After driving a few years now with a magnetic antenna foot and lingering about how good the antenna performance would be if I drilled a hole in de roof of the car, today was the day to do it. Henk PE1PEX helped me with the job. After 4 hours of the antenna mount was ready for testing and the whole car was put back together.
First test wasn’t disappointing at all. I could open repeater PI2RTD (about 65 km further) with only 5 watts from Henk’s driveway. We we’re very impressed with this result! Unfortunately I couldn’t test the antenna driving home from the job because Henk advised me to let the kit dry for at least one night. So as a good boy as I am I did.
To get a little impression the job from start to finish:
How cool would it be to succeed in making a APRS-contact with the ISS with just my current setup? If I understand it correctly, it must be possible to reach the ISS with just your average vertical for 2 meters. I do own a Diamond X-200N. And my Kenwood TM-D710 has all the APRS-capabilities on board to make the contact. On of these days I will pick a pass-over of the ISS and try to make a contact. Of course I will report on it here!
The new Peet Bros. weather station Ultimeter 2100 runs for a few weeks now. First results where very disappointing. All kind of weird data was logged on aprs.fi. Even data for rain (which the weather station has no sensor for). The weather station itself logs fine and readings are okay. So I figured it has to be the serial connection between the Ultimeter 2100 and my Kenwood TM-D710. I tried several things but nothing seems to work. Then PA1EDL informed me about the fact that this is a very common problem between two devices, connected via serial port, but with separate power supplies. It can result in “floating” serial signals which the devices can’t process. Solution for this problem is galvanic separation.
I ordered some 3N44 optocouplers and start building a galvanic separation. It wasn’t very successful, there was no connection at all. I removed the optocoupler and hit a dead end.
I looked around in my shack and suddenly realize I still have a solar powered battery! Maybe it would work when I connect the weather station to the battery. It would still be floating serial signals, but maybe less floating then with 2 AC power supplies.
After a few hours of running on battery the data on aprs.fi starts to make sense. The weather station uses a few hundred milli amps, the battery is around 12Ah so it should be able to run 24/7.
The big data collection starts now. I’m still thinking about buying the extra sensor combo with rain gauge and humidity meter some day.
And I still want to make the optocoupler work because thats the only guarantee for a proper operation regardless of what power supply is used.