Monday, June 7, 2010

Radio Daze.....

Sorry for not posting lately, but I've been getting ready for the ARRL Field Day event at the end of June. I run the Satellite Station each year, and I always assemble the complete station and test it out well before the end of June.
Well, at least I have the last two years!
Prior to that, when I was in my little bachelor flat, I at least made the attempt to have everything in one big pile ready to transport to the site we use, the Lower Reservation at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro. That didn't always work so well, and I've lost track of the number of trips I made back to my place, or my favorite little electronics emporium, to get stuff I either forgot to buy, or just plain forgot to bring.
This year, the only snags I've hit (so far!) have been not being able to find the Comet Antenna diplexer I use for a 70cm filter that I bought last year (bought another one at HRO this morning), ordering some "wrong" parts from DX Engineering (they'll go in the 'junque' box and eventually get used), and not being able to find the wiring diagram I made about 5 years ago when I tried to use a certain type of rotor controller to make the rotors follow my tracking program. Last year I (finally!) had full control of my radio to correct for the Doppler shift of fast moving objects in Low Earth Orbit, and it made operating MUCH easier. This year, I built a neat little kit from Fox Delta that accepts data from the tracking program over a serial port, and make the Azimuth and Elevation rotors follow a specified satellite. I need the correct pinout of the 8-pin DIN "remote" connector on the back of the rotor control box to interface it to the ST3. The problem I had before with the "Brand-X" rotor controller, besides the fact that the supplied "documentation" was sparse and poorly written, was that there are several sources of what the pinout is, and they're mostly WRONG! The pin numbering on DIN plugs/jacks is pretty arcane as it is, and the drawings in the Yaesu manual don't indicate if you're looking at the plug (front *or* back of it??) or the socket (same-o, same-o), and until you've done it once or twice, and had that "ah-HA!" moment, it'll drive you absolutely bonkers. I spent the better part of the weekend one year figuring out what pin on the rotor box had what input or output, and how to connect it to the other PC interface, and I *know* I wrote it down, but that sheet of paper has disappeared somewhere. Having several more years of experience and experimentation under my belt, it'll be a lot easier to document it this time. I'm quite familiar with the Yaesu G-5500 series now, and all I'll do is take the cover off the control box, plug in the 8-pin DIN cable, and buzz-out the leads on the cable to the corresponding points on the PC board for the inputs and outputs, and write it down. Preferably in several places, along with creating a drawing that *I* understand, and saving it on my PC in multiple places and on multiple hard drives!
So, anyway......hopefully by tomorrow afternoon I'll have all the wiring documented, the antenna-to-cross-boom mounting plate turned 90*, and the ST3 controller connected to my laptop and tracking satellites.

Oh, and it's the wife's birthday tomorrow.

Don't worry, ProFlowers (WAY better than FTD!) is dropping off a nice big arrangement before she gets home, and I've got two tickets in very good seats to take her to see "A Chorus Line" at the Pantages on Friday night. Still don't know what we'll do for dinner, though.....


  1. Isn't it Fun Jim??? LOL, I hate it when i "know" I did something and then can't find it... enjoy the time with the wife and have fun the end of the month!

  2. Yeah, and I even went through all the documents in my "Satellite Ops" binder, and both my filing cabinets, and couldn't find it.
    I did, however, toss out a stack of old/obsolete stuff that was about 10" thick!
    it *might* be in one of the boxes in the garage I still haven't unpacked, but after I get back from VOTING today, and shipping some stuff I sold on eBay, I'll just pull the cover off the rotor box and make a new diagram.
    She's really looking forward to seeing the show at the Pantages.


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