Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aug 24, 2011 B-17 Radio Compartment Work

Great view of the aircraft.  That's me in the window of the radio compartment.
 Got to spend a couple of hours at the museum today with Mac-KF4LMT doing some work in preparation for our next communications event on Sept 17th.  Since the last work day we have ordered and recieved a new tuner for the Kenwood HF radio so that we can better transmit on the 80 meter band.  The Kenwood TS-480 internal tuner wasn't quite cutting it on 80 meters so we had Dave, one of the project managers order a new LDG KT-100 auto tuner which has a control cable connection to the TS-480.  Perfect.  We spent some time determining exactly where to mount the unit and decided to attach it directly to the HF rig which is under the radio table.  Mac suggested we use some "Superlock" tape which I think will work just fine.  Went ahead and installed the coax jumper and control cable to the Kenwood and will mount the tuner on the next visit. 

We also had Dave order us a small, low power FM Transmitter to interface with the BC-348 Reciever so we can send the audio output over the air so that it can be heard on regular ol FM radios outside the aircraft (or anywhere in the museum really).  This keeps us from having to run external speakers to the outside of the aircraft and gives us great flexibility in allowing visitors to the museum to hear what's going on inside the radio compartment.  Thanks to Carroll Baker-WX4Y for this great idea.  Mac and I tossed around some ideas on where to mount this unit and will install and test on the next visit. 

While at the museum today we discovered that the HF dipole antenna had been the victim of a very strong wind gust during a recent afternoon storm.  One of the poles of the dipole pulled away from the center feed point so we repaired that and hoisted the antenna back up into it's normal position.  Will put the analyzer on it and test everything on the next visit.

Also noted a couple of new items in the radio compartment since the last visit.  Bob McDonald and John Finch have completed the fabrication of the Liason Transmitter mount and have installed the transmitter on the bulkhead.  It looks great!  The team has also added fire extinguishers in the cockpit and the radio compartment.  A must addition now that we have electricity running thru the aircraft!

I still continue to work on documentation and drawings of our equipment layout and wiring as well as a "preflight checklist" for the systems.

Overall a great day working on this phoenominal project!

Newly installed BC-375 Liason Transmitter

Looking aft with newly installed BC-375 Liason Transmitter on right and Tuning Units on left

Closeup of BC-375 Liason Transmitter.  Plan to have this working in the future.

Our new LDG  KT-100 Antenna Tuner for the amateur HF Radio

Our new low power FM transmitter to carry the BC-348 Reciever audio out of the aircraft

Monday, August 22, 2011

ARES Preparations for Possible Hurricane Irene Communications Support

In preparation for a potential impact from Hurricane Irene here in Chatham and surrounding counties, we've contacted our local served agencies(CEMA, Red Cross, Memorial, Candler) to let them know we are standing by to provide communications support. And we tested the radio systems at each location today. We are in touch with NWS Charleston and the statewide ARES groups are standing by to support us as needed. For now, we'll continue to monitor the hurricane, stay in touch with our local served agencies, and prepare for posible evacuation. If the time comes, we'll evacuate like most everyone else, possibly providing comm support along the evauation routes. Once the all clear is given, we'll return to the area and provide any needed communications support based on storm damage, etc. If a local weather net is required in Chatham and surrounding counties before the storm we will meet on our primary frequency of 146.970 (123 PL) or backup of 147.330 (203.5 PL). If repeaters are not available we will meet on 146.550 simplex. Counties to our west or outside the impacted area please be prepared to help us with information that we may not have access to due to power outages or communications failures. If needed we will communicate via HF on 3.975. Coastal Counties join us on Thursday at 8:00pm on 146.970 for our weekly ARES net where we are sure to have more solid information.

Guy McDonald, K4GTM

DEC Southeast District

ARES Emergency Coordinator

Chatham County GA