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Author Topic: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5  (Read 1566 times)

Offline l0ngwire

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Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« 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?

Offline stendec

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #1 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.

/ STENDEC

Offline beaconpop

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #2 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.
/BPOP

Offline Teotwaki

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #3 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!
Jim
NRD-525, Elecraft KX3 and Elecraft PX3 Spectrum Display
76' end fed long wire & 66' off-center fed dipole for 10/20/40 meters
Orange County, SoCal, The better half

Offline beaconpop

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #4 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.
 
/BPOP

Offline Teotwaki

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #5 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.
Jim
NRD-525, Elecraft KX3 and Elecraft PX3 Spectrum Display
76' end fed long wire & 66' off-center fed dipole for 10/20/40 meters
Orange County, SoCal, The better half

Offline Teotwaki

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2022, 1525 UTC »
The beacon sounds good today  8)
Jim
NRD-525, Elecraft KX3 and Elecraft PX3 Spectrum Display
76' end fed long wire & 66' off-center fed dipole for 10/20/40 meters
Orange County, SoCal, The better half

Offline MojaveBeaconeer

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #7 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.

Offline mark-n-nut

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #8 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

R-75
Wellbrook 1530 Loop
Dipoles
QTH - Northern UT (NUT)
DN41af

Offline Teotwaki

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #9 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.
Jim
NRD-525, Elecraft KX3 and Elecraft PX3 Spectrum Display
76' end fed long wire & 66' off-center fed dipole for 10/20/40 meters
Orange County, SoCal, The better half

Offline Desert Whooper

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #10 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

Offline Teotwaki

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2022, 0413 UTC »
I have a clear signal from CS here at home. Very cool!
Jim
NRD-525, Elecraft KX3 and Elecraft PX3 Spectrum Display
76' end fed long wire & 66' off-center fed dipole for 10/20/40 meters
Orange County, SoCal, The better half

Offline syfr

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2022, 1410 UTC »
The Slider is doing really well into the KFS Omni. Congrats!
Kiwsdr x 2. TenTec Paragon/NRD535

Offline Teotwaki

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2022, 0343 UTC »
A bit of slow fading but I've got good copy of CS here at home.
Jim
NRD-525, Elecraft KX3 and Elecraft PX3 Spectrum Display
76' end fed long wire & 66' off-center fed dipole for 10/20/40 meters
Orange County, SoCal, The better half

Offline Teotwaki

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Re: Coastal Slider Back On 4109.5
« Reply #14 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
Jim
NRD-525, Elecraft KX3 and Elecraft PX3 Spectrum Display
76' end fed long wire & 66' off-center fed dipole for 10/20/40 meters
Orange County, SoCal, The better half

 

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