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Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi- Radio Contest Stations By Contest Station Builders Worldwide Collected and Edited by Pete Smith,

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Presentation on theme: "Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi- Radio Contest Stations By Contest Station Builders Worldwide Collected and Edited by Pete Smith,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi- Radio Contest Stations By Contest Station Builders Worldwide Collected and Edited by Pete Smith, N4ZR

2 The approach Identify the challenges in the design and construction of complex contest stations (other than antennas). Identify the challenges in the design and construction of complex contest stations (other than antennas). Collect and present solutions from station builders worldwide. Collect and present solutions from station builders worldwide. Thanks, VE1JF

3 Caveats Successful contest stations come in all varieties, from fully-engineered to growed like topsy. Successful contest stations come in all varieties, from fully-engineered to growed like topsy. There is no single right way There is no single right way Presentation based on input from station builders – not comprehensive Presentation based on input from station builders – not comprehensive

4 Neatness is optional

5 Challenge – Basic design decisions Architecture choices Architecture choices Degree of automation. Degree of automation. Location of physical antenna switching/phasing. Location of physical antenna switching/phasing. Layout of operating position and cable runs Layout of operating position and cable runs

6 Solutions Full automatic/remote RF switching Full automatic/remote RF switching Hybrid approach Hybrid approach Manual 2X6 6X2 switching Manual 2X6 6X2 switching Other manual approaches Other manual approaches Mechanical switch w/interlock Mechanical switch w/interlock Patch panel Patch panel Cables on the floor Cables on the floor

7 Footnote – What is 2X6 6X2 switching? Courtesy Top Ten Devices

8 Full automation/remote RF switching SO2R switching and antenna selection done remotely, but controlled from the operating position. Maximum computer integration. Cable for data, not RF. SO2R switching and antenna selection done remotely, but controlled from the operating position. Maximum computer integration. Cable for data, not RF. Backup manual systems or spares are essential. Backup manual systems or spares are essential.

9 For Example …. K4JA

10 Equally simple from the back K4JA

11 But lots of hardware required to support the up-front simplicity K4JA

12 Especially at a multi-multi KC1XX

13 Remote antenna selection KC1XX

14 Hybrid approach Most stations have been evolving for years. Most stations have been evolving for years. Cant always do everything at once. Cant always do everything at once.

15 For example …. W9RE

16 Homebrew 6X2 relay box W9RE

17 Manual antenna selection W9RE

18 Manual 2X6 6X2 switching … KQ2M KQ2M

19 A Scottish solution GM4AFF

20 Ultimate simplicity? W5KFT

21 And simpler yet K1KI

22 Challenge – Cable entry How to get feedlines and control cables into the shack area How to get feedlines and control cables into the shack area

23 Solution - Through-wall panel K4OJ

24 On a larger scale …. KC1XX

25 The dryer-vent approach K5ZD

26 Or through the siding K4JA

27 With the connections made inside… K4JA

28 Challenge – Lightning protection Some measures essential Some measures essential Protect vs disconnect Protect vs disconnect

29 Solution - disconnect everything K5ZD

30 Control cables, too K4OJ

31 Solution – protectors on coax, control lines. Inside, VE1JF

32 … or at the tower base N3RR

33 Inside the box N3RR

34 Grounding at the entry panel N1LO

35 A closer look N1LO

36 Cable support and low- inductance grounding N1LO

37 Challenge – cable support, protection and management Keep them out from underfoot Keep them out from underfoot Protect against accidental damage Protect against accidental damage Retain flexibility for easy change, maintenance Retain flexibility for easy change, maintenance

38 Suspend from ceiling joists K9NS/K9HMB

39 Bundle by band, type (RF, control, etc.) K9NS/K9HMB

40 Use a cable tray WX0B

41 Other options (no pictures) Contractors snap-open wire hangers Contractors snap-open wire hangers Panduit extruded plastic cable trays and associated fixtures – separate cables by function Panduit extruded plastic cable trays and associated fixtures – separate cables by function Bicycle hangers, vinyl dipped huge screw hooks, etc. Bicycle hangers, vinyl dipped huge screw hooks, etc.

42 Challenge – Access to cabling Free-standing operating table with access from rear Free-standing operating table with access from rear Cable closet Cable closet Console on wheels Console on wheels

43 Access from rear GM4AFF

44 Cable closet K4JA

45 Another more spacious approach K9NS/K9HMB

46 Console on wheels VK5GN

47 Cable marking techniques Labelmakers – Dymo, P-Touch, Casio, etc. with clear heat-shrink or tape Labelmakers – Dymo, P-Touch, Casio, etc. with clear heat-shrink or tape Colored tape – use resistor color code Colored tape – use resistor color code MS Word/Magic Tape MS Word/Magic Tape Paint pen w/ silver ink Paint pen w/ silver ink

48 Cable bundling techniques Color-coded Velcro ties Color-coded Velcro ties Tie-wraps – reusable or disposable Tie-wraps – reusable or disposable THHN wire twisted THHN wire twisted Spiral wrap tubing (Alpha or Panduit) Spiral wrap tubing (Alpha or Panduit) Split-loom tubing (SPC or Panduit) Split-loom tubing (SPC or Panduit)

49 Other cabling hints Use pigtails with terminal strips to ease the task of changing radio-specific connectors Use pigtails with terminal strips to ease the task of changing radio-specific connectors HC8N

50 And more… Use unique connectors to reduce risk of mistakes when recabling Use unique connectors to reduce risk of mistakes when recabling Use multiple conductor cables where possible Use multiple conductor cables where possible Careful attention to grounding can reduce inter-station interference Careful attention to grounding can reduce inter-station interference

51 Documentation Station notebook is essential Station notebook is essential Document everything in one place Document everything in one place Schematics Schematics Cable lengths Cable lengths Measured resistances, SWRs, etc. Measured resistances, SWRs, etc. Critical computer info Critical computer info Everything you might need at 4 AM Everything you might need at 4 AM

52 Special solutions for special problems Phasing multiple antennas on separate towers on 10m – OK2RZ Phasing multiple antennas on separate towers on 10m – OK2RZ Managing multiple receiving antennas on 160 – W8JI Managing multiple receiving antennas on 160 – W8JI

53 OK2RZ 8 antennas/45 elements on 5 towers, including 3-high stack – 10m only 8 antennas/45 elements on 5 towers, including 3-high stack – 10m only Ability to drive either 2 or 4 simultaneously Ability to drive either 2 or 4 simultaneously Phasing line length determined experimentally Phasing line length determined experimentally

54 OK2RZ 10m antennas

55 OK2RZ antenna phasing

56 W8JI Primarily a 160m station Primarily a 160m station Three operating positions Three operating positions Many receiving antennas/arrays Many receiving antennas/arrays Challenge – how to make antennas available to all operating positions simultaneously Challenge – how to make antennas available to all operating positions simultaneously

57 Receiving multicoupler

58 SO2R Audio/CW Controller Options Commercial units Commercial units Top Ten Devices Top Ten Devices Array Solutions Array Solutions Homebrew approaches Homebrew approaches

59 Array Solutions SO2R

60 TopTen DX Doubler

61 Homebrewers K6LL

62 More examples N6TR – One of the first N6TR – One of the first S56A – relayless SO2R controllers S56A – relayless SO2R controllers KG5U – manual – audio and antennas KG5U – manual – audio and antennas W2UP – audio only W2UP – audio only controller.doc controller.doc K5FD – full auto w/ antenna switching K5FD – full auto w/ antenna switching

63 Thanks to the following contributors : EI8IC, GM4AFF, HA1AG, K0FF, K0HB, K0XG, K1DG, K1GQ, K1IR, K1KI, K3BU, K3NA, K3ND, K3OO, K3WW, K4JA, K4OJ, K4ZA, K5FD, K5TR, K5ZD, K6LA, K6LL, K7NV, K7ZO, K8CC, K8DX, K9GS, K9GY, KC4UZ, KG5U, KI7WX, KI7Y, KL7RA, KQ2M, KS9W, N1KWF, N1LO, N3BB, N3RR, N5NJ, N5OT, N5ZC, N8YYS, OK2RZ, S56A, VE1JF, VE3PN, VE7QO, VK5GN, W1YL, W2UP, W2VJN, W3PP, W4AN, W7TI, W7ZR, W7ZRC, W8JI, W9RE,WE9V,WX0B


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