CARS President-elect

So I’m now the President-elect of the Charleston Amateur Radio Society.

The nominating committee put forth their selections for the club officers at the June meeting, and at the last meeting this past Monday, people at the meeting voted for them. Since nobody else stepped forward to throw their hat into the ring, the officers selected by the nominating committee were all elected by acclamation. Of the officer positions, the only new person was the President (me).

I’ll start my new job with the August meeting. It’s a bit of a higher profile position than I’m used to taking, but I’m looking forward to serving the club as President as the club heads towards its 50th anniversary in a few years.

 

Power supply: It lives!

The power supply lives!

On my initial inspection of the power supply, the only obvious thing wrong that I had found was a blown fuse. After replacing the power cord, I noticed the power on lamp had burned out too.

Off I went to the last remaining Radio Shack in my area (a franchise store, also known as Hurricane Electronics) to see if I could find some fuses and a replacement lamp. Found some replacement fuses easily enough (35V, 20A), and much to my surprise, replacement bulbs that were the exact same style as what was already on the power supply.

Replacing the light was easy enough, but took a bit longer than expected. The original pair of wires for the light kept breaking when I tried to put the light back into place, so I ended up just replacing the two wires with some 18 gauge stranded wire I had. Once the light was back in place, I plugged the power supply in and on came the light. Yay!

Power supply light
Power supply light

Then I replaced the fuse, turned it back on and was greeted with the meter telling me there was 13ish volts. With my DMM, I read 13.3 V DC at the meter.

13.4V DC output
13.4V DC output

I tweaked the pot at the control board to bring it up to 13.7 V DC.

Tweaked up to 13.7V DC output
Tweaked up to 13.7V DC output

So it looks like the only problem with the power supply was the blown fuse. Now to see how it works with a load applied.

Power supply schematic 20170708
Power supply schematic 20170708

Power supply: Power plug replacement

With the power supply schematic mostly done (I need to make another pass through to check that I got everything right), I decided the power supply needed a new input plug.

The power supply came with a two prong plug and a smaller two prong socket for power input. At some point someone had soldered a regular two prong power cord to the plug, which I quickly removed (mostly to get it out of the way).

Back panel AC in
Back panel AC in

The smaller socket (the round one on the right in the image below) looked like it might have been something standard decades ago, but didn’t look like anything I recognized.

Back panel power output
Back panel power output

The plug and socket both came out, and I dug out an old three prong power cord from the junk box. After spending some time figuring out how to connect things, I wired in the power cord.

New power cord
New power cord

Inside I used a terminal block to connect the power cord with the wires that used to run from the original plug.

Power cord connections
Power cord connections
Power cord connections
Power cord connections

Ground on the power cord got tied to the chassis, while the neutral line went straight to the transformer, and the hot line to the power switch.

Plugging it in and pushing the power switch made the transformer produce the characteristic buzzing sound, but it looks like the power indicator lamp is burned out. 23.2 V AC measured on the output of the transformer, which seemed reasonable. No smoke released, which is a good sign.

Now that I can get power into the power supply, I can start figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

My first boat anchor!

I’ve acquired my first boat anchor radio!

One of my friends from the photography meetup I’m in messaged me and asked if I’d be interested in an old radio he was helping a friend of his sell.

I’m now the owner of a Hammarlund HQ-100 receiver that powers on, but will need a fair bit of restoration work.

Hammarlund HQ-100
Hammarlund HQ-100
Hammarlund HQ-100
Hammarlund HQ-100

I even got a speaker to go with it.

Hammarlund HQ-100 speaker
Hammarlund HQ-100 speaker

It’s a bit of a heavy beast, but not quite as heavy as it looks. Undoing two screws let me slide the cover off to look inside.

Inside the Hammarlund HQ-100, top view
Inside the Hammarlund HQ-100, top view
Inside the Hammarlund HQ-100, bottom view
Inside the Hammarlund HQ-100, bottom view

There’s a fair bit of dust and corrosion on the components, but except for the band spread dial, all the controls seem to work. Not sure how the radio spent the last few decades of its life. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to replace a few components, especially the mechanical bits. Smells like the previous owner might have been a smoker, but it’s hard to really tell.

This is going to be a fun restoration project to work on. It’s going to take me a while, but I’m going to enjoy working on it.

Field Day 2017

Another ARRL Field Day weekend has come and gone.

This year was a pretty good one. I spent a little less time at the radios this year than in previous years, but it was still busy.

Started out with getting the radio at home set up on battery power (2 SLA batteries that had been pulled out of my UPSs) and getting the antenna mostly up in the air.

Antenna setup
Antenna setup
Battery powered radio
Battery powered radio

I didn’t get to use the radio at home, but Connie was able to use it to make a contact Saturday evening. She started off at 5 W, but wasn’t able to break any pileups. After stepping up to a few different power levels, she was able to make a contact at 50 W, which the batteries apparently handled without complaint. The antenna setup is far from ideal, and I imagine most of the 50 W she had to use ended up warming up the sky overhead. But it still worked. Operating at reduced power is something we’ll have to work on.

The bulk of my Field Day was spent at the USS Yorktown. Once we got the operating positions set up, it was just a matter of waiting for the festivities to start at 1800UTC. We had our usual operating locations off the port side of the flight deck.

WA4USN operating locations
WA4USN operating locations

We also had a lot more visitors to our Field Day operation than in past years. The lady in charge of the overnight camping program at Patriots Point brought groups of Scouts and other campers by every now and then, so we got to show them a little bit about what amateur radio was about.

Our digital station was set up on a dipole mounted on the starboard side of the flight deck but it wasn’t performing very well, so it ended up getting replaced by a Butternut multi-band vertical that was stashed away in the club room. After some assembly, we got the dipole down and the vertical up and everything was performing beautifully.

Assembling the Butternut
Assembling the Butternut
Assembling the Butternut
Assembling the Butternut
New antenna in the air!
New antenna in the air!

One of the things that makes doing Field Day from the Yorktown so great is the view. It’s pretty hard to beat.

Sunday morning, the alternate power source was pulled out of the club room and put to work.

Alternate power
Alternate power
Alternate power
Alternate power

It’s an old exercise bicycle with an alternator attached to the front wheel via a belt. It actually works well enough to power a radio. Unfortunately, the load on the alternator when the radio transmits makes you feel like you’ve suddenly hit a wall while pedaling and the radio shuts off because you’ve stopped pedaling. Entertaining, but not very effective.

Overall, another excellent and fun Field Day with CARS/WA4USN. I think next year I’ll try to do a bit more of Field Day from home.