“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

 “The Barnstormer’s News”                                                                         Volume 5 No.8 September 19, 2000


Contest Season 2000-2001 Is Just Around the Corner…..


Where did the summer go? What summer? I went in the pool only twice. Since IARU in July the station has been pretty dormant. As the new contest season approaches we have our list of projects that have to be attacked very quickly. Before I get to the list here is a few of the things that have been happening.


We finally got our club call for “The Barnstormers Contest Group” – KB1FOX. We have since filed for a vanity call – NZ1U. Why NZ1U? Well, we had narrowed the available calls to AG1N, NZ1U, KU1T, and KU1R. Further research on active contest prefixes narrowed the field down to AG1N and NZ1U. Taking a vote among the operators proved to be about a dead heat. Both calls were good for CW but NZ1U had a slight edge for SSB. Thinking about running rates and average power out (due to longer letter annunciation), NZ1U got the final nod. NZ1U can be used probably without phonetics. Also DX stations might have a problem confusing “G” with “J”. Thanks to NT1N at ARRL for the help in digging out the best calls still available and Chris, N1XS, for pushing the paperwork through. NZ1U should be fun in WPX contests this year!


Kim, KB1DFB, single-handedly shingled the barn roof this past summer. About 21 squares of shingles, three rolls of ice barrier, and more tarpaper later the roof looks great. No more leaks. Now we can fix the ceiling again. We will install the tri-bander back on the roof in the next few weeks. Yes Frank. We are putting that dummy load back up!


In the past week or so, Chris has installed the ethernet network. We have tested Stations 1, 2 & 3 and have the cable to hook up Station #4. Kim ran the new network cables and removed the unneeded serial cables. This should be a great improvement.


Mark, NB1U, has begun work on the new and improved Barnstormers Web Page. Hopefully in the next month we will be at a point that the old page will be shutdown and the new one announced. It looks great so far!


Now for the Dreaded “To Do List”…..


The upper 10 meter beam has a 2 to 1 SWR. We haven’t troubleshot this yet but the worst case scenario will be having to remove the rotor, lower the mast, and fix the upper beam. This is probably the toughest of the tasks we need to do before CQWW SSB.


The 40 Meter 3 element KLM has about a 10 to 1 SWR!! Again we have not researched this yet but sounds like it maybe water in the coax or balun. Not a hard job to fix I hope.


The 3-element 203BA is ready to go on the 20 meter tower. The switching box is also built and needs to be mounted. The wiring to accommodate the new beam with the WX0B Stackbox needs to be re-arranged both on the tower and the patch panel in the shack.


I have permission from my cousin to run a rope from his windmill tower. This means we can put up a full size 160 meter wire antenna with the ends at about 90 and 120 feet. I plan on using open line feed up to the antenna from the ground and then have an enclosure below the center feed point. The enclosure will make the transition from open line to coax feedline.


I have not done any more on “The Dallas” 40 meter beam but I did send a prop pitch motor out to M2 for rebuilding and adding of an indicating mechanism. We will also be getting a new control box that has programmable settings, variable speeds, and electrical stops. No more interstation gabs for beam headings on the prop pitch rotor. Also the project will include moving the prop pitch down to ground level. This is a fairly large project and will cost probably in the neighborhood of $1K.


Scheduling all this work….


Starting with this weekend (Sept 23-24) I want to begin the work. I will contact Dave, AA1CE, and see if he is available for tower work. I hope to then work at least every other weekend (Mary works that schedule so she won’t have a list for me!) until we get the jobs done.


Testing the stations…


We can not make the same mistake we made in IARU. We had serious interference problems, radio control glitches, and network trouble. We need to test our setup before 0000Z on October 28th. I hope to confirm the hardware for four stations in the next few weeks. We will be entering the M/M class with 4 stations. I realize we are not competitive in this class but it makes the maximum points for YCCC and gives us more practice for the ARRL contests where we enter the M/2 class. Setting up and testing all the stations is a MUST!!


Finally have you paid your YCCC dues. The meeting requirement is not necessary for CQWW but your dues have to be paid. Again we will be striving for 100% YCCC membership with our crew.


Keep in touch and please help us get ready for our 2000-2001 Kick Butt session.


73 Dick