewing Company became Spartanburg's first brewery in 1997, when owner and brewer Mark Johnsen set out on a mission to provide the people of the Upstate with the best microbrewed beer they had ever tasted. Mark, a New Jersey native, had loved brewing beer for his friends and family for years.
Following his service in the 1991 Gulf War, Mark was stationed in Germany as a member of the United States armed forces, and he took this opportunity to learn as much as possible about brewing from the experts. By the time he was honorably discharged from the service, he was ready to take his beer to the public.  Our online presence is also very strong as we can now connect straight to Facebook, TwitterPinterest and LinkedIn.

I have not sampled it yet, so you'll have to wait for my review.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

N0SAP on Ham Nation netcast

Go to this page and choose one of the video formats to view or download and look for N0SAP with W0ERE in the 7:33 to 16 minute portion of the program. The topics of discussion are a mobile 30 m beacon (10.12925 MHz) with a trailing antenna wire and a modified MFJ license plate mobile antenna mount.

If you download the file and use a viewer program such as VLC, you can jump to the 7:33 minute mark. Of course, you can view the entire program, too. This was the 97th weekly netcast devoted to ham radio and hosted by Bob Heil, Gordon West (WB6NOA), George Thomas (W5JDX), and Don Wilbanks (AE5DW).


Update 6/7/13:

Here is a Youtube video of the 30 Meter Mobile Beacon Experiment going to Dayton this year.  A trailing wire of 23 feet made of Litz wire was used for the antenna.  The 30 Meter Hustler antenna was used when we stopped or in traffic and the wire was on the ground.  All the other details should be in the video.  A story on Ham Nation Episode 97 can be seen from 7:30-16:40 minute mark.  We are also thinking of doing a story for QST.  "SAP"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Solar-powered tower winch

Here are some photos and commentary from N0SAP about his recently completed tower project.

I modified my Glen Martin tower from a hand winch to a Solar Powered Electric Winch.

This is the electric winch installed in place of the hand winch.  The winch has a 2000 lb capacity from Harbor Freight.  Normally costing $99.99, I had a coupon for half off.  Harbor Freight always has these winches on sale, so just keep watch of the sale bills.  I needed to drill new holes to mount the winch.  After getting the antenna back in the full and upright position, I used nail polish to mark the full extension of the antenna.  That way I do not have to stop the operation during raising.

 Using an old scrapped out homebrew rig someone made, the cabinet was made with aluminum.  I had cut some pieces off from other projects so all I had to do was use tin snips to notch each side to slide over the tower rung.  The weight of the battery keeps it in place without having to anchor it any further.  The battery is a 125 amp hour gel cell which is plenty enough power for the winch.

 Using another piece of scrap aluminum angle, I formed it to fit the tower and drilled the holes to use the extending holes holding the rungs to the tower.  Then cut the bottom half which fanned out to mount a flat piece of aluminum to mount the solar panel.  That put the solar panel at the right angle to the sun to trickle charge the battery so it is always ready to work. 

 This is the solar panel after mounting.  Another sale priced item from Harbor Freight I purchased a while back for another project I do not use anymore.

 Here is the complete setup now ready for action.  All the wiring, boxes, and switch that comes with the
electric winch is waterproof.  So using some ty-wraps to strap the control box to the tower and to keep the excess wires wrapped up and tucked away.  All this for under $75.00 was well worth the investment for now and in the future.