Back from Washington Island (WI-001L) Memorial Day Weekend

Great Ferry ride and drive back from Washington Island W9EVT, where we had booked again with George W9EVT and his XYL Susan. Memorial Day weekend on an Island, yeah! Adding to our Memorial Day observance is that George W9EVT is a Korean War era Navy vet and I spent my time in the Cold War Army.

Great time had by all!  Huge Thunder & Lightening Storm with Heavy Rains last night – power went down for a 1/2 hour across the Island.

The expanded “Ham Mansion” W9EVT/WI9DX Hamshack is moving along.  The main operating room will be 2-1/2 the length once the plasterers finish in the next few weeks.  The first of the theme rooms to be ready will be the “Collins Room” which was a couple days from being ready for moving gear in.

The rest of the “Ham Mansion” is a work in progress, all framed & closed in, with various areas ranging from needing just plaster, trim & paint to being open walls.  My understanding is the additional rooms will be progressed after the main room and Collins Rooms are completed.  

Various gremlins made radio work fall behind being helpful on other projects.  When we arrived the internet for the whole complex was down due to serious misguidance received from an On-Line call-in Tech Center somewhere out there.  Guidance from one of these “tech on the phone” led to a Router being used as NAT interface between the inside system and the Motorola Canopy system loosing all it’s settings.  

Certainly the phone tech meant well, and it very hard for a phone tech to visual what is a decidedly more complex than the average system, but the result was the entire system being unusable.  We had been called before we left, so we knew there was an awaiting troubleshooting exercise.

Having a go rebuilding the setting matrixes was a no-joy outcome.  Extremely puzzled I broke off for dinner and was very pleased when most of the system came back to life!  Seemed once the correct settings were installed that it took a while for the Canopy system re-authorize the network connection.  

A couple buildings I wasn’t able to hotrod the wireless back up to running, lacking the admin passwords to make corrections, but I was able to get plug in ethernet points up.

Always fun to trouble shoot a system you hadn’t designed or built, specially without full documentation.

The TenTec Omni VII received its bootloader update and full software updates.  I didn’t bring the correct cabling to update the Orion II, Icom IC-7800 and Yaesu FT-2000 units.  Next trip!

Working with the SPE Expert IK-FA it was clear that this particular example needs help – Expert has a new Level-III Update program to bring these amps up to spec.  George W9EVT is going to send it in for the warranty upgrades needed.

After the huge lightening storm – lightening could be seen running across the tree tops like a freight train at one point – we discovered the internet was again down, the phones were partially out and a few of the radios seemed to have reset themselves despite being disconnected and leads grounded.

The radios were a puzzler, as no direct hits were taken and nothing was “smoked” anywhere on the farm.  Guessing that the heighten airborne ambient energy was enough to “tickle” them.  At the peak of the lightening display you could feel a tingle while watching from a covered porch.

The internet turned out to be a wall wart to the same annoying NAT router that had not liked going onto battery backup and burnt out.  A trip out to th e workshop across the farm for a spare wall-wart (power cube) and all was well!

Phones were a bit more vexing, and by a process of testing & elimination we found a Direct-TV Satellite box in the Applehouse Master Bedroom had internally shorted out.  This is the second Direct-TV Satellite box to turn belly-up at Greengate this year (they have a bunch).   

Operating time was mostly limited to testing equipment.  

Did a spot of “poor man’s surveying” by using a GPS unit to pick out relative antenna base heights and spacings.  The unit I used is not highly accurate and perhaps is accurate, relative to the other points measured, by six feet (2m) or so.  As for absolute accuracy the entire plot should be within 50 ft (16m)  of actual.  I will use this data as a model the antenna array in NEC.

DIdn’t get the WI9DX work done I had planned, but hey there are only so many hours!

Far too short of a weekend.  great to get back onto the Island and at least get a few QSOs completed.

I need to ask permission to post the construction photos. Hopefully more to come!



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