[usa2003ardf] Transmitters

Kuon & Dale Hunt kuon at onlinemac.com
Fri Aug 8 22:01:04 CDT 2003

Sam wrote:
>Which brings up another topic - relying on volunteers to "help" you with
>your equipment - I have broken more antennas that way - it seems
>something is always in need of repair. Which is worse, setting out all
>the transmitters by yourself or suffering a little breakage?

    I have to admit - the week before leaving of Ohio, Kuon and
    I had a practice session.  I spent some time untangling one
    of the 80m wire antennas I used in 1999 and that had been
    stuffed in a bag afterwards when the transmitters were
    picked up...  Someone didn't know my method of rolling up

    You have to make your transmitters FOOLPROOF.  And fools are
    incredibly inventive and creative at times.  As much as I like
    the convenience of connectors between the controller and the
    radio, that has been one of the weakest links in the system.
    (Plus some bad solder joints on the controller boards.)
    If I were setting out another major event I would seriously
    consider going to soldered connections instead of the dip
    connectors.  (The biggest problems I've had is using the
    Insulation Displacement type with the wrong size of wire.)
    Most batteries have quick disconnect terminals - make sure
    the connectors are snug since a temporary loss of contact
    will reset most controllers.  Actually the Montreal controller
    is set up for dual DC inputs:  adding a 9V battery on the
    controller will keep it running in case the main 12V line
    drops temporarily.  The Anderson connectors are quite

    One of the other problems is trying to throw the transmitters
    together at the last minute.  In 1999 I was still soldering
    up the 80m transmitters as the competitors were arriving.
    One of the transmitters failed at the last minute due to
    the BNC connector shorting out the +12V trace, which
    burned out.  You can take some short cuts when getting
    started, but you want reliability when hosting an event.

    Actually I've had pretty good luck with others setting out
    the transmitters.  For most of our 2m practices I would
    hand each person a transmitter to hide.  With the antenna
    mounted on the box all they had to do was put it in place
    and turn on the switch.  The #12 copper wire dipoles could
    take quite a beating and still be bent back into shape.
    (The most difficult hunt was for the box where the hider
    forgot to switch on the transmitter, and couldn't remember
    just where it was...)

    My 80m antennas require throwing a wire up in a tree, so
    there is no fibreglass rod to break.  Not everybody has
    as much experience stringing HF antennas in trees as I do,
    so often the antenna doesn't get up very high.  But, with
    some added strain relief where the wires connect to the
    matching system it can be pretty rugged.  Of course,
    someone can always get the wire caught in a tree and not
    be able to get it down, but a "weak link" of thinner
    string between the throwing line and the wire itself will
    usuall allow the wire portion to be recovered.

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