July 2009

July 2009 — Still working to overcome the lightning strike.  I have done much this month:  installed single-point grounding plate, 6 Polyphasers, bonded those to the existing station ground.  I also began ‘standardizing’ my control cable connections with DB-9 type connectors.  Installed them along with PowerPoles on all my StackMatch control boxes.  These ‘quick connects’ will better enable me to disconnect for lightning protection and also be able to swap a controller to another cable quickly in case of failure.

Also fabricated and installed a cable tray to run the length of the shack.  It is about 12 inches above the floor.  It is made from a section of 4″ PVC pipe.  I cut  a 1.5″ slot down its length.

Also pieced together a working computer from several that were lying around.  It won’t win any speed records, but it is Win98 and will run most software that is needful in the shack.

Also ran a 1″ conduit from my house to the shack (250 feet).  Pulled 2 runs of CAT5E, and connected to my wired network in my house.  Now I have a network connection with DSL for internet access, and a VoIP phone extension in the shack.  What better way to call “room service” at meal time?  I’ve never had high-speed internet in the shack — it sure is nice!

Top Band and ICE

Finally strung my 160 meter dipole up in the trees on the north side of my property.  It runs east-west, and is more or less an inverted vee.  The peak is at about 60 feet, and the ends are about 15 feet up.  I know it is not the optimum setup, but it is better than none!  Also spent some time tweaking some intermittent problems with my TopTen Band Decoders, Ice 419s, and Six Pack.  Finally resolved by making a modification to the source driver boards in the the Band Decoders.  The mod is to install 1N4148 diodes to prevent the Ice from switching the Six Pack relays.

Concrete and Steel

Today I got the first tower base and guyposts set in the ground and concreted in.  The project used 8 cubic yards of ready-mix. Now, I’ll wait at least 3 weeks to stack the first tower, 120 feet of Rohn 55G.

Moving Day!

I moved my first desk and equipment into the shack. More pictures can be found in the photo album. I must still install my grounding panel and route all coax and control cables into the shack for my existing antennas.  Once the new tower is up, there will be a major overhaul of coax and control cabling to accommodate the several changes and new antenna that will be installed.

Website Updates

I added my terrain profiles to the website.  I added a few new exterior pictures.  I edited The Station page to reflect the current op position now in the new shack.

Why is my call sign W5WZ?

My FCC issued call was KD5CAS, and after my upgrade to Extra, I wanted to get a 1×2 call.  This was in the days before the “vanity headquarters” website existed.  W5LA was downloading the FCC database daily, and parsing it to find calls that were going to be coming available.  However, during the late summer and early fall of 1999, the FCC temporarily suspended vanity call processing.

We continued to watch the situation.  I knew that I wanted a 1×2 from the 5th call district, and I knew that I preferred a W call.  We determined that there were going to be two calls meeting those criteria that would be available in November 1999.

So, as required by the FCC process, a paper application was mailed to one location, and a money order to another, in the hopes that my application would be the first in line on the date the FCC resumed processing vanity calls.

I only put one of the two available calls on the application.  Why?  Because absolutely, positively I DID NOT WANT to forever known as Whisky Five Mike Foxtrot! 

Now you know why my call is W5WZ!