60c new gear to install

We’ve had the 60c site up for about a year (you can see it in the prior postings) and while we’ve had a few ups and downs with the site over the period, it still is a great site with visibility to other sites to help create our “ring” around the city and providing redundancy in and out.  So, with the purchase of some new gear to hopefully get phenomenal data speeds to the site, we had to go up.  Meeting at the site Sunday morning at 8am was Derek VE4HAY, William VE4VR, Jim VE4SIG and Dan VE4DRK.  We hauled up a bunch of gear, took some older gear down  – which means we have  been able to standardize on a number of components which we’ve been able to accumulate over the past while, both from purchases and generous donations of gear.

It was a ‘tad’ cold and with a wicked wind, made it even colder.  Gloves were the order of the day for me!  (thanks Jim for the spare set).

We ran a number of new lines for some new gear, and configured up some mounts:

Jim working his magic on the mounts …

Derek and Jim mounting panels:

mounting another ….

New high(er) speed radios!

Derek and William mounting/adjusting ,,,

With the cramped area we have for the control devices/injectors etc, it was difficult for William to get it all back in with all the extra feeds coming in, but it was done … The suggestion is in to re-work the mounting/storage of the controlling gear as space is always becoming an issue.

So, with all that, we still need the 2.3GHz sectors to be mounted – we seemed to have lost (and re-found) a sector end cover as well as we need to re-set the mounting based upon the new mount point dimensions.  Who knows if this can be done  before the snow flies.  Until then, we need further work at 55N to ensure the other side of the link is tenable and working.

The one nice item was that the ring connection to Transcona has an awesome signal!  Which may imply we have further tweaks to do to the other connections to ensure they are optimal.  Redundancy and connection to ‘out-west’ ie: the west part of the also city moved along with a back-haul established out west – at least at one end of the link.  A panel connection towards the UofM will provide ham service to the local hams and groups at UofM, and hopefully a redundancy option.  More to come …

Either way, connectivity gains were had and we are better ahead to continue offering service and redundancy on the VA4WAN network – continuing to grow.

It’s great to provide connectivity to various sites and various ham groups and individual hams – it would not be possible without the great support we’ve had over the past while from our supporting groups.  The old addage is also very true – “use it or lose it”  If you’re interested, look us up and join up … lots of cool things to do.  (with this exposure to the winds up top on a cool day, I’m not sure if I’m ready for the winter or not …)

73, Dan ve4drk

2017 Fargo Hamfest, visits to 55N et al

For the second year in a row – wow – I ventured to Fargo – a few hours south of the city of Winnipeg here and attended the rrra.org hamfest.  Usual place is in West Fargo on the Red River Valley Fairgrounds.  They have access to a good sized venue (Hartl Building) which provides ample table space for flea market items and lots of walking space to meet and chat.  Was great to head back – met some old friends and met some that I’ve met on-air but not in face.  I also attended a couple of discussion sessions and managed to talk to other fellow ham geeks.  Always learn something new.  The XYL and I arrived the evening prior and settled into our hotel.  I knew there were other hams from our city heading down but it was getting quite late after dinner, we turned in for the night — as you know, the door opens at 8am and sure enough -there was a line-up to get at that time too 🙂

There must have been a dozen of us Winnipeg hams that came down – what a turnout!  I was able to pick up a unit I had been looking for, so all was not lost.  Others picked up more (heavier) stuff than I.  Some of the antennas looked nice, but a little honda can only hold so much.

I was surprised – for once in quite some time, I actually won something!  A $50 voucher from the ARRL!  Awesome.  I’m already a member and I’ve been looking at getting an updated manual for some time, so this was just perfect timing.

Yup – it’s true!

We also checked out their emergency vehicle they have – wow – looks great and there were some good ideas as well:

Checking out the emergency vehicle setup

General lay of the area:

Great event – would go again – good show guys!

A week (or so) prior to this, a few of us (William VE4VR, Wyatt VE4WDZ and myself Dan VE4DRK) spent a few hours on our main site 55N to replace some items.  Seems the “newer” switch we put in place did not fare well with the on-going power issues at that location.  Half the ports were toast  – so some of the hams/hamgroups that use our services had no service.  So we replace it with a better switch (Cisco) and then time is spent re-routing, identifying and cataloging the connections.

rewiring the rats nest
Our northern tower portion

Recently, William VE4VR also made a run out to our local VE4MAN repeater at Starbuck and was able to remotely configure the raspberry pi Allstarlink node to point to our new switch at 55n.  So, we can get that back on the air and possibly testing more.  He’s been busy – with also running out to our inkster site and reconfiguring the 3GHz system to see if we can get it working better – may have to replace a sector with a dish…

Well, I’ve got more work to do to get my older 6m capable radio on the air with it’s new amplifier and to get my other HF radio setup with a winlink system. I’m already running the packet winlink on 145.01 (yes, you did hear that right) via Werner VE4UA’s VHF gateway.  Am interested to see an HF gateway running as well – hopefully it will work out.

One item I was surprised to see .. I do the odd contesting now and then and then this came in the mail:

2016 Sweeps!

I’m not a power-station, in fact, I have mediocre antennas – so I was tad surprised – where were the rest of you! 😉  Oh yeah – my contest call is VE4EV in case you were wondering….

All for now . until I get more time to write something else up.

73, Dan ve4drk