Photos from Plishner radio telescope site work trip October 7, 2017

Main efforts on this work trip were:

  1. Testing by Ed Johnson, Ray Uberecken, and Bill Miller, of the system II dish motor controller and software.
  2. Checking ability of the the 1.2 – 1.4 GHz feed to receive.
  3. Completion of Phase 1 of the bunker ramp retaining wall, by Ed Corn and Steve Plock. The wall is now 8 blocks high.

Also during the day, Gary Agranat represented DSES at the community fair in town, the Haswell Bazaar.

For more details, see the 2017-10-09 DSES Technical Planning Meeting Minutes.

AD5MQ, Ray Uberecken AA0L and Bill Miller KC0FHN testing the System 2 pointing system. They also listened for 1.296 GHz and 430 MHz beacons to test reception.

More work on the new retaining wall for the bunker ramp, by Ed Corn KC0TBE and Steve Plock KL7IZW.

The condition of the remainder of the south side of the bunker ramp.

Site generator building and propane tank.
After testing the antenna pointing system, the 60 foot dish antenna was again pointed a few degrees north to scan for Cygnus A and for galactic neutral hydrogen.

2017-09-02 DSES Plishner Site Work Trip Report

Here is a summary from our work trip to the Plishner Radio Telescope site on Saturday September 2, 2017.  It includes many photos of what we did.  Highlights include:

  • Work started on rebuilding the bunker ramp retaining wall
  • Work on the control boxes which control the azimuth and elevation pointing of the 60 foot antenna
  • Maintenance and calibration of the Radio Jove and total power measurement instruments
  • Positioning the 60 foot antenna for detecting radio source Cygnus A during drift scan
  • Colorado ham radio QSO Party participation

The summary report was written by DSES Secretary Bill Miller.  The ham radio report was written by Gary Agranat.  Click the link to see the report in PDF.

2017-09-02 DSES Plishner Site Work Trip Report rev3

Photos from our site work trip July 23, 2017

These are photos taken during our work trip the Plishner radio telescope site on Sunday July 23, 2017. – Gary WA2JQZ






Ray Uberecken AA0L and Steve Plock KL7IZW reinstalled Ray’s 3-band antenna feed at the focus of the 60-foot dish. Bill Miller KC0FHN and Gary Agranat WA2JQZ  helped from the ground.




An all-day project today was the rebuilding of the “Radio Jove” phased dipole antenna. The first version had been constructed with PVC pipe masts, but that was collapsing. Dave Molter AD0QD redesigned a new antenna support system, using surplus stainless steel pipes, and adding springs and pulleys. Last autumn the bases for the poles had been already set with concrete. Today most of the team helped rebuild the antenna at one time or another. The placement of the structural support ropes was carefully rethought. Floyd Glick WD0CUJ fastened all the knots.  Here is the result.  This antenna system is used to monitor radio pulses emitted from Jupiter and its moon Io at 20 MHz.  These pulses are among the strongest astronomical signals observable.


Ed Corn KC0TBE contributed with much facilities work. Here he is installing a small solar panel to charge the 12 volt batteries at the generator.  With him is Floyd Glick WD0CUJ.


Ed Johnson AD5MQ walked around the 60 foot antenna with a UHF signal source.
Inside the communications trailer, Ray Uberecken AA0L monitored how the signal was received.
Ed Johnson AD5MQ
Ed Johnson AD5MQ
Bill Miller KC0FHN constructed a ventilation fan to the side of the communications trailer. The fan is self-powered by a solar electric panel. Its purpose is to help exhaust the hot air that builds up in the trailer during the summer season. It turns on automatically whenever the sun is out. Bill first cut a wood mounting frame to place on a window opening, to mount the fan.
Bill KC0FHN installing the fan at the side of the trailer.
Bill KC0FHN installing the fan at the side of the trailer.
Ed KC0TBE meanwhile installed a new air filter for the trailer, to help the air flow for Bill’s vent fan.
Inside view of the new trailer ventilator fan.
The new small solar panel on the roof is to power the ventilator fan.
The ventilator fan, installed by the end of the day.


The propane fuel tank for our generator.
Our generator shack.




DSES Plishner Work Trip Report July-02-2017

The following report was provided by Ed Corn and Steve Plock.  Special thanks to Gary Agranat for providing the pictures.

Myron Babcock
DSES Treasurer



Greetings all:

This is a summary of our trip to Plishner Sunday 7-2-2017. Steve, Dave, Bill,  Gary and my self made a very successful trip with a few exceptions.

Dave, Bill and Gary worked on the tumble weeds, cleaning all out of the ramp. I am positive they combined lost a bunch of weight (sweat down their backs) It was a bit warm. We all were involved in installing the chain link and construction safety fence around the perimeter of the ramp. We had enough fencing to do about ¾ of the perimeter. The rest will be completed the next trip down. This should take care of about 95% of the tumble weed problem.

Steve and I went to the comm. Trailer and re established the bunker battery monitor line. We discovered that Myron’s Hot Spot adapter has quit functioning. (DOA) I will get the unit back to Myron for exchange with his carrier. We need an agenda Item at the next engineering meeting to discuss the failure and preventative measures to prevent future failures.

Steve and I went to the generator tank and changed the wet leg valve. The excess flow check valve did check lock as designed so we did not have to depressurize the tank.

I corrected the wiring on the start/stop remote stations for the generator and Steve went to the bunker to help with the fencing.

After lunch we removed the feed and controller for the dish and Dave will deliver to Ray for modification.

I know I have forgotten some things the rest will have to fill in.

On the trip back Dave had a slow leak in a tire. Bill got him aired up and headed west. Steve and I headed home in my pick up. Just before Punkin Center I ran out of propane and switched fuels too late. This disabled my vehicle. So we put Steve in Bills van for the trip back to Ellicott and I called a favor from a friend who came down and recovered me. As of this writing the pick up is back on the road. Just too long of a day to make repairs on the road.



* *

Steve Added:

Myself and Dave Molter removed the multiband feed from the dish and Dave Molter delivered it to Ray’s house along with the feed control panel which I removed from the comm trailer.

The original station clock has been put back near operating position in comm trailer. Bill Miller inflated tires on bunker transport wagon. I removed the hotspot from the comm. trailer and when Myron is given a replacement from his wireless provider I recommend that we re-install it in the bunker because there is a much better environmental conditions for it to operate. The main valve on the 1000 gal tank was successfully replaced by myself and Ed Corn and tank can be filled after leak test is performed. Ed will contact Haswell Propane this week to arrange pressure test and fill. Please distribute.

Thanks, Steve KL7IZW

* *

Bill added:

Additionally Steve and Ed loaded some of the old excess test gear and servers from the bunker onto Ed’s truck and sold them at the PPRAA ham fest the following Saturday. Bill brought back another one of the bad 6 volt deep cycle battery cores and will get the other from Ed to turn in for credit for two new batteries for the battery room on the comm. trailer.



The spiral staircase we constructed for the bunker, as a secondary/emergency exit, now being painted.


DSES Plishner Work trip report May-28-2017

Originally posted by Myron Babcock, DSES Treasurer, June 2, 2017.

Special Thanks to Ray Uberecken, AA0L, for providing this detailed report. Thanks to Gary Agranat, WA2JQZ, for providing the photographs.

Sunday’s work trip to Plishner was to say the least ‘very productive’.

Ed Corn replaced the spark plugs in the generator and it fired up and ran great all day.

Michael worked in the bunker cleaning it up some and provided a great lunch.  Thanks Gail, the salad and cobbler were perfect.

Ray and Ed Johnson tested a new position readout and controller and after fixing a few errors on Ray’s part it worked great.  The controller part is not complete yet but that is being worked on now.

Ray and Floyd installed the 1/4 wave shorted stub at the feed and replaced the 1420 preamp.  We didn’t have to remove the feed to fix it.


Floyd took the six metre antenna down and tightened the reflector element and then put it back up.


Rich and Ed J. worked on the computer installing the readout software that Ed J. wrote and worked on improvements for the future needs along with Bill.

Ray and Rich got the Spectracyber set up and running.

Bill and Ed C. worked on replacing batteries in the shed and fixing a few issues.

Ed C. finished the welding on the steps of the spiral staircase.  I think the stairs are ready for scraping and painting.

Bill took video with his drone for inclusion in the package to send to the Plishners.

Gary organized the ham shack and managed to work a few contacts.

I probably forgot a few other projects but needless to say it was a good day.

Report of August 7, 2016 Plishner Site Trip

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.


Report of July 4, 2016 Plishner Site Trip

David Molter and Steve Plock went to the Plishner site on July 4th to work on the Radio Jove antenna and to measure the length of the Azimuth data cable. They report:

When we first entered the bunker, the lights did not come on. We found the batteries sitting at 11.6 volts and the inverter cut off because of low battery voltage. There was standing water in the bunker up to 2 inches deep. The charge controller showed zero amps of current. We went out to the Solar array and saw that the solar panel wiring was disconnected from the feedline. The wire nut showed evidence of arcing and the insulation was burnt back on the feedline. We stripped the wires back and put on a new wire nut. Note: this connection needs to be in a weatherproof box.

We saw that the reconnected charge controller was reading 11 amps. We reset the inverter and it kicked off in 10 seconds. We looked into the inside sump and saw it was full. We unplugged the sump pump and the inverter stayed up when reset.

We checked the outside sump pump and heard it running. There was no water coming out of the discharge, so we unplugged the outside sump pump. After a couple of minutes of scooping water off the floor, we plugged-in the inside sump pump, which pumped the sump down and stopped.

We opened the cover to the outside sump and found it full of water. The pump would run but no water showed at the discharge outlet. We jury rigged the spare sump pump and got 2 feet of water out of the outside sump before the inverter kicked off because of too low battery voltage. We did not have enough battery power to: (1) vacuum up the standing water in the bunker, or (2) get enough water out of the outside sump to figure out why the pump will not empty the sump. We suspect that the hose came off the pump outlet.

We measured the Azimuth data cable. We also drove in the last pipe for the radio Jove antenna, but we did not pour cement around the post. The outside sump cover is not completely covering the sump. The spare sump pump is still in the outside sump, jury rigged to a hose.

The outside sump needs to be pumped out and the regular pump recovered and fixed. The bunker needs to be emptied of water.

Submitted by Dave and Steve, edited by Dan Martin.

Plishner 5/21/2016 Weekend Trip Report

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.

Plishner 5/14/2016 Weekend Trip Report

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.

Myron Babcock
DSES Treasurer