Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going Shooting on Sunday

Hah! Bet that got your attention.

Actually, I'll be shooting some RF up at the Amateur Radio Satellites as I test out my "Port-A-Sat MK-III" antenna system.

This is the one I built using a surveyor's tripod, a used (very used!) Azimuth/Elevation rotator I bought from a friend, an AMSAT "LVB Tracker" interface that I bought several years ago, and just now got around to testing, and a "Dual-Band Easy Satellite" antenna from Gulf Alpha antennas. The rotator interface is one of the original "LVB" trackers designed by Howard, G6LVB. I always get a lot of "static" from other members of the Amateur radio satellite community about using a "cheap knock-off" of Howard's design, even though he published all the specs, designs, and printed circuit foil patterns and files. The one I've been using is a clone of it kitted up and sold by a really nice Ham in India.

Seeing as I'll be seen by LOTS of people next weekend, I figured I'd use the "authorized version", and avoid any PR flack.

I spent today getting the last bits and pieces arranged, making some cables, and testing/calibrating the interface box and the two rotators.

So far, so good, BUT the surveyor's tripod has spikes instead of feet, which makes it pretty dicey to use on hard surfaces. I'm going to make some blocks out of a 2x4, and bore a hole about half-way through for the spikes to rest in. I've got some 1/2" thick, adhesive backed rubber sheet that I'll glue to the bottom, and hopefully that should give me some traction on the deck of the IOWA next week.

It's one thing to have "Technical Difficulties" in front of a crowd, but having the tripod legs go scooting in different directions resulting in the whole thing crashing down is a bit of an embarrassment I'd rather not endure.

Once I have it aligned North, and level, I'll run some paracord between all three legs to keep them from separating.
, and doing a "split"

I'll try and post a few pix on Sunday.


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