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