Phil Karn KA9Q, Randy Standke KQ6RS and students at the Mount Carmel High School Amateur Radio Club have constructed and deployed an amateur radio marine buoy, callsign KQ6RS, transmitting 14.0956 MHz USB WSPR. About 700 km off the coast of southern California, the buoy is transmitting WSPR on 20m using the callsign KQ6RS and is being received all over the US and into Canada and Brazil.
The electronics is the 20m WSPR version of the WB8ELK “pico tracker” that has been flown quite a few times (including by us) on long-duration balloons. We removed the solar panels and substituted 21 ordinary alkaline D-cells wired to supply 4.5V. We estimate the battery lifetime will be 6 months.
The basic design was inspired by Bob, WB4APR, at the US Naval Academy. Physically, the buoy is just a 5′ section of 4″ PVC pipe, ballasted at one end to float vertically in the water. The top is closed by a sewer pressure test plug I found at Home Depot; it has a bolt in the centre that acts as a convenient feed-through and mounting point for the antenna, a stainless steel CB whip with a matching network designed, tested and carefully tuned by Randy. We use the sea as a counterpoise, but to avoid direct metal/seawater contact we lined the inside of the pipe with copper tape to form a capacitive connection. We probably spent too much time on this; Randy even modelled the electrical fields in the seawater with a professional RF analysis package.
With a new Club member, Bartek the overall winner.
Well done Bartek !
This year the Scoring regime slightly changed – HERE. Although the Categories remained the same, the Points awarded to each was changed to give a possible maximum of 100 Points/Judge.
And to this end, our two Judges on the night were ERNIE – GM0EZP and JOHN – GM0XFK. Thanks ‘lads’!
The Top Three – Cong, Bartek & Stuart
This year’s standard of construction was high, but as has been said on other Construction related POSTS , it’s not the most technically complex, beautifully built gizzo that will win, as you can see other factors are taken into consideration. So next year please have a go.
Finally, it was good to see Paul – MM7AJE (through the generous help of Bartek popping out to Paul’s QTH) able to attend the meeting following his recent ACCIDENT with a Police van. Well done Paul (and Bartek).
For the last couple of years HI has been suffering a form of ‘BLOCKING‘. This was tracked down to the HI’s collinear and the internal components. Thus required to be replaced.
John – MM0JRM (HI’s Keeper) and Robert – GM4GUF, took advantage of the lovely wx during the last weekend to carryout the replacement. (the replacement aerial was kindly supplied by Paul – GM1YUO Fort William)
In discussion with Robert on 2, he has supplied a couple of pictures which may give you an idea just how well this repeater is placed to serve the West Coast amateur community.
And remember, these repeaters have to be paid for both from a material and annual running costs – point of view. So if you do use CSFMG Repeaters then please think about supporting the Group.