15 September 2011

The Fun Factor

Sorry if this is not a technical post, but it is closely related with my amateur radio equipment repairs.
Back when I began to fix my own radios, at the end of the 1990s, it was a treat for me to get them working again. It was so nice that I began to buy nonworking radios just for the fun of fixing them. So the Fun Factor back then was high.

Then, some people around (other local hams) needed to fix their own rigs and I began to fix rigs for free for other people. Soon I found that there was too much work to do and, as a way to keep the flow controlled, I began to get some cash from the repairs. So far, so good: Fun Factor was again at a reasonable level, if not so high than before.

But now, some years later, I find myself overflown by rigs to fix and, luckily only sometimes, also by angry people who want the work done NOW. And CHEAP. So, steadily but irremissibly, the Fun Factor has gone down and down and down... and now is close to zero. I have almost completely stopped to use my own rigs and, seldomly, fix my own nonworking rigs (which I have in large quantity, waiting for care). So I am fixing other people rigs about 95% of my hobby time and just a 5% of the time is devoted to, for example, write on this BLOG (now you can understand why it has so few updates!)

But I have taken a decision: I want the Fun Factor back. So I plan to carefully filter what I am going to fix for other people. No more bulb changing, simple mods or even just admitting to fix abused rigs. I am sorry, this is not an NPO. I want to use my hobby time to learn about RF circuits, operate my radio station and fix my rigs. And, then, fix some other people rigs. But not the opposite!

Sorry for these ramblings but I needed to write this down so it will be an unbreakable decision. You will know if I succeed by the number of posts here!

Thanks for reading :-)


28 February 2011

Back to SATs! (2)

Well, there were some problems with my antenna setup of last week... one of the problems is that I have replaced the sepparate rotor controls (Yaesu G-400RC and Kenpro KR-500) for a all-in-one Yaesu G-5600B (note that I have replaced only the control box, which I bought used some years ago). I have done this in order to control the rotors from the PC easily, as the G-5600B control includes internal relays and has buffered positioning signals.

But one problem is that it is a South referenced control... and my antennas were North referenced. This was not hard to fix :-)

Then a worse problem arised, as there was some miscalculation on the 2m elevation antenna and one director collided with the 6m boom from about 50ยบ elevation... not a good thing!

In order to fix the bent element, I needed to access to the 2m Yagi. But it was too far to reach. So I modified the antenna position by displacing the elevation boom. Current positioning is shown on next picture, with the elevation antennas pointing to sky:

I have also reshuffled the rigs on my main radio station position, so now I have a rig devoted to SATs (Yaesu FT-847), another for Earth work :-) (Yaesu FT-736R) and another for local work (Kenwood TS-790E). Of course, all of them could be used in the others roles, but this is my first approach.

I have ordered an AMSAT-UK LVB Tracker Kit (I have ordered the cheapest one, as I plan to do a custom case and add my own display and buttons) and will work also on the FT-847 CAT control from a tracking program (I will look for a program which cares about Doppler)

So, all in all, things are progressing!


20 February 2011

Back to SATs!

Well, not yet, but, after 10 years without elevation antennas, they are back in my tower !

Here you have a picture of the installation done during this weekend. Now is the turn for the tracking interface... more to come!!!