Home > APRS, Daily News, HF, Home Brew > A Ham’s Work is Never Done

A Ham’s Work is Never Done

My two pursuits of late- my garden and my ham shack are very similar, neither is ever finished and both require constant maintenance.

I’ve been working hard in the garden cutting trenches for irrigation, drainage and some electrics which I will document in my other blog. I have also been working hard in the shack. Recently my Yaesu FT101E went low on modulation on 80 metres and quit transmitting on some bands. I have plenty of other rigs so set it aside to work on another day. That day had arrived.

Some time previously I had changed the valves and done a quick neutralisation and not really tried to use anything but 80 metres on this radio since, so I thought I would start with changing back to the known working valves and doing the neutralisation again, this time with the aid of more testing equipment. I now have an old Oscilloscope and and Audio Signal generator which also allow me to check the RF Processor.

I followed the cold neutralisation procedure and using my scope, I was able to adjust things perfectly, however the rig was still low on power on most bands above 40m. I then decided to go through the full alignment procedure and also the peaking of the RF Processor. After a few hours the old girl was back pumping out better than 100 watts on SSB for all bands except the upper end of 10 meters where the best I could manage was 90 watts.

The next job was to get the old Hallicrafters keyer adjusted. I had used the keyer on the Gnarly CW net the day prior and it was way out of adjustment. A quick tune of the balance and weight had it working as well as it ever has- which is to say it works but is difficult to use- after all it is a valve driven keyer of 1950s vintage. Nonetheless, I can send OK code with it and the other members of the net can read me quite OK despite it’s quirks.

 

IMG_0005

 

IMG_0011

The very next job on the list was the Czech key which had suddenly developed the annoying habit of sticking in the down position, sending a continuous tone. I’ve never been happy with the feel of this key and maybe there was something wrong all along. Unfortunately the contacts are actually impossible to get at and impossible to adjust because you cannot reach them or see them without radical surgery. The resistance is provided by a small conical spring that is not visible, the adjustment of this resistance to anything above nought brought a continuous tone. I pulled the adjustment screw out completely and the key worked perfectly fine at this very low spring resistance. If I tried to close the contact gap, to a gap I was happy with, the key would stick. I settled on a gap wider than I prefer and very light resistance. I am not perfectly happy with it, but the key works. While I had the key apart I bridged the two contacts for the lid, allowing me to test adjustment with the lid open.

IMG_0012 IMG_0005 IMG_0627

Now to the APRS. Since changing USB Serial convertors and reconfiguring the TinyTrack 4 (KISS TNC), I have had problems with Xastir. I just had the setup wrong, but for the life of me could not figure out what it should be. In the end I got it working by reloading the TT4 and setting up the device in Xastir as multiport KISS TNC. I have a wiki that I use to track all of my settings, operating manuals and service manuals etc, but had neglected to put that info in, so spent a few hours getting it sorted. It is definitely working properly now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: APRS, Daily News, HF, Home Brew
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