After a bit of cleaning outside, it was time to dig in and see what was going on. Removing the knobs and four slightly rusty screws let me remove the front panel to see if the band spread tuning dial could be fixed.
Turns out the frequency indicator dials (the large white disks) are connected to the tuning dial knob by friction fit. Turning the dial makes the indicator dials turn, and the shaft those dials are attached to are connected to the variable capacitors that do the tuning. The band spread dial was free-spinning because there wasn’t enough friction between the indicator dial and the tuning knob. While I was trying to figure out how to fix it, I discovered the screw at the back end of the tuning shaft was loose, and tightening that up made the tuning knob work again.
The other big issue I came across while looking around was a burnt capacitor across the AC input.
Not a good thing to see. I clipped the toasted capacitor out as well as the old two-prong non-polarized plug. I’ll see about wiring in a new three-prong plug and maybe a fuse as well.
Haven’t seen any other obvious component issues yet. There’s a multi-section electrolytic can capacitor that probably should be replaced, but there aren’t any signs of leakage.
The Half-Wave Society, W4BXC, was on the air once again from our back yard for Field Day this year. We were joined this year by newly inducted members Mark W8ZRB and Scarlett KO4ELA and their respective families.
Three deep-cycle AGM batteries provided an ample amount of power for the HF and 2m radios this year and had no problems keeping the HF radio going at 100 W. I’ve run the HF radio on one of these batteries before, but this is the first time I’ve had all three connected together to provide power.
An Arrow 2m/70cm J-pole was set up for the 2m radio. Wasn’t hearing much on the repeaters, but we did use the 2m radio to put some of the kids on the air over simplex with a handheld.
The CW key collection and Heathkit code practice oscillator I set out on the dining room table proved to be popular items with the crowd that wasn’t outside with me playing radio.
We managed a total of 67 QSOs this year on the 10m, 20m, and 40m bands. Propagation on 10m was pretty much non-existent. I wasn’t hearing any stations at all on Saturday, and just a lone station out of Missouri Sunday morning.
This year we’ve decided to make Ham the Terracotta Pig the official mascot for the W4BXC Half Wave Society. I think he makes for a very majestic looking mascot.
This year, the hamfest was quite a bit smaller in terms of the bone yard and vendors inside but considering the times, I thought the turn out was still pretty decent. Apparently there were a number of last minute cancellations so there wasn’t much in the way of commercial vendors at the hamfest this time. We still found a few things to buy from the swaps and people out in the bone yard though.
The hamfest acquisition I’m most excited about is one that Connie came across: a bin of slide rules and slide rule books including a neat little round slide rule. This will expand my slide rulecollection quite a bit. Some of the larger slide rules have scales I haven’t come across before, so I’m looking forward to learning about those and how to use them.
Other acquisitions included a couple boxes of ferrites and toroids, an Astron RS-35 power supply for the shack, and a stack of QRP Quarterly magazines someone was giving away.
Part of our day was spent serving as volunteer examiners for the testing session being held at the hamfest. We helped out with the afternoon shift, and had about 5 people taking tests in the afternoon. Most of the test takers were in the morning shift and it sounded like it was pretty busy.
Even though the hamfest wasn’t as big as the previous years we went, we still had a really good time.
Got a 70 cm mobile radio set up in the shack yesterday. It was a radio I picked up at the Charleston Hamfest a few years ago but had been sitting in the closet waiting for me to get to. After getting the 2m radios set up in the car and the shack, I decided it was time to turn my attention to the 70 cm radio.
The radio is a Yaesu FTM-3207D. It’s a nice, compact little radio, in pretty good shape, and works great. Programming the memory slots is pretty simple and pretty much the same procedure across the other Yaesu radios that I have, so getting the local 70 cm repeaters stored went pretty quickly (there aren’t a whole lot of them in the area).
The radio is currently connected to a 2m/70cm dual band mag mount that I used to have on the car. Got the mag mount set up on a shelf sitting on a side panel from an old computer case as a ground plane.
The microphone is still functional, but looks like it’s seen better days. The cable covering has become brittle and broken away. Fortunately, replacement cables are available and it’s easy enough to replace.
I managed to check into the local ARES net last night using a repeater about 30 miles away with the radio set to high power (55W). Don’t know how I sounded, but it must have been good enough for the net controller to pick me up.
I’ve got a little handheld Arrow 70 cm Yagi antenna, so maybe I’ll work on getting this radio outside to see if I can eavesdrop on some FM satellites, or see what kind of UHF FM simplex I can do.
Joining the 2m ground plane antenna in the attic now is a 6m/10m fan dipole.
There are too many rafters and roof supports above the ceiling to easily get a longer antenna into the attic, but a 10m dipole is short enough to get up there with some reasonable effort. I decided might as well make it a fan and add 6m to it as well.
Getting the antenna installed in the attic and connected up turned out to be a process that spanned a few weeks, but yesterday I finally got it connected up to the antenna analyzer (RigExpert Stick 230) and got everything trimmed up to about as good as it was going to get.
The SWR is under 3 for most of the 6m band dipping down to just above 2 around 51 MHz. For the 10m band, the SWR is under 2.6 across the band and dipping down to just above 2.2 at about 28.8 MHz.
The radio’s internal antenna tuner seems to handle the antenna pretty well. Now to see if I can make any contacts with it…