Monday, August 23, 2010

Perseids a bust for me...

The peak of the Perseids meteor shower was back on 8/12 and 8/13. I ended up not really having the time to work anybody and from my location wasn't really hearing many burns at all. I monitor the WA1ZMS 2m beacon on 144.285 and can frequently hear pings, but I wasn't hearing any more than the normal amount during the meteor shower. Also, my station is still in the state of dis-repair. My main 2m Antenna is a real POS, and needs to be replace badly. The 6m Antenna is OK, but it's only 3 elements. Both antennas are slated to be replaced this fall, and as it turns out, I found the exact 2m antenna I wanted for sale used locally. Now I just need the 6m antenna and a new rotor.

The other issue that I've wanted to fix is RF power. On 2m I've been using an external 170w power amp, that puts out more like 130w peak (It's old and tired). On 6m I have 100w from the FT-847, but on both bands I run at 50% power since the WSJT protocols run at 100% duty cycle. So, that puts me at 65w on 2m, and 50w on 6m, not really Ideal power levels for meteor scatter.

The good news is that I have lots of power available for 6m! I bought a used 1Kw tube amp a number of years back that's been sitting Idle in the basement. I don't plan on running anywhere near 1Kw, but I think I could run 250w full duty cycle with no problems. That should be more than enough power to get the job done. The real issue I face right now is getting the amplifier integrated into the system. When you start having to worry about switching relays and sequencing, it gets more complicated.

For 2m, I recently picked up a 350w amp from a friend and have been working to get that integrated as well. I built a new sequencer from a kit and completed the enclosure last night. I just need to work out the relay wiring and I'll be all set.

Of course, both amplifiers will require lots of power to run, and at the moment, I only have a single 15 amp circuit in my office, so I have more things to work out.

So, work continues on improving the meteor scatter station, I should be ready for the next shower, at least on one band....

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