27 Apr 2014

VHF beacons

With Andrew G6ALB's superb and kind help, my manually turned, Moonraker supplied, dual band 2m/70cm antenna is up and working, no thanks to the rubbish patch lead from Moonraker which had 2 dodgy crimped connectors! The N connector at the mast end has had to be replaced and at the shack end the SMA crimp is intermittent. Andrew is going to replace this with a PL259 plug shortly.

With the patch  lead working (by wiggling!) I can copy the following VHF beacons at any time: GB3VHF  Kent (144.430MHz), GB3NGI N.Ireland (144.482MHz) and PI7CIS Holland  (144.415MHz). There may be others too but I have yet to have a good look. The Cornish beacon seems too far to copy, at least so far. I have yet to check 70cm beacons. On the halo PI7CIS on VHF was just nudging the noise floor, so the 2m beam is certainly helping.

The manual antenna rotation method (out of the guest bedroom window) seems to work fine: I can reach the pole OK and can peak beacons by listening on the shack loudspeaker.

When the shack end PL259 is added, the Westflex cable should no longer be intermittent. The Moonraker crimped connectors will then have all been replaced. Says a lot for Moonraker's quality control doesn't it?  Don't think they can ever check crimped patch coaxes, which I assume they buy-in. A simple sampled ratio pull test is called for. If any fail reject the batch.

Now looking forward to Tuesday evening UKAC sessions to try the beam in contests on 2m and 70cm.

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