On Sunday morning, Jan ZS1Z and Paul ZS1V set out to recommission the links to Riversdale and Hanskop at Jonaskop. It was an uncharacteristically perfect weather day at the top of the mountain, with some small pockets of ice from the recent Cape winter weather still in the shady areas and slowly leeching off the towers.
The repeater, links and controller were reinstalled in the equipment housing. The battery and PSU voltage sensors, and the interior and exterior temperature sensors were recalibrated. The tower guys were inspected to see how they stood up to the recent storms after their pre-winter maintenance, and were found in good order. The SWR on all the antennas was tested, and these too were found to be good.
As the team was about to leave the site, testing by Trevor ZS1TR via the Jonaskop repeater and Sybrand ZS1SJ via the Hanskop repeater, revealed an issue with noise being intermittently inserted into the audio.
Jan spent a further hour or two fault-finding, eventually tracing the problem to a setting on the link controller. This setting was corrected but a short while later the problem recurred and it was found that the controller was spuriously flipping configuration bits. Several attempts were made to get the configuration corrected but every time the configuration became corrupted again.
The team was left with no choice but to remove the faulty controller and link radios. The repeater was left operational in a standalone state.
Installing solar power for backup purposes has been a project which the WCRWG has been working on for a long time.
A few people and organizations where involved:
Paul ZS1V – ordering of hardware components
Rassie ZS1YT – Site visit planning and install
Sybrand ZS1SJ – Building custom bracket (biggest part of project), site visit planning and install.
Michael ZS1MJT – Site visit installation, buying some components
Matt ZS1MTF – equipment collection and transport
Jan ZS1Z – Site visit install
Hamnet WC – Donation towards project
Sunday 08:30 Loading of brackets, panels and hardware. Installation team ZS1YT, ZS1SJ, ZS1MJT and ZS1Z.
Onsite 10:15, Inside temp 6 degrees. Visibility was very limited (maybe 5 m). Was very thick mist and windy.
Install solar panels and controller. Update link controller to have the 6m link on by default and also send morse(CW) id message every 5 min.
Left site 12:30