Sunday, November 4, 2012

Operation Red Bird II Commex ARES Support

We had a successful exercise at Fort Stewart and Clay Natl Guard Center yesterday. We worked with the GA Natl Guard and GA State Defense Force to test various methods of sending messaging between the two locations. Thanks to Dan Scott-KF4MND and Greg Bandish-W5GKB for their help with me at the Fort Stewart side and to the Cobb County ARES team at the Dobbins ARB side. Here's a diagram of our net along with some pictures from the Fort Stewart location.

Guy McDonald, K4GTM
ADEC Metro Atlanta ARES

Dan Scott - KF4MND

Georgia State Defense Force TOC

Guy McDonald - K4GTM sending a message via PSK-31

Guy McDonald - K4GTM and Greg Bandish - W5GKB "tailgating".

Georgia State Defense Force Trailer

Dan Scott - KF4MND

Greg - W5GKB and Guy - K4GTM discussing D-Star configuration issues

PSK-31 Message from Cobb County ARES team at Clay National Guard Center

GA State Defense Force personnel practice loading an unloading litters onboard a Blackhawk

Guy and Greg operating

Guy McDonald - K4GTM sending a message from Fort Stewart to Clay National Guard Center

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Coastal Amateur Radio Society will be activating the B-17 "City of Savannah" radio station WW2COS this Saturday, Sept 15th to celebrate the 65th birthday of the U.S. Air Force. We are planning to be on the air from about 1000 til 1700 EST.  We will be streaming live video from the compartment viewable here at this blog Current operating freq will be scrolled across the screen.

Guy McDonald, K4GTM
Radio Team Crew Chief
B-17 "City of Savannah"

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Tubes....Well new to me

My Uncle Bob has a furniture and appliance store and stumbled across a box full of old tubes.  Of course the only member of his family that would appreciate these is me!  So I have a nice inventory of tubes now to use on future restoration projects or to share with some of my ham radio friends.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Armed Forces Day Special Event Activity

We had an absolutely great day at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum today operating our radio station WW2COS to celebrate Armed Forces Day.  I always look forward to these opportunities to raise awareness of our B-17 restoration project.  We set some records this time around in several areas.  Before the event we posted info about our upcoming activity at and we had 480 hits.  That means 480 people saw information about the project before we even started today.  Over the course of about 7 hours on the radio today we made contact with 54 stations in 17 states and one Canadian province.  Two of those stations were also operating special event stations to celebrate Armed Forces Day.  With each contact we took the opportunity to explain the details of the "City of Savannah" story and specifically the radio compartment.  During the event today we also leveraged Facebook and Twitter to update our status and frequency.  Once again we broadcasted a live video feed from the compartment so that folks all across the country could watch us and get a view of the inside of the aircraft.  I wrote a message that scolled across the screen showing our current operating frequency.  This is always a big hit and this time we had a record 50 people view the video feed.  That's 50 people "virtually" inside the radio compartment with us enjoying this great piece of history!

Todays radio operators included myself, K4GTM, Bill-K4WP, Greg-W5GKB, Peter-KJ4FAW, and Paul-KC2NYU.  What a great time we had.  Big thanks to Jeff Hoopes for having the aircraft electrical ready for us and to Gil and Justin for thier work on the QSL card board.

**BONUS**  We had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with a B-17 radio operator who was visiting the museum today with some family members.  Didn't get his name but he's visited the museum several times.

Peter-KJ4FAW and Greg-W5GKB operating amateur radio station WW2COS

Our very nice QSL card display board that Gil and Justin built

TSgt Greg Bandish-W5GKB

Saturday, April 28, 2012

B-17 Restoration Continues

Spent a little time at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum this morning doing some planning for upcoming activities in the radio compartment of our B-17.  Also got a chance to spend some time with my friend Jeff who has been working on getting the landing lights operational.  Jeff and team have done a great job on the electrical system and have great plans to make alot of the moving parts, well move.  Todays efforts were centered around re-doing some wiring and installing some relays to light the landing lights.  Here's a few pictures.
Looking forward in the bomb bay.  Just installed a new relay in the terminal panel.

Left wing landing light before......

Left wing landing light after......good job Jeff!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Take a Soldier Fishing Tournament Radio Station

Had a great time yesterday as members of our amateur radio club set up a radio station at Lake Mayer in conjunction with the "Take a Soldier Fishing Tournament".  Combining two things I love.....military and radio!  There were members of all branches of the service competing in the event with some local pro fishermen.  Sure was a beautiful day and lots of military/veteran related groups in attendance.  It's great to see groups like the Bass Angler, Plus doing things like this for our troops.

It was a very good day to set up our radio stations in the outdoors.  Kevin-KW4B and Peter-KJ4FAW set up stations using a ground plane antenna on a 12 foot mast for VHF/UHF, a BuddiPole clone for HF, and a Cushcraft vertical for HF.  Power was delivered by Kevin's 1KW Honda generator and Peter's 12V deep cycle battery.  So we had a nice "off the grid" operation.

We were only on the air for a few hours but Kevin was able to make contacts as far away as New Mexico and points in between.  I love any opportunity to set up and operate outdoors like this.  What great fun.  Mac-KF4LMT, Lester-KF4JBQ, and Bill-AK4PI showed up toward the end and helped with the tear down of the stations.

Antenna Farm

Peter-KJ4FAW setting up his "go kit"

Another view of the setup

Kevin-KW4B operating one of the Candler Hospital "go kits"

Kevin and Peter
Yours truly-K4GTM, Peter-KJ4FAW, and Kevin-KW4B

Kevin-KW4B on the air

Trophies for the soldiers

One of the soldier fishermen with his tournament shirt

Part of the crowd at the awards ceremony

Saturday, March 17, 2012

HDTV Repair

Who says you can't repair televisions anymore?  Well, it is getting more and more difficult to do these days. 

We have an aging (maybe 6 years old) 52 inch HD projection television that spazzed out last week.  The image overlaps and the three primary colors appear seperated.  It kinda looked like 3D TV without the glasses.  Thank God for Google cause I did a search on those symptoms for our RCA model and sure enough up pops a well known problem with the convergence circuitThe problem is well documented and is easily corrected by replacing fuse FL231 on the circuit board that houses the flyback transformer and the convergence circuit.

So I ordered the new part and the instructions and they arrived in just a few days.  I got the opportunity to do the repair this afternoon.  Pretty simple to remove the back cover, disconnect all of the cables and connectors on the circuit board, pull the circuit board out, turn the circuit board over, desolder and remove the bad fuse, install and solder the new fuse, re-install the circuit board, reconnect all cables and connectors, replace the back cover, and power the TV back up. 

Back up and running in about 40 minutes or so.  Sure beats paying someone else to do it or throwing it out and buying a new one!

About to begin the operation

This is the circuit board with the convergence circuit

Fuse FL231 is the one in the middle.  It's a 400mA fuse.  If it opens (blows) then there is no convergence of the primary colors.

FL231 is now removed

The new FL231 fuse is now installed

Here is the bottom of the circuit board before I soldered the leads of  FL231.

And here is the culprit of non convergence!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10th B-17 Restoration Work Day

Spent a few hours at the Mighty Eighth this morning after breakfast.  I met up with our active duty Air Force contingent so that they could be interviewed by the project public relations person, Dick Gorman.  Dick will be writing a nice press release highlighting the participation of the Air Force team in the restoration project.  You know, a feel good piece about current Air Force members honoring the legacy of the WWII generation of airmen by volunteering to keep thier great Flying Fortress alive for future generations to enjoy.  Possible plan in the works to have them on WTOC with Bill Cathcart in the near future.  Will need to run that past the Air Force I'm sure.

After the interview we went back down to the shop and the guys got right to work helping run some electrical wiring from a junction panel under the cockpit to some other area of the aircraft.  I spent some time with Jerry McLaughlin discussing my upcoming move to Atlanta and my plan to continue involvement in the project and how to maintain continuity on the radio compartment portion of the project.  Also spent some time with Gil who is planning to build a nice backboard of some type for us to display the ever growing number of QSL cards that we have during times that we are operating special events from the radio room. 

Dick Gorman interviewing Jason, Jacob, and Greg-W5GKB

Jacob, Greg-W5GKB, and Jason

Some of the QSL Cards that we have recieved from our special events

Friday, March 9, 2012

Visit to Georgia Tech Amateur Radio Station W4AQL

While working in Atlanta this week I had the occasion to be on the Georgia Tech campus for some training.  I texted my young friend Andrew Mullins, KI4WHN who is current attending school there.  Andrew is a member of the GA Tech Amateur Radio Club and I thought this would be a good opportunity to see him and visit this club station.  So Andrew was nice enough to meet me near Technology Center and we walked to the club station which is in the Electrical Engineering Building.  Andrew showed me around the shack and told me all about the club.  The club has a 2 meter repeater on campus and just installed a new D-Star repeater system.  Had a great time visiting with Andrew and look forward to going back again and maybe attending one of thier monthly club meetings or some other activity.

Klaus Advanced Computing Building

Antennas on the Electrical Engineering Building

Here we are.  Arriving at the ham shack.

GA Tech Ham Shack W4AQL

New D-Star Repeater Stack

My good buddy and GA Tech student Andrew, KI4WHN

Front of GTARC QSL Card

Back of GTARC QSL Card