Station Maintenance Log

Here is a list of issues we’ve encountered and maintenance needs that might be of interest to other beacon station operators. Newest entries are at the top.

210727-0330Placed beacon back in service with replacement HTX-100 radio. Antenna is a 10m Hamstick horizontal dipole 30′ up. SWR is 1.20:1 and power is 7W.
210715-0200Swapped out the HTX-100 radio due to faint, but constant carrier emissions under CW. I’m using a horizontally strung PackTenna End-fed Random Wire antenna about 30′ above ground level for testing. Frequency readout on radio needs to be adjusted but tuned using SDR receiver, and once warmed up, frequency is stable. SWR is 1.47:1 and power is 6.35W.
201210-1900No spots or reports for quite some time. Added SWR/Power meter to feedline. SWR is 1.9:1. Power seems to be boosted since adding meter and restarting system. Output is 12w.
200419-0000Changed antenna design from vertical dipole to horizontal dipole using Ham Sticks.
191006-0100Changed antenna to one with vertical polarization for experimental purposes. Will stay with vertical polarization for the time being.
190805-0000Station is back on the air. Equipment is now mounted in a 3U Go Box.
190720-1700Station is QRT (off air) temporarily due to equipment being fabricated into a 3U rack-mount panel at NovexComm Radio Rackmounts. We are hoping to resume operation by the end of July.
190714-1700Wired transmitter to operate off-grid with solar-charged batteries using 100 watt solar panel, West Mountain Radio epic PWRGate, and 360Ah battery bank (2x 180Ah). Rest of station to switch over in the coming days.
190703-2300Changed transmitter to a Realistic HTX-100 to test for better frequency stability. Power is set at 5 watts. Will stay with this transmitter for now.
190622-1530Changed transmitter to an Icom IC-745 to test for better frequency stability. Power is increased to 9w (minimum for radio). Test terminated at 2000Z and transmitter switched back to RCI-2950CD.
190522-0300Changed antenna from Tram 1499 to 2 MFJ-1610T HamTenna Whip antennas in a horizontal dipole configuration using a K1CRA dipole mount 30′ above ground. SWR is now 1.12:1 and power is increased back up to 5 watts. Bearing is 40/220-degrees.
190505-2200Adjusted transmit frequency indicator of radio to 28206.900 kHz to compensate for possible radio frequency calibration issue. WWV-calibrated Airspy HF+ SDR now shows beacon at 28207.070 kHz
190505-1900Transmit power changed to 3W just for today for spurious emissions testing.
190504-2200Tested antenna change to MFJ-1610T Hamstick vertical for 10M briefly. SWR of 1.44:1 noted. Switched back to Tram 1499 for now.
190430-0300Station is placed on the air in Burbank, CA (DM04ue) to operate 24 hours a day using a Ranger RCI-2950CD radio, MFJ-464 CW Keyer, and Tram 1499 non-tunable antenna. SWR of 2.45:1 is noted. Power is set to 5 watts.