“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

 “The Barnstormers News”                                                                          Volume 6 No.4, April 2 2001

 

Contest Season 2000 – 2001 Completed….

 

            Well, the 2000-2001 season finished with our effort in ARRL SSB. As I look back on the four major contests, I would say we had a fairly successful year. I believe our scores increased in all the contests and not all the increase can be said due to better conditions. As I suspected, our score will increase now by better operating practices and experience. The rate of increase won’t be as great as when we were adding aluminum in the air but a continuing upward trend is our goal.

 

            Our Multi/Multi entries in CQWW always look pale against the likes of KC1XX, W3LPL, and others. I still consider these two contests training for the ARRL contests where we are competitive in the Multi/2 category. In the ARRL contests we did fairly well. I think we proved to ourselves that running is the way we can improve the most. We had some really fantastic multipliers call in while we were running and soon I hope to look at the logs to put a number on this point.

 

            I thank everyone for their efforts this past year and it’s always great to see KB1H or NZ1U high in the results. We couldn’t achieve this without a team effort.

 

The Next Few Months….

 

We didn’t actually finish the year in too good shape equipment-wise and antenna-wise. I have a pile of three busted linears that need to be fixed. We do not have a rotating antenna that does not have a rotor problem!! Yes, all four rotors (not including the prop pitch) are busted. Some might only need to be swapped out others need major re-installation.

 

I don’t really want to wait until September to start all the work. My plan is now to get one rotor rebuilt and then work our way through the towers. I will be sending the first rotor out this week for overhauling. When it returns we need to get the 15 meter rotor replaced. Then send the removed rotor out, receive it back, swap another, and so on.

 

Here is a major problem for me. I have some home projects that have been lying idle for three years (Mary would probably say more). Rather than list all those I would rather list the station projects that need to get done. Every time some work has to get done on the station, I usually get involved. I can not do that this year. I realize we all have quite a busy schedule so time is precious. If you can only come one weekend I understand but also understand if someone comes every weekend or every other weekend, I am here for all. I can not do that this year. I will help organize the necessary parts and help but I might not be able to spend the whole day. You all also know that Kim’s time around here has been less. Believe me, he did a major part of preparation for most projects. If not on the station then on the house jobs I have to do. Now I will have to whip JP and Alain to help and I thought you guys were tough!

 

Other than Field Day, I do not plan any major operating until most of the repairs are done. We can not expect to improve in October if we still have bad rotors, poor listening antennas, blown amps.

 

Now to the dreaded list:

 

            Rotors:

 

10 Meter rotor has a shaky indicating potentiometer. This has been a longstanding problem.

 

15 Meter top rotor has stopped turning.

 

20 Meter rotor needs the thrust bearing and rotor plate re-aligned. The rotor maybe OK once the realignment is done.

 

40 Meter Prop Pitch. There is $800 worth of investment that is sitting on the bench. We need to install the new unit. This is not a small job as we plan to put the new prop pitch at ground level.

 

15 Meter Sidearm. A new Yaesu rotor needs to be installed. This means dropping the sidearm and drilling new mounting holes. Also the rotor and Stackbox needs to be re-wired.

 

            Antennas:

 

I hope to finally build the “Dallas” antenna this year.  Until then we have to repair the KLM 40 which is now 2 ˝ elements.

 

                        We are planning a temporary Field Day tower. 30-40 feet of Rohn 25.

 

Yes Frank, I would like to get the tri-bander back on the roof. Plans are to use the Ham IV from the sidearm for this antenna.

 

Beverages. We have the K1FZ devices for termination and impedance matching. We need to run the two-wire beverages and get these boxes

installed.

 

 

            Interior Station Work:

 

I have purchased two RF Analyst SWR detectors. I hope this will help us protect the amps. The last two failures have been due to problems with the antenna switching, both equipment and man-made error. Hopefully these devices will protect us from our mistakes. These units need to be installed.

 

I ordered 500 feet of coax. My plan is to tear down Stations 1 & 2 and re-wire both desks. The “rat’s nest” that exist now only leads to mistakes and probably additional RFI problems. This includes 12 VDC circuits as well as computer lines.

 

We need to install the computer network.

 

Station #5 (the QSLing position next to the TV) needs to be re-wired. The 220V and 110V circuits need to be move from under the large windows to Station #5. A good grounding system needs to be installed.

 

Kim and I have started re-routing coaxes and installing feed pipes for each position. This will enable us to seal the holes better above the stations. We have begun our war against the red squirrels.

 

Repair the ceiling that is falling down.

 

You can see the list is long. We also have talked some of these projects to death. Let’s get started right away. Look at the list. What can you do? Maybe work as groups of 2-3 and get something done. I know the tower work is tough to schedule but we will have to get it done.  I suspect most of the time I can help will have to be on the tower work. I know Paul and Dave will also help on the towers.

 

If we don’t get this work done how can we get excited about the 2001-2002 season? I hate nothing worse than to start a contest with a disadvantage. So, please help me out this year. I’ll get my “honeydew” list done and have a much cleaner plate to start when CQWW SSB comes around.