Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
Dec 19 - Here is a report of the latest work at the "Heavy Hitter": Brian has relocated the PLC system to the "four stack" next to the transmit distributors. A couple of fasteners and wires have yet to be installed. The mount for the OE-82 antennas were moved into the Message Handling area and now await wire checks.
The mounting of the test equipment into the QMS rack where the PLC used to be located, is 95% complete. We are still missing the spectrum analyzer. Anyone have enough pocket change to buy us a refurbished unit, say about $7,000? Troubleshooting the URT-23 coupler interlock system has continued without any definite results.
The KVM switch (key-video-mouse) now controls all keyboard and mouse operations at the VHF table. Also, the tower case that sat on the deck under the table is now gone, being replaced by the APRS machine. This relocated machine will double as the logging computer when needed. Visually, the top of the welded equipment rack provides a cleaner greeting as you enter the shack, while one less monitor and three fewer mice reduce the clutter on the operating table.
By the end of Saturday both JOTS keyboards in CEC had Plexiglas covers bolted in place and new signage attached underneath these covers. During a visit to another department in the ship, I discovered and recovered two items from the last activation of the BB-62. One is a power supply for the VRC-46 in VHF Room while the other is a 12 volt power supply from the ET shop. This 12 volt supply is now in the shack ready to resume its duty as a source of power for the VHF table.
Lastly, Bob E. made 50+ QSOs during the day. Some of these contacts were short contest style while several were friendly, long winded discussions.
Dec 13 - Saturday saw another piece of equipment come to life in the transmitter room. Thanks to a couple of days work by Terry, the commercial (civilian) alarm panel has been re-energized and is ready for final wiring into the transmitter room antenna patch panel. This new panel and all its flashing windows will alert the gang in the transmitter room if something is amiss with their antenna selection. This AN-1100 unit is separate from the interlock system that will display antenna status in the Ham Shack on the main deck.
Margaret reports that the storage of vacuum tubes found in the ship has been completed. Each type of tube has its own marked location in one of nine drawers and a catalog will soon be available at Avionics to ease the search for a particular style tube.
John mentioned that the audio distortion in the "West Virginia" radio has been greatly reduced, mostly by removing previous attempts to correct the problem by persons unknown. He is in need a "dual (concentric shaft) audio taper potentiometer, 1 meg ohm per section".
During the morning on Saturday Bill B. made the existence of NJ2BB known to the 10 meter band during the weekend contest. Ed C, and his daughter Amy also worked the station on Sunday afternoon and made even more contacts for us.
Sea Cadet Rob stopped by to say hello before traveling to Newark for an interview with Senator Lautenberg. Rob joined BNJARS several months ago and has been learning electronics by spending Saturdays in John's World. We all hope that the interview went well since it is one of the final steps in his dream of attending the U.S. Naval Academy in the near future. Everyone cross your fingers for Rob.
This past weekend also saw a donation of 3 cases of tty paper and 2 cases perf tape. Many thanks to "Buck" Rogers for this very useful donation.
Dec 6 - To the best of my knowledge only a couple of members showed up during November. One that I know of was Terry, who, upon finding himself alone in our spaces, ventured up to Avionics to sort and store some items.
Most of the Saturday regulars have noticed that the video monitor used with the electronic docent suffers from a "soft" cathode ray tube. Last week the Sony (circa 1985) from the NJ2BB shack was moved out to the message handling area with the idea of using it for the video docent. This past Saturday was spent modifying the ceiling mount for the new monitor and placing the Sony into service. The docent is now bright with proper color and hues.
Terry spent the day in the transmitter room preparing the commercial annunciator panel, donated by Ralph sometime ago, for wiring into the transmitter patch panel. When completed, this chassis will alert the operators, in the transmitter room, of various improper antenna-patching efforts. At a minimum there will be lots of flashing windows and noisemakers to deal with
Avionics also saw more cleanup and storage activities. The shop on the O2 level continues to chase the repair efforts of previous owners of the RBB receiver. Once the crazy glue and cold solder joints are out of the way, John will have a better chance at locating the source of the audio distortion in the received signals.
Before you can ask, there will not be a work party on Christmas Day or New Years Day as the ship will be closed on those days.
Nov 10 - Thanks to Ed, the second type-F phone was mounted in the Message Handling Area. It should cause some comments. John S. was busy working on radios in his workshop with the assistance of Rob. I also understand that Ray came in and is in the process of trying to get a small copying machine up and running for the TTY office.
Ed, W2KP, will be in the shack on Thursday, Nov 11 to do some operating for Veteran's Day. If you would like to operate, check the BNJARS calendar for the times Ed will be in.
Nov 2 - The members of Saturday's workparty must have included "Murphy", because it seemed like nothing went right. But, Murphy or not, some items did come to completion. In the NJ2BB shack is a new, old style, type F dial telephone. Mounted under the ship's clock and wired (bridged) to the existing dial phone (7779) this instrument makes quite the fashion statement. The second type "F" phone is in the process of being mounted at the supervisor's desk in the Message Handling Area. The transmitter room saw work on the AN/URT-23 transmitters and their auto tuner. Work in the Avionics store room continued, though only subtle changes can be seen. The major job for the day, moving the OE-82 antennas, was postponed due to the wet weather.
Oct 23 - Last Saturday, the 23rd, was spent cleaning up after the week long shipyard visit. With the help of many of the members, none of our spaces appear as they usually have after previous yard periods. In other words, we were able to get everything put away where it belonged. For this coming Saturday the main job will be to stow the OE-82 antenna elements in the missile blast area on the O3 level. Yes, this is a call for the "brawn team", but there are several normal jobs to be tackled also.
Oct 16 - A review of my calendar reminds me that on Jan 10, 2001 the first meeting of a Steering Committee for the formation of BNJARS was held and that one of the subjects of this meeting was the support for youth groups, including Scouting. The year 2002 saw our first attempt at a station for Jamboree On The Air. JOTA, held one weekend each year, is an invitation for Hams to join Scouts in the field, or for Scouts to visit a local Amateur Radio Station, with the intent of introducing some of our countrry's youth to the world of radio. Only a few Scouts took advantage of that first offer, with the 2003 attendance being slightly higher. JOTA 2004 was a completely different story, thanks to the efforts of Doug, WA2NPD. Doug sent several dozen invitations to Troops of the area Scouting Councils, made schedules and parking arrangements. All of his efforts paid off when on Saturday October 16, almost 100, maybe slightly more, Scouts visited the NJ2BB shack, conversed with Scouts from across the country and met other local Scouts for the first time. In Navy tradition I send a "Bravo Zulu!" to Doug for his work.
Before closing the subject of JOTA, I must mention the NJ2BB operators who manned the shack for the entire day. Operators like Wayne Wilson, WA2LET, who sat at Ham 3 during 48 QSOs, all of which involved Scouting. Of course one has to mention the QSO, all 2-½ hrs of it, which Rueben, WA2NBL, generated. Thanks also to all the other operators who helped to make JOTA a success.
On the restoration side of the day, Bill and Ski moved the JOTS computer back to its home in CEC, installed a satellite-tracking program than stood back and watched the visitors reactions. SUCCESS! So much success in fact, that I heard Troy Collins, CEO of the HPA, mentioned the display at the following Monday morning's staff meeting.
Oct 9 - Compared to last weekend, the Radio Room was quite calm and quiet, because the TTY machines appear to have behaved themselves during the week. Ski was able to cleanup the wiring mess that was generated during last week's recovery efforts. Mike and Gene started the installation of a second "light beam" for the demo TTY printers. The second detector will prevent a single unit failure from causing the machines from running at the high cycle rate that occurred a week ago.
Bill B. finished the rebuild of the former JOTS computer monitor. This coming Saturday we plan to be well on the way to having JOTS, the Navy version of our APRS, online in CEC (Combat Engagement Center). Hopefully the shipyard raid scheduled for next week will produce a second JOTS system for our CEC. Chief Carlson mentioned that he has a program that may also be used on one of the restored JOTS machines.
Margaret continued with the tube relocation project in Avionics. She has compiled a listing, with location, of all the vacuum tubes in the ship's inventory. Harry and Lou performed some wiring repairs on the NJ2BB antenna patch panel as well as some indicator light testing. John found some old, shoddy repair efforts in the RBB receiver he has been working on. He thinks he will have the needed repair parts by next weekend.
I spent most of my time straightening up the Message Handling Area, FACON 1 and the NJ2BB shack. Items moved were mainly the many little things that get stuffed in the corners for a rainy day.
Next Saturday is Jamboree On The Air (JOTA), which usually means that the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station will be a point of interest for many local Scout troops. Doug will need some "kid friendly" operators (voice and PK-232) to demonstrate Ham Radio to the young visitors.
In opening this update I mentioned the quiet of the Radio Room. But, outside, on the Delaware River was a different sound. Powerboats were testing the racecourse, bridge to bridge, prior to Sunday's return of performance racing to the Camden Waterfront.
Oct 2- The day began on the down side when upon entering the Message Handling Area the sounds of the Teletype machines was heard, and heard, and heard. Some breed of Gremlin had invaded the control circuits resulting in a large pile of TTY paper on the deck. By days end the Gremlin family had been cleared out of the system and things are back to normal. I hope.
Gremlin features: The infrared light beam had become misaligned therefore indicating that a continuous stream of visitors were in the compartment. The 45-second "run time limiter" failed to stop the machines, however the 2 minute backup did perform its task. A "relay race" in the stop circuit, combined with the light beam trouble, caused the failure of the 45-second timer.
Repairs included: Realignment of the light beam with plans for a backup to prevent a reoccurrence of this event. (parts are on hand). Replacement of the failed 45-second timer. Installation of a 10-second "stop pulse stretcher" intended to eliminate the relay race. Installation of 2 of the ships TTY paper winders, on the demo machines, so that paper can be reused in the future instead of being thrown away with only one side printed on.
On the bright side Terry and Gene mounted an industrial grade alarm panel, donated by Ralph S. a couple of years ago, in the transmitter room antenna patch panel. Once wired into the patch panel, this alarm unit will indicate patching errors or problems in the transmitter room equipment.
Paul, Gail and Brian worked on some wiring in the NJ2BB shack. John isolated the audio distortion, in the West Virginia RBB rig, to a capacitor in the I.F. stage. Margaret and Gene continued with the "vacuum tube to Avionics" interface project (storage of tubes in Avionics).
Sep 25 - As mentioned in the last update the Teletype display has had some modifications made to the control circuits that provided an automatic start feature using a light beam. On Saturday a second run time limiter was installed so that the machines now run for a shorter time, 45 seconds, while the original 2 minute timer now acts as a backup "shutdown" device. Also added was the 5-minute "lockout timer" for the photo detector. This lockout circuit prevents the continuous operation of the machines due to visitors standing in the light beam or during high volume traffic times. Thanks Ski. Ed produced new perforated (TTY) tapes that use fewer printed characters and therefore use less printer paper when in operation while still performing their mechanical gyrations, to the delight of the visitors.
Ed spent most of his day at the ship doing fabrication work on the NJ2BB antenna patch panel. John kept hidden in the O2 level shop working on receiver restoration. I know he had the time to explain the in and out of "cross over distortion" to one of our members.
Margaret and Bill L. spent many hours in Avionics providing proper storage for the hundreds of vacuum tubes that have been found about the ship. By proper storage I mean arranging drawers, lining them with donated "bubble wrap" and marking the dividers with nametags. A couple more workdays should see the end of this task. New member Mike made his debut as a Saturday worker helping Ed in the shack, after being given a tour of some of our spaces and the worked performed so far.
We send a thank you to George, KB2RGP, for his donation of 6 new blue hardhats and safety goggles. Though not a BNJARS member, George just wanted to help us out.
Sep 18- One of the many restoration projects for our group has been the return to life of a number of pieces of Teletype equipment in the Message Handling Area of the Radio Room. The docents, especially the Saturday crew, made use of the functioning machines as part of their talks. The introduction of the Video Docent had the unexpected results of no more live machine time, in the radio room. To counter this trend of the operating machines not being seen by the public, an infrared beam has been installed to monitor the area forward of the blue tiles on the deck. When broken by someone walking toward the center of the compartment the system activates the teleprinters for their 2 minute run. In the short time the new system was in operation Saturday I was very happy to see an increase in the number of visitors that hung around the space for a longer time period. The system still needs some tweaking to make efficient use of printer run time without abusing the machines.
The past two weekends have been quiet times for the transmitter room. Work on the antenna tuner problem has been on a “brain rest” thus giving John S. some time with Sea Cadet Rob. Rob approached us about his gaining some On the Job Training (OJT) in the electronics field. When last seen this past Saturday the two had their faces buried in an oscilloscope as John explained the reason and uses of the test equipment. Along the way the RBB receiver from West Virginia had its operation improved. By the way, the antenna coupler gas pressure is holding at 10 PSI. I think the leak is fixed, but not the electrical troubles.
Cleanup of the Avionics Store Room continued to the point that the deck is now 95% clean. Each week we try to work on the space for an hour or so in an effort to reach the goal of “every spare part stored in one space, neat and in its place”. Once the drawers are properly marked the task of finding a needed part will be a quick trip to Avionics. Hopefully.
Aug 30 - Trash from various areas went out to the pier and the new/old rigs made their journey to the repair shop on the O2 level. At the request of the ship's management, a hasp was installed on the cabinet that houses the video (DVD) docent equipment.
Repairs were made to the Teletype animation circuit. I haven't heard any news of what was keeping the machines from running.
At the request of the ship's maintenance crew, the antenna for the public service scanners has been relocated elsewhere on the radar platform. The scanners are programmed for river traffic and air traffic control at Philly International. Their audio output is fed to various parts of the ship for realistic background noise.
At the request of the Quarter Deck, the ship's navigation radar was looked at. First, the service manual, all 116 pages, was downloaded from the Web. With this information in hand a solution was discovered: "clear memory". It seems that too many button pushers had their hands on the controls and confused the system.
Repairs to the URA-38 controller began, as did the hunt for the original source of the trouble. One of the repaired controllers was energized for testing but the results show that more work is needed.
The door alarm panel in the Message Handling Area is working a little better now. What was thought to be a bad battery charger turned out to be a missing jumper for the internal 12 volt power supply. Lack of the jumper caused the battery to try to carry the entire load for the system. The reason the jumper was missed during restoration is simple; it does not show on the panel drawing. Instead, it appears on a detail of the control card. When left on Saturday the battery was taking a charge, as it should be.
There seems to be a problem developing with the Disc antenna. It sounds and acts like either some water has entered one of the coax connections or contamination (bird stuff) at the antenna. A quick glance from an upper level of the ship did reveal that birds have been roosting on the antenna. The use of an antenna analyzer did not provide any direct help in identifying the trouble but did show that the feed line is 625 feet long.
Never mentioned in these weekly reports is the "QSL card file maintenance crew"led by Lou, N2HQL. With the arrival of the new NJ2BB QSL cards from the printer, and the resulting flood of answered requests, the file crew now has over 400 cards to file. They made a good dent in the cards this past weekend.
Aug 21 - Not mentioned in last week's update is a nice gesture by Bob Walters of the Curator's office. Bob gave me access to all of the ship's "Cruise Books", something like a school yearbook. Some of the photographs in these books can provide valuable information for our restoration work. For example, one photo taken in the Message Handling Area show us that the supervisor's desk utilized one of the NAVMACS racks as a book repository. This past weekend Bill L. mounted the necessary items to make our space even closer to the real thing. A second photo gives proof that a desktop computer that now resides in SSES actually belongs in CEC as part of the Navy's version of the Amateur Radio APRS mode. This restoration project will take a bit of imagination because the computer in question is a little "hammered", if you know what I mean.
A sizable amount of energy went into cleanup of TTY and Avionics. The resulting clean decks have resulted in some trash to be taken to the pier for disposal, this coming Saturday. Hope some of you can come out and help.
We have to thank Margaret for the following episode and it's results. She noticed that one of the tour route watertight doors was not functioning. After determining that a cotter pin was missing, she contacted the duty maintenance person, Joe Shields, about the situation. Using his Navy training, the Chief used a paper clip as a temporary fix. During the repairs, mention was made about the lack of cooling in the TTY Office, to which Joe promised a solution, this week. But the story does not stop here. A few minutes later, not knowing about the hatch adventure, I approached the Chief about a tool chest I had spotted hiding off of Broadway and the desire to move it to the transmitter room. His reply, including a positive comment about the hatch, was "of course, no problem". So, the transmitter room now owns a good condition, red, upright and lockable tool chest.
John and I spent a couple of hours trouble shooting the URA-38 antenna coupler control panel. An expected 28-volt signal has been found to be 80 volts instead and a blown transistor has been located. The bad transistor is a result of the higher than design voltage, so we still have to find the "root cause".
A number of BNJARS members gathered at the Glouster County Hamfest on Sunday. Joe Crammer setup his traveling BB-62 display and answered many a question. With many non-members, yet friends of the ship, keeping an eye on us, it didn't take long for the word to be passed that some equipment we might be interested in was available across the field. Sure enough, with in minutes BNJARS had acquired a "RAL" HF receiver, with power supply and a "RCH" receiver. Both of these WWII vintage rigs will arrive at the pier on Saturday. Combined with paragraph three above we have "trash out, rig in". Sorry about the bad pun.
Aug 14 - Over the past three weekends much has happened at the ship even with small turnouts. The ongoing effort to supply adequate 120 vac for equipment has resulted in the following equipment now having its' own source of power:
HAM-2 transceiver - HAM-2 computer
- and monitor - HAM-2 (Heathkit) linear amp
HAM-3 transceiver - HAM-3 computer - and monitor - HAM-3 CW keyer
Satellite computer and monitor
9" TV to the right of HAM-2
9" docent monitor to the right of HAM-2
9" Safety monitor, for the transmitter room, to the right of HAM-2
The model 15 and 28 teleprinters are fed from a Navy style power strip at the bottom of the equipment rack. The equipment at the VHF/HAM-4 station is a little more complex due to the use of various UPS equipment. All circuit breakers used by NJ2BB are freshly marked with the name of their load. In the Message Handling Area the video docent is now powered via an UPS, which in turn is fed from the NAVMACS red power panel. Starting this Saturday a three ring binder will reside on the shelf above the HAM-3 position, containing a list of all equipment power sources for the NJ2BB shack.
On a different subject, the transmitter room: The WWII style radio operators desk has been assembled and now supports a RBB, RBC receiver and their power supply. A "break-out" cable has been fabricated for use in troubleshooting the continuing headache with the URA-38 coupler control panel. As of late Saturday the "key line" in this circuit was confirmed to be part of the problem, but not the source. The output power monitor circuit of the #3 AN/URT-23 transmitter has been repaired. The right hand R-1051 receiver has been repaired
The FACCON 1 Model 15 printer, which suffered a case of smoked motor, has been replace by the model 15 from the transmitter room. The injured unit will be repaired as time permits.
July 27 - It is with sad heart that I inform all who worked so hard on the cable for the port side 35' vertical auto tuner, that although the control line trouble disappeared after the cable was returned to service, it has come back to haunt us. I guess it is time to regroup and try again. An isolation/inverting relay has been wired into the AN/URT-23 transmitter RTTY circuit in order to correct our tone reversal problem. Once the '23 is back on line the modification will be given a good workout.
The job of separating the power feeds for equipment in the NJ2BB shack continued. The VHF table now has another source of 120-volt power. The final goal is to remove all the gear from the convenience outlets and onto their own breakers.
A short while ago Paul and Gail did a "quality assurance survey" of Bill's restoration of one of the transmitter control board modules. With 360 wire splices involved in this job, I felt it was necessary to check the work. This survey resulted in a small handful of concerns, such as no continuity between terminal blocks. Bill has located and corrected all of the items and is very pleased that poor shipyard solder joints, dating back to 1982, caused all the trouble. Good work Bill.
Tuesday night Margaret and I had the pleasant task of working with other volunteers and some of the ship's staff during the Teachers Seminar. When I heard that the educators had permission to travel along Broadway, I offered to open the transmitter room. This was the first time that "civilians" have been to the space; in fact it was the first time that the staff member with us had been in the compartment. BNJARS now has another fan of your work.
July 19 - By now everyone should have received Harry's report concerning the Museum Ship's Weekend. I must add my thanks to everyone that was able to support the NJ2BB effort. This was a weekend of long hours of operating, troubleshooting power distribution problems, eyeball QSOs and ongoing restoration work.
This years defining moment for the restoration crew happened Saturday evening at the FACCON-1 supervisors desk. After calling "CQ" a couple of times a pile up was created and the fun began. Ed W2KP had "receiver duty", Dave, KC3AM, was at Ham-2 performing logging, I forget who was monitoring the transmitter off Broadway while I used the "red phone" to claim "All Navy, all battleship". It felt quite strange to operate on the Ham bands but not have any control of the receiver or transmitter, other than push to talk. Sunday afternoon we realigned the switchboards in an attempt to operate from the Captain's chair on the Bridge but Murphy made an appearance. Oh well, better luck next time.
Saturday's try at "All Navy, all Battleship" RTTY was progressing quite well, up to the point of expecting a reply to our "RYRYRY CQ CQ CQ DE NJ2BB K". No replies. This is when Ed discovered that the URT-23 transmitter operate in what Hams call reversed mode. Our tones are reversed from the Ham standards. After several design meetings a solution, using an interposing relay, has been devised and will be installed this coming Saturday.
Down in the transmitter room Terry and Brian worked on the URA-38 antenna coupler control cable. By the end of the day one end of the cable had been completely disassembled, cut back to fresh conductor and reassembled. I must compliment Brian on the professional way he rebuilt the connector, not bad for a "youngster". As a precaution, and a "lesson learned" event, the far end of the cable will be completely rebuilt this coming Saturday. As left on Sunday afternoon, the coupler was working as designed
As the radio operations from the BB-62 have increased over the past three years we have run into the typical problem of too much equipment on too few power circuits. This was apparent this past weekend when keying a rig caused all equipment to react. The monitors flickered, receivers crackled and lights blinked. A quick rearranging of power cords provided a temporary relief but the time has come to provide dedicated power to each and every piece of equipment in the shack. By Saturday all the needed parts will be available and over the next couple of workdays we should be able to finish to job. The end product will include a label at each piece of gear indicating the source of its power and properly labeled circuit breakers.
I will be at the ship this coming weekend but social events and Lighthouse Weekend will keep me from my duties at the ship the following two weekends (July 31 & Aug 7). I will make arrangements to ensure that there will be things to do for those who wish to be onboard during those weekends.
July 14 - Last weekend's jobs were focused on one target, being ready for the upcoming "Museum Ships on the Air" weekend. Besides operations from the FACCON-2 Ham shack there will be plenty of operation using the gear in the transmitter room on Broadway. Last year we operated SSB from Broadway and CW from FACCON-1. Due to the work accomplished Saturday we should be using SSB and RTTY from FACCON-1.
In FACCON-1, Ed, Bill and Ski managed
a)Restored a TTY loop in one of the ships de-mil'd patch panels
b) Gave the model 15 and 28 TTY machines some needed TLC
c)Extend transmitter control to the above machines, located next to the coke machine.
d)Generate TTY test tones (RYRYRY) using one of the URT-23 transmitters.
e)Key one of the URT-23 transmitters using the red phone (TA-970) in FACCON-1
In the transmitter room, Woody and Terry changed some RG-218 coax connectors to "N" style. By noontime they had placed the transmitter antenna patch panel (CA-1100), a.k.a. Frankenstein's panel, into full operation. After lunch they troubleshot the control problem we have been having with the port 35' vertical automatic tuner. By day's end the system was acting properly, although we may still have a loose wire hiding in one of the connectors used by the coupler control panel.
Some very good news for those that work in the transmitter room is the "loaner" portable air conditioner that will arrive at the ship on Saturday morning. If the system works, then arrangements will be made to keep the unit. Keep your fingers crossed!
June 20 - On Saturday Woody continued working on the alarm panel in the message handling area. By days end the port entrance and the escape scuttle in the shack had been connected and tested. The appropriate labels were removed from the de-milled modules and installed in the working units. More flashing lights and sounds, just what the radio room ordered!
All the other work for the day happened in the transmitter room where a couple of bad cable connectors were discovered. These bad connectors may explain some erratic operations we have seen in the URT-23 transmitters the last couple of weeks. During trouble shooting John did have a QSO with WA3WSJ, operating from the Turtle Creek lighthouse on the Schuylkill River. Also in the transmitter room, another 6' equipment rack is being loaded with gear. Located directly opposite the transmitter patch panel, this location now houses the local monitors for ATV, the Trash Can antenna controls, a Hal ST-6 RTTY demodulator and an R-390 receiver.
We did have one unplanned event during the day. It happened when our own plank owner, Bob W2MAS, appeared in the transmitter room to inspect our handling of his old workspace and spin a few historical stories with us. Thanks Bob.
Next weekend is Field Day for a large number of our members; therefore there will be NO FORMAL WORKDAY on Saturday June 26. As usual though, any member who has work to do is free to visit the ship. Safety first please. See you on July 3.
June 16 - This is actually
an update for the past 2 weekends.
Even while the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station was shacking up the airwaves last weekend during the "Four Sisters " events, work continued on several of our projects. In fact, some of the operators requested work assignments for their off air time.
Thanks to an antenna coupler, on loan from Harry, one of the AN/URT-23 HF transmitters was placed on 40 meters using the ship's wire fan antenna. This combination is a first for us. Reports from the ECARS net were good.
The equipment racks in SSES (ship's signal exploitation system) now house several pieces of electronic equipment, as they once did. The only piece gear that should not be in the racks is a SRR-19 VLF receiver obtained during the last shipyard raid. But then all that modern day computer gear used for the CEC display system wasn't in SSES during the 80's either.
The #1 SRA-49 receiver multi-coupler located in FACCON 1 has been modified to hold the spare couplers for the #2 '49 panel. The #1 unit, as retrieved from the former U.S.S John Rogers, was de-mil'd beyond repair. The former U.S.S. Aubrey Fitch and U.S.S. Oliver H. Perry supplied one intact unit plus a full set of spare coupler boxes. The end results are better storage of spare parts and a better-looking front panel in FACCON 1. The workbench in GCS (guidance control system) is complete and ready for equipment repair functions.
Down in the Transmitter Room work continued on the alignment of the very large (RG-218) coax that will connect the CA-1100 transmitter patch panel, to the ship's HF antennas. Still to be done is the exchange of connectors on the ends of the coax, from HC to N style.
The alarm panel in the Message Handling Area came to full life this past weekend. This is the cabinet that Bob E. spent many a Saturday doing a complete rewire of. Sorry Bob, but Woody found one suspicious wire. After de-terminating this single wire the cabinet appears to work as designed, flashing lights, solid lights and siren sounds. The external sensor switches will, hopefully, be connected this coming Saturday. The end product will provide us with visual indication of the status of the hatches for several of our spaces, much as the panel did during its last time at sea.
The last item of interest is the modified "bee-hive" insulator that Ray made for the '38 coupler that is mounted at the base of the Port 35 ft vertical antenna. The original insulator had a tendency to bleed the nitrogen charge from the coupler housing. The new insulator is installed but bad weather prevented testing of the part. If we have warm dry weather this weekend we will pressurize the housing with air and monitor this pressure for a couple of weeks. When we are sure that the leak is repaired we can remove all traces of air and moisture using a vacuum pump. Once all traces of moisture are removed we can charge the unit with nitrogen to keep out the rain, sea mist and salt.
I can see by the expression on your face that once again I have gone "wordy" but just one more thing that just came in:
Ebe Helm would like to thank Ed Clark and Gene Holben for stepping in as camera operators during a video/tv shoot Wednesday, June 16. They just happened to be on the ship and volunteered to help out.
June 9 - Many thanks to all those who participated in the "4 Sisters Reunion" special event station on June 5 - 6, 2004. BNJARS made a lot of contacts and we had a lot members turn out to help operate the pile-ups. A report from Harry, AA2WN, shows that we made 1626 contacts ( all 50 states and 74 countries). We were also very glad to be able to contact all 3 of our sister ships during the event. There were some technical problems for the group representing the USS IOWA for the event and as a result they only managed to be on the air a short time. For this reason, a special announcement about certificates has been put up on the web page. Several articles about our event appeared in the Courier Post - one on Sunday, June 6, and another on Wednesday, June 9. Great job by all and a big THANK YOU to the staff of the USS NEW JERSEY for their support.
May 31 - It was a small turnout at the ship on Saturday, due to the holiday weekend. However, some of the "missing" members did show up in the shack with friends or family as they toured the ship. Everyone appeared to be enjoying their visit, including showing off their handy work to friends and family. Some of the workday was spent manning the rails, watching the ceremony on the pier. The Battleship New Jersey was one of five national locations that simulcast the dedication of the WWII Memorial in D.C. Several hundred Vets and guests watched the dedication on a truck size video display while enjoying some local musical productions and presentations that used the ship as a backdrop.
On the work front, the good news is that we now have cool air in FACCON 1 and 2, thanks to the efforts of the ships maintenance crew. The bulk of the work in the transmitter room centered on the cables that connect the AN/URT-23 transmitters to the antenna patch panel. Connectors obtained during the last visit to the former Philly Shipyard make it possible to allow the patch panel to keep the transmitters from operating into a non-existing load
The VHF/UHF scanner antenna installed last week was connected to an existing feed that runs from the former Meteorological Shack on the O8 level to the antenna patch panel in FACCON 1. There is more loss in this line than expected so more work is required.
The Port side 35 foot vertical transmit antenna received some TLC in the form of work on its coupler. A new output insulator, fabricated by Ray S., was installed with the hopes of halting the nitrogen leak that has been plaguing us for some time. Time will tell if the work was a success.
The installation of racks and equipment in the SSES space continued. It will take a couple more weeks until this former" secret of all secret" spaces takes on its former appearance. The repair shop on O2 level reports that the last of the "de-miled" R-1051 HF receivers obtained from the former USS Farragut has been restored to operation and will soon be installed in the rack of R-1051s in FACCON 1. Late in the afternoon work continued on the new workbench in GCS. A couple of sheet metal screws are all that prevents this item from being placed into service.
Last, and least, the umbilical cable for the DXCluster portion of the VHF station was reinstalled thanks to last weeks repair efforts. As an aid to troubleshooting, a donated Kenwood remote reading SWR meter/bridge has been installed on the output of the DXCluster transceiver. The meter portion is sitting in front of the APRS map display. Anyone making spots to the cluster can now visually verify that the VHF transceiver is in fact producing output power.
May 25 - Operations for the Ship's 61 birthday logged 120 contacts using the equipment at the Ham-2 and Ham-3 stations. See pictures on the events page of www.nj2bb.org
Good news was received during the day about the air handler for FACCON 1 and 2. The bad blower motor has been replaced and hopefully should be in service by the end of this week. Being without air movement since January has been a pain, but no cooling during the hot weather is something no one wanted to think about.
Gene H. installed the VHF antenna patch panel he has been fabricating for the past couple of weeks. A status card for this panel should be ready for installation this week. Charlie D. troubleshot and repaired the umbilical cord for the VHF transceiver used for the DX-Cluster station.
The shipyard "bounty" that has been sitting in FACCON 1 for the past few weeks was carried down to the transmitter room for installation. Also transferred to the transmitter room were several items from Avionics storage. All of these items will be installed before the Museum Ship's Weekend in July.
Work commenced on the fabrication of a light duty workbench in GCS (Guidance Control Station), located across the passageway from the TV studio. This space will become a workshop for Ship's telephones and intercoms.
After lunch I had the privilege to assist Ed and Brian with the installation of a VHF/UHF cage antenna at the O8 level. For those who have not made the climb to the higher levels of the ship, the O8 level houses one of the ship's steering stations. Aft of this Secondary Conn (secondary control) is the Meteorological Shack (weatherman) that had teletypes, weather fax recorders and direct reception of weather satellite signals as well as weather balloon data. The new antenna replaces one of the missing balloon antennas and will be used with our public service scanners. These scanners currently use one of the limited number of hard-line feeds that run between the transmitter room and the radar platform. This hard-line will be better utilized as a Ham circuit instead of a scanner antenna.
Works performed the previous weekend, while some of us were in Dayton, includes troubleshooting and repair of the second R-1051 receiver in the transmitter room. The #2 AN/URT-23 transmitter also got some needed TLC.
May 08 - I'd like to welcome Bob and his daughter Sarah to the Saturday work group. They have taken up the task of gathering information about the JOTS system that I have mentioned in past updates. They spent most of their first day aboard the "BIG-J" tracing cables in CEC (Combat Engagement Center) on the 02 level.
The back-wave problem with the AN/URT-23 transmitter seems to be corrected. A final check still needs to be performed. The final portion of the serial data patching system was completed when the CEC NAVMACS display was reconnected, via the coke machine, to the DX-cluster TNC.
Because so many of our members will be attending the Dayton Hamvention this weekend (May 14-16), there will not be a formal work party on Saturday May 15. As usual though, anyone with work to do can enjoy a quiet day on the ship.
The following weekend will be our annual celebration of the ship's commissioning as well as a workday.
Scheduled for work on May 22 is:
May 03 - The past two Saturdays have seen a small turnout of BNJARS volunteers, no doubt due to the spring weather.
Down in the transmitter room, the "new" R-1051 HF receiver has been mounted next to one of the AN/URT-23 transmitters. After a power cable was fabricated and installed, we powered up the rig, with mixed results. The radio's controls all function as expected but there are no signals heard. Hopefully this is caused by something simple. Also installed was the control panel for the OE-82 Trash Can satellite antennas. This panel houses the coax relays, 480 volts power distribution and 28-volt power supply used by the system. Next we need to mount the operator panel. This leaves only the antenna/ pedestals to be mounted, if we had them. SOMEDAY ! An SB-2727 receiver audio switchboard, from the shipyard, was also mounted last Saturday. This panel will be used to route received audio among the equipment in the transmitter room, as well as to and from FACCON 1 equipment.
FACCON 1 saw the installation of more modules in it's SB-2727 switchboard.
Combat Engagement Center on O2 level saw some of our attention as we began to reconstruct the JOTS (Joint Operational Tactical System). This mapping system filled the Admin space on the Starboard side of CEC with keyboards, monitors and digitizing pads. Knowing what equipment was onboard the ship is the first step in returning the JOTS to operation, as an Amateur Radio APRS display project.
April 19 - Thanks to the 5 days in the former Philly Navy Shipyard, the radio room has several new pieces of equipment, lots of spare parts, skinned knuckles and less room in our shipboard spaces. Down in the transmitter room is a second R-1051 (series H) HF receiver, including shock mounts, for use with the existing URT-23 transmitters. The '1051 is believed to be fully functional, guessing from its visual condition. The transmitter room also now has the missing azimuth/elevation control head and control unit for the non-existing "trash can" satellite antennas. Should the antennas ever come back to the "Big J" we will be ready for them.
Other items now in the transmitter room are parts for the AN/URT-23 HF transmitters, CA-1100 antenna patch panel, a complete AN/SRR-19 VLF receiver and a pair of AN/URA-'17D tuning units for RTTY (teletype). A second SRR-19 has yet to be lowered into the space. These SRR-19s are in addition to the one that Bill B. returned to service, in FACCON 1, two weeks ago.
FACCON 1 gained a '17D tuning unit, two clean R-1051 receivers and the last of the modules for the SB-2727 receiver audio switchboard. By the end of the workday on Saturday one of these new R-1051s, position 9, came to life with the sounds of the WWV time tick, 20 meter USB and 40 meter foreign broadcasts. The other new 1051 may have a broken tuning belt.
The Message Handling Area gained its missing status board. This board, which hung next to the 2-door storage cabinet, has been missing since our arrival in January of 2001.
Our Avionics storage space is now crowded with more teletype repair parts than one can shake a stick at, not to mention piles of coax connectors, adapters, hard-line connectors, red phones (intact) and hundreds of pounds of parts. The VHF room gained a GRR-22 and GRT-23 VHF rigs and their associated power amplifier. A new space for us is the former SSES next to CEC on the 02 level. We have replaced the equipment racks removed during the restoration of the Message Handling Area. We also obtained the NAVMAC equipment that once occupied these racks. There has been some gossip about making this area look as it did in the 80's so we obtained what equipment we could, while we had the opportunity.
The Combat Engagement Center, CEC, now sports a "dumb terminal" that was part of the JOTS System. JOTS (Joint Operational Tactical System) is the precursor to Ham Radio's APRS (automatic position reporting system). Some time in the future we will be sending APRS data to this terminal for the "lived in look". We had the complete JOTS computer system in hand, but the shipyard hinted that we put it back. Shucks!!! Last but not least, we procured the Navigators printer for the charthouse. This small printer was used in conjunction with the WRN-5 GPS receiver, obtained during last October's shipyard raid, to indicate ship's latitude and longitude.
Sorry, one more item. The ship's 1980 VHF low band antenna is nonfunctional. In order to repair this 12-foot long vertical pipe, located on the port yardarm, involves the use of a very tall crane. When a crane becomes available, for other ship's work, the plan was to lower the antenna and hope to repair the antenna before the crane leaves. Well, now the plan calls for replacing the antenna with a good one obtained this past week - from the shipyard, of course.
April 3 - The new antenna location has been proven a success with the reception of a clear color image from the ATV repeater located in Northeast Philly. After some tweaking, the NJ2BB shack watched a QSO between two stations. No word on when we will be taking part in these video contacts.
Work on an antenna patch panel for the shack's VHF equipment began. Located near the SB-2727 receiver switchboard, this work has already cleaned up the "hanging" connections. Not designed to be a daily operation, this panel will give us a point to swap VHF antennas during troubleshooting.
Troubleshooting the URT-23 transmitter's less then desired CW signal commenced. Some CW contacts made during last year's ship weekend commented on "back wave", the presence of a low power signal from the transmitter during key up conditions. The first suspect is the HOLD-DOWN relay which appears to be a bit sticky.
The message handling area saw the most attention this Saturday with the addition of a new audio system, thanks to the former Garden State Race Track. The new multi input amp provides the needed input from the DVD video docent system placed in service last week. The DVD player was programmed to turn on and off each day thus relieving the ship's staff of the need to cycle the system manually each day. The addition of more speakers in the space, to provide a more uniform sound level, was begun. Next Saturday we will be adding a microphone takeover circuit which will mute the DVD audio when a guide uses the microphone during a live demonstration.
The APRS (automatic position reporting system) is still in receive only mode due to a command level problem. The SRR-19 has been returned to it's home in FACCON 1. This functional VLF receiver has been restored to life thanks to parts from the former USS Faragut and USS Luce.
Work did come to a complete stop for awhile due to a blown fuse that feeds the receptacles and lights in the communications center, but quick response from the ship's Maintenance Crew corrected the problem.
March 30 - It was a small turnout of workers but some tasks were completed. The DVD player needed for the "video docent" project was handed over to BNJARS and was immediately connected to the monitor in the Message Handling Area. Directions for system startup and shutdown were left on the monitor so that the weekday ship's staff could take advantage of the system. Permanent installation of the monitor, audio amp and speakers will take place during the next couple of workdays. Parts for the animation (lights) portion of the video doscent continue to be collected. The final project will combine the DVD presentation with lights highlighting the equipment being described and also starting and stopping the functioning Teletype machines.
The taping of spare wire ends in the Transmitter Control Switchboard continued.
The RS-232 patching system is about 95% complete now that all but the CEC NAVMAC display is using the new system. The panel now sports labels for each active port, making changes all the easier to do and understand. The Win APRS program still does not like the lower PK-232 TNC but acts normal when connected to the middle '232. Hum?
On the ATV front, the antenna has been relocated to a spot on the radar platform that does not interfere with other equipment or the ship's profile. Some realignment of feed-line was also needed. For the time being the dual band rig at the HAM-4 (VHF) position is OUT OF SERVICE. Upon my return to the ship we will bring the rig back on line using a different feed-line for the J-pole antenna.
March 23 - The "BIG J" now has two fully functional TA-970 phones. The TA-970 is the radio control station that look like red telephones and are routed via the "coke machine". The first functional TA-970 is located in FACCON 1, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago. The second unit is located on the Bridge, next to the Captains command chair. This second phone will allow us to operate from the Bridge, in full view of the public, during events such as Museum Ships Weekend.
The Fan antenna is back in full operation. Though a bit windy and chilly, the group traveled to the radar platform to untangle the wire antenna from the "flag halyard cross".
Major progress occurred on the serial data patching system. The three NAVMACS in the Message Handling Area are now fed by the new panel as are HAM-2 and HAM-3 logging computers. The three PK-232 TNC's provide all data. Not functional for the moment are the three computers located above HAM-4 (VHF table). For the time being the DXCluster main control computer is HAM-3. Also off line is the APRS system, including the map display in NJ2BB. In the next couple of weeks all wiring will be completed and labels installed on the patch panel.
One of the 20" computer monitors obtained during last years shipyard raid has been installed above the QSL card cabinet, replacing an older 14" display. What a difference in the display of the satellite obits. The ATV group had some success with bringing the NJ2BB video online, but more testing and adjustments are required.
Work on the SB-2727 receiver audio switchboard began. Plugs, obtained from the shipyard are being reinstalled in the modules. When completed, the restored modules will give us increased versatility in sending live audio throughout our equipment and spaces. The IC alarm panel in the Message Handling Area works a little smoother with the 12 volt battery installed.
And last but not least, cleanup of the TTY Office and the Avionics storeroom continues. SLOW WORK - TAKES TIME!
March 17 - Our group managed to keep the bear out on the weather decks, although a few times it seemed as though he might be making a break for the NJ2BB shack. His first attempt to gain access to the shack was when patch cords for the new RS-232 patch panel did not function as designed. Ed located the trouble as being the crimping tool used to install the cable connectors. Problem solved! The HAM-2 and HAM-3 computers came on line without any further fuss.
Gail and Paul completed their testing of the Transmitter Control Switchboard. Their efforts produced the chance that there is a single instance of two wires being rolled. Not bad when you consider that Bill L. spliced several hundred, tightly packed wires. G & P also located the cause of a grounded conductor in the switchboard and corrected it.
The SRR-19 receiver came to life this weekend. This VLF receiver will soon be returned to its home in FACCON 1. Gene H. completed the transfer of the public service scanners to their new home in FACCON 1. The drawers he installed not only keep prying hands away from the gear but also returns a clean look to that portion of FACCON 1.
Bob E. and Woody had success with the "smoke test" of the restored I.C. alarm panel in the Message Handling Area. An early attempt by the bear to gain entrance into the panel was thwarted when it was realized that the low voltage inside the panel was caused by a missing 12 volt battery. The Navy design uses the backup battery as a filter capacitor for the power supply. A small external 12-volt supply was connected to the alarm panel. This resulted in a properly operating alarm panel. A battery will be installed this week and the power supply returned to its normal configuration. This alarm panel originally monitored the entrances to the radio room as well as the status of some of the communication equipment in the space. Once returned to service this panel will once again watch for open hatches, including the NJ2BB shack and the third deck transmitter room.
John Goheen and his group reported the following: The 5MC, Helo Landing Area Announcing, checked out normal operation. However the busy light labels on the microphone control station at the Quarterdeck are reversed. The Quarterdeck personnel are aware of the situation and it will be corrected. In the CPO mess area and Lounge, the volume of the 1MC loudspeakers was set to the lowest level per request. Also, checked out the Supply Department spaces from frame 28 to frame 32, second deck and below. Uncovered several 1MC loudspeakers, noted locations where telephone checkout is needed. and discovered some artifacts. At Forward IC shop, turned on those loudspeaker groups in the Supply Department spaces that had been turned off.
March 6 - Remember last week's report? Well the score is now: BNJARS 2 BEAR 0
Actually the Bear was in the lead for a time when the first attempt at activating Amateur Television (ATV) at the ship had poor results. Although video from the ATV repeater in northeast Philly was observed, it was poor quality. The ATV team consisting of Ron, Dave and Al plan another attack next Saturday to iron out the problems.
Just inboard of the NJ2BB shack, Ed had total success with returning to service the Model 28 printer obtained from the former USS BARNEY during the October shipyard raid. The advantage of the '28 over its neighboring model 15 is that the '15 is only capable of 60 wpm while the '28 has a transmission (gears) able to operate at 60, 75 and 100 wpm. The higher speeds allow us to copy commercial RTTY traffic.
The word from the repair shop on 02 level is that the SRR-19 receiver is almost completely awake. One missing voltage is all that is left to be repaired before the unit is returned to FACCON 1, below the R-390 receiver.
Woody also experienced success with hanging the alarm cabinet that Bob E. has restored. Also completed was the rebuilding of the "field" wires at their point of entry into the cabinet. Bremerton had cut these leads as part of their de-mil procedure. Work scheduled for next week will include a "smoke test" of Bob's work.
Gail and Paul spent the day performing continuity tests on the SB-863, transmitter control switchboard, module restored by Bill L. The report from G&P is one bad wafer switch, an unexpected ground but no bad wiring, yet.
Gene H. installed 2 drawers in the equipment rack next to the public service scanners. The drawers will become the home of the scanners thus cleaning up the appearance of the rack. Gone will be the maze of wires, cables, user manuals and frequency lists.
Not to make the Saturday work party sound like a bunch of animals, but we did have a visit from the Cheshire cat (Alice in Wonderland). You have to picture Ski, standing in front of the TA-970 red phone in FACCON 1, grinning like the CAT. The "Big J" is now, most likely, the only museum ship with a fully functional TA-970. The audio heard on its speaker and in the earpiece is live from our receiver switchboard. The push to talk button controls the "10316" interface; push the button and hear the relay click. Heck, the phone even has the "disconn" lamp illuminated because a transmitter was not selected at the transmitter control switchboard. All these functions without any jerry rigs. One more example of "All Navy, All Battleship". The first thing for next Saturday will be to check, with an o'scope, the quality of the transmit audio, from the handset, showing up at the switchboard. Good Job Ski!
An important notice to all NJ2BB operators: During recent high wind conditions, the FAN antenna managed to get tangled with the flag supports located at the aft end of the radar platform. The FAN antenna is OUT OF SERVICE until the wires are untangled. A red and white protector has been placed on the patch point in the shack as a reminder. This will be corrected on Saturday, weather permitting. Remember, NO FAN ANTENNA.
Feb 28 - There is a saying that "some days the bear eats you, some days you eat the bear". Will everyone please join me for a moment of silence for the "bear", cause Saturday's workgroup had a barbecue.
1) Gale and Margaret spent most of the day sorting and separating our tech manuals into needed, not needed (yet) and dupes. The last two groups will find their way into the ship's tech library.
2) Wayne W. arranged 2 receiver switchboard modules in preparation for sending receive audio to the red phone in FACCON 1,via the Coke Machine.
3) Ski finished the needed cross-connects, in the Coke Machine, to send the receive audio to the red phone in FACCON 1.
4) Paul rebuilt the audio amp (AM-3729) used with the red phone in FACCON 1.
5) Ski restored the field wiring for the audio amp Paul was restoring.
6) Dave installed the fuses for the audio amp. and heard live radio sounds from the red phone in FACCON 1.
7) Woody intercepted the 7/8" hard-line that once fed the ship's GPS system and installed appropriate connectors for use with the ATV transceiver.
8) Once the hard-line was connected to the ATV antenna, Woody gave the feed line and antenna a test using his 440 handheld. SUCCESS!
9) Bob E. spent several hours finishing his restoration of the alarm panel that belongs near the Starboard hatch of the Message Handling Area. At the end of the day he pronounced the unit ready for the "smoke test".
10) Doug spent the first half of the day taping wire ends in the transmitter control switchboard. After lunch Wayne W. joined him and together they started wire continuity checks of the first of three modules being restored. So far the information gathered by them indicates the wiring is correct, but some of the switches need cleaning.
11) John S. was found busy building a test extensions rig to help in his efforts on the R-1051 receivers.
12) Bill B. was seen working on something but I can't remember what. Sorry Bill.
Feb 21 - In her own way, the "Big J" reminded us that 3 years does not make us experts in her wiring. Ski and Bill L. spent most of the day trying to find the wire that should run between points A and B, but didn't. Through determination, and maybe a little salty talk, they found the wire and the change in wiring methods used by the shipyard. Good work guys. Woody also found himself tracing wires and cables associated with the transmitter control switchboard.
Toward the end of the day Bill and Dave B. started continuity testing the restoration work he completed two weeks ago. This wire verification will continue for the next couple of weeks. Once his wiring method is proven correct the installation of another transmitter control switchboard module will begin.
Gene H. handled a number of small items for us with the result of one of them being a proper coat rack near the TTY Office. Yes we have talked about a place to store our winter wear for years, but some things just take a while.
Saturday also saw several BB-62 Sea Cadets visit the NJ2BB shack. Some of the Cadets took the opportunity to talk with a Ham or two on the air. Others had their attention drawn towards the computer programs, especially the Instatrak display of the International Space Station orbit. A special thanks to Ray and Bill B. for manning HAM-2 and Ham-3 for the Cadets.
Feb 17 - Saturday's work party is an example of the ranges of successful work at the ship. The good success is the expansion of the RS-232 patch panel into the NAVMAC displays and the removal of some of our early temporary wiring. On the low side of success is the day spent by two of our members searching the ship for a mate to a cable connector. Randy and Jon scoured the ship for a piece of demiled equipment that had a bulkhead-mounted connector needed for the antenna patch panel interlock circuits. No luck.
Ski and Charlie worked on reviving the red phone in FACCON 1. Doug G. seems to have adopted the task of taping over the wire ends in the transmitter control switchboard. I believe he completed two more modules.
Ruben and Wayne W. traced a cable from the same switchboard to its termination in the transmitter room. This was necessary because, to the best of my memory, this cable is the first of our "field wiring" to be found demiled, hacked off, severed. Till now only equipment has been demiled, not cables. The tracing was made more difficult by the fact that the ends had different number tags thus preventing the cable database from locating the cable termination for us.
The arrangement of the computer monitors above the HAM-4 (VHF) table looks a little different now. We have added the video monitor to be used by the ATV group to the cluster. Next week will see a little tweaking on the location of equipment for a neater appearance.
Feb 8 - Most of Saturday's work was centered on preparing for the next Museum Ship Weekend scheduled for July. With the completion of the CW module of the transmitter control switchboard, Doug, Gail and Paul spent time placing tape over the cut ends of wires that will not be terminated in the near future, if ever. Thanks to the de-mil effort at the Bremerton shipyard we have a few thousand wire ends to make electrically safe. The trio covered almost 500 wires before time and energy expired.
Ski and Paul traced and documented cables, conductors and connectors associated with the '10316 interface boxes. These boxes were used to connect the "red phones" to the AN/URT-23 transmitters and the R-1051 receivers. Our plans call for the phone in FACCON 1 to be in service, via a '10316, for the July weekend.
Gail also spent time sorting through the tech manuals in the Radio Room searching for duplicates, which will be sent to the tech library along with any manuals that we will not be using in support of our restoration work.
Down in the transmitter room Terry had success with the installation of an AM-3729 audio amp for the recently installed R-1051 receiver. Operators will have no problem listening to a QSO, even with several of the very noisy '23 transmitters running.
A very large speed bump was overcome late Saturday when the "RS-232 patch panel" finally came to life. This panel is intended to make alignment of the NJ2BB computers, for different operating events, a simple task. Bringing it on line was not as simple as it should have been, thanks to plain bad luck and an awkward software problem. The job is not finished, by any means, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Finally, up in TTY, Ted had a surprise when he discovered that an Ethernet hub, thought to be the victim of a power surge, was really a loose card. The saving of this hub allows the TTY office computers to stay connected to the NJ2BB network.
Jan 31 - The video tour taped two weeks ago has been edited into a "draft version" and was presented to Saturday's crew for review. The critics gave an overall good review with a couple of constructive comments, which will be included in the final production. There are a couple of short scenes that need to be enhanced this weekend but nothing serious.
The R-1051 that was recently installed in the Transmitter Room came to life after lunch. Still to be finished is the installation of a local audio amp (AM-3729) and speaker. In typical restoration style, while the R-1051 was being worked on, one of the WWII RBC receivers kept the room filled with the sounds of radio.
Thanks to Brian and his college buddies all the telephones have been hauled from Broadway, up 4 decks, to the new phone repair shop. The '701 HF transceiver, donated through Chet, WA2YDS, was tested and with the exception of a dirty switch contact appears in fine condition.
Ski reports running into a roadblock to his red phone restoration project - parts! Sounds like we need a trip to the shipyard. Maybe in April?
On Monday, Feb 2, Bill Lewis informed me that he is finished installing the CW portion of the SB-863 transmitter control switchboard. With his completion of several hundred wire splices we now enter the testing phase, which entails continuity checks between 20 barrier style terminal blocks.
Still to be installed is the module needed for voice (AM, USB, LSB) utilizing the T-368 and URT-23 in the Transmitter Room. Any volunteers for splicing a few hundred wires?
Jan 19 - With expert help from Ebe we managed to complete the scheduled taping of the radio room. A big BRAVO ZULO to all the cast and a special thanks to the onlookers for not snickering too loud. A double special thanks to Ebe for the 12 hour day and all his effort.
In the Transmitter Room: - A shock mount for a R-1051 receiver was installed. The receiver will be installed next week. The 2 URT-23 mounts installed last week by Paul and Gail now support the spare AN/URT-23 transmitters. Terry pored through the manuals for the URT-23 looking for antenna patching circuit modifications and details. Randy and Jon started work on the transmitter antenna patch panels interlocks.
In VHF, Woody replaced an internal coax jumper in the AN/VRC-46 transceiver. He reports that the rigs works better now but still needs TLC.
Out on the weather deck, John Goheen checked out reports from the New Years Eve celebration of no audio from the General Announcing System on the 02-04 levels, portside. The speakers were found to be working, but with low audio. John is investigating the possibility that the gain in the third 1MC power amplifier may be low.
The on going task of better storage of our equipment and material continued. The last of the emergency lighting units and their batteries were brought onboard the ship. Also provided were several boxes of spare parts for the units. The ship's staff now has the responsibility for the storage and use of the lights and parts.
In general, it was a very good day, especially with the return of a couple of faces not seen for quite a long time.
Jan 12 - There was a very small turnout for work on Saturday, probably due to the extremely cold temperatures. Ski reports that more audio amps are working in Combat Engagement Center (CEC) thanks to the help of Harry Carlson. Paul and Gail, a couple of new members, spent their day in the Transmitter Room installing shock mounts for the spare AN/URT-23 transmitters. John was in but declared the O2 level shop too cold for workers and I don't blame him!
This coming Saturday (Jan 17) promises to be busy so we need as many workers as possible. We especially need properly attired "radiomen" for the videotape being shot of the Radio Central spaces.
Jan 3 - Despite the fact that there was no official work party this past weekend, some members were in during the week of New Years as well as on Saturday the 3rd. Of special interest is that Ed, W2KP, created a pileup on SSB with a total of 46 QSOs completed before he had to call it quits. Dave & Mark enjoyed the overnight New Year's Eve encampment and operated 2 meters from the deck of the ship to celebrate making about 30 contacts.