New year new goals!

A lot has happened since my last post!

First, a few members of the WVU Amateur radio club, myself included, made our way onto the roof of the Engineering Sciences Building to work on and inspect antennas. Overall the work went well. We made sure our 10/15/20 Yagi was secured to it's mast and attempted to re-orient it so that it would be pointed the correct way based off of the rotor controllers reading. Well that was the intent anyway. Due to the lack of a decent compass (stupid iPhone compass) it's still not oriented the correct way. We also found out that there is a problem with our Yaesu G5500 Az/El rotor. It doesn't move when you push a button on the controller. Hopefully is just a problem with the cables. They were installed pretty quickly a few years ago for an ARISS contact at WVU, using ethernet cable instead of rotor cable so that seems like it could be the issue.

W8CUL also upgraded some equipment over the past few months. We switched out our old CDE rotor controller for a new Green Heron Engineering RT-21. It's such a nice controller with a USB interface. We also added a new rig to our Shack. An IC-9100 now sits on our bench acting as a 2nd HF rig and will hopefully be used with VHF and UHF satellites when we get the rotor system fixed. We are also upgrading our DC power distribution system on our main bench. We are switching from a horrendous Blue Sea distribution panel to a RigRunner. I'm also changing out all of the wires that were used to go from distribution panel to radio from 2 single wires to one piece of zip cord with Anderson PowerPoles (my favorite power connector). I'm also going to switch out our antenna patch panel. It's currently using a piece of steel plate that is showing some signs of oxidation. I'm going to switch it out with a piece of aluminium (that'll also be easier to drill through!).

WVUARC members worked with W8MWA Members to provide communications for a couple of parades. First the Morgantown Veterans day parade. The second parade was the annual Morgantown Christmas Parade. The Christmas parade is always fun to work!

Over my christmas break I played around on FT8 with the IC-706. I decided to try FT4 and WOW! It's extremely fast! I switched between FT8 and FT4 during break on 40m & 80m. I wanted to use 20m but something seems to be going on with either my antenna or my tuner. I'm no longer able to tune the G5RV on 20m. I'll have to look into it next time im home. Hopefully my ne ARRL Antenna Book will have some advice!

To close my first post of the year here are some of my ham radio goals for 2020:

  • Perfect my HF portable setup
  • Increase my understanding of antennas
  • Work HF mobile
  • Compete in a contest using my call (and hopefully do well)
Well that's all for now! Hopefully I'll get back on track with posting this year!

See ya down the log!


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