Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 2009 - eBuild-A-Thon and BBQ

We just finished the third - eBuild-A-Thon and BBQ.

I neglected to get a proper list of attendee, so, sorry if the following details are incorrect.

Due to previous commitment, some of the Sky Valley Amateur Radio Club Hams came by early and were unable to stay the whole day. We toured the Shop and discussed future suggested projects, including proposed PCB design methods.

Sky Valley Attendees were:
  • Tom Singleton - K8TOM and his Sons (didn't get their calls)
  • Charlie - N6IBI
  • Diane - KE6JRP
  • Dave Axe - W7AGJ
Later in the morning, the following arrived to join the days activities:
  • Roger - K7RXV
  • John - KC7NVE
  • Jeff - K07M
  • Dave Axe - W7AGJ - Returned for the second visit

As usual, Tess - my dog, was uneasy with all of the visitors, she loves kids and warms up to them quickly, but adults are different. Knowing that Tess loves to chase Balls, I decided to try something different with this group and Tess. Carolyn (my sister) helped to find Tess a ball, that could be thrown or kicked by each person - after that, each person was Tess's friend and all apprehension was gone. Only with a loud clap of thunder, from the approaching storm, did the ball play stopped for shelter at my feet.

Tess inspecting the base of the Antenna, . . . .
Or is that the Ball that she wants!

John - KC7NVE, brought his Transceiver, Laptop and did some PSK31 set up and work. He used my 30m vertical antenna and was able to use the built-in antenna tuner to match it for other bands.

Roger - K7RXV, brought his newly minted Two Port Network Analyser (from , to try out and show the group it's operation. After a technical discussion of it's attributes, we connected it to my 30m antenna to review it's tuned configuration. The Network Analyser reported a 1.05:1 SWR at a frequency slightly above my normal use at 10.140mHz - I was thrilled!

Reviewing Analyser Reports

While testing the 30m Antenna, and during a fast moving rain squall, the Analyser report went nuts, SWR went way up and the resonate point flattened and lost definition.

Question: with all of the playing with the Antenna Analyser, did we change something that messed up the report? 

No, with a lot of investigation, we found that the feed-point-ground at the base of the antenna was intermittent. The ground point was implemented via a spring clipped copper strap around the ground support. The previous days of windy-stormy weather must have loosened the clip and made it intermittent during the current rain squall and for our tests. A quick snap of a pair of vice-grip pliers, solved the problem (I'll fix a permanent solution later).

This is a temporary Ground connection Fix

Three of the Donkeys came to the Shop edge,  and tried to provide insight into our antenna problem, but by that time we had the problem solved. Therefore, they only received sugar cubes for their efforts.

The Rejected Antenna Engineering Support Crew

Jeff - K07M, brought in several of his projects that he has been using with his airplane for reporting his position, via the web, while traveling across country. He has several ideas for mounting the newer generation of hardware within his plane. I have seen several of Jeff's kit built projects - Jeff is a Master Builder, with excellent soldering techniques.

When Dave - W7AGJ, returned, he provided a prepared report on the propagation terrain path from the Sky Valley 2m Repeater to my QTH. It is no wonder that I have trouble receiving the repeater. In the three miles path there are several ridges, with trees, higher than line of sight between the repeater and my QTH. The suggested solution; was a Chain Saw, or a higher fixed base station antenna. Unfortunately, the antenna will have to wait.

I re-demo'd the "PCB Fab-In-a-Box" building techniques, we created another small PCB, which we also used it to practice SMD soldering techniques.

There were many other discussions and activities that have not be mentioned - but for more on that, you will just have to join us and enjoy!


A Note:

It is great to be associated with such great Amateur Radio artistic Knack giants, where harmonious discussions provides each with something more than the sum of the parts.

After twenty plus years of teaching short technical courses, I have developed and validated a Theory:

The Instructor always learns more from a teaching event, than the Student.

And now, after Hosting three eBuild-A-Thon events in my Shop, I have developed the first Corollary:

The Host always enjoys more from a technical event, than the Attendee.

My validation is as follows; there is no way that a person has the capacity to contain or could obtain more enjoyment than I, from hosting these events! . . . . .

Thanks to my Friends - Eldon - WA0UWH



I wanted to just say a big "thank you'" to you and your sister Carolyn for hosting us on Saturday. I know that there are others from the club that were very interested in visiting your place, but couldn't make it this time. Based on word of mouth reputation and a little more lead time on the announcement, I wouldn't be surprised to see several more folks there next time.

Anyway, it is extremely kind and generous of you to allow us there as guests and hobbyists. It's just a fabulous place. I will try to remember to send out the meeting notice a bit earlier this time to hopefully allow folks to be able to reserve some time to come by.

This is the sort of fellowship and help that radio clubs are established to foster, and I am very appreciative of your contribution.




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