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.

Hawequa Maintenance 20200425

On Saturday 25 April, ZS1VDV, ZS1V and ZS1RK visited the Hawequa site, home of the 145.650 repeater and 438.800 link repeater between Piketberg and CPUT. The 4 x 200AH backup batteries donated for the purpose were installed with their fusebox and charger.

In addition the Vertex/Motorola repeater system swapped out for a pair of Kenwoods, a TKR750 VHF and a TKR850 UHF.

Kenwood TKR-750 and TKR-850

The waterproofing of the antenna connectors was also inspected and found to be in good order for the coming winter.

ZS1RK inspecting the UHF antenna

Hawequa maintenance 2019-06-09

On Sunday a team of four consisting of David ZS1DDK, Mike ZS1TAF, Markus ZS1MTB and Rassie ZS1YT left home at 7h00 to meet at the site gate at 8h00. The purpose of the visit was to replace the 3 cable stays on the tower with new Stainless Steel cables, clamps and turn buckles.

Stay replacement

A 6m dipole was also fitted to the tower for future linking of a 6m simplex radio onto the repeater system.

Although quite a strong wind was experienced, the temperature on top of the mountain was a very cool 18o C.  Work started immediately with Mike and Markus climbing the tower and David and Rassie fixing the cable stays on the bottom anchor points. The team returned home by about 12h30.

6m antenna

The 6m Webb-antenna and Stainless Steel cable was donated by Rassie ZS1YT

The antenna clamps, cable ties and other hardware was donated by Mike ZS1TAF

Travelling to the site by ZS1TAF, ZS1MTB and ZS1YT was also donated.

Piketberg Visit

On Saturday 3 November, Jan ZS1VDV and Paul ZS1V left Stellenbosch at 06:00 to visit the 145.625MHz repeater site at Voorstevlei near Piketberg.

Towards the end of October the UHF radio for the link from Piketberg to Hawequas locked into transmit.  The link repeater at Hawequas had to be temporarily disabled to prevent the rest of the link network also locking in transmit.

The team arrived at the Piketberg site at around 8am.  The problem was narrowed to a faulty buffer chip in the link controller.  The chip was replaced with a spare and the fault cleared.  The link controller was also updated to the latest firmware.  A bandpass filter was also added to the receive path.  That eliminated interference from a nearby DMR repeater.

At 09:45 the team packed up and departed Piketberg for Hawequas.  There, the link controller settings were adjusted and a damaged connector seal on one of the antennas was repaired.

The exterior temperature sensors at both Piketberg and Hawequa have not stood up to the elements and are faulty.

The team arrived home just after noon.

Maintenance Piketberg, Hawequa and Bottelary 20180113

Jan (ZS1VDV) and John (ZS1EQ) did a round trip to service 3 sites.

Started to load the bakkie 07:00.

Left Stellenbosch around 08:00 and reached Piketberg by 09:45

At the end of 2017, the Piketberg VHF repeater was removed.  The repeater was serviced by Verstay.  The final transistor was replaced.  A replacement duplexer was prepared during the week. The duplexer was swapped out and VHF repeater reinstalled.  SWR between duplexer and VHF radio was 1.2 and between the duplexer and antenna 1.3.

Left Piketberg 11:15 and was on Hawequa at 12:45.

The 10 amp battery charger was swapped out for a 7 amp battery charger.  The 10 amp is designated to go to Hanskop.

Left Hawequa 13:45 and reached Bottelary at 14:45.

Removed the UHF DMR repeater for service.

Back in Stellenbosch and unpacked by 16:15.

Maintenance Hawequa 20170625

Today Jan ZS1VDV and David ZS1DDK went to the site to service the power problem.

It was found that the DC power distribution box was faulty and replaced.

VHF repeater SWR was tested (1.2)
UHF repeater SWR was tested (1.4)
Backup battery voltage was measured (13.8V)

Maintenance Hawequa 20170617

Jan, ZS1VDV went to Hawequa to investigate why the 650 VHF repeater was not working.  The worst was suspected, that the mast did not survive the storms.  Luckily this was not the case.  The mast and building was in good condition.

It was found that the repeater was on, but as soon as it started to transmit it restarted.  After long debugging, it was found that the repeater was not at fault but the dc power distribution box and power supply.  The fault was corrosion on the conductors in the connectors (dust and soot blasted in by the storms, as well as intermittent power would have caused this), as well as crackling sound in the power supply.

The power supply will have to be replaced on a next visit and serviced.

It was great to see the water flowing off the mountain.