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Monday 30 September 2013

Recent posts not about soldering :-)

Apologies those that are confused about recent posts all about building a shack and nothing obviously to do with amateur radio but was asked to blog the shack rebuild as some want to know what the steps might be.

The log cabin is one from Dunster House. They call it a Modetro

I have modified the build already from the instructions :-)

Insulation down and damp proof

The base is nice and flat

 I checked and it is square (you measure across the diagonal and if A=B then is should be square)

Time to cut and drop in the Celotex floor insulation:

I put DPM on top of the bearers, under the walls. Will also do the same under the floor board joists. Don't expect upward water ingress but you never know.

Base wall logs in place.

The base you can see where the double doorway will go.

To left will be two windows and another will go (yet to decide) on right wall or left wall.

Friday 27 September 2013

Bearers down and in place.

Painted/soaked all the timber with this horrid smelly stuff as this will be the one and only time I get to treat them.

All nailed together, after pre-drilling the ends.

Even a quick view before I try with a spirit level will tell you the front left is lower than the rear left corner... so going to have some fun leveling it all.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Base now complete waiting for cabin now

Only 20mm or so of 10mm gravel on there. The boards both hold in the gravel and give it a nice finish.

While I wait and before work last week I had some fun and added a touch screen to a Pi. Mine is a Version 1 B.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Concrete now curing

I will be adding some decking board surrounds and the top will have a layer of 10mm gravel added before the shed base it put onto it. I was amazed by how much the base needed to rise on the right, it is almost 200mm (8") thick to be level with the left.

I was not looking for a mirror finish as I will add gravel, that will act as a water drain.

Saturday 14 September 2013

Almost finished the office/shack base

It is raining but only drizzle, has been pouring down with rain last few days.

Once this all sets the idea is remove all the shuttering and replace with 'nice looking' edge board (probably decking plank) and then I will cover the base in a thin layer of 10mm gravel (pea shingle). The wooden bearers will then go directly on the gravel, which will act as drain for any water that does get to the base. The base has a very slight slope on it anyway to make sure water drains.

The 3"/75mm wooden bearers are pressure treated (from Dunster house with the cabin) but you will see behind me I have a small tub of creosote that I will paint the bearers with, it is sitting on two roll of damp proof polythene (same used in house walls) over them and nail them to the bearers before the floor boards go down.

The idea is that it will stop any damp from coming UP through the floor.

The old shed I added the same damp proof polythene between the bearers and the floor boards and it stopped the floor boards getting damp.

Friday 13 September 2013

Birthday building... going to look at HAB

I had a bit of fun this morning before work as I have started to look at the code and electronics used for HAB. I have a couple Raspberry Pi (A &B), some licence free 433MHz FM and AM modules and a GPS thing that should connect to the Raspberry GPIO.

The CDARC guys years ago made a 2m 'Big Wheel' antenna and stacked two (with one offset 60 degrees from the other, so no nulls) for one of the VHF contests and I remember how good it was as an omni directional antenna horizon to horizon. I have a 5/8 co linear for 70cm too and I will mount both on a pole about 8m AGL.

A couple RTLSDR USB dongles (no HF converter) will do duty as RX and I have registered them with so I can track anything flying. I have a circuit for a small pre-amp using a MAR-4 MMIC on an SMT daughter board that I suspect will see use.

The 433.9MHz modules emit a signal (just connected a couple 1.5V batteries to one, at approx 433.92MHz. I think current HAB are using different frequency though.

I found this wonderful image of the North Norfolk coast taken from about 30km up by a camera on one of Dave Akerman's HAB flights and where the cloud is clear and you can see the coast it shows very nicely the beach site I like using for 80m/40m /P operation with the full square. It is just up from Kings Lynn

I have a couple of raspberry camera modules on order.

As I will work from home and the office will have the possible option of an operating bench I will take an old laptop that is 'spare' and probably not worth selling on ebay and add the two USB RTLSDR, SDR Sharp and Virtual Audio ports and create a static listening station. I note a few others appear around Cambridge from time to time.

Thursday 5 September 2013

New shack base shuttering before concrete

It is only shuttering so doesn't have to look good, would have been better if I had long timbers but I didn't so do more with less and I cut up and used the pallets that I had there before and fronted them with hardboard (neat edge). All the wood will come out once the base is set.

I included as this is part of radio, if you want your own shack you often have to build a shack :-)

Probably not needed but wife had used 3-4 tonnes of large stone in a rockery and the wire panels were from that. They were bent into a circle and wired together an nailed onto one of the pallets used as a 'fence' now used for shuttering. The wire will act as additional reinforcement. I will not connect to ground connections.

The small circle is the astronomy pier the pier goes down about 4 feet and the central metal pipe goes down 6 feet!

Will not need much concrete, about 2"/50mm at the far South end (closest to camera) and this deepens to about 3"/75mm near middle and then back to about 2"/50mm at far end, there is an extra side sectioning too. The blue pipe contains the cat5 (ethernet and telephone) the white is the end of the electric. The RF feed is behind the wooden panel (holding back the vegetation). 

The mix will be 1:6 mix Portland cement: ballast and I'll use only as much water as needed to bind it together.

Monday 2 September 2013

M1KTA old shack is no more, new shack to come

The M1KTA shack that has done it's duty for 10 year is now no more.

After all those late night freezing mornings during contests in the early years I finally installed 2" insulation and it became a welcome retreat in which I and a few others operated....

It will be much missed.

A new shed like this will be replacing it.

Just got RBN report in for CQWW WPX SSB contest

Wow I knew I had concentrated in the WPX contest as a qrp entry but I did not check audio afterwards and just submitted the log but couldn't believe the report error summary on the logs in the qso... this is pretty good. I was qrv 20/15 & 10m

    0.0% Score reduction

       0 (0.0%) duplicates (without penalty)
       0 (0.0%) calls copied incorrectly
       0 (0.0%) exchanges copied incorrectly
       0 (0.0%) not in log
       0 (0.0%) calls unique to this log only (not removed)