The KE0VH Hamshack for February 2017

February 16, 2017
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WINTER IN COLORADO!

UNBELIEVABLE on Castle Peak at 11,000 feet

 

During the first weeks of January Colorado received a barrage of snowstorms that left the mountains under feet of snow, avalanche danger, shut down roads, and even Interstate 70 was closed down due to avalanche’s on the highway west of Denver. The radio site above hosts one of our broadcast facilities and Eagle County’s communication sites among others.  The FEET of ice (by the way took our station there off the air by interrupting our STL feed) was some of the most severe I have ever seen.  As of this writing, we are off air and only some of the Eagle County facility is working.  Evidently according to my buddy Mick at Eagle County, this crew went up on one of the largest snow cats in the region and used a crowd control gun too literally blast the ice off antenna’s to regain coms.  I am looking for a solution for us at this time.  We are also working on an alternative site for an auxiliary facility at this time.

Lately in the Denver area, we have been hearing noise that is really obstructing the 75 and 40 meter bands. It has almost completely wiped out me checking into the Colorado Columbine Net on 3.989 and finally fades away down around 3.7 MHz Cris Alexander, W5WCA has been reporting an interfering noise “signal” on 40 meter frequencies he uses a lot too. There are a bunch of us who talk regularly on 7.166 and the noise has been there too. Cris also reports that the signal goes away during the summer.

Greg Beveridge, W87AHO adds this byline to this month’s newsletter.

Says Greg, I observed an elevated noise floor on the approximate upper half of the 75 meter phone band yesterday (about S9 in the afternoon), and decided to see how wide it really was. One of my HF radios is an ICOM 756, equipped with spectrum display.  Set for +/- 50 kHz window, I dialed back in frequency from 3805 kHz and observed a sudden noise floor drop from S9 to about S3 between 3805 and 3800 kHz.  Dialing above 3805, the S9 noise floor remained there continuously all the way to 5148 kHz, then steadily dropping off to S5 at 5158 kHz, for a total  and uniform elevated noise floor span of approximately 1.3 MHz  My HF antenna system is a multi-band inverted-V with apex on top of my second-story chimney, lowest resonance at 7150 kHz.  For the above measurements, I used direct connection to the radio without a tuner.  When I do operate on 75m, I load the entire feed line and antenna with an external tuner against ground.  Since my test spectrum sweep was nowhere near antenna resonance and the mismatch was expected to be more or less the same over a very wide HF frequency range, receive-only observations were assumed to be reasonably uncontaminated over the entire 1.36 MHz test view.  I spoke with Jack yesterday evening, and he was able to independently replicate my observations at his QTH, which suggests that, whatever the actual source, it appears far-field to both of us.  Whatever the actual source, seems to me that uniformly raising the noise-like level by 3-4 S units over some 33% of the frequency band of interest (with relatively tight frequency corners) is more than a little strange, suggesting to me something like megawatt over-the-horizon radar or HAARP influence.

Additionally, I continued to scan for other periodic RF noise artifacts that have the familiar audio characteristic of ragged 60 Hz power-line harmonics and found prominent appearances every 303 kHz from 6128 kHz to 10685 kHz.  I don’t believe that these are related to the very wide elevated noise floor described in the above paragraphs, and I can easily cancel them with my MFJ-1026 unit when they land on a DX frequency of interest in the 40M band.

 

We will have more on this as it develops, or we discover the source. Maybe an over the horizon type radar? Something from Buckley AFB on the east side of the Denver metro? Very interesting but noisy! JJJ

Rich, W9BNO, had a wonderful visit from Mrs. Santa (a.k.a. his wife) and is now the proud owner of a Yaesu FT-400DR! He has this mounted now in his vehicle and is beaconing APRS as W9BNO-9.

Our EMF/K-LOVE/Air1 2017 Engineering Summit was held in January, and it was so good to see everyone after I missed last year due to the cancer treatments (BTW, still feeling great and no sign of disease!) The gathering was in Rocklin CA and while we met off campus at another site, we spent some time at HQ with some other activities, such as a presentation from Nautel, and flying the DJI drones to see what it was like.  A lot of us are going to be studying for our UAV Pilots licenses which are a requirement to fly these for the company inspecting towers and such.  This event was a highlight of the summit week, but for me it was SO GOOD to see everyone again after missing last year.  Thanks to Jeremy and Sam for this afternoon of fun and seeing what it is like to fly a really stable camera platform in the DJI Phantom series.

A Group picture from the drone. Notice Jeremy (N6JER) with the controller in the middle of the picture.  Yours truly lower right in the Zenith shirt!

A shot of HQ from the air! Notice everyone lower left on the grass that was flying that day.

On one of the days we got to make a field trip to the Econco tube facility not too far away from Rocklin. This was another highlight of the week getting to see this fine, mostly done by hand work!  Very amazing how they do this and the facilities they have built over the years at this plant.

Cut tubes with the tops removed and a basket of filament assemblies

Cutting the seal of the tube to separate the base from the top cooling fins


 

The top removed and the inside of the defective tube

The machine for winding filaments and an employee winding by hand on the jig

What the wire looks like on the screen of her monitor

Getting ready to attach the new filament assembly.

Newly refurbished product ready for shipment

 

It was amazing to see how Econco has made and refurbished the great products we have used in broadcasting over the years. And, another great thing that day was to meet the employees many of us have talked to for a long time.  Debbie Storz being one of them.  So nice to finally meet her in person!

 

K-LOVES Teri Shaw and Econco’s Debbie Storz

 

Steve Flyte, K7SF, our K-LOVE Engineer from the Portland Oregon area brought his portable setup to the hotel at Rocklin where all the engineers were staying for the week. Steve used his Ten-Tec Jupiter and antenna tuner to load up a wire out of his 3rd floor room.  Steve worked CW contacts around the country and the Sacramento net on 80 meters from his setup there.

Steve and his portable station from the Hotel in Rocklin

 

Steve has kind of re-kindled my interest in CW. I am going to break out the old Radio Shack brass key which was my original key at a novice back in the late 70’s, and since I have kept it nice all these years, I am going to put it back to work.  It is fun and I sure would like to get my CW speed back up.  Steve can have conversations at 50 wpm so I think I have my work cut out for me.  I am also a 13 word per minute Extra class.  They dropped the code requirement before I obtained my Extra, but when I took my General the 13 wpm requirement was still in place.  AND, you had to take the ham tests in the FCC office, which for me was in Atlanta Georgia.  Now I tell you that was an experience!

 

Busy month, more in March! Lots of projects and things going on!  Thanks for reading!

 

By the way, if you would like to see past editions of the KEØVH Hamshack articles, you can see last month’s edition at:

 

http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/TheKE%C3%98VHHamshackLast.pdf

 

Or see the archives at:

 

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/

AND

Don’t forget the IRLP (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio. The first and

3rd Mondays are also SBE Chapter 73’ of the Air NET nights. Details on how to

Join are at http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html. I hope

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and

Ham exploits!

73’ & God be with you. See you next time! De KEØVH

 

 

 

 

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