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Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi-Radio Contest Stations PowerPoint Presentation
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Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi-Radio Contest Stations

Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi-Radio Contest Stations

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Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi-Radio Contest Stations

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  1. Why Do They Call It Wireless? Behind the Radios in Multi-Radio ContestStations By Contest Station Builders Worldwide Collected and Edited by Pete Smith, N4ZR

  2. The approach • Identify the challenges in the design and construction of complex contest stations (other than antennas). • Collect and present solutions from station builders worldwide. Thanks, VE1JF

  3. Caveats • Successful contest stations come in all varieties, from fully-engineered to “growed like topsy.” • There is no single “right way” • Presentation based on input from station builders – not comprehensive

  4. Neatness is optional

  5. Challenge – Basic design decisions • “Architecture” choices • Degree of automation. • Location of physical antenna switching/phasing. • Layout of operating position and cable runs

  6. Solutions • Full automatic/remote RF switching • Hybrid approach • Manual 2X6  6X2 switching • Other manual approaches • Mechanical switch w/interlock • Patch panel • Cables on the floor

  7. Footnote – What is 2X6  6X2 switching? Courtesy Top Ten Devices

  8. Full automation/remote RF switching • SO2R switching and antenna selection done remotely, but controlled from the operating position. Maximum computer integration. Cable for data, not RF. • Backup manual systems or spares are essential.

  9. For Example …. K4JA

  10. Equally simple from the back K4JA

  11. But lots of hardware required to support the up-front simplicity K4JA

  12. Especially at a multi-multi KC1XX

  13. Remote antenna selection KC1XX

  14. Hybrid approach • Most stations have been evolving for years. • Can’t always do everything at once.

  15. For example …. W9RE

  16. Homebrew 6X2 relay box W9RE

  17. Manual antenna selection W9RE

  18. Manual 2X6  6X2 switching … KQ2M KQ2M

  19. A Scottish solution GM4AFF

  20. Ultimate simplicity? W5KFT

  21. And simpler yet K1KI

  22. Challenge – Cable entry • How to get feedlines and control cables into the shack area

  23. Solution - Through-wall panel K4OJ

  24. On a larger scale …. KC1XX

  25. The dryer-vent approach K5ZD

  26. Or through the siding K4JA

  27. With the connections made inside… K4JA

  28. Challenge – Lightning protection • Some measures essential • Protect vs disconnect

  29. Solution - disconnect everything K5ZD

  30. Control cables, too K4OJ

  31. Solution – protectors on coax, control lines. Inside, VE1JF

  32. … or at the tower base N3RR

  33. Inside the box N3RR

  34. Grounding at the entry panel N1LO

  35. A closer look N1LO

  36. Cable support and low-inductance grounding N1LO

  37. Challenge – cable support, protection and management • Keep them out from underfoot • Protect against accidental damage • Retain flexibility for easy change, maintenance

  38. Suspend from ceiling joists K9NS/K9HMB

  39. Bundle by band, type (RF, control, etc.) K9NS/K9HMB

  40. Use a cable tray WX0B

  41. Other options (no pictures) • Contractors’ snap-open wire hangers • “Panduit” extruded plastic cable trays and associated fixtures – separate cables by function • Bicycle hangers, vinyl dipped huge screw hooks, etc.

  42. Challenge – Access to cabling • Free-standing operating table with access from rear • Cable closet • Console on wheels

  43. Access from rear GM4AFF

  44. Cable closet K4JA

  45. Another more spacious approach K9NS/K9HMB

  46. Console on wheels VK5GN

  47. Cable marking techniques • Labelmakers – Dymo, P-Touch, Casio, etc. with clear heat-shrink or tape • Colored tape – use resistor color code • MS Word/Magic Tape • Paint pen w/ silver ink

  48. Cable bundling techniques • Color-coded Velcro ties • Tie-wraps – reusable or disposable • THHN wire twisted • Spiral wrap tubing (Alpha or Panduit) • Split-loom tubing (SPC or Panduit)

  49. Other cabling hints • Use pigtails with terminal strips to ease the task of changing radio-specific connectors HC8N

  50. And more… • Use unique connectors to reduce risk of mistakes when recabling • Use multiple conductor cables where possible • Careful attention to grounding can reduce inter-station interference