Egg Beater Pre Amp – Day 2

The splendid sunny day of yesterday could of been a whole season away – the weather today (26/11/23), bleak. Drizzle, a slight bit of wind so any gaps in clothing easily penetrated, it was not a good day to be outside, but I wanted to progress the mast head amplifier !

The weather station proving useful – preceptation whilst not heavy, was irritating..

First step was to get the mast down, thankfully the barinco tilt base makes this really easy – having help to raise it first time was ace as getting it into the tilt base is great, but once in its easy enough to do on my own, although my aged bones do struggle with bending over and taking the nuts off. This time out I made note of the different spanner sizes required for each bolt which will be useful in the future.

Having got the antennas down, it was time for some ‘fettling’ on the egg beaters – they was slightly off perfect vertical with the mast, so first thing was to straight them up with the rest of the mast. I also moved the 2m antenna further away from the mast so the radials didnt come into contact with the mast.

With the pre-amplifier installation work completed, I then set about attaching the amplifer to the mast head. I let gravity help here and attached the amp in a way i wasnt fighting it trying to drop off all the time – this worked pretty well. I had some issues with routing the cables internally, but otherwise got the feedline in nicely.

The Ultraflex 10 coax from M&P really looked the business, but it took some ‘convincing’ to go thru the egg beater base. Nothing too aggresive, just a firm push into the radial support, but it did go thru thankfully ! I then had to connect all the relevant ends up, I had pre-ordered some of the connectors I know I would needed but also had plenty to choose from in the shack.

After putting everything together and getting the egg beaters vertical it was time to beat a hasty retreat to the warth and a cup of tea in the shack. The rain wasn’t helping me today !

Once back in the shack I tested the SWR on the Rigexpert sitck, which does the majority of bands, alas today wasn’t to be my day as the SWR reports were not looking good.

yikes, thats not good !

With the WX not improving any time soon and a plethora of other things to do (XYL computer upgrades being one of them) I satisifed myself with at least getting the amp on the mast, I willl have to spend some time in investigating and correcting the connectors to find where the issue is !

Still, I’m exicted to be able to start using the egg beaters with an amp, the work will no doubt be worth the effort to pull out those weak signals.

Until then, 73s !

Egg beater Pre-Amps – Day 1

It has been a splendid sunny day down here in Bournemouth, whilst the tempretures have been dropping, it was nethertheless a fine day. My original plan was to get essential bits-and-bobs done and out the way, so i could spend the afternoon working on the antennas outside, however the week had caught up with me and a much needed afternoon rest resulted in 2-3 hours lost, but at least I felt better 😀

overnight temps from the now working weather station

Having had a rest I started work on the mast head amplifier, collecting all the parts I had stored away and the dremel, ready for making some holes. I had left my 9700 on 145.500 and was very surprised to hear a call out for a radio check ! Funnily this would be my first ‘ground’ QSO via the egg beater antennas and a good way to check that everything was working as expected. I had a great QSO with M0ABI who was portable in Barton on Sea, given I was using an eggbeater antenna for satellitle comms I was very happy to make this contact, and Mike had alot of history/knowledge of Satellites as well, it was a great QSO and I got back to work on my mast head amp.

Having place the mast-head amp in the ellectrial box housing and marking out where the bolts to attach it to the beam/scaffold would go, i then drilled two small holes with a dremel do it would line up nicely once in the box. I attached velcro supplied with the box to the back of the masthead amp. Its incredbly strong stuff and affixed the amp to the box nicely. I then screwed on the triplexer via a N-Type barrel connector.

With the triplexer and amp connected, i dremelled out the side-holes for where the feed line from the radio will come and the outputs of the triplexer, I stowed the 23cm output and kept a N-Type barellel connector on the 70cm output of the triplexer, as these are all PL259, hopefully this will make attaching the correct antenna to the triplexer easier once outside.

I checked out the feedline holes and am quitely confident the LMR coax I have will fit in there quite nicely. I have M&P Ultraflex10 for the feedlines to the eggbeaters between the multiplexer, to minimize the loss as mch as possible. I’m hopng tomorrows weather is at least dry so I can get outside and get the amp on the mast, then see if I can hear those birds just a little bit better….

A shack tidy (work in progress)

With my shack getting some actual usage of late, as well as the G4PRS 2M call on Monday nights, it felt like a good time to tidy things up. I’d not been particualy happy with the layout of the radios in the window, in particular it was susceptiable to any rain/water ingress. With that I orderd a budget 3 tier book shelf, having measured the dimensions, it was a nice foot print and my radios should all fit…

Having move the radios from the shelving, I then set about putting them in-situ to see how it worked out – i wasnt 100% sure where I was going to put the book-case radio shack, but the corner seemed a good idea, and put the Apple iPad that was there back into the Alex Loop pack ready for my next /P or /M use. The position worked well, but there was a clear issue of routing power and coax to the radios, so Ihad to do some ‘DIY’ on the shelves. Here goes my warranty…

The cheapness of the bookcase meant the back-walls of the compatments didnt present much work for the dremel, if it was earlier in the day, I would of done this outside tho, it generate a fair amount of dust and smoke, but I kept the windows wide open and also took my time with each section. I didnt need ‘perfectly square’ holes, just enough so that I can route the coax and other cables thru, and as can be seen in the last photo, this worked out pretty well !

The main transformer now had a nice clearance for its rather noisey fan (my only complain of this transformer, its otherwise done an excellent job) then can start placing the radios in place. I started with my 11m CB+manual antenna matcher, this went in easily enough, and then I placed the Kenwood TH-V71E on top of that. I put all the necessary data/audio cables in place in case I choose to use them, but I’m going to be using this as my main 2m/70cms rig. At the moment its using the Diamond X-9000 which has excellent gain on the 2m and 70cm bands. I am looking forward to trying it out on the G4PRS net on Monday night.

I fed in the very chunky cables for the IC9700. Currently I am running a very simple setup, with no mast head amplifier and direct to the satellite egg-beater antennas. This should become a single feed with a splitter both ends once I put the mast-head amp in place.

With the radios all connected and the basic setup up and running, I then set about using the IC9700 for what it was really designed, operating satellites. Luck would have it that the ISS would be passing over, not a particularly high elevantion at 22 degrees, but worth a try. I waited for an hour and was pleased to hear QSO’s from all over europe going into and out of the ISS repeater. I manually controlled the doppler, but there was no need to rotate the yagis liked what I used to have to do. First impressions of the non-amplified eggbeaters is very encouraging and I look forward to continue to setup the annteas and systems in the coming weeks.