Friday, 23 January 2015

Moon bounce muses

I was last on EME ( apart from some listening on 2m)  2 1/2 years ago when I made my last 23cm EME QSO.  I did operate briefly on 6cm EME in July/August 2012, just before EME2012. I wanted to work the TM8PB Plumier Bodeau set up, which I did ; and several more besides. Since then, zilch. Nada.

I had to remove my dish when my neighbours erected a large extension along our property line, well down the garden, and effectively cutting off anything beyond SSE from the dish.
Not good and not much I could do about it. At least it made a good location for a lean-to greenhouse!

Since then I have agonised over where in the garden (lawn) I could get away with re-erecting the dish and mount. I believe I have located a good position ( and my neighbours can still get the full benefit of looking at it).

I am waiting for the weather to warm up before I start to prepare the ground for the pallet mount. I also need to dig a trench for the cable duct. Right now the ground is still a bit hard.

Having got the dish back in operation the question is which band(s) to activate?  Long term I really want to try 3cm and to that end I have already started to collect parts. Realistically, I suspect that my operation will be using JT4F as I will be power-limited to around 14W, using a surplus SSPA and the 2.3m dish.
I have one of the new DL3BLC ( I hope I have Ron's callsign correct....) 0.65dB LNAs on order and a back up under construction. Similarly I have a new feed under construction.

I suspect I will opt to bring the 23cm EME system back on line first. Since I was last QRV on 23cm EME there has been a noticeable increase in activity on the band (I know, because of the number of VLNA23 preamps I have sold to potential 23cm EME ops!).

I am also tempted to resurrect my 13cm system as my dish really worked well on that band and I would like to try 2300MHz since I was one of the team that pushed for its inclusion in the recent OFCOM changes to 13cm and 9cm....

And of course I have a complete system for 9cm EME that has never been tried, other than on receive, so that ought to be given an airing. 

So, there is lots to do and few excuses other than laziness to stop me getting on with EME,  now my interest has been piqued again.

Last week's visit to Dwingaloo has a lot to answer for. 

Let's see how this all pans out.......


Saturday, 3 January 2015

Moved the shack indoors

Now that it has become increasingly difficult to keep the garage shack warm enough to be comfortable, I have moved the main rig back indoors and using the coax cables between the two shacks to allow me to keep the transverters and PAs in the outside shack. The six wire control cable is used for PTT and for bringing remote meter readings back to the indoor shack.
One innovation this year has been to combine the K3 28Mhz IF transmit and receive with an MCL BNC combiner in the indoor shack, at the back of the K3. In the outdoor shack I've put another (SMA) MCL splitter inside the Anglian transverter to split the 28Mhz IF back to transmit and receive, again. This way I use just one cable, at 28MHz, for the RF path between the shacks.
The second, lower loss, coax can be used for another IF! e.g. for the 23, 13 and 3cm bands using the K3 or another rig.
Rotator control uses my ERC controlled Yaesu G1000DXC, over the home WiFi network and outside shack PC.