Hanskop Maintenance 2021-07-17

Jan ZS1Z and Paul ZS1V departed for Hanskop on the morning of Saturday 17 July to diagnose and hopefully attend to some issues that had been plaguing the Hanskop repeater system recently.

The track to the Hanskop site has been steadily deteriorating over the last few years and the recent Cape winter storms only exacerbated the issue.

ZS1Z navigating the track

The repeater system was checked thoroughly. The antennas, feedlines and lightning protection units were all found to be good. The repeaters themselves were also found to be operating correctly. The linking controller was then re-initialised and the firmware reloaded before the configuration was reapplied.

Spurious activations of the repeaters on PTT release were noticed. This appears to be coming from somewhere along the chain towards the B2B side of the network and will be further investigated from CPUT.

View of False Bay, including Steenbras Dam & Gordons Bay

Maintenance Bottelary 20201229

Paarl and Stellenbosch from Bottelary

Jan ZS1VDV and Melissa ZS1MEL went to investigate the DMR repeater outage.

The repeater was rebooted and updated. A future upgrade of the operating system on the repeater will be required, but this will first need to be tested before hand.

The fan on the Allstar link radio was realigned and secured.

The building was fumigated for insects.

Sir Lowry’s Pass to Bellville from Bottelary

Maintenance Hawequa 20201223

Fitting 6m (51.550) simplex link to existing repeater system.

Sometime back it was decided that it will be a worthwhile experiment to fit a 6m simplex link to the existing VHF/UHF repeater system on Hawekwa, above Paarl.

The intention is for local stations to experience some 6m activity but also for distance stations to make use of specific propagation methods to access the VHF/UHF repeater system in Cape Town.

Previously the radio was programmed and the necessary cables made up and installed on site by Jan ZS1VDV.

The missing part was a proper 6m antenna.

On Wednesday 23 December David ZS1DDK, Mike ZS1TAF and Rassie ZS1YT left home at about 5h30 to do the necessary installation of the antenna.

Arrived on site at 7h20.  Outside temperature 11°C and completely over cast.  (At the foot of the mountain it was 23°C with some clouds.)

The site covered in cloud this morning

David did some homework by installing supports to the antenna as the site is well known for wind speeds of up to 150km/h

Whilst Mike and David installed the antenna Rassie got the SWR meter and cables out for the testing of the antenna.

ZS1TAF on the tower

The SWR checked at 1,2:1 and on the air tests followed. A number of stations called in on either the 145.650 repeater or the 51.550 simplex link and in both directions the 6m link was operating well.

The party left at about 9h30 and returned home.

The final installation

Thank you to the following people for sponsoring MONEY, TIME and KNOWLEDGE:

6m Radio      Members of Boland ARK

6m S/S folded dipole antenna and brackets:     David ZS1DDK

Setting up of radio and linking cables:     Jan ZS1VDV

Climbing the tower in wet conditions:      Mike ZS1TAF

Travelling: ZS1DDK, ZS1TAF, ZS1YT.

Maintenance George 20201104

The UHF link radio at George was damaged during a lightning storm.

This resulted in the UHF radio keying up the 145.700 repeater continuously. For sometime this radio was switched off.

Chris ZS2AAW, who has lots of experience with the Storno radios, suggested that an op-amp in the linking interface be replaced.

On Wednesday Francois ZS1Q and Daan ZS1DBJ from George visited the high site and replaced the op-amp. Tests were confirmed afterwards and the George to Cape Town link responded positive.

The standby battery water is also regularly topped up by Francois.

Thanks to Francois and Daan for walking the extra mile to keep the western Cape Repeaters in proper shape.

The George repeater site overlooking the Indian ocean.
The George standby batteries.