W5RRR has new clothes

On September 22, 2017, the JSCARC members and the JSC Center Operations Rigging Team, successfully replaced our aging 80′ tower and antennas. Incredibly, within 6 hours, the tower and antennas were disassembled onto the ground, and a refurbished tower with new antennas were installed.  This accomplishment is nothing short of a miracle and it’s an example of terrific teamwork (and heavy lifting!)

Read more…W5RRR has new clothes

New 10-GHz Earth-Moon-Earth World Record Set

New 10-GHz Earth-Moon-Earth World Record Set

This is pretty cool how world records can be broken with actually relatively modest equipment and extreme analysis, attention to details and perseverance.  This the stuff that invokes the scientist in every one of us.  From qrznow.com-   “A new 10-GHz Earth-Moon-Earth (EME or moon bounce) world record has been set. On September 9, Rex Moncur, VK7MO, and Jim Malone, WA3LBI, completed a 18,949.4-kilometer contact using QRA64D. This extends by approximately 600 kilometers the previous world record of 18,337 kilometers held by DL7FJ and ZL1GSG, who used CW.  

Read more…New 10-GHz Earth-Moon-Earth World Record Set

The JSCARC EOC tuner saga



I’ve been working on trying to repair the Building 30 Emergency Ops Center external tuner.  This is a big deal since our club is  chartered to support the center emergency radio capability.  Thanks goodness it wasn’t needed during Harvey.

The defective tuner is an MFJ 998RT full KW remote tuner unfortunately with a known speckled reputation of reliability.

Our EOC capability is currently inop due to this broken device, likely hit by lightning.

After valiant clever attempts to fixed the “No Interface PIC” and “Wake up” circuitry and after a  replacement of a a PIC controller, the tuner is still not working.

Read more…The JSCARC EOC tuner saga

Belated W5RRR shack flood status


Our W5RRR shack survived another hurricane with flying colors.

Here’s a photo of the outside a few days after the historical flooding of 40″ that hit the Houston area.

Of sort, it’s a miracle that the JSC area, in general, sustained recoverable water damage across the center and the nearby areas.

However, immediately outside the surrounding 1mile perimeter one could see very uneven distribution of housing that sustained minimal to heavy flood damage.

For the W5RRR shack, water penetrated the front and back door seals and sprinkled a very moist layer of water across our aged carpet.  Unfortunately, this causes mold spores as well as a rich medium for the colonization of mosquitos by the back wall.  Not a new finding since it’s been a problem of the shack and flooding from past experience.  Photos show blowers in place to dry out the carpet.  Pictured are Keith KG5HOK and Chatwin KG5URC who arrived early to monitor the dry out.  Keith has secured an agreement in principle with the Gilruth to replace our treasured carpet with new tiled flooring.  Volunteers are sought to re-house the displaced mosquitos.  And in our backyard, our TH7DX which was being staged for installation onto of the 80′ tower was smartly anchored down on Tanner’s saw horses prior to the hurricane.  Early, we had considered laying the tribander directly on the ground (to mitigate Wizard of Oz wind gust events), but luckily we mounted these above ground.  All is good.

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Icom IC-781 status

The W5RRR IC-781 was taken out of commission during 2017 Field Day because we observed intermittant noise crackling on the receive and transmit signals.
It got on the bench for troubleshooting.  Based on online owner’s knowledge sharing, areas of known weakness were:

  1. cracked solder joints at the crystal filter in IF
  2. Phased Lock Loop unlock
  3. IF FET 2SK125s

We’ll I screwed something up.  After removing the RF module the whole receiver chain is white noise.

Read more…Icom IC-781 status