An update on the progress of our DSES building project. Our DSES Vice President and Project Manager, Bill Miller, has spent many hours and has made many trips down to the Plishner Site near Haswell Colorado to make this project happen. After many delays, some due to COVID, in finding contractors for concrete, plumbing, and electrical as well as building manufacturers to provide a 60-foot by 30-foot structure, DSES has finally made some progress. We still have many hours of interior/exterior work and antenna towers to place before we can move our current operations from the existing communications trailer and the underground bunker. This future work will still require many trips and hours on site to complete these tasks. We hope our local Colorado DSES members will be able to provide some help in completing these projects. DSES will provide dates and times of these trips so members can plan their time at the Plishner Site. A big thank you to Bill Miller for taking on this project and to those other members who were able to assist him over the past few months.
Ray Uberecken and Bill Miller went to the Plishner site on Sat. October 31.
Ray brought back his EME 200 Watt amplifier box that he had removed on the previous weeks trip. The unit had blown a relay control FET that kept the unit in the transmit position so it would not connect the feed to the receiver. Ray and Bill donned climbing harnesses, scaled the scaffold, and installed the amplifier before the wind could start blowing about 11:00 AM at the site.
Ray also brought back the FT 736 Transceiver after repairing the seized tuning knob. He brought in a computer and an audio interface with JT-65 HF software loaded. This will enable digital mode EME on the next contest EME 50-1296 MHz — November 28-29, 2020. In addition, he installed an extra 1296 MHz 18 Watt auxiliary amplifier between the FT736 10W max output and the Amplifier at the feed point. This extra amplifier will enable the full power of the linear amp at the feed. Both the 18 watt amp and the 200 watt feed point amp are enabled with the Key circuit from the FT 736.
There is an extra power supply on the bench to power the 18 Watt amp and the key circuit to the feed amp is attached with the terminal block on the rack.
Ray also brought back the Electronic Keyer and Paddle for the FT736 moon bounce CW mode.
Once all this equipment was installed, we climbed the tower and replaced the bad swivel joint on the down feed coax with a short segment of very flexible RG8X cable to allow the cable wrap. Because this is the same impedance as the main hard line coax and very short it has insignificant loss to the signal.
We then called Myron Babcock to test the equipment. We pointed the dish at Colorado Springs and at first did not hear his signal. He swung his antenna around to point at Pike’s Peak and we did the same and established communication on 1296.1 MHz with clear copy. This proved the overall system viability.
Bill set up his phone app and computer program for aiming the Hughes Net dish for internet. After using the compass to point the dish to the apps specified Azimuth and Elevation and working the dish around for half an hour, we still couldn’t get the modem to lock up and receive the satellite. More research is needed to make sure we are trying for the correct satellite and have the right coordinates and tools to do the alignment on the next trip. Once we have the Hughes Net system working, we should have high speed internet capability for a number of uses.
Ray has been working on his new radio Astronomy receiver based on a medical signal preconditioner and a stable amplifier/integrator and A/D converter. The receiver will give a greater bandwidth than current SDRs with up to 100MHz of bandwidth.
A conversion program is needed to convert the comma delimited tabular output of the A/D to the .Fil file format for radio astronomy. Ray installed the receiver and checked its operation.
We stowed the dish, shut everything down, removed the trash and locked the site. Note that the new service position on the scaffold after the recalibration of the pointing system is 314.5 deg. All old bearings for Beacons and such should be adjusted by -2.5 deg.
Steve and I (Ed) made a work trip to Plishner Sunday 8-7-16. There were several changes in schedules this weekend, but Steve and I decided to go down and get done what we could.
We arrived at 10:00 AM, opened the bunker and it was dry. The big trash can out side of the comm trailer had .3 to .5 inches of water in it, less whatever had evaporated.
Steve power loaded the 160 meter dipole at the bunker on all bands, so the raised height has helped. Given Steve could load the 160 dipole, he did not use the 80 meter dipole. He will load and prune that at a later date.
Steve then checked the voltages at each battery pack and compared them to their read outs. The delta on the bunker voltage meter is 2.2 volts for full charge. A voltage reading on the others of 12.1 or better volts indicates 95%+ voltage charge.
Steve and I installed the second air conditioner in the comm trailer. With approximately 2 hrs of running both air conditioners, the inside temperature was 11 degrees below outside temperature. When using the air conditioners, you must keep the side door closed and limit in and out.
Steve took caliper measurements of the pass through hole in the top center of the pedestal for Dave.
I started investigating the 2 dead generator plugs in the comm trailer, and found they route into the mechanical area at the tongue end of trailer. I will investigate and fix next trip.
We ran the generator for approximately 6 hours with a short load and encountered no problems. We secured sight and left at 4 PM.
DSES members, Ed Corn, Steve Plock, Dr. Richard Russel, David Molter, Gary Agranat, and Myron Babcock made a day work trip to the site on Saturday, May 21, 2016.
Steve and Ed checked the oil sampling from the generator and determined the oil that Ray provided for the generator was indeed synthetic oil with additives. New member Gary Agranat on his initial trip to Plishner received a “start up/shutdown” check out on the propane generator set. The generator was used all day for a shake down test to check out the installation of the relief air louvers that open on the east side of the generator shed. With the entry door closed, a significant amount of air now freely flows through the generator shed. Ed worked in the dish pedestal and started laying out the wiring for both an inverter and a generator power hookup. Ed will continue this pedestal wiring project on the next several trips down. An AC hum noise was noted when a ham radio transceiver was connected to the 12 VDC bus in the trailer. It was discovered that the battery charger connected to the batteries when the generator is operating creates this hum. Ed will install a filter on the charging system to eliminate this noise.
Rich, Dave and Gary spent most of the day clearing out the communications trailer of excess coax, dish antennas, and numerous other miscellaneous items cluttering the floor and workbench. A thorough vacuuming followed making the trailer the most organized and cleanest space at the Plishner site. Now the entire inside of the trailer is available for science and radio projects.
Myron brought his Icom IC-471H 75 watt UHF multi-mode transceiver to the site to test out the UHF link between the Plishner Site and Ray Uberecken’s home near Falcon, CO. This link will be used to control various instruments being used at the site when the internet is not operational. After making contact on Single Side Band (SSB) an attempt was made on FM. No signal was heard at either end. The frequency was changed to the lower end of the FM (440.0 MHz) band and contact was made. Signal strength at that frequency was not strong enough for the CTCSS tones to make the 85 mile path to turn on and off the controlling panel. Ray indicated that he will improve his antenna at his home.
Rich installed and tested the Dell laptop on the Radio Jove and HI Galactic Source Observations using the Plishner 60 foot dish and the Spectracyber system. A camera focused on the temperature and battery voltage was installed in the trailer. This data can now be routinely accessed through the onsite cell hotspot through the free TeamViewer software. Contact Dr. Richard Russel to obtain the username and password and instructions on how to use this information.
A group of 12 visitors from the Hammn’ Sams RV club visited the site Saturday afternoon. This group, all amateur radio operators, traveled 35 miles north from their weekend campout at the John Martin Reservoir camp ground on the Arkansas River to make this visit. Myron and Bob Sayers, members of this RV group, made this invitation. Dr. Richard Russel provided an impromptu briefing to the visitors and, without going up into the dish, Steve Plock helped 3 members view the dish pedestal.
The next trip to the Plishner Site is scheduled for the weekend of June 3, 4 & 5. This may be an overnight trip for at least one night out of the 3 days. We will finalize this decision within the next several days and get this information out to all members.
The following Plishner weekend update was provided by Steve Plock.
Strong winds and high humidity conditions created a pretty chilly and challenging work day for Ed Corn and Steve Plock at the Plishner site this past Saturday, May 14. Thanks to Skip MacCaulay from Lacombe, Alberta for his donation of a DC-to-AC inverter that Ed installed as the primary, along with another inverter donated by Ray that Ed installed as a backup.
An Anderson Power Pole distribution unit was also installed in the communications trailer. Light fixture attachment points were installed in the upper pedestal so that future lighting can be installed. The voltage regulator circuit board for the propane generator was remoted to the North wall of the generator shed and the connecting wires were placed in conduit. Hopefully, this placement will eliminate or reduce the heat build-up and vibration at the regulator board compared to when it was mounted on the generator.
A hole was cut in the plywood of the eastern (bunker) end of the generator shed and a louver panel installed. There is now a substantial air flow created inside the shed with the louvers open and the generator door closed. Generator oil was changed on a prior visit and the 1000 gallon propane tank is now at 30%. The tank main shut off/on valve will be repaired before adding more propane to the tank.
Thanks to Ed Corn and Steve Plock for their time spent at the Plishner site this past weekend.