Fargo Hamfest – a first for me

I had a new radio piece shipped to our border pickup center just across the border in the US (much cheaper) and since I wanted to pick it up, timed it to coincide with attending the Fargo Hamfest this past weekend.

So, the XYL and I drive out just after lunch on Friday, pick up the parcel, head on down to the area of West Fargo.  Check into our hotel and head out to get ahead on our required shopping.  After a long day, we’re tired and call it a night.  Next morning I’m up bright and early and head on to the fairgrounds and meet up with what must be almost a dozen of us from the Winnipeg area – quite the crew turned out.

Was interesting – picked up quite a few odd pieces here and there, so was relatively pleased with the type of gear/accessories that was available.

What was even more interesting was that Walter VE4VB picked up 4 more radios!  They are in different states of repair so with his expertise they will be top-notch in no time flat.

A few pics from the centre:

pan5
pan5
pan4
pan4
pan3 - walter and dave
pan3 – walter and dave
pan2
pan2
pan1
pan1

Now, time to setup and “play” with my SDRplay!

73, Dan ve4drk

 

VA4WAN – new ham online

Jan VE4JS is just down the street – he always hears me when I check into the MEPN (Manitoba Evening Phone Net) on 3.747 KHz 7pm local time — more like 2km away, but still relatively close.

He had expressed an interest in our high speed ham net, so with the help of Colin, he secured some cabling and a grid antenna and I gave him one of my high power bullets and injectors.  He was able to fabricate a mount for his antenna and pointed at our new site (60c).  Now, that being relatively close, one would think it would be a decent connection –

looking towards 60c
looking towards 60c

but .. very poor results – only 1 bar on the radio part, so, over emails, I suggest he point it to our main site (55N) which is about 7km away give or take

looking at 55N .. tall building way out ...
looking at 55N .. tall building way out …

— lo and behold – full scale reading on the radio. So, we pick a time where I can come down and help verify his setup.  He’s on-line now — albeit only with about 3Mbps max … hovering around 1.5Mbps on average.  Will have to have one of the guys verify my handi-work on configuration and make sure it’s up to snuff — not sure if he has tree branches too close or not — but his tower is 50′ or so and is just over the tree line in his established area of town (near the river).

night-viewing
night-viewing

So, another member added on — looking to get more hams online.

73, Dan ve4drk

VA4WAN – upgrading member site

One of our founders home site was recently upgraded to a spanking new 15m tower!  So — with that in mind, why not move the high-speed gear to this new tower and get better connectivity — not just one one band, but three!

Colin starting the climbing
Colin starting the climbing
Derek assembling units -- while "spot" keeps us company ...
Derek assembling units — while “spot” keeps us company …
William programming/setting up units
William programming/setting up units
Colin mounting pole on new mount structure
Colin mounting pole on new mount structure

 

Cable runs made up, Derek getting the 2.3GHz grid ready to go up ...
Cable runs made up, Derek getting the 2.3GHz grid ready to go up …

Luckily, Derek had a whole roll of shielded outdoor rated cat5 cable – we ran 5 runs of 90′ or so of each, so that used up half a roll or so.  I was even able to practice putting together cat5 ends together 🙂

last antenna being mounted ...
last antenna being mounted …

 

Note – it was getting a tad dark out .. so we had to finish up quickly.   Colin doing the last part of the hardware install on top prior to securing the feed lines.  With all said and done, what’s installed is fairly impressive.  Running radios on the 2.3 GHz, 3.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz spectrum with a nice camera and an extra access point for local usage!  What I initially thought would take 3 hours or so, turned into 6!

Should have triple-redundancy connection on three bands when I get my reciprocating antenna installed on my roof!

Unfortunately, since we were running late in getting all done up at Derek’s place, we weren’t able to run over to William’s place to update his VHF connection.  In the plans I have to make some amendments to my own gear… winter is coming 🙂

Another few are interested in getting started in the mode, so we’ll help out where we can.

73, Dan ve4drk