Saturday, 7 October 2017

Interresting night

So this was an interesting and eventful night.
Started listen at moonrise and the antenna behaves as predicted no problems there.
Heard HB9Q at -3 with the antenna beaming through a large oak tree and good echoes as best -6.3 dB and could detect my echoes with JT with as low as 25W.
Did work some stations before the contest started without any problems but when I tried to work JA6AHB I suddenly got high VSWR and the amp tripped.
Found that the TX relay in the mast has gone and also the preamp was broken but no problem I have a second set so just climb up and replace and I was QRV again.
Or that’s what I thought.
When power everything up again and TX testing a strange sound and some fireworks appeared in the amp.
Strange and it took me a few seconds to realize and to switch of but the output power was there the whole time.
Opened the box and found one of the short coaxial cables that acts as a capacitor on the output side on one of the transistors has come loose for some reason and the decoupling capacitors close by has burned away.
So I searched and found some caps in similar capacitor values but did not know their voltage capability but I tried and exchanged the broken ones and mounted everything back together again and it worked.
Limited the output power to 400W after that just to be safe but it worked Ok for the remaining of the night.
10 minutes before the contest started all stations suddenly disappeared and it took a while to understand that the rotor controlling sw had a default 180 degree stop which caused the rotor to starting to go around the other way to go over 180 degrees.
Forced it manually the right way and everything was OK again.
A few hours later I lost all stations on the moon again and this time the elevation indication broke down indicating 0 degrees that made the controller sw to try to elevate with the result of the elevation going to max.
Could not get the indication to work again so I continued without it as there was a clear night so I could occasionally go out and check where I was aiming and correct if necessary.
Continued with working with my 400W or so but it seemed slow and I only worked 7 stations in the contest and 4 before but heard a lot of stations so I was feeling confident I should work more.
Then again I lost the stations on the moon while working HB9Q in the contest and looked around to see what happened this time and you guessed it, the indication for azimuth was gone showing 180 degrees constantly.
Was able to finish with Dan but it took 1 or 2 periods extra to get the 73 through as the antenna was completely wrong direction and I needed to adjust by hand.
This stopped any more operation and I closed everything down and went to bed.
I hope the problem is in the Arduino circuit or I need to take everything down as the HH12 in azimuth is below the rotator and the rotor needs to be removed.
Will not do that today as there will be some family activities later but will check if the problem is in the arduino end later today.
But I starting to feel uncomfortable about the amplifier consistency and will try to source another one for the future as it´s actually a big difference if you work with 400W or a full kW.
So if you have or know of any please send me a mail.

If there will be any work tonight I don´t know right now as I need to check the indication before as tonight the weather will be overcast and no manual tracking possible.

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