Yaesu FT-450D Repair
Posted Dec 18, 2019 (Website Editor)
The club's main HF operating transceiver, the Yaesu FT-450D, had been indicating less than full power (e.g. <20w vs 100w) on some of the bands. After some troubleshooting; using a dummy load and comparison FT-450D rig, we concluded the most likely fault was with one of the two output driver transistors. The suspect part was ordered Dec 9th and installed on Dec 18th; a Mitsubushi RD100HHF1 MOSFET Transistor (100W, 30 MHz, 12.5v) . Initial testing post-repair into a dummy load confirms full power on all HF bands, and an on-air contact verified clean SSB modulation. Note: when the suspect transistor was removed it was noticed that there appeared to be little/no thermal compound against the heatsink (see picture). It is possible this explains the root cause of the failure - thermal stress over time. The FT-450D second driver transistor was not replaced since it appears to be operating fine (however, we do have a second replacement transistor now on-hand if required).
KARC Group Picture
Posted Sept 27, 2019 (Website Editor)
A group photo of KARC members was taken on top of OSB II on Friday Sept 27. Multiple shots were taken by a member of the KSC Photography Club, using the iconic VAB as the perfect backdrop. Although attendance was limited due to work constaints and badge access to KSC, it was nice to capture out first offical membership snapshot. A future photo opportunity will be planned off-site for capturing the larger membership. Thanks to all whom could attend!
Hurricane 'Dorian' Safing Restorations
Posted Sept 10, 2019 (Website Editor)
Dorian became a Category 5 hurricane, and did significant damage to the Bahamas. Fortunately Dorian kept well off the east coast of Florida as a Cat 2, and did not seriously impact the Cape. No damage to KARC equipment identified. On Tue Sept 10, club members reinstalled the previously stowed antennas, and also raised the tower back into the operating position.
Hurricane 'Dorian' Safing Preparations
Posted Aug 29, 2019 (Website Editor)
In readiness of hurricane Dorian (projected Cat 4/5), the club performed necessary safing operations on our various antennas at EML. All rooftop mounted antennas (except the Discone) were removed and secured within the EML building. The tower was lowered, and safely stowed & secured. Work was also performed on the addition of an extra securing bracket tie-down support for the top mast. The tri-bander & dual-bander beam elements were removed and also stowed inside the EML building to provide additional protection from potential high wind damage. Thanks to all who helped with their time to get this critical task accomplished for the club.
Enhanced KARC Logistics Area
Posted May 6, 2019 (Website Editor)
The club's logistics area was significantly enhanced this weekend (May 4/5) with the addition of four large metal shelving assemblies made available for club use. The additional room for the shelves was made by relocating several non-KARC large boxes that had been previously stored along the east wall to another area of the building. Thanks go to Andy Lopatin KB3KX, Michael Seay WA4ECT, and Scott Vangen WB0QMZ for their time and help to get this task accomplished for the club.
NASA On-The-Air Article in Spaceport Magazine
Posted April 23, 2019 (Website Editor)
An article covering NASA On-The-Air was published in the latest issue of Spaceport Magazine (April 2019 Vol. 6 No. 3). KARC President Kevin Zari KK4YEL was featured in an interview covering the story, summarizing the year-long special event activities celebrating NASA's 60th Anniversary.
Radio clubs from 10 NASA centers and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, all supported the yearlong event. Ham radio operators tuned in from all 50 U.S. states and 56 countries across six continents to chat with NASA personnel. “There were times in our log where we had 20 contacts a minute – it was that quick. And there were other more relaxed times, where we were able to just sit and talk,” said Zari.
ELAD TM2 Controller Installed
Posted Apr 8, 2019 (Website Editor)
An ELAD TM2 manual controller, a recent acquisition by the Club, was paired up with the previously installed ELAD FDM-S2 SDR receiver. The TM2 allows the use of the SDR software without the need to watch the screen of the PC, or when the PC screen is crowded with other various programs such as our logging program during contest operations. A main tuning knob, two additional control knobs, plus 6 programmable buttons allow for easy user interface for those who prefer manual control. A multi-color LCD display compliments the user interface.
Cape Canaveral Lighthouse - N1KSC Donation Brick Plaque
Posted Apr 2, 2019 (Website Editor)
We received a nice framed picture and thank you letter from the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation. Last fall the club voted to make a donation to the CC Lighthouse Foundation in the form of a personalized engraved brick "KSC Amateur Radio Club N1KSC", located on the CC Lighthouse Keepers Walkway on the north side of the lighthouse close to the base of the lighthouse. The CC Lighthouse Foundation has kindly supported KARC radio operations on-site during the International Lighthouses & Lightships Weekend event (3rd weekend of August annually).
HEIL Parametric Receive Audio System
Posted Mar 28, 2019 (Website Editor)
A recently donated HEIL Parametric Receive Audio System (PRAS) is a state-of-the-art audio system that enhances the internal audio systems of amateur radio receivers. The PRAS allows radio operators to modify, shape, and improve the audio output of receivers using three equalization controls. The PRAS consists of an active parametric EQ w/ two headphone outputs and a HEIL 24-watt powered 2-way speaker. The PRAS has been installed in the ops console for use with the Yaesu FT-450 HF transceiver. Give it try next time you operate!
ELAD FDM-S2 SDR Receiver Installed
Posted Mar 27, 2019 (Website Editor)
The recently donated ELAD FDM-S2 SDR Receiver (see Feb 14th 'News' posting) has been installed in the Shack Ops Console. Two LMR-195 coax cables w/ RCA-to-N connectors were fabricated (one each for the HF & VHF inputs to the receiver. The ELAD FDM-SW2 software is loaded on "iMac Alpha", and provides complete control/display of the little black box. The addition of this state-of-the-art software defined radio adds a wide range of new capabilities to the club shack for monitoring the HF & VHF bands.
Motorola HT Charging Stations Installed
Posted Mar 27, 2019 (Website Editor)
Two Motorola 6-bay HT charging stations were installed on the south-east wall of the Shack (by the Guest Ops Desk). These HT/battery chargers are now the permanent home for the dozen Motorola XTS-5000 HT's that we acquired for club use. A reminder that the HT's may be used by any club member, but must be signed out for use on-center and a property pass obtained if taken off-center (coordinated w/ the club property manager).
New Coax Cable Hanger Panel
Posted Mar 23, 2019 (Website Editor)
A new radio gear coax cable hanger panel has been fabricated/installed in the shack providing easier access and organization of the various cables running to the antenna patch panel area. The easy clip & release hooks allow quick access to the radio coax cable(s) you wish to use, initially organized left to right to match the Ops Console layout of radio equipment. The hanger panel has 17 clips available; hard to believe we have 14 coax cables hung already running from all of our various radio gear in the shack.
N1KSC UHF Repeater Testing & Upgrades
Posted Mar 22, 2019 (Website Editor)
Upgrades to the club repeater on top of the VAB were performed 3/21 & 3/22, along with de-sense testing of the system performance. Additions to the repeater include a larger rack enclosure hosting an upgraded UPS with increased battery capability (and future expansion growth for additional backup capacity). Additionally, an EMR pre-selector/pre-amplifier has been installed to provide additional receiver selectivity and sensitivity. During de-sense testing of the repeater equipment, a suspect short length of Heliax flex coax was replaced with a length of LMR-400, which we believe will improve system performance. Thank you to John McCardle KN4OBL, Chris Durso AA4CD, Dave Harrison KE8GIJ, Michael Seay WA4ECT, and Scott Vangen WB0QMZ for their time & skills to complete this work on behalf of the club.
Please provide feedback to the club on the repeater's performance in the weeks ahead if you notice a change. We are very interested in the system behavior from your perspective (e.g. increased/decreased quieting, stronger/weaker gain, etc.).
Motorola XTL-5000 UHF Transceiver On-Line
Posted Mar 18, 2019 (Website Editor)
The Motorola XTL-5000 UHF Transceiver is now operational in Bay #1 of the Ops Console. The base unit is programmed with preset memory channels for easy selection of the N1KSC repeater for both analog (FM) & digital (P25) modes, along with a number of simplex frequencies for local communications. Simply patch up the coax cable labelled "Motorola XTL-5000 UHF" to the desired antenna (typically the Diamond X-300AN), power-up the rig, and you're good to go!
Replacement EML UPS Installed - HF EMI Noise Now Gone!
Update Mar 7, 2019 (Website Editor)
Fantastic news - the new Eaton UPS has been installed/activated, providing contingency switch-over power for the EML spectrum monitoring control room. The nasty EMI noise from the old UPS unit, that plagued our radio HF operations since we first activated the club shack, is now gone!
Replacement EML UPS Has Arrived!
Posted Feb 22, 2019 (Website Editor)
A new high-capacity Eaton UPS has arrived at the EML building, which will replace the existing old UPS system, used for the EML spectrum monitoring control room during power transfers to generator. The current UPS has been the known source of our severe HF EMI QRM noise, particularly on the 20m band. When the installation is complete our operating environment should be much quieter in the HF bands, and the need to schedule a shutdown of the UPS during our operating events will be a thing of the past.
70cm Pre-Amp Replaced on Satellite Antenna Array
Posted Feb 19, 2019 (Website Editor)
Our new Systems Officer (John McCardle KN4OBL), along with the help of Dennis V. KI4KNC & Scott V. WB0QMZ, replaced the Icom AG-35 70cm pre-amp on the satellite antenna array. The previous 70cm pre-amp was inadvertently damaged during use when troubleshooting SurfSat late last year. The new pre-amp was checked out, and the club satellite station is now back fully operational.
On a related satellite note, a 2018 edition of Getting Started with Amateur Satellites has been kindly donated by AMSAT & Dennis V. This definitive reference is written for the new satellite operator by Gould Smith (WA4SXM), but includes discussions for the experienced operator who wishes to review the features of amateur satellite communications. Now's a great time to come by the shack and learn how to work the birds!
Posted Feb 19, 2019 (Website Editor)
During a recent visit (Feb 14th) by Dr. Robert Suggs KB5EZ (NASA/MSFC) to the KARC shack, we were entertained overhead by a pair of USAF Thunderbirds practicing aerobatic maneuvers over KSC air space. During a particular overhead pass we took notice that one of the pilots might have been trying to say "HI" to us on the ground (flying east to west, so read the pilot induced smoke contrail right to left). dit-dit-dit-dit dit-dit (Hmm...)
Donation of ELAD FDM-S2 SDR Receiver
Posted Feb 14, 2019 (Website Editor)
Orlando Hamcation was this past weekend (Feb 8-10), with thousands in attendance, including several club members. One of the interesting developments to happen with amateur radio in recent years has been the infusion of Software Design Radio (SDR) technology into our hobby. One of the companies at Hamcation displaying amateur radio SDR integrated hardware/software systems was ELAD Electronics (Italy).
ELAD Electronics CEO Franco Milan generously donated a model FDM-S2 SDR Receiver to KARC. The FDM-S2 is a 16-bit Direct Sampling Receiver covering 9 kHz - 52 MHz HF (plus FM Band and 135 - 160 MHz VHF range in undersampling mode). This SDR will provide the club shack with a panadaptor view of the HF/VHF spectrum, including various display & signal analysis options with the included software.
Note: Federal Government Shutdown (Dec 22, 2018 - Jan 25, 2019)
NASA & contractor personnel were furloughed during the five week period. The January 9th KARC monthly meeting still occurred, and was an off-site social gathering at Brix Project in Titusville.
2019 KARC Officers Installed