Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Update on Case and other projects

Work has been very busy lately and has not allowed a lot of time to work upon the case much. I've gotten the RF gasket on the case but it has not worked as anticipated. The gasket did block radio signals in the lower bands (HF/VHF/UHF) it did not block cell phone frequencies. I do not fault the gasket on that as the cell phone frequency is likely outside the RF range of the gasket.
So will it work? I honestly do not know. From what I understand with EMP pulses, is that it is a low frequency high intensity pulse. 

Over all I am not disappointed with the case, I use it in my workshop to monitor the local repeaters and it works great with just a small magnetic 2m antenna. The next "field test" will be later in the spring for the Meals on Wheels race. I have little doubt in the ability of the radio box to perform well during this event. It will be the first event in which the radio box will be the primary radio rather than the secondary backup.

The other day while in the hardware store I found an adjustable switch to control the fan speed; I plan on adding this small switch soon. Currently the fans run at full speed and can be annoying sound after awhile.

I've gotten  several pieces of gear now, my goal is to make deployment gear quick and easy to load, unload and setup. In this objective I've gotten a folding garden cart with a metal grate bottom and upright handle, it essentially looks like a hand cart / dolly. This design should work well as a Go-Cart it is not much bigger than a large hand cart like the ones used by UPS. Thus access to buildings and elevators shouldn't be an issue.

This cart has a folding tray higher up on the cart; on this tray I've bolted a locking tool box that contains various coaxial and wire connectors. No big tools keeping the weight reasonable. On the bottom platform I plan on putting the radio box, battery box, and a tool bag containing the tools often needed. Setting the cart up should help speed up the overall process. The radio can run from the cart, all that needs to be setup is the antenna and if a very long deployment the portable solar charging system.

A similar box is planned for a portable packet station that could be placed on the Go-Cart, providing a dual station setup.

Currently my packet station is up and running, it consists of a Kantronics 1200+, Yaesu 7900R and a Panasonic Toughbook CF29 running XP Pro. It took a little while to get the cables setup properly but with stubbornness and persistance the cables were made and work great. I also have a Signalink USB TNC with a Dell 1540 running XP Pro, that is hooked up to the Yaesu 857D. This provides a backup and a way to do HF digital modes.

In Buncombe County, there has been a revival of the VHF Packet system; there are two nodes on Spivey Mountain 146.630 {Bunc1 / Bunc2} Bunc2 provides a link to the Henderson County Packet system on 146.710. There is also a Winlink CMS node on 146.630 N4AA-10 located in Leicester and the Digipeater NN4BC-1 on Spivey Mountain (part of the nodes).
I'll get some pictures of the Go-Cart soon.

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