New battery for the Voltohmyst

Finally got around to replacing the old corroded soldered-in D cell in the RCA Voltohmyst with a new battery today.

1.5V Battery
1.5V Battery

Snipped the wires off the battery and into the trash it went. Had to drill out a rivet to remove the battery holder clip.

Voltohmyst battery removed
Voltohmyst battery removed

The battery holder is a little on the big side and just fits into the space vacated by the old battery and clip. Soldered the wires onto the battery holder and fastened it to the Voltohmyst using some double sided tape.

New battery holder
New battery holder

Now it’s got a new battery that can be replaced whenever it’s needed.

New battery installed
New battery installed

Next thing to do is go through the  manual and read up on how to calibrate the meter.

Museum Ships Weekend 2018

I ended up being busier than originally anticipated and was only able to operate in Museum Ships Weekend for a few hours Saturday afternoon.

I started off with doing some logging. Band conditions on 20m were pretty crummy and there wasn’t a whole lot of activity we could hear, but we managed to hunt down about 6 other museum ships.

Then it was my turn on the radio and managed to nab a couple more museum ships. Found an open frequency to start calling on, made a few contacts into the Midwest and Northeast. Then a pileup happened and I was working stations as far as CA, and even a few DX stations (Austria, Belgium, and Italy). That lasted about 30 minutes, and then as quickly as the band opened, it shut down again. Towards the end, static crashes from thunderstorms rolling in from the west obliterated any signals we could make out on 20m.

I decided to call it a day around 6PM and turned things over to the evening crew, but I’m not sure they were able to dig up much more activity even after the thunderstorms went by.

There were about 48 contacts, including 10 museum ships (I think) by the time I left. I’ll find out later how the rest of the weekend went.

An Instructograph

While I was rummaging around through the club’s storage room yesterday, I came across an old Instructograph machine. I’m not sure how old this particular unit iss, but it looks like it has definitely seen better days.

Instructograph label
Instructograph label
Instructograph
Instructograph
Instructograph
Instructograph

It’s a paper tape based Morse code trainer with the Morse code encoded as holes in the paper tape. Along with the Instructograph were nine tins containing other tapes. Seven of them were rusted closed so I didn’t try to force them open. A couple were left open, including the one already on the Instructograph.

Instructograph tape tins
Instructograph tape tins
Instructograph tin
Instructograph tin
Open instructograph tin
Open instructograph tin

The Instructograph is essentially just an automatic straight keyer with an audio oscillator. As the paper tape moves between the contacts, the key is closed where the dots and dashes are punched out of the paper and generates the tone. The tapes are double-sided, so when you finish playing one, you just flip it over, thread it back onto the machine and play the other side.

Instructograph contact switch
Instructograph contact switch

I think the tape speed would have been controlled using this lever on the panel.

Instructograph speed control
Instructograph speed control

No idea if the Instructograph still works or what kind of condition the innards are in. The paper tapes are in somewhat delicate condition and I’m not sure if they’d hold up to much playing anymore if the Instructograph did work.

Special Event: USS Yorktown (CV10) Commissioning 75th Anniversary Day 1

The special event station for the Yorktown’s 75th commissioning anniversary went fairly well. Operations started off with one of the club members operating the Waterway Net on 40m from the club room, and then we got set up to start calling on 20 m. I spent a couple hours or so working stations on 20 m, moving around occasionally because of QRM. Many stations were coming in pretty loud and clear, although at times the fading got a bit deep.

We tried to move down to 40 m after noon, but got a report that our audio had a lot of RF noise in it, so we spent some time trying to figure out where it was coming from. We ended up narrowing it down to a few culprits: noisy laptops and a noisy power supply built into the FT-897. Something we’ll have to troubleshoot further.

We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon up on 20 m doing a mix of SSB and digital, but with storms moving in, there were loud static crashes all over the place, and we only made a few more contacts. With the band dead, storms getting closer, and a tornado watch issued by the weather service, we decided to call it a day around 3ish.

Finished the day with 55 contacts in the log. Not bad for a few hours of casual operating.

 Band   Mode  QSOs 
     7  LSB     10
     7  PSK3     2
    14  OLIV     1 
    14  RTTY     5
    14  USB     37
 Total  Both    55

Special Event: USS Yorktown (CV10) Commissioning 75th Anniversary Day 0

Even though tomorrow is the actual day of the USS Yorktown’s commissioning, I thought I’d spend the afternoon in the club room activating WA4USN and get a few more contacts in for the special event. I was joined by two other hams for the afternoon.

Things didn’t quite go exactly as planned, but still went fairly well.

After spending some time figuring out the Yaesu FT-897 that was sitting where I expected the Kenwood 570 to be, I started calling CQ on 20 m. After a few calls, we (WA4USN) got a call over the repeater from a ham at a radio station set up at a nearby Boy Scout camp asking if he could put some Cub Scouts on the air with us for the special event.

Always a good thing to get on the air with Scouts, so we talked with a group of Cub Scouts (Webelos) and then got back to HF. Spent some time calling, and then another call on the repeater with another group of Scouts. Rinse and repeat.

After the third group or so, we decided to just give up on HF and spent the rest of the afternoon talking to Cub Scouts (I was too lazy to break out the headphones).

So even though there were no HF contacts today, I still consider it to be a pretty good day on the radio. Talked to 21 Scouts in total, mostly Cub Scouts. Many weren’t terribly talkative, but a few were downright chatty. Some of them learned about the Yorktown. All got exposed to radio and it seemed to have generated some interested at the camp.

Tomorrow will be all HF though.