“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

       "The Barnstormers News"                                                                                                                                                                       Volume 9 No.5, July 3, 2004



As the Summer of 2004 races by….


Well, here we are deep into Summer and this issue is long overdue. For sure we have not been standing still and it also has been quite an eventful time for some of us. Let me recap some of the happenings.


Probably the most concerning event was Frank’s (K1EBY) health problems. Still recovering from some serious heart troubles he is dong well at home at struggling to get his medication under control. Frank put quite a scare into us but we knew he was to too tough and ugly to “sign off”.


Another personal event that looks like it may happen is Chris, N1XS, probably will be moving to Texas. I know I’m still hoping he finds a new job locally but Chris promises to be here for most of the major contests. He thinks the move will happen if it does sometime in late August.


Station-wise we have made good progress. Kim, KB1DFB, has finished the 40 Meter tower prop pitch installation and even has his 6 meter beam up on top. Thanks to KE1LI, AA1CE, and KB1FMM for all the help with this project. Thanks to Paul, K1GX, for checking and programming the M2 Prop Pitch Control. The ball is now in my court to get the “Dallas” finished. I am shooting for the end of August for that project to be done.


Dave, AA1CE, performed the first key click modification on the Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V. Mine was the guinea pig and it looks like everything is OK.  Two more Mark V and one MP to do!


Thanks to some eBay searching and buying the new 40-10 four station switching scheme has been installed. Thanks to Mark, NB1U, for bird dogging this project and getting us the parts. Kim and Chris got it all installed and it looks neat.


The tribander was repaired thanks to the donation of a CL-33 from Vic, N4XR.




Close Call in the Barn


I was home on a Tuesday and noticed I could not connect to the node computer.  I figured it was just another simple rebooting so I walked out to the barn to reset the thing. The minute I walked into the barn I could smell bad things. I went upstairs and found a power strip arching, smoking, and just plain burning up! I don’t know how bad it would have gotten had I not been home but you can almost assume it could have developed into a fire.


As it turns out, the previous owner had direct buried some aluminum overhead service cable and the neutral wire had corroded to the point where we had no neutral in the power circuits in the barn. One leg of the 220VAC input at times went up to 180 VAC. The damage upstairs has been quite extensive. Four computers, our big screen TV, most of the 12VDC wall units, and the VHS player. We still might find more.


To make a long story longer, my neighbor dug a new 150 foot trench Thursday evening. Kim, Chris and I ran conduit Friday, pulled wire and terminated wire Saturday. By noon we were back on the air but it had ruined our plans for a two transmitter Field Day weekend. We did get a tent set up and using a wire antenna Chris operated FD in the 5W class. I got a few minutes on the air but in all another disappointing year after planning a more serious effort. We had planned on setting up transmitter two in the tree house. To finish the weekend off Kim’s truck quit running and he spent all day Sunday working on it.



Jim, KZ1M, SK


It was quite a shock to hear that Jim, KZ1M, had passed away. Little Jim had contested here in the early days and was always fun to have with the crew. Thanks to all of you that donated to his Children’s Education Fund and we were able to send a check for $135 from the Barnstormers.



UHF/VHF Contesting


In June, Kim, Chris, Paul (KE1LI) and Joe (K1JN), operated in the June VHF/UHF QSO Party.  I believe setting a new high, the boys made over 700 QSOs and scored more than 110,000 points.  This contest was the closest Kim has come to his goal of winning the New England Limited Class. Who knows, maybe he has as some scores have still not shown up on the web pages. Joe had quite a great time and has stated the fun he had many times over to his gang at CT RI Contest group, of which many of us are members. Chris, WB2VVV, stopped by and as usual is a wealth of knowledge when we start talking VHF/UHF.



IARU is coming up next weekend and I know Frank and Chris are planning to operate in the MultiOp/Mixed Mode category. Frank still gets tired easily so they need more operators. I will be out of town that weekend and returning late on Sunday. I am seeing Alain who has been away since May 28th with a Drum and Bugle Corp home based in Milwaukee.


Please let Chris know if you can help.




Well, I typed in another 1700+ QSLs and will print out the labels as soon as I get some from Staples. If you have any blank labels laying around let me know. Anything helps! Paul, KE1LI stuck on the last 1400 labels and can’t wait to do it again! I feed him beer while he works.



More VHF stuff….


Kim will be putting together an effort in the CQWW VHF Contest which will be held July 17-18. This is 6 and 2 meters only. We hope to have power on these two bands for this contest.



Thanks for the Repairs


Again we had a pile of blown up equipment both from operating and the power problems in the barn. Thanks again to Al, K1JCL for repairing the Prop Pitch Controller, the 440 Brick, and the 50 Amp Astron Supply. Kim ran the equipment out in the “ampulance”.


We are hoping Terry, KB1FMM, can rework the converted 6 Meter SB-220 so we can drive it with the FT-847. It needs a tuned input as the FT-847 shuts itself down due to the input impedance of the SB-220.


I will try not to be so long between issues next time.


73 and enjoy the Summer but remember we have projects to get done. – Dick – KB1H