Winter Station Casualty and Preparations for another K9ZW Back-Up Station, and my new 2m Repeater

Seems the weather has done some damage to the remote station at my old home.  Once the weather breaks I’ll have a chance to dig out the snow around the tower connection box and see if I can jumper past what appears to be a dysfunctional remote Antenna Switch.

I’ve had this particular Array Solutions RatPAK6N switch in use for years, but from the in the shack testing it isn’t working correctly.  With weather that have been everything from -25F to 50F, raining, sleeting and now snowing again it may have nothing more than a connection problem.

Since I am presently not controlling the switch remotely, I may just jumper past the switch, and perhaps jumper past anything else not currently in use in the remote configuration.

[ EDITED on 19 FEB 19

The switch problem was moisture and deep cold.  Basically the entire outside housing was buried in deep snow, which then started to melt while light rain sleet fell, right before another single digit cold snap.  Thawed out all is well. ]

I’d fallen a bit behind on establishing a working station at the new house’s QTH, and more importantly I stagnated in getting the work QTH’s HF side up and running.

The work QTH has an elevated vertical for HF on the same 56 ft tower as a 2m repeater that was a backup (145.110 using K9MTW for the call) for Mancorad Club.  With Mancorad being absorbed by the Lakeshore Amateur Radio Service Club I’ve ended up the custodian and owner of this 145.110 repeater.  It is presently being recoordinated and will be using my K9ZW call.

All exterior work for the HF side was was completed late in 2018, including lightening protection, grounding and cables into the future radio area.  But that is where everything stopped while other interior renovations were undertaken.

Electricians are currently wiring permanent internet, ground, 120v and 240v to both the repeater locations and the HF operating desk.  They are also providing empty conduits for coax jumpers.

A while back I purchased a Flex-6300 for use in this work QTH HF station.  I have a spare PC for an in-shack computer.  Question becomes if I want to initially provide for use of an amplifier, though even if I hold off for now I am having the 240v single phase power wired up.

Hoping I can get this station up and running in the next ten days, maybe quicker.  A lot depends on the electrician’s progress.

Back to the repeater plans.  The present exciter and gear is old Motorola gear, which is awesome until it isn’t.  I don’t have the necessary service gear nor do I have the skills to run the service gear if I did.

Excepting the cans, the present gear is going to be mothballed and retained as a backup, as everything will be moving over to a Yaesu DR-1X 2m WIRES-X/Fusion repeater.  As the DR-1X doesn’t have the native RX sensitivity to match its TX footprint, a Canadian built (GPIO) preamp is being added.  Everything is in to make the transition once it is assembled and bench tested.  Yaesu released updated firmware when they introduced the DR-2X.  At this stage I do not plan to upgrade to the dual-band DR-2X.  Local 220 and 440 usage is underwhelmingly low and the present antenna setup is a single dual-band antenna rather than two separate antennas needed to best use the DR-2X’s abilities.

Well I think it has snowed another 6 inches since I started typing a bit of this post a couple hours ago.  Not going to get outside to check on the home QTH today.



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