First time out with the Alaskan Sawmill

My friend Paul let me borrow his 36″ Alaskan sawmill.  I purchased a Stihl MS 391 and a 32″ bar to go along with the mill.  Yesterday I took this rig up to the Forest to test things out.

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With a Stihl ripping chain, I thought the results were OK.  Definitely not awesome.  I think playing around with the grind angle on the chain will help some.  For the most part, I plan to cut beams and build a pergola in my yard.  It should work fantastic for that.  I was playing around cutting boards just to test the thing out.

Posted in B's Blog Tagged , , , , |

Security camera Foscam FI8904W

Due to recent vandalism at my cabin in Maine, I decided to add a video camera to watch the entrance area.  A friend gave me this Foscam FI8904W IP camera and an older Verizon Mifi 2200 hotspot.  I activated the hotspot for an additional $20 on my current account, sharing our 8gb data plan.  In order to route outside traffic to the camera, I am using a Cradlepoint CTR35.  The CTR35 connects via USB to the Mifi, powering the Mifi at the same time.

The system is going to run from my solar power system.  I already have a 150 A/h bank, but need to add additional solar panels.  My calculations show 105W of solar is needed for my location; I’ll add 200W to cover other use.  The total load for this entire system varies from 9.5W to 11.5W depending on whether the IR lights are on or off.  It should also go higher than this when sending an image.  The amplifier itself draws ~5W so if I can get by without it, I’ll leave it turned off.

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Image viewed through the free Foscam iOS app on my iPhone

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Cradlepoint CTR35.  I have the Ethernet port configured as a LAN port, which connects to the camera via a cable.  I didn’t care to use the Wifi function on the Foscam camera.  If I add additional cameras, I can put a switch here.  USB cable is going to the Mifi.  Power is to the 12V solar battery bank.

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I have this Wilson cellular amplifier that came with my truck when I bought it.  It uses ~ 5W of power, but I think I’ll need the boost at the cabin.  Cell service is generally poor out there.

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I have everything terminated in Anderson PowerPoles to make connection easy once I get to Maine and do the installation.  It also makes it easy to disconnect devices during troubleshooting.

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The Foscam camera requires 5VDC for power.  I picked this DC-DC converter up from Amazon.com for $8.  So far it does the trick; we’ll see how long it lasts!

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The Wilson cell booster.  This device uses an external antenna (I’m using a Yagi), and provides a local hotspot to the cell phone cradle.

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Posted in B's Blog

New VHF/UHF antenna

I finally got around to adding an antenna for the 2m and 70cm bands at my house.  I chose the Tram 1480 since it got great reviews and was half the price of comparable amateur base antennas.  The antenna is fed with about 40′ of LMR-400 and is mounted to a short satellite TV mount about 30′ above ground level.  So far this setup seems to work great, but I don’t spend much time on these bands so time will tell. I did use self-sealing antenna tape on the mid-section joint, based on reviews about water getting into the antenna.

 

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Posted in N0BCB Tagged , , , |

W0C/SR-059 Mt Democrat and W0C/FR-001 Mt Lincoln

Continuing on with my recent desire to add more points to my SOTA total, I decided to drive to the Kite Lake TH last night and camp for an early am start up Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Democrat.  Mark, Christian and I hit the trail head at 6am to beautiful weather.  It had rained some around 4am but was clear when we left camp.

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When we got close to the summit of Democrat, dark clouds were already building.  The weather forecast had been clear until 2pm.  So much for weather forecasts!  We pushed on to the summit and the clouds moved off to the West/North.


I worked a few guys right away from Democrat, then packed it up with hopes of making Lincoln before bad weather hit.  I had forgotten (thin air?) that I was going to try working K1Jd and KT5X in Santa Fe on CW.  I had scheduled a QSO on 2m with Bob K0NR, and he was within range of 2m at his cabin.

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We crossed over Mt. Cameron.  This one doesn’t qualify for SOTA, and really doesn’t qualify as a 14er for any bragging rights.  Not enough prominence.  Somebody had left these cardboard signs on all the summits.

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There were more chasers available from Mt Lincoln.  I quickly had enough in the log and moved on.  The weather was really starting to close in.   It was fun to work a few guys on 40m-CW.  Nowhere near the pileup I would have dealt with on 20m.

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On the way across from Cameron to Bross, it started hailing and thundering.  I decided to not try my luck on Bross (plus it’s a closed summit, but that wouldn’t normally stop me!).

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The final track log and elevation profile:
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All the photos from this trip can be viewed in my Smugmug Gallery

73 de Bryan N0BCB

Posted in B's Blog, N0BCB, SOTA Tagged |

Truck solar panel part 2

A continuation from my first POST about this subject

I got the panel mounted tonight. 3M VHB tape and some angle iron. Seems to hold well!

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The hardware is #10 stainless self-drilling screws with star washers from a local hardware store.  I did add some 5200 around the connector once plugged in to help hold it down.  I wasn’t confident that it would stay plugged in, or that the cord would seal well to the boot.

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Posted in B's Blog Tagged |

Truck camper solar panel part 1

I’ve been wanting to permanently mount a solar panel on the roof of our truck camper since installing the Truckfridge TF49 compressor type refrigerator. Routing the wires in was the biggest obstacle. Through a few internet searches, I decided on a marine bulkhead. I used 3M 5200 to seal this little guy to the roof, then routed the wiring through the tent and cabinets and down to the battery.

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If it does ever leak, at least it will be in an area outside the tent.

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See Part II

Posted in B's Blog Tagged , , |

6M Yagi Match

Taken with SmugShot on my iPhone

Last year for Field Day I built a 6 meter, 4-element Yagi-Uda antenna for the W5YA team.  I never tried to match the antenna for 50Ω, and it compared poorly to Doc’s Hex Beam antenna.  This weekend, in anticipation of FD 2014, I decided to finally try and match the antenna.  I tried several designs.  My initial try was a hairpin match, which brought the 100Ω impedance up to 200Ω.  Then, I tried a 75Ω, 1/2 wavelength coax transformer as a 4:1 Balun.  I played with this a lot, but could not get it to match well enough.

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Today I tried a parallel 75Ω match based on this page.  Based on my Yagi dimensions, this showed a resonant frequency around 48 MHz.  I shortened my driven element whips about 2″ and brought the antenna to a perfect (enough) match!



Posted in B's Blog

KD1JV MTR v2 Part 1

I’ve been slowly building up my Steve Weber Mountain Top Radio version 2 kit over the past week. For the SMT parts I chose to try reflow soldering in a toaster oven, and I’m glad I did it that way. I used solder paste in a syringe from Cash Olsen as recommended by Steve. For the oven I used an unmodified $20 Rival oven from Walmart set to 420F and simply watched for the paste to become glossy solder.

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Once the SMT parts were in place, it was easy to finish the standard through hole parts.

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Right now I’m in the process of winding the toroids and soldering them down. I’ll update this again once all parts are down and I begin with adjustments and testing.

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Posted in B's Blog, N0BCB, SOTA Tagged , , , , , |

W0/FR-095 Greyrock Mountain

Sunday Erin, Oscar and I headed up the Poudre River Canyon to hike Greyrock Mountain, which might be the most popular trail in the area, or at least second to Horsetooth Mountain.  We hit the trail head at 8am to beat the hordes of hikers, and had the trail to ourselves all the way to the summit.

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I’ve been working with Ron WT5RZ and CW Academy since the beginning of January, and this was my first SOTA activation using CW.  I had alerted the night before, and after my 3rd CQ, I was immediately inundated with a huge pileup, that sounded like an arcade game!  I had no idea what was being sent, and had to wait until the end of the pileup and grasp for a couple of letters.  Fortunately, I know many of the callsigns from SSB activations, and was usually able to pick a callsign out.

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After 11 CW stations worked, my mind was getting frazzled and I wasn’t able to take any more of it.  Sorry to all the chasers who I didn’t work.  I could still hear some waiting for me, but I just couldn’t do any more.  Erin and Oscar were patiently waiting for me so we could start our decent.  Hopefully after a little more practice I will not need to leave anyone hanging like that.

This is a great hike, app. 5 miles RT, and offers some great views of the Front Range.  I highly recommend it if you haven’t done it yet!

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Additional photos from the hike can be found here.

Posted in SOTA Tagged |

KH6/KU-011 Nonou Mountain SOTA

Today Erin and I activated the first KH6/KU SOTA summit!  Nounou is a great little hike, and is much easier than the guide books led us to believe.  It had rained the night before, but the trail was in great condition.

Track file (google earth) can be found at:  Track KH6/KU-011

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The hike is about 3.3 miles round-trip:

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A view to the South towards Lihue, including 2 other SOTA summits.

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Here’s the 12m antenna, constructed from Buddipole parts.  It is a full size 12m dipole, about 8′ above ground level.  Too low normally, but fine on this summit with sharp drop offs all around.  I started with 20m (2 contacts), then down to 17m and 15m with no luck.  12m was the best I’ve seen it from a summit, and I was able to work the mainland from West coast to East coast running 5W from my Elecraft KX3.

Buddipole full-size 12m dipole

Here’s the SOTA log:

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See the remaining photos at Mainelife.net

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