HFU HF Underground

Loggings => HF Beacons => Topic started by: l0ngwire on April 26, 2022, 0658 UTC

Title: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: l0ngwire on April 26, 2022, 0658 UTC
The Coastal Slider on 4109.5 is back, about S3 here in central California at 0650z.  Wonder what repairs were needed to get it back on the air again?
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: stendec on April 27, 2022, 0557 UTC
Good find, LW!

The Coast Slider is coming in well on my home RX and 120' dipole at 0550Z this evening, S6 or so. Nice to hear it back. It went off the air the same day as DW, so maybe it was damaged in the same storm. Hopefully the owner will post something.

Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: beaconpop on May 01, 2022, 1706 UTC
About two weeks ago, a hike was made to the beacon to investigate what happened. As expected, it was an antenna problem - probably caused by high winds over the ridge in the storm also took DW out on the same day back in April.

The Slider's 70' antenna wire is supported by small two pine trees, and lacked a way to accommodate movement of those trees in the wind. The strain caused the antenna wire to part at a solder joint near the EFHW transformer, leaving only 1' of wire connected. The beacon was found to still be transmitting though. Fortunately,  the PA transistor was still OK (not surprising since the beacon only 1/3 watt).

The antenna was shortened a bit and the solder joint repaired with added strain relief. The height of the antenna was raised by an additional 10 feet. This had the happy side effect of bringing the SWR down to <1.5:1, whereas It was ~3:1 when first installed. A bungee cord placed on end to hopefully accommodate strain when the support trees move in the wind.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on May 02, 2022, 0309 UTC
The bungee was a nice bit of McGyver'ing! Hopefully it withstands the UV for many months until it can be upgraded on a future trip.

Here at home on the KX3 I have a pretty fair signal with some slow fades rolling in and out.

Glad you made it our there before June and thanks for the full report!
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: beaconpop on May 03, 2022, 0331 UTC

Yes, hopefully the bungee cord will last a few months.

Just in case, a length of dacron para cord was paralleled with the bungee cord, so that if (when?) the bungee fails, the antenna will just sag rather than fall down.  An upgrade to a pulley and counterweight arrangement that would allow for greater movement and a constant tension is probably the way to go.

And as you noted in your logs, the beacon's frequency shift has increased to nearly 400Hz from the original design value of 170Hz. Thanks for the report. There's an RC network which determines the amount (and rate) of the shift; perhaps the component values have changed a bit. It'll be interesting to see if the delta-F stabilizes or keeps increasing.
 
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on May 03, 2022, 0447 UTC

Yes, hopefully the bungee cord will last a few months.

Just in case, a length of dacron para cord was paralleled with the bungee cord, so that if (when?) the bungee fails, the antenna will just sag rather than fall down.  An upgrade to a pulley and counterweight arrangement that would allow for greater movement and a constant tension is probably the way to go.

And as you noted in your logs, the beacon's frequency shift has increased to nearly 400Hz from the original design value of 170Hz. Thanks for the report. There's an RC network which determines the amount (and rate) of the shift; perhaps the component values have changed a bit. It'll be interesting to see if the delta-F stabilizes or keeps increasing.
 

Excellent thinking on the parallel dacron cord. I just read about a counterweight solution where they used a pulley and a length of PVC tube that that added water to until they hit the right weight. Then the tube was sealed. At home I have a lightweight 20/40 meter OCF dipole and it takes about 7 pounds of counterweight. So a gallon of water might be all that's needed for your antenna.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on May 05, 2022, 1525 UTC
The beacon sounds good today  8)
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: MojaveBeaconeer on May 10, 2022, 0220 UTC
It probably wouldn't hurt the antenna nor reduce radiation (mnaybe by a few dB by allowing for a "sag" of the dipole more into a Vee form from 25 to 25 degrees from horizontal.  This will reduce end-tension on the dipole antenna.  I prefer rock formations rather than trees due to how trees can thrash around and break antennas...  The shoert term solution of the bungee and // cord fix is good for a few months but Bungee cords deteriorate quickly out in the sunshine and elements, from past experience.

Slider is Now audible about S4-5 in the big QRN at 7:10 p.m. PDT now.  DW by comparison is S9 and propagation pre sunset time must be favoring DW's distance.  The other solar only daytimer 4096 cluster dashers are quite weak now due to fading Sun and for the cluster being "too close." At times the dasher out-signal strength DW by far mid-day and when absorption is low.

Anyway, cool and I plan on a Central Coast trip in June so it will be more of a local short skip signal there in a remote place between Templeton and Cambria. A far nicer/better place than this funky desert village locale by 100 times!

The original 4096 beeper was deep in a Marin County canyon in a fern forest in 1988 and the antenna was a half-wave wire (no ground) just to a 7aH SLA swapped bi-monthly via 10 mile round trip hikes.  The desert-based PV units would come when this endeavor re-started after 1998.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: mark-n-nut on May 10, 2022, 2100 UTC
Have caught the slider the last couple of mornings here at the QTH rather on a KIWI.  So is prop is changing.

73

Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on May 15, 2022, 1803 UTC
No reception of CS here at home and on the KFS Omni the signal is low but readable. It's great it is now a regular signal once again.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Desert Whooper on May 27, 2022, 0135 UTC
About two weeks ago, a hike was made to the beacon to investigate what happened. As expected, it was an antenna problem - probably caused by high winds over the ridge in the storm also took DW out on the same day back in April.

The Slider's 70' antenna wire is supported by small two pine trees, and lacked a way to accommodate movement of those trees in the wind. The strain caused the antenna wire to part at a solder joint near the EFHW transformer, leaving only 1' of wire connected. The beacon was found to still be transmitting though. Fortunately,  the PA transistor was still OK (not surprising since the beacon only 1/3 watt).

The antenna was shortened a bit and the solder joint repaired with added strain relief. The height of the antenna was raised by an additional 10 feet. This had the happy side effect of bringing the SWR down to <1.5:1, whereas It was ~3:1 when first installed. A bungee cord placed on end to hopefully accommodate strain when the support trees move in the wind.
.

Great work Beaconpop!!

We can appreciate all of your efforts to restore your beacon. We love The "whoop".

The DW Team

The DW Team
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on June 05, 2022, 0413 UTC
I have a clear signal from CS here at home. Very cool!
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: syfr on June 23, 2022, 1410 UTC
The Slider is doing really well into the KFS Omni. Congrats!
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on June 25, 2022, 0343 UTC
A bit of slow fading but I've got good copy of CS here at home.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on July 17, 2022, 0537 UTC
CS is strong enough to hear decently well here at home on my good old NRD-525 using the Narrow filter
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Ed H on July 18, 2022, 0420 UTC
Receiving the Coastal Slider here on the SF Peninsula with no difficulty this evening. S3 to S5.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on July 20, 2022, 0503 UTC
Nice signal here at home at 22:02 PST
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Pigmeat on July 21, 2022, 0254 UTC
I'm an old beer brewer with a ruined back. A gallon of water is 8lbs. Make sure there's a nearby source so you don't have to lug it for miles. The antenna isn't going to care if the water came from Fiji or the nearest mudhole.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on July 21, 2022, 0328 UTC
I'm an old beer brewer with a ruined back. A gallon of water is 8lbs. Make sure there's a nearby source so you don't have to lug it for miles. The antenna isn't going to care if the water came from Fiji or the nearest mudhole.

Water, beer, rocks, dirt, mud, whatever. Innovation is the message.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Pigmeat on July 22, 2022, 0237 UTC
I was always a gravel and sack man, myself. I had one neighbor who seriously thought I practiced Voodoo when she first saw those nylon counterweight sacks hanging from the trees.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on July 23, 2022, 0357 UTC
Anyhow....

I've got a weak but clear 'n slow whoop from CS here at home on the KX3
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: HQ180 on July 30, 2022, 1727 UTC
Copied it this morning at 1130 utc...
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on August 04, 2022, 0256 UTC
I've got a weak but clear whoop from CS here at home on the KX3 and also on the KFS omni

It's a reliable beacon to check on for reception.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Pigmeat on August 05, 2022, 0316 UTC
But is it McGreevy approved?
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Dave Richards on August 06, 2022, 2133 UTC
I've never heard CS, and a decent listening antenna is not going to happen at home anytime soon, so I resorted to the online SDR's. It's a very clear S3-S4 on the KPH SDR, and about S1 on KFS. Nice to hear it for the first time.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Charlie_Dont_Surf on August 23, 2022, 1803 UTC
S5 peak on the KPH kiwi SDR at 1800 UTC on 23 March 2022.  Is there ever an ID for this beacon?
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: syfr on September 02, 2022, 0019 UTC
Good signals into the KFS SE just now.

Well done, op!
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: syfr on September 24, 2022, 1702 UTC
Is the Slider still on the air?
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on September 24, 2022, 1710 UTC
I can hear it right now 10:10 am pst

http://69.27.184.58:8073/
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: syfr on September 24, 2022, 1856 UTC
I've tried several times to access that Kiwi , but it's overrun with WSPR bots. Thanks for the info though, I'll keep trying.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on September 24, 2022, 2028 UTC
Typically the Omni is not infested with bots. Itís probably the best choice for CS as an optimum receive antenna
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: Teotwaki on December 02, 2022, 1506 UTC
Last I heard CS was Nov 23rd. Has anyone heard it since then? Might just be band conditions.
Title: Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
Post by: syfr on December 02, 2022, 2357 UTC
Could not copy it when I was in the central coast a couple months ago.