A Clock Update and other small issues

02 Apr

My clock repairman called late yesterday afternoon and let me know that the Russian Submarine Clock is in working order and keeping time. He has a few more adjustments to make and the final assembly and cleanup to complete and then it can come home. One of the readers here has offered to translate the Cyrillic writings on its face so that will be exciting for me to understand. This clock is not much to look at and it seems it went through a lot of wear and tear in whatever place it was mounted in but it is serviceable non the less. It is a true marine 24 hour clock salvaged from a Navy vessel.  I am happy it is coming back to life.

Today we must attend a funeral for one of my son’s high school chums father. He was 51 and way too young to pass. He was taken by cancer in a very short time and so the Easter holiday begins with some sadness.

Yesterday afternoon found my CW chum and I working on our schedule on 18 Mhz. Our normal spot was full with a large pileup so we slid up to 18084.0 The FOF2 was marginal to support propagation between us at that frequency but we prevailed. Normal (short duration) QSB was inoperative and a long period QSB was working yesterday. Its period would be on the order of 4 minutes or so; about the time of a normal “over” for one of us to send our comments.  I can recall one one occasion the fade lasted almost exactly the entire transmission and my pal was in or near my noise level the entire time of his transmission. This brings me to the point of this discussion. Noise Levels and what can be done. Both Chuck and I have spent considerable time investing in ferrite, balancing plugs for AC lines etc etc in order to keep received noise abated. We cant control what is outside our homes but we can manage what is inside our homes. Yesterday, I could copy the entire conversation (with some difficulty) with QSB. Now this is on a normally quiet band (18 Mhz) but for the first time I could copy when Chuck could not. That is the first time that has ever happened. He has deployed ferrite by the hundred weight around his home. I could never have the patience or the funding to do that. However, we have buried utilities and he does not. He is in a slightly more dense urban environment than I and his externals are creeping into his RF environment faster than here. At least it seems like it is moving quicker. I am happy that the project is working generally and I can move to AM Mode on my transceiver in its widest bandwidth (9 Khz in my case) and see only a small deflection in S Meter readings on 18 Mhz. On 20 Meters this is more like S-3 and on 40 Meters its higher still. However, progress has been made and in a time when we are all subject to creeping noise and ever more unfiltered devices which operate under Part 15; it shows substantial progress can be done. Using Chuck’s sniffing loop to identify local noise and then either adding an AC line filter or ferrite’s seems to have won the day. Somehow I probably should not be declaring victory at this juncture- the noise war seems to be a continuous one.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG


Posted by on April 2, 2010 in Family, Radio, Stuff


2 responses to “A Clock Update and other small issues

  1. Julian G4ILO

    April 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    The noise has won here, Chas. I live for power cuts and keep my K2’s battery charged up!

    • w5pg

      April 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      I admit the noise problem is dire. It is daunting because it is seemingly a bottomless pit and one reason for that is that one does not know what is possible in noise abatement. The only way to really test what is possible is to shut down your house power and run the rig from batteries.That can tell you what you can do from your own home. Early on I did this and saw a substantial possible improvement so I began my hunt for noise (and quiet it) project, one source at a time. The single largest improvement in my received noise came from adding common mode chokes at several points along my feedline. Treat a feedline as though it was a guy wire that you wanted to make non resonant. I do this by placing common mode chokes (instead of egg insulators in the case of a guy wire) at about 12 foot intervals along my feedline up to the feedpoint. Make them about 3K ohms at the middle of your desired bandpass…in my case on 20M It worked an absolute miracle. And it quelled RFI everywhere in my home. I can run 500 watts with impunity now and suffer no ill consequences. Best, Chas W5PG


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