Author Archives: N6DZK

GGF History – Antenna Repair

Old Antenna-Repair2An early morning phone call, mid July, 2014, from the repeater site owner, shocked us with the information that the antenna for the GGF repeater was laying on the ground. The owner’s first thoughts were vandalism, but on closer inspection he found that rot and an army of termites had precipitated the event.

That post was in the ground prior to the author’s amateur license which dates back to 1994. After some discussion, a decision was made to replace the old post with a new treated one. Just before that plan came to fruition, we found that concrete and a steel pipe would be cheaper (and more permanent than another wooden post). Those treated things really aint cheap. The old post remains were dug out of the ground leaving a hole 12 to 14 inches in diameter and over 4 feet deep.

A 3’ by 12” diameter concrete form was placed in the hole and a 7’ long 2” pipe was pounded into the ground near the center of the form and left extending 2’ above the concrete form. There is a bolt through the 2” pipe 5’ from the top to stop the mast at a predetermined level. After that almost 400 pounds of concrete were mixed and poured into and around the form. (Eat your heart out termites) After the concrete was set, the antenna cable conduit from the repeater was repaired, and then the connection box was mounted to the new post.

The coax cable had to be repaired were it sustained a 90 degree bend when the post fell. The original 15’ mast pipe was lifted and inserted into the 2” pipe and the antenna coax reconnected. The antenna is now 3’ closer to the ground but since it spent over 3 weeks mounted to a gate post without any noticeable signal effect the new height was determined to be sufficient.

During the “fall” the impact with the nearby fence and ice plants caused no damage to the antenna. The wireless dish antenna to our internet provider didn’t fair quite as well. The center horn shattered – so the dish was dismounted and returned to them for a replacement.

Our understanding is that the dish was repaired but then used to solve one of their emergencies so we are still waiting for a replacement at this time. Not a real problem as the repeater can still be programmed via radio signals when necessary.

A sincere “Thank you” goes out the site owner, Larry Carr, a new ham now, for all his work, tool loans and help during the repairs. Also thanks to the other workers Brent Jenkins, Pat Moore and Woody Woodruff for their efforts.

What is in your Go-Kit?

photoDo you even have a Go-Kit?

The Go-Kit is one of those “ham things” that everyone in emcomm (Emergency Communications) talks about. But how many of us that participate in the weekly net actually have one ready to “go”?  I have the beginnings of a “portable” station.  Some of you have seen it at Field Day.  But I do not have everything I need to deploy (Portable antennas, cables, etc).  It is very much a work in progress.

How much is too much? If you Google “go kit” and click on the images, you will see a huge range of what folks consider a go-kit. Some are quite minimalist and others are of the “..and the kitchen sink” variety. You will have to decide what will work best for you. And when the time comes that you need your kit, you will find that in all likelihood, your kit either had things you didn’t need, or was missing things you did need.

The important thing is to simply have one.  Take a few moments to gather some basic items and put them together so when the need arises you can “go”.  The most likely scenario we will have is a seismic event.  SBCARA.org has some good documents on go-kits.  And Google has lots of information.  What are the most likely items needed?  Here are some items to get you thinking about your kit.

  • Dual band radio
  • Frequency lists
  • Spare, charged, batteries
  • Microphone or earpiece
  • A gain antenna (something other than the stock ducky)
  • A thing called a Tiger Tail is handy, I’ve heard.
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Personal First Aid Kit
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Hearing protection
  • Snack bars
  • Water and/or Water filtration
  • Change of clothes (Spare t-shirt)
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Water resistant notepad
  • Pens and pencils
  • Sun screen
  • Hat