Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friday at the KCUR Transmitter

Friday was largely uneventful at the transmitter. Robin and I talked about a few things, including how he could reduce the actual power going into the transmitter if he could get it up a bit higher. He also told me that he had a site survey done to see if it was feasible for us to set up a wireless data link between the studio and the transmitter. The result of the survey? We would need to put the studio antenna at a height of 75 or 100 feet for it to work, which would require putting up a tower on the roof of the studio. As the studio is a University building, University regulations would require contractors, insurance, and a host of other things that would make the job much more expensive than if were being done at somebody's home. Which is a pity, as I was really looking forward to building such a beast. Maybe I'll spec it out anyway as an exercise. Robin also told me that he got the conductor he ordered in (it's replacing a line going from the transmitter hardware in the equipment building to the transmitter hardware on the tower), so maybe this coming week I'll be helping him install that. I hope so. :)

Later that day I went to help set up the ARRL Field Day activities being hosted by the Raytown Amateur Radio Club. I helped put up a big antenna mast with three horizontal antennas on it (Like the one on the right in this photo. I don't know what sort of antenna it was and didn't think to ask.) and someone's satellite antenna. I was surprised to find that the satellite antenna was this sort of V-shaped affair, rather than a dish.

Saturday I went to the field day proper, but it wasn't exactly clear what there was for me to do. People seemed to be intent upon their own business, and as I don't yet have a license, I didn't think I was allowed to ask, "Hey, can I try to transmit on this equipment?" As it turns out, there was a GOTA (Get On The Air) trailer set up, but it wasn't clear that was what it was. I realize that I could have asked, and I probably should have asked. But I let my timidity get the better of me. I also could have come back later, but by that point I was feeling ill and in no condition to go anywhere. Next year, perhaps.

So it occurs to me that all I've been talking about is KCUR and radio stuff. That's not all I'm interested in. I'm also interested in motorcycle maintenance, as I think I've stated previously on this blog. I'm at a bit of an impasse there, however. To learn more about motorcycle maintenance requires having a motorcycle in need of maintenance, and my motorcycle, thankfully, is not in need of the maintenance type things I want to learn more about - mostly engine stuff. I can do an oil change, replace turn signals, and replace a chain. I feel confident that I could do my fork seals if I needed to. I can replace my own brake pads, and rebuild my brake calipers. I can replace my own spark plugs and coil wires. But I've never dipped my carburetors. I've never adjusted my valves. I've never been inside the guts of an engine, and that's something I want to learn about. I asked if I could work some hours at Blue Star Motorcycles in exchange for wrenching lessons, but Don (my friend who's the GM of the shop) said he didn't have enough work coming in for that. Maybe I should see if I can just hang around and pester the mechanics with questions.

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