By Gary Agranat. Participating were Bill Miller and Gary Agranat.
Bill Miller and Gary Agranat represented the Deep Space Exploration Society at the 2019 Haswell Bazaar last Saturday, October 26th. The bazaar is held at the town’s community center, which is their former elementary school. At the bazaar are crafts, foods, and specialized products sold by local residents. Our antenna site is located just a few miles from the community center. The fair is also an opportunity for the local residents to socialize. And for us in DSES, it is a chance for us to socialize with them too.
Bill Miller created two new display panels for the event. These present an illustrated overview of our work and accomplishments to date. The panels are organized into four topics: infrastructure work, our radio astronomy science, ham radio, and outreach.
Gary brought a laptop which presented a running slide show of about 180 photos of our activities from the past year.
The bazaar concluded by 3 PM. The bazaar was a good opportunity for us to participate in the community activities, to show to the community what we do, and to continue to foster our good relationships with each other.
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During the past year, the local railroad line that runs east-west through town had restoration work begun. The line had been abandoned several decades ago. We learned that the original Haswell railroad depot building is still in town. We were told where it is, and we went to look. We were told that if passenger rail service was restored, there was interest to restore this depot, and bring it back to the rail line and utilize it again. It is the only surviving railroad depot building from the original Missouri Pacific Railroad.
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After the bazaar was finished, we stopped at our Plishner antenna site. There we looked at the progress of the ham radio tower. And Gary retrieved the ham radio log data from the most recent contacts. Steve Plock made our first contacts with the Yagi antenna on the new tower last Friday. He contacted AG5Z in Mississippi on the 20 meter band, and 9Y4D in Trinidad on the 15 meter band.
Steve and I went to the project. We had perfect weather.
We got the messenger cable between the tower and dog house up, and we got the coax cables strapped to the cable. We dressed the cables in the bunker with the cable end for the Tribander at the radios. Steve turned the radios and made a contact with one of the islands (a 9Y, Trinidad and Tobago) on 15 meters. He also made a 20 meter contact with Mississippi. The Tribander is working well.
I put the batteries in the new CO detector and left it on the desk with the fire alarms. I will complete the install on the next trip down.
Steve has pictures of the messenger cable and the used gas grill he picked up. I fixed the grill’s electric igniter.
Plishner Antenna Site Work Trip Report. By Gary Agranat. Photos by Steve Plock.
Ed Corn, Steve Plock, and Gary Agranat traveled to the Plishner antenna site in Haswell this past Saturday, October 19, 2019. The team completed erecting the 50-foot ham radio tower.
Completing the tower erection involved several tasks:
Installing the 3-band/3-element Yagi HF ham antenna,
Installing the 2-meter band vertical antenna on top of that mast. This will be our new antenna for our VHF talk-in radio system.
Installing two stand-off bracketed supports near the top of the tower on the sides, to raise and hold the 80 meter band and 160 meter band dipole wire antennas. This arrangement replaces the long pole that previously centrally supported those wire antennas. These bracket supports each have a pulley and rope, to raise and lower the wire antennas. The tower also supports a 6-meter band delta-loop antenna, which is simply tied from height.
Securing the coax cables for the Yagi and vertical antennas along the side of the tower.
Properly arranging the system of wires, coaxes, and support cables.
Raising the 50-foot tower, which involves turning the winch system that rotates the tower up from its pivot plate at its base. The 50-foot tower is raised from a pulley system on a second smaller adjacent tower.
Once the 50-foot tower is raised, securing 3 guy cables.
Steve tested the SWR of the 3-band Yagi antenna with an analyzer. The antenna elements had been measured and assembled on a previous trip, to be optimized for the middle of each of the operating bands, of the 10, 15 and 20 meter bands. Steve measured an SWR ratio of 1:1 (perfect) at 28.51 MHz for the 10 meter band, and 1:1 at 21.19 MHz for the 15 meter band. The 20 meter band resonated with an SWR of 1:1.35 at 14.16 MHz. This is excellent, and as expected.
For lunch, Steve treated us with smoked ribs from Broken Bones BBQ in Monument, with sauces, potato salad, and coleslaw. Gary brewed coffee. Also, the team met first at the firehouse in Ellicott. Gary baked orange-cranberry muffins. We ate our muffins at the firehouse, and shared the rest with the fire department crews there.
The tower should significantly improve our capability to communicate long distances on the 10, 15, and 20 meter bands with the Yagi. The 2 meter band vertical should enable us to communicate on our talk-in VHF radio system to much further out.
Recently Dr. Richard Russel attended the Very Large Array (VLA) Imaging course in Socorro, New Mexico. This course taught how to take the data sets from the VLA archive and produce images. The following is the first set of images reduced from the VLA archive by Dr. Russel.
Images were made of these astronomical objects:
3C75 Binary Black Hole System
3C391 Supernova Remnant
Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) Star IRC+10216
MG0414+0534 Gravitational Lens HI Absorption Line
Each image takes about 1 day to produce from the raw observation.
Attendance: Ed Corn, Gary Agranat, Myron Babcock, Phil Gage, Rich Russel, Bob Haggard, Dave Molter, Lewis Putnam, Jonathan Ares. Online via TeamViewer: Tony Bigbee.
Next work Trip in 21st of Sept. Gary and Ed may also use the 28th for to work on the tower.
Pointing System 1 HW/SW status and completeness: Phil Gage, Dave Molter, Johnathan Ares
3 weeks ago. Fixed the bad bit by jumpering to another channel and changed the SW to match. Tested and Ed verified last weekend.
Dish mount stiction and inertia make continuous control too erratic so need to do a step and drift control.
The team took data on the command voltage verses speed and found both axes to be pretty linear. See the graph.
Glenn added a computer supported manual control that tells the operator what commands to give the system to track manually. A little labor intensive but works.
With elevation axes is now stable and we should do a calibration using astronomical objects.
Should also mark the feed horn mountings to reduce the RF pointing error when changing or reinstalling the feed antenna.
Make a table of offsets for each feed and do a calibration for each feed.
Bill gave system 1 team the control relay circuitry used in System 2.
Pointing System 2 HW/SW status and completeness: Bill Miller
The PID control system that Ed Johnson implemented in the SW has been tested and can drive the dish mount to within one or two bits on the encoders.
The system worked fairly well on the last test in July except that the system would hang up and continue to drive the mount when it should have stopped. This sometimes caused an overshoot or required manual shut down.
Bill is building a physical simulator to make it easier to trouble shoot the system 2 without the Plishner Dish. In this way Ed can work on the SW at home and work out these last bugs.
It would be nice to have a second spare encoder to work this but the lowest cost one found on eBay was over $500.
Synchro pointing system status and completeness: Bill Miller
The Azimuth Synchro system worked when installed last year. Bill installed the Elevation Synchro in the early June Trip but when testing there was a problem in the system with a fault to ground. This is 120VAC supply current flowing where it shouldn’t and must be fixed to be safe.
Several of the old terminal boxes were used in the hookup. Bill suspects that one of those is causing the leakage. We will have to trace down and correct this before the synchro can be used as a backup pointing system.
Members are asked not to plug the synchro panel into AC power until this is resolved.
Dish Feed system status and changes
There was apparently a lightning strike on the dish this summer that took out the feed electronics and the power supply in the trailer.
Steve worked on the feed and found a bad amplifier. Steve rebuilt the amplifier pack and still found another bad amplifier. Skip sent Steve a set of amplifiers that he will install on the next trip.
Steve has the noise source to test the RF through the amplifier chain.
The power supply was also bad, and Skip shipped a new one that works.
Preparation for Stratospheric and Moon Bounce (EME) radio operation.
Ray and Steve terminated the hardline on the 3rd deck and will attach to extensions down to the tower base. One hard line is complete.
Need to be careful to get the feed mounted exactly as we had it.
Hope to be able to do Stratospheric long distance communication and Moon bounce (or EME) in the autumn or near future.
Status of Hydrogen Detector at Rich’s House
Rich has taken 4 declinations in a daily drift scan and is generating a composite color image of the HI emission.
Ray added a second LNA in the system that works much better than the first.
Drift scan HI is working well and anyone in the core group can get the data from Rich’s computer. Send him an email.
Pulsar Detector Status
Have the Cavity filter and Low Noise Amplifier for pulsar has just been received and we have the SDR made for this calibrated and ready to go from Steve and Joe Martin in New Mexico.
Will try for the strongest Pulsars with the long Yagi in Rich’s back yard.
A dish with tracking or a Yagi array would be better.
SETI observation plans and schedule
Steve has a
time crunch to fix the feed, power supply and amplifiers and make it work by
the end of September for a 3 day run.
Plans to do Tropospheric Radio Communication
Want to do
Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming
Plans for Moon Bounce Radio Communication
Tentatively considering upcoming ARRL contest weekends. Two weekends in October 19th and 20th and November 16th and 17th.
Ham Radio Station and Antenna Status
Ed and Gary built the 50-foot tower and are ready to mount the tribander beam antenna for 10, 15 and 20 Meters on the rotor.
Will also mount a 2 meter antenna on the side of the tower for the talk in radio.
Ed reworked the buckled pipe section of the vertical antenna with some clamps and bradding to make a splint to repair.
Gary rechecked the vertical antenna SWR with an antenna analyzer. He reports antenna is working as well or better. He posted a table of SWR values for each band behind the station operating desk.
Repaired the broken radios.
Gary operated three QSO parties: for Hawaii, Ohio, and Kansas, and made CW and SSB contacts on all three.
In the open house we had a special event station and had a number of members get on the air.
When using the Ham radio Equipment make sure to unplug the Antennas from the radios when you leave.
The tower is a tip down design. The winch will tip down the tower to be able to lower the antenna and work on the antenna.
Ed has the Electrical system built out. A couple of stubs for add ons are all that is left.
Need a 32-inch steel clad pre-hung door for the top of the spiral staircase.
Need cement board to skirt the trailer. Dave may have some.
Installed the mid hallway door and it needs the blocking panel at the top
In the future would like to slit the tool room into two compartments.
After he amateur tower is finished Ed will install the hot water heater.
Will also install a European type shower.
Ed wants to have a dump station with a grinder pump and pump out the sewer line.
Ed uses a deveining rod method to locate the pipes and wires.
He says the sewer line runs to the SE corner of the lot were there is a square vault and then a pipe leaves that and goes across the road.
Open House. Bill owes the group a report.
Need the Attendance list from Myron which was let in the Comm. Trailer
Need any additional photos that you took. Paul Berge may have more.
October Haswell Bazar. This will be in late October. Bill and Gary plan to support a table.
Myron’s Treasures Report
At Monument Mega Fest made $356 selling surplus equipment.
United way Philadelphia $30
Collected $260 in dues and a $50 donation, $88 in food donations for the open house
Expense for electric account is $128 for July and will be between $70 and $125 monthly.
Telephone is $38.25/month for only 911 and the local exchange
55 members 35 voting 25 not voting
18 have not renewed
$90 charge for Eads newspaper ads for open house
May approach Dalton Eichenberg on spraying or getting a brush hog on the site.
CHIMES program in Canada. Canadian Hydrogen Mapping Long term project. They need infrastructure, power and fiber. 150 by 150 ft. footprint.
The block wall has made a big difference in the mud flow. The bulker hasn’t had a lot of water since the pump was replaced. Batteries in the battery box in the battery room are dead and Ed will hook in the RR batteries for the Inverter power.
The DSES 9-foot dish is operational at Dr. Russel’s house in Colorado Springs. It is outfitted with a 1420 MHz feed with 2 low-noise amplifiers with over 40 dBi of gain and a noise figure of 0.35. The receiving system is a Spectracyber 1.
The output of the Spectracyber shows the relative peaks of hydrogen with a corresponding Doppler measurement.
Dr. Russel performed a drift scan of the visible sky and plotted the relative peak hydrogen signals.
The hydrogen maps very well
to the visible Milky Way. The plot below converts the Celestial Coordinates
into Galactic Coordinates. Note that the peak hydrogen is concentrated near the
0 Galactic Latitude.
Thanks to Ray Uberecken and Steve Plock for helping to set up the system.