Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
Reports for 2013
Dec 28 - Well folks, here we are at the end of another calendar year at the ship, looking forward to completing our 13th year, on Jan 27, doing restoration work and Amateur Radio fun stuff.
My recent fun pokes about the NJ2BB Top Operator List were an attempt to get some extra operators in before year’s end, but to no avail. Jerry did make his almost weekly trip to the ship to make contacts but not enough to increase his standings on the list. To tell the truth, he may have been successful had I not asked for an hour of his time to help with a project. And yes I snapped some images of him sitting at the Ham-3 position, operating CW while typing the incoming text on the “mill”, serial number S107.
Bill L. found a worn gear shaft in one of the wind speed integrators; a first time occurrence for these mini-analog mechanical computers. Thanks to those trips to the former Philly Shipyard we do have a limited number of spares on hand. Tom finished with the repairs of another 1MC power supply then moved on to cleaning the optics in the DVD player located in the Message Handling Area. Sad to say, all his work was to no success. All the years of operation appear to have taken their toll on these machines. I say machines because this is the second player to fail in recent times.
Beth and Margaret are making slow progress with the crewmember database thanks to the new coding system mentioned last week. They did discover a cheat sheet for the codes used, but the use of new letter abbreviations has had a negative effect on these non Navy ladies; at least until the girls get used to the meanings. ie “03PSNYDBEMWA”. By the old system this would have been written out as “received onboard for further transfer to Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash”.
Dec 21 - This past Saturday Jerry was found back in the shack operating CW, his favorite mode, but with a twist that has been missing from the BB-62 radio room since 1969. He was using an actual Radioman typewriter, known as a "mill", instead using paper and pencil to record the conversation. Yes, I missed capturing this Kodak moment!
Work wise we had a call about a "loud tone" being heard on the 1MC while using the station at the Aft Quarter Deck. The source of the tone has been located, isolated and repairs to be made this week.
Arriving in FACCON 1, I noticed that the digital clock by the sign in book was flashing its display at us, indicating that sometime during the week there had been a power outage. As Rich E reset the clock I headed down to Fwd Plot to check the 250 lines of program code in the HP-85 computer. As you may remember, this computer does not have a working internal program backup system. Instead we rely on a large battery backup power supply (UPS). Thanks to the UPS, "Princeton" will not need to re-enter all those lines of code, one line at a time.
Too Tall Tom was busy repairing the modulation section of a donated VHF / UHF signal generator. This equipment will make a nice addition to the restoration shop. Rich E has resumed troubleshooting of the 1980's version of a computer plasma display that until recent times has resided in CEC. Work on this system was placed on the back burner many months ago so that Rich could help with the restoration of Main Plot Forward.
Rich R has made some serious progress in animating the RD-390 multi-channel tape recorder located in CEC. Using parts removed from the recorder, then relocated within the machine he is on the verge of having the supply and take up reels rotating at a reasonable speed. Bill L kept busy with his long-term assignment of maintaining the ship's wind speed and direction indicating system.
John was busy doing something in the restoration shop but my only visit to the area was an early morning hello session. Sorry about not getting back to you John. Besides having my quiet time winding the ship's clocks I was able to return to service one of the several internal security cameras that need some TLC. Along the way I also located a loose patch cable within the security video cabinet located on the O2 level. This connector did not affect the operation of the system but did hinder the built in trouble-shooting network.
Nov 23 - To tell the truth, I was feeling that this past Saturday would never happen. What should of have been a fairly simple job for the NJ2BB crew hit every possible speed bump, pot hole, landslide and blocked intersection. The tip of my hat goes to all the team members who managed to get both strobe light LED replacements on the Sea Sprite helicopter working. When the weather warms in about 5 months we will continue with the lighting of the craft, this time targeting the 3-marker lights and a couple of cabin lights. For now we can get on with other work at the ship.
The Beckman 950 WWV receiver which suffered a stroke 2-weeks ago, underwent the needed capacitor replacement operation has been returned to service in FACCON 1.
The Ham-5 operating position logging computer, which has been troublesome for the last couple of years has been replaced, sort of. The new/used machine is still sitting on the desk, waiting for final testing and program installation.
When introduced to the seriously de-milled RD-390, multi-channel audio recorder in the Combat Engagement Center (CEC), Rich formulated a very nice plan to make the supply and take up reels rotate at a reasonable speed. This “Plan C” calls for some diving into his junk box at home. More details as they emerge from the darkness of CEC
We did have a trouble call to the left projectile hoist in Turret 2, but everything was fine when we arrived there. Maybe the cold weather has driven the gremlins deep into the ship. This is the hoist that BNJARS modified so that it can be operated during the successful Turret 2 tour.
Nov 16 - The NJ2BB shack was a busy location Saturday morning Nov 16, due mostly to the rare Saturday morning Boy Scout Merit Badge Class. After Bob, K2UT, presented the classroom and testing session the 15 Scouts moved to the shack for their required on-air experience. Thanks to Rich E each scout logged his airtime talking to Ron, K3ZKO.
But, even before the Scouts appeared in the shack, Rich encountered an action he had not experienced before. When he arrived before the start of the workday he fired up the Ham-2 position for some on the airtime of his own using PSK. Much to his surprise he had a 20-minute QSO instead of the more usual 60-seconds of canned message macros.
While the Scouts were doing the merit badge thing, Ski scouted our supply area for a suitable enclosure for the helicopter lighting project. Once found he installed the 24-volt DC supply, checked it’s operation than made the final connections. The result is a 24/7 beacon under the nose of the bird.
After his time with the Scouts Rich joined with Bill B in searching for a solution to the cut wiring harness in the tail section of the helicopter which is preventing the crew from installing the tail beacon. The cut cable is only accessible through an opening so small that a mouse would look elsewhere for a new home. If the weather stays good for one last Saturday the tail beacon should be online next Saturday.
Here I need to step back a couple of weeks and mention that thanks to Bill B and Doug Poole some wire changes inside the bird were completed.
Elsewhere in the ship Al and I installed a permanent phone line into the Wardroom for use with extension 137, the CEO’s speakerphone, as needed during the Board of Directors meetings. To date we have added ext 137 to the CPO Mess, the Captain’s Stateroom, Phil’s office and now the Wardroom. I did point out to Phil that the cable used came from the former Garden State Race Track during our final parts raid there years ago. Hey, no cost to the ship has to score some points.
Two weeks ago I suspected there was a problem with the 1MC but proved myself wrong, which was a good thing. But I did discover a minor problem with one of the four internal 24-volt DC power supplies. Thanks to on hand spares gathered during visits to the former Philly Navy Shipyard the weakened supply is now on Tom’s bench undergoing repairs.
After about five weeks of operation the donated Beckman 905 WWV receiver suffered a stroke last weekend and has been transferred to sickbay, aka the O2 level restoration shop. The filter capacitors in the bias supply need replacing.
Joe reports that the rebuild of the WRT-2 HF transmitter power supply drawer is nearing completion. Much time and effort has been spent returning this supply to it’s as designed 3-phase power source. As mentioned in earlier reports, a previous owner had converted this transmitter to household single-phase operation.
Not mentioned before is that with Jason’s permission I have enlisted the help of my Jersey Shore friend, Ed Roessler, to repair the many ship’s clocks as needed. So far four clocks have made the trip to Ocean County for repair. My part of the deal is to keep the clocks wound each Saturday and to maintain a log of time errors and repair work performed. Hey, this is where I get 45-minutes of quiet time each Saturday after lunch. If only I could remember to wind the clock in the Aft Crews Mess while down there for lunch.
Margaret continues with her data entry for the crewmembers digital database. Along the way she is answering questions raised by family members of former crewmembers, as to their loved one’s history on the ship. Their questions arrive either in person during a visit to the ship or through E-mails after their visit.
As for the efforts to get NJ2BB onto the 6-meter band, that work has been put on the famous backburner due to the desire to complete the helicopter lighting job.
At his next appearance at the ship, Rich R will pickup where we left off almost 2-years ago with animating the RD-390 located in CEC. The RD-390 is an 18-channel audio tape recorder that listened to all communications passing through the coke machine (SAS). The VU (volume unit) meters currently bounce in time with some canned audio being fed to the meters. The plan is to get the tape reels moving as if supplying magnetic tape to the recording heads and collecting the tape on the take-up reels. The magnetic tape will not be there but the two reels will be rotating.
Oct 12 - In reading some of the previous updates I realized that I was only giving passing mention to the days operation within the NJ2BB shack. This was not an attempt to make small the efforts of the operators, just a little bit of my “been there, done that” mind set. Sorry guys. Therefore I’ll begin this update with a new twist.
Prior to the beginning of a recent workday Bill B used the Ham-3 operating position to place NJ2BB on the air. In a short period of time he made SSB (voice) contacts with Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, Poland, United Arab Emirates, England and the USA. Bill then turned the station over to Roberto and Lenny who switched the mode to CW (Morse Code) for some travels through Cuba, Poland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Colombia and the USA. Bill B went on to help with other jobs about the ship.
Over a 3-weekend period Rich E completed the feed line run between the shack and the 6-meter antenna. Thanks to Jerry’s donation of new 9913 coax Rich was able to extend and redirect an existing run of 7/8” hard-line. When first tested the line showed an infinite SWR, which is a very bad thing. After performing continuity checks and inspecting all the new N connectors he used the tone generator and receiver to track the problem down to the only connector not inspected. The trouble turned out to be an improperly installed N connector on the hard-line; a connector that was installed long before he started this project. Once the antenna SWR was corrected we were able to hear a 6-meter beacon but the band was dead so no contacts where made. Better luck next weekend.
Rich R performed an experiment that brought his work area into the “Green Age”. He picked up a long length of self-sticking LED (light emitting diode) lights. He removed the guts from a fluorescent desk lamp, installing three short lengths of the LED strip. The results are a brighter softer light, less heat, no flicker and lower energy usage.
John’s work on the Helicopter strobe lights is nearing its conclusion. The rebuilt pulsing red lights will add some flavor to the Fantail display.
After checking the wind speed / direction system for correct operations Bill L performed an inventory of cables being used by the radar repeaters (scopes) in CIC. This was a continuation of work started by Dave D, aka “Princeton”, the week before. Why take inventory of these cables on a radar system that will never be placed back into service? I’m glad you asked.
All of the cables for the many SPA-25 repeaters needed to go to the Radar Switchboard for signal processing and distribution. The location of this switchboard was only recently discovered after several years of informal searching for it. In fact, there were two boards. Why the interest in the switchboards? With the ends of these cables now known, we are one step closer to providing real radar images to each of the repeaters, instead of the graphics currently viewed by guests. This is just another example of adding flavor to a display.
After our last general membership meeting several pieces of donated equipment were brought onto the ship. All were placed in proper storage for later restoration or repair. One piece of gear, a Beckman 950 WWV receiver was of particular interest to me. Well, thanks to Too Tall Tom who replaced the rear chassis power connector, installed an UHF coax connector, cleaned and tested the unit, we have a very nice WWV only receiver mounted in FACCON 1, under the stack of R-2368 receivers. This receiver is of interest to Gene H and myself during our efforts when setting the shack and ship’s clocks.
While everyone else was moving about the ship we find Margaret in the office working on her project of building a digital database of all crewmembers for the time period of 1943 to decommissioning in June of 1948. So far she has entered over 3600 names and associated information found on thousands of microfilm records. At the next general membership meeting expect me to make a motion to buy her a new set of fingertips. Her original set are worn down to the bones thanks to all the hours of typing.
On the disappointment side of life, the instructor, due to class scheduling trouble, canceled the hoist of the OE-82 antenna to the O10 level. A new date has not been published yet.
Sep 14 - I'm happy to report that after Saturday's quarterly general membership meeting everyone stayed around to help with the last minute request for help "de-cluttering" our spaces. Some recently donated equipment was transported to their new homes, trash cans emptied, material leftover from jobs has been returned to storage and the deck swept.
After a break for lunch a group assembled to move the OE-82 motorized pedestal, which has spent the last 10-years hiding in the Message Handling Area, to the O1 level forward in preparation for the schedule high angle lift of 25 September. The group then moved the actual "trash can" antenna from the area of the Harpoon Missile Deck to the same place as the pedestal.
Part of the work group was able to stay even longer to help with the new feed line for the MARS Inverted-V wire antenna. The antenna is once again hanging from the platform that at one time supported the drone radome. While installing the coax connectors at the point where the feed line enters the ship it was noticed that water had migrated this far down the inside of the coax, indicating that more of the line needs replacement.
Those members not physically able to help with the cleanup did a great job of manning the NJ2BB shack well into the afternoon. The mode of the day was CW on the HAM-2 and 3 positions. The HAM-5 position added SSB contacts to the logbook.
This past Wednesday found Harry, Margaret and myself at the ship for the whole day, manning the NJ2BB shack during the week long HNSA conference. We did manage to rub elbows with several Directors and Presidents from other ships. Of special interest to me was when Margaret found a WWII Veteran of the USS Missouri. Well, she scurried to the office, printed out the Vets history on the Missouri and returned to present it to him. What a smile he returned. This led to her meeting the grandson, who is the President of the USS Iowa Museum. After some great conversation we met the Director of the USS Cod, a diesel sub located in Cleveland, Ohio. Those who know our history remember that Margaret and I are from the Cleveland area, so the talks about the Cod lead to other topics.
Harry did manage to disassemble the Merit Badge computer, locate the CMOS battery, write down the battery type and put the machine back together, with only 8-screws still resting on the bench. Now to buy the battery and install it. Note to the Merit Badge crew; the machine is functional and now sports a new USB mouse.
Sept 07 - Saturday was a very good day indeed. The great weather, a great location and a good team of workers made the day great.
Too Tall Tom and Bill B removed the strobe light power supply from the helicopter as part of the work needed to reactivate the anti collision lights for our visitor's enjoyment. This removal required Bill to work his way over the Sonabouy launcher and through a safety cargo net to gain access to the compact area of the rear section of the aircraft's fuselage. John S has been designing / building a prototype of a LED network to replace the actual strobe light bulb. I will refrain from making comments about flashing red lights in the O2 level shop.
Thanks to some very good teamwork, the Trash Can antenna is now resting under the starboard side Harpoon Missile Deck awaiting transfer to a forward area of the ship. The spare motorized antenna mount, being stored in the Message Handling Area, is also awaiting a trip to a forward section of the ship. Why? Because, on Sept 25th or 26th, after nearly 10-years of effort, the OE-82 will once again grace the leading edge of the O11 level. On one of those dates a first responder training session involving a high angle rescue will lift a patient (aka OE-82) to that upper most occupied area of the Battleship, thus adding to the silhouette of the ship. Rumor has it that we will be the only Iowa class ship to have that antenna in place.
Speaking of antennas, the MARS Inverted-V has been lowered to the Aft CIWS deck for inspection and repairs. What did we find as the cause of this wire antenna poor performance? Once the antenna was on the deck Ed inspected all the exposed nuts, bolts and wire lugs, only to find clean, bright connections. This is a good thing. Next, Joe removed the tape that was covering the feed line PL-259 connection at the antenna. While doing so he mentioned that the tape had the feel of moisture. That is a bad thing. But, when the connection was removed from the center insulation if appeared aged but not bad. Hum?
So we moved to the barrel connection about 10-feet further down the feed line. Here we also found moisture on the inside surface of the tape covering. But, when we separated the coax connectors we were presented with the flow of water. Yep, a section of water-cooled RG-213 coax. We then moved down the feed line another 10-feet, cut the coax and found good cable. Because we were so close to where the cable enters the ship we have decided to replace the entire run, from antenna to GCS, with some NOS (new old stock) RG-11 we have stored in the Transmitter Room.
Rich R began troubleshooting the missile safety camera that Bill L removed from the aft CIWS deck 2-weeks ago. Thanks to our storage of stuff we have the needed parts to repair the assembly and place it back in service.
Depending on his work schedule, Bill B may be on the pier will a few pieces of donated equipment needing transport into the ship. There is only one item that is bulky enough to need multiple hands.
Next week is the annual Historic Naval Ships Association conference, to be held for the first time at the Battleship and Independent Seaport. Because of these possible visitors to the shack we will be holding a cleanup style field day this Saturday. All members coming to the general meeting will be asked to lend a hand for things like pulling the trash bags, sweeping the deck, moving some small items. After the meeting we have a few things that could use a couple of extra hands, but nothing of a serious lifting nature.
August 31 - On Saturday, a spare wire between the Aft Deck House and the Forward IC Shop has been identified for use with the Anti Hot Mic circuit mentioned last week. The few of our members who have worked in the rear most section of the 1MC cabinet can attest to the tight working conditions.
Bill and Rich investigated the failure of the NAVMACS computer display in CEC and found, as expected, that the fault lies within the dumb terminal that was installed back in 2001. We do have one remaining terminal to use for repairs.
I also received an E-mail from the ship's staff concerning exposed wiring on the microphone for the 1MC station at the Aft Deck House. On Saturday Too Tall Tom investigated the problem and found that only the outer jacket of the spring cord was damaged. Without signs of conductor or insulation damage the decision was made to perform a cover up; no, not a political cover up, just a nice layer of vinyl tape over the worn spot.
August 24 - During the time that I have been remiss in my weekly updates, the Saturday Gang has kept busy doing work for the ship and NJ2BB.
Our big job for the ship was the installation of a 1MC microphone station in the area of gun mount 56, which is the most Aft Port side 5” mount and the latest to be brought online. The request for the new station was made to enable the gun crew to more closely time their announcements with the actual firing of the weapon. The wiring for the new station is temporary, until the requested cable arrives, which should be this Friday.
One advantage of the new cable will be the “anti-hot mic” circuit that can be added to prevent the inadvertent passing of improper message from the Aft Deckhouse while the Mount 56 station is using the system. The same “hot mic” condition involving the Mount 56 station while the Aft Quarter Deck is making announcements will also be eliminated. Sound complicated? Ask me about it when you are next at the ship.
Rich E has rebuilt the 6-meter square-loop (squalo) antenna that Randy, W2RDM, donated to NJ2BB about a year or so ago. On a recent Saturday Rich, guest Chris and I did an adjustment of the antenna’s matching network prior to making the adjustment permanent. I’m willing to bet that this was the first time the Fantail has seen a 6-meter antenna.
Work in the Transmitter Room has slowed with the late season increase in compartment temperature, but we did manage to tie the audio from the AN/URR-74 and SP-600 receivers into the SB-2727 audio switchboard. The ’74 also drives one of the speakers in the rack mounted dual speaker enclosure. The #2 RF-350 in the Transmitter Room continues to make contacts for NJ2BB, mostly on 20-meter SSB.
Rich R has returned to the ship’s system that he worked on years ago when he first stepped aboard the Jersey; namely the missile video monitors located in CEC. This past Saturday Bill L and I removed the Port side forward missile camera for Rich to begin repair of next Saturday. Along the way Bill and I gathered enough new knowledge of this 6-camera/ 4-monitor network to reverse engineer how it was designed to operate. The motto for the day was “who needs a stinking drawing”.
This past Saturday Rich E and I snagged several 20 and 40-meter contacts during the State QSO Parties for Kansas, Ohio and Hawaii. We had been informed by one Ohio station that the USS Missouri was on the air for the Hawaii QSO Party but we never did hear them.
Too Tall Tom and John continue to crank out restored equipment for the ship. Things up on the O2 Level are moving faster then I can keep track of. Before you ask, yes the air conditioner in the System 75 compartment has managed to keep the telephone switch happy and operating. But, the A/C unit has been running nearly continuously to do its job. Hopefully, before the next serious heat wave the ship will have a new larger capacity unit for the compartment.
This past Saturday we were asked to join in on the project of bringing back to life some of the exterior lights onboard the helicopter located on the Fantail. A complete set of system drawings are in hand thanks to earlier work by John Goheen and Chief Carlson. Wow! Wait one minute! Did I just say we have drawings before work begins? Wow!
Margaret’s work on the ship’s WWII crewmember database has grown to over 3,000 names. She has just completed the Quarterly Musters and weekly Change Reports for the time frame between Commissioning Day and Dec 31, 1943. The figure of 3,000 is not the number of crewmembers on board at one time, it’s the total number of enlisted personal that had served on the ship during the first 7-months of the ship’s active period. An interesting item that started in Dec of 1943 is the transfer of approximately 100 BB-62 crewmembers to the future USS Wisconsin, which, at the time, was undergoing final fitting out.
July 13 - For those who did not join us at the ship on Saturday you missed, at a minimum, a very nice display of vintage automobiles. About 20 restored cars lined the pier for all to inspect. The rumor mill says that Joe spent more than his fair time staring at a classic VW Beetle.
Down in the Transmitter Room Bill L and I spent a few minutes on the second receiver rack looking for a cause to the misalignment of the support slides. We would have corrected the problem but for the fact that I left my set of metal files at home. Oops! Bill than joined Joe at the WRT-2 power supply to do some final wire checks before beginning the wire changes that will allow this transmitter to be powered from the ships 3-phase power supply.
While they were busy in the area I did some rearranging of the toolboxes in the Transmitter Room. Over the past months it was a pain having to walk to the other end of the compartment to get a wrench. True, it is not a very large compartment, but when the trip involves sneaking past others in the aisle, some holding a piece of equipment, the trip is more of an annoyance than an effort. In the end the large red tool chest, that Terry spent so much time deck mounting a few years back, is now located at the inboard end of the receiver racks, next to the compartment entry door. The large folding top toolbox that normally blocks the top of the workbench was also moved to the other end of the compartment and now sits on top of the red chest. The smaller hinged top toolbox that has been living on the deck next to the workbench now sits on the left hand side of the workbench. I ended the rearrangement of the Transmitter Room by going through the toolboxes and doing a better distribution of the tools.
Before leaving the Transmitter Room for the day I did manage to make a 20-meter contact with AA1KS in Eastport, Maine, Americas most eastern city. He was running a special event station in honor of the civilian aircraft observers group that was operational during the 50's and 60's portion of the cold war. This was a very nice and interesting rag chew style contact, not the normal 30-seconds of airtime. Oh, the contact was made using the #2 RF-350 transceiver driving the Twin Verticals. This was the first QSO for this rig since it was donated to NJ2BB. Yes, the Transmitter Room is back on the air!
As mentioned in the last weeks update the phone in CEC was on the work list. The shell of the high sea lock was found in pieces and needed to be replaced. Since this phone has all the ships emergency notification labels on it I decided to replace just the plastic parts, not the entire instrument. During the 30-minutes it took to place this phone back into service I was present for the actions of the newly stationed CEC docent who did a great job of showing off his duty station. Not only was his information interesting but he also managed to control the endless stream of visitors.
As with last week John stayed hold up in his cool shop doing what he does so well, restoration and repairs. At our last meeting he informed me that the oscilloscope he was troubleshooting had finally "smoked", which is good news. As most troubleshooters will admit, finding a broken component is usually easier that finding a weakened or changing value component. Too Tall Tom is still fighting a tube replacement problem with the UHF signal generator. Somewhere in its history numerous tubes have been replaced by substitute styles. So, he is having to utilize our researcher's skills to find if each and every change in tube number is proper or not.
The System 75 telephone compartment air conditioner is still holding its own against the elements. I did a second check of the compartment for un-needed heat sources and did find another one, located behind the former battery storage cabinet. A temporary fix was performed to keep hot passageway air from re-entering the telephone compartment.
July 6 - It was a quiet workday at the ship, mostly because the holiday weekend found BNJARS members at family doings. One ship action that I attended was the Naturalization ceremony for 31 new American citizens, representing 26 countries. Held on the Forecastle, the background consisted of the massive guns of Turrets 1 and 2, followed by the height of the Fire Control Tower. What a view! Included in the group of new citizens were four active duty military personnel.
The temporary air conditioner in the System 75 compartment is holding it’s own at 75 degrees. Seeing that the unit is running continuously I checked the compartment for unneeded heat sources. I did find one in the form of a shoe box sized “natural ventilation” opening that leads to the Oil Lab. Some tape and paper covered this opening, thus reducing what warm air was entering the phone room. Hopefully next weekend we will find that the reduction in heat entering room will allow the compressor some rest periods.
Joe and I spent time in the Transmitter Room installing the final mountings of the SP-600, Racal and AN/URR-74 receivers. All though this only involves moving the existing mounts an inch of two, plenty of rack structure items jumped in the way. Next Saturday we should be able to finish the job; including reconnecting the antenna and audio feed lines to their respective patch panels. When completed the SP-600 and ’74 will have their own local speakers, thanks to the LS-206au dual speaker rack mounted unit provided by the gang at the former Fort Monmouth Amateur Radio station. The second donated LS-206 is installed in the R-390 rack that Bill L and helpers installed last fall.
Speaking of Bill L, he was in Saturday performing inspections of the wind speed integrator and indicators. He did find one stripped gear in the integrator. The backup unit was called into service and repairs commenced.
Taking advantage of the air conditioning in the restoration shop John took control of sorting all the electronic parts that showed up at our doorstep two weeks ago. Three large boxes of newer parts, ranging from IC’s, resistors, filters, frequency standards, wire wrap supplies, LEDs, project boards and boxes are being sorted, inspected and stored in Avionics. All of these items are still in their original packages, unused and ready to serve the ship as either replacement parts or material for new projects. John has also been searching for the cause of high AC ripple in a donated 2-channel portable Tektronix oscilloscope.
Rich R reports that the last Nixie display for the Torn Tape System, located along the forward bulkhead of the Message Handling Area, is nearing the end of its time in restoration. The final internal Nixie tube is putting up a fight, which Rich assures me he will win.
During the day I did try to make some contacts with the “13 Colonies” special events stations that were celebration the countries’ birthday. A combination of poor propagation and the fact that most of the original 13-colonies are short range from the NJ2BB location kept our logs from gaining more than 2-contacts.
June 29 - The normally quiet Transmitter Room found Tom and Joe removing the jury-rigged solid-state diode bridge rectifier assembly from the AN/WRT-2 transmitter power supply drawer. A previous owner of the transmitter had replaced the tube style rectifiers with a single-phase circuit because he lacked the 3-phase power source that rig was designed to use. Now back on a naval vessel it will be powered by 120-volt 3-phase power. Joe has provided a solid state (brick) 3-phase bridge module that has been mounted to a finned aluminum heat sink that was machined by John S. This is the first of many steps needed to bring this rig back to life.
Tom has also been busy inspecting and testing a donated Hewlett Packard UHF signal generator. This very clean unit woke up without incident and may soon find itself sitting ready for action in the restoration shop. Also arriving with the signal generator was a Kenwood TS-450S HF transceiver. After a quick on the air test this 1990's rig should find a nice home at NJ2BB.
At the end of the workday on Saturday June 22 I did sit down at the Ham-3 position and operated as Class 1D SNJ in the weekend long ARRL Field Day operations. During this short impromptu operation 23 contacts in 18 states were made.
The high temperature problems in the System 75 phone system compartment has been temporarily solved with the installation of a used 5,000 BYU home window A/C unit. By the end of the workday the compartment temperature had dropped 13 degrees. The ship has promised to provide a more proper ( 20,000 BTU) replacement. After replacing the A/C unit Ski headed to the Turret 2 Gun House where he did some realignment of an indicator lamp lens, thus providing a more viewable "Plot Ready" message at the Turret Captain's duty station.
Besides her normal duty as Supply Officer, Margaret was found helping with telephone tracing, cable moves and adding to the crewmember database that is part of the new BB-62 kiosk display.
John is hard at work building the stable test signal source needed to calibrate the Boonton power meter. Once calibrated, the power meter will be used to calibrate the tracking generator that John and Rich E have restored to operation. As reported previously, the tracking generator, when used with the repaired spectrum analyzer will allow for better testing of the radio system onboard the ship.
June 15 - About 4 weeks ago we had a trouble call from a Turret 2 Experience guide. It appeared at first that even though he had all the system switches in the position called for during their training sessions, the Turret Ready Circuit (1R) would not energize the proper indicator lights. A switch in the wrong position was a good thought since who would expect 16 indicator lamps to all go bad in the same week. Guess what! All 16 lamps had expired in less then 7 days. A quick trip along the tour with a handful of spare lamps corrected the situation. Then, taking advantage of the hour before the first Turret 2 Experience Tour of last Saturday all 16 type 6S6-120 indicator bulbs (not compartment lighting) were replaced by LED substitutes. Note: during the change to the LED units it was noted that three of those fresh 6S6-120 bulbs had already expired.
The major work of the day was the installation of a phone in the Overnight Encampment Cage located near the Fwd Mess Deck. The request for this new installation was based on the desire for an outside line closer to the overnight action. This is not a public accessible phone. Finding an open pair and extension number was a pain, but even worse was the route needed for the cable between the First Class Lounge and the cage. Because of the lack of bulkhead penetrations this cable ended up crossing the ship (port to starboard), then back again (Starboard to Port). The two ends of the cable are only about 50 feet apart but nearly 200 feet of cable was used. Who ever said working on a battleship is easy?
Ski was able to identify two unused 120-volt outlets, on their own dedicated circuits, in the TTY Office for use as power sources for two computer battery backup units. Although these outlets have been in plain sight since boarding the ship back in 2001, I never suspected they where not on the compartments general use circuit. Adding the UPS load to the general outlets would have caused the circuit fuses to commit suicide resulting in lose of office power until the ship’s Maintenance Dept could replace the fuses.
Rich R has finished the overhaul of the second of three Nixie readouts for the Torn Tape Teletype system in the Message Handling Area. He reports that he is well on the way to completing the final unit.
John reports that he is beginning the testing and calibration of the rebuilt HP Tracking Generator that resides in the Quality Monitoring System cabinet in FACCON 1. When retrieved from the Philly Shipyard during a raid the unit was in a most sad condition. Since then John and Rich E have repaired existing sections of the test equipment or designed and built replacement modules. When completed and placed back into the QMS cabinet this generator, acting with the recently repaired spectrum analyzer, will allow for a more accurate testing of our radio systems and antennas.
Too Tall Tom reports that restoration of the AN/SRR-13 receiver has come to a halt do to the lack of a replacement octal based multi-section capacitor.
Margaret has been busy processing incoming logs from ships that operated during the recent Museum Ships Weekend. Her process is to create one giant database of all submitted ship’s logs. This common file makes the checking of requests for individual certificates much easier and faster than looking through the logs by hand for each and every request. To date 25 of the 105 ships have submitted logs containing over 20,000 contacts. Sitting in a box in the corner of her home computer room are over 100 certificate requests with more arriving in each day’s mail delivery.
June 4 - YES, it has been what must seem like forever since I last produced an update of our work at the Battleship New Jersey. The delay can be blamed on a trip to the Dayton Hamvention with some vacation time thrown in, my being out of service due to what is either allergies or a nasty spring cold or to my being very lazy. You choose.
The time at the Hamvention was, as always, a great success for Margaret and myself. The convention staff had the need to relocate our booth to a new location, an action we thought might cause problems but those problems did not appear, although some of our regular visitors mentioned how they had walked to our normal location only to find a vendor there. A quick review of the Hamvention brochure provided them with our new location.
As of this writing we have not heard of the attendance count for the Hamvention but somewhere between 20 and 25,000 feels like a good number. How many stopped by the booth? No idea, but each attendee had the opportunity as they walked the seemingly endless isles at the Hara Arena.
We did not keep a count of the number of museum ships that stopped by for a visit but a good guess is 12. Next year we will be asking for visiting ships to leave a QSL card that we can post in the booth. Other visitors came from all corners of the world, all with an interest in the ship and our work. I did get some leads for tech manuals we are in need of. There are stories galore about successful networking with vendors and visitors but they would fill a 2-inch thick novel. Better for you to visit the shack and hear the details in person. Hint hint.
Our friend at William Perry, Inc of Nashville has provided the needed connector for the AN/URR-74 HF receiver located in the Transmitter Room. This 13-pin connector will allow us to attach the audio output of the receiver to the receiver patch panel and then out to the audio amps and speakers in the compartment. Not familiar with the '74? Think about what many consider the best military receiver ever produced.
Rich R has been busy rebuilding the three sets of Nixie tube digital readouts that are part of the Torn Tape Teletype System in the Message Handling Center. The end result is a better looking and easier to read set of 4-digit numbers. John has finished the repairs to the HP 141 spectrum analyzer that resides in FACCON 1. From all the repairs that were required if appears that once one section of the power supply "went south", the rest of the gang decided to follow. From transistors, neon regulators, resistors, etc John did a very Bravo Zulu performance. The analyzer is now back in FACCON 1 and was given a test run during Sunday's portion of Museum Ships Weekend. Yes John the attenuator is attached to the input.
Trouble with the signal being sent to some of the ship's TV sets was traced to a loose "F" connector on one of the distribution amplifiers in the head end cabinet. Hand tightening has cleared the picture but the connector should be replaced this weekend to prevent future reoccurrences. A new security camera has been added to the existing system in the Captain's Stateroom. If you have been following the news about the ship then you understand the need for the camera. Enough said about this subject.
Joe and John have been working on converting the power supply in the WRT-2 transmitter from vacuum tubes to a 3-phase solid-state brick. After machining an aluminum heat sink for the brick it is now time to install the device and do some testing.
April 19 - This update will cover the past 3 Saturday work parties, mainly because the nice weather has found me involved with household items.
Thanks to the efforts of "Princeton" the HP-85 mini-computer (1982) located in Main Plot Forward is now running a program that uses information from a ballistics table designed for the 16/50 guns. The table gives range versus gun elevation and powder charge information. Dave's screen display shows target bearing, range, gun elevation, time of flight and initial velocity. After waiting the length of the Time of Flight value the program recycles to display a different set of values then continues as before. One major concern was the availability of the computer keyboard to visitors, which could lead to loss of the programming due to wandering fingers. A short note to the ship's Maintenance Department resulted in a fast response from Gary Crispin who fabricated a really nice and secure Plexiglas cover for the keyboard. Thanks Gary. Bill B did some relamping of status indicators in Main Plot Forward.
The long silent modification to the Left Gun Projectile Hoist controls is finished, tested and visitor approved. This design allows the large brass lever that originally operated the hydraulic system to hoist those heavy projectiles to now operate the hidden electric hoist that moves one of the fiberglass mockups. Based on staff, visitor and news reporters this modification has made a positive affect on the visitor's experience. Thanks to Ski for the work on the new control box.
Too Tall Tom reports that the problem with the HRO-5 HF receiver has been found (broken speaker wire) and repaired. Soon this radio will find its new home in WWII Radio. Thanks Tom.
On Sunday I received word that Harry had been to the shack and managed to make a CW contact with Mongolia. Good work Harry. Needing the use of the AL-80B amp at Ham-3, Harry also performed the testing of the recently installed new final tube in the amp.
John has expended an enormous amount of time on troubleshooting the HP 141-T spectrum analyzer that normally resides in FACCON 2. Although most sections of the equipment are back in service there continues to be a gremlin or two in the high voltage section. He also reports that advances have been made on the rebuilding of the HP tracking generator that is part of the FACCON 2 Quality Monitoring System. Goooo John.
Rich E and I installed the guts of the audio switchboard (SB-2727) in the Transmitter Room. The front panels had been removed to make internal work easier but this action removed the panel from service; therefore no receiver audio in the compartment. As part of the return to service testing we discovered a broken connection inside the USB Audio output connector on the back of the FRR-49 receiver. A quick touch of the soldering gun cured the trouble. Don't worry Jerry; your favorite receiver is still operating.
Bill B did some dummy load testing of the TS-950 transceiver, located at Ham-4, which went OSS during Museum Ships Weekend last summer. It appears that the bad audio and loss of output is only happening during side band operations. The testing revealed that AM, FM and CW do not appear to have any problems. More testing and work is needed with this equipment.
Margaret has joined ranks with Rich and Tom (Brass Team) in their efforts to return the Men of the Jersey kiosk to operation. Once located on the Aft Mess Deck but now part of the Sailor's Life on Main Deck, this unit now has a new computer and touch screen. Margaret is loading the computer database with information about the WWII crew; things like name, service number, date of enlistment, place of enlistment, former duty station, next duty station, rate and rating, changes in rate / rating, etc, all hand typed into the database. Some items of interest that have been found are that a dozen crewmembers were transferred, in August of 1944, to the USS Indianapolis. Think about this for a minute: where were these guys in July of 1945? Four days after commissioning, why were 7 crewmembers transferred to the Philly Shipyard Hospital? Why, after a Captain's Mast, was one crewmember's rate increased and his rating changed?
Somewhere along the time line Too Tall Tom and Bill B installed a connection from the MARS antenna on the Aft CWIS deck, to GCS for use while doing equipment repairs.
March 30 - As mentioned in last weeks update there were three priority jobs for this past Saturday. One was completed without incident while the other two have more to be done.
The staff request for a FAX line was not finished due to a decision that Turret 2 had the highest priority. But Rich and I did spend enough time on the job to remove the improper wiring that we found, and then installed a new wall jack. The main cause of the existing FAX machine to malfunction was the intervention by someone lacking any knowledge of telephone circuits. ie. Never try to connect an analog machine to a digital voice network or use the wrong machine jacks for improper uses. We still have the final cross connect to do at the Main Deck IDF. Along the way Rich gave 9-year-old Sherman an introduction to Amateur Radio via a 2-meter contact followed by a tour of the NJ2BB shack and the Message Handling Area.
Thanks to Rich E and “Princeton” the HP-85 all-in-one mini computer (Hewitt Packard vintage 1984) is now back home in Main Plot Forward, powered, tested and ready for a bells and whistle program. “Princeton” is bench testing the software this week and should have it transferred to the HP-85 by the end of next Saturday’s workday.
The Turret 2 left gun projectile hoist modification project spent the week in Barnegat for some prefabrication and bench testing. Currently 95% of the modification has been installed in the Upper Projectile Deck of Turret 2. The final tie in may be next weekend, depending on staff approval of the design and installation.
Rich R has completed the SPS-49 radar control panel “blinky light thing” installation; therefore this large panel is ready for a return voyage to CEC.
Up in GCS “Too Tall Tom” was busy working on either the SRR-13 or the HRO-5 HF receivers.
Bill L arrived with a guest and showed him around the shack and some of the ship spaces. Flat Stanley seemed to enjoy himself and promised to give us a favorable review when he returns to Georgia and his second grade class next week.
I was going to leave the Flat Stanley report as written but decided that it wouldn’t be long before I was keel hauled over a non-paying guest being given open access to the ship. Flat Stanley is based on a children’s book about a young boy who is flattened during a home accident. After learning how to slip under closed doors, his brother started mailing Flat Stanley, in an envelope of course, to other places. In our case Bill’s nephew, in Georgia, sent the paper cutout of Stanley on a vacation trip to New Jersey. Bill thought that a day at the ship was in order for his young visitor. During his visit Stanley was photographed approaching the ship, with the Quarter Deck watch standers, operating 20-meters at Ham-3 before moving to numerous other locations. The strangest photo op has Flat Stanley standing beside the flat cutout of Bob Walters, former BB-62 crewmember/Archivist and other former crewmembers. On Thursday Flat Stanley will be mailed back to the Georgia classroom with the photos and a journal of his visit. The nephew will read the journal to his classmates as a form of learning exercise. Curious? Check the Project Flat Stanley web site for more details. As my all time favorite newscaster would say, “Now you know the rest of the story”.
March 23 - With the scheduled annual Navy safety inspection underway Rich E and I spent most of the morning doing small jobs in the NJ2BB shack, including the replacement of the final in the AL-80B amplifier. During the morning we had a visit from Hal, N2FI, who made a few HF contacts on 40-meter SSB, as did Rich using 20-meter PSK. I heard from Hal later that he would make a return visit with a goal of over one hundred new contacts for the NJ2BB log. With the help of Doug McCray we also provided some education and fun for the BB-62 Sea Cadets, not only with time in the shack but also a visit to the restoration shop on the O2 level for some exposure to electronics.
Rich and I traveled to the Transmitter Room for some measurements for a future project. We then continued our roaming with a stop in Main Plot Forward to make repairs to the cover hinge of the SPA-25A radar repeater. The cover now closes completely without any exposed edges that might catch a visitor’s fingers.
A trip up to the restoration shop for news of John’s adventures with the Sea Cadets while a status report on the spectrum analyzer and R-390 A finished our day at the ship.
For this coming Saturday we have three priority jobs including the installation of a FAX line in one of the staff’s office, making the final connections for the HP-85 computer in Forward Plot as well as the installation of a modification to the projectile hoist in Turret 2. The last two items have a direct effect on the soon to open Turret 2 Experience Tour. Hopefully next weekend the HP-85 computer will be ready for programming in an effort to add some more flavor to the compartment.
March 16 - The big news from the NJ2BB shack is the successful installation of the computer software that provides complete control of the Harris RF-350 transceiver located at the Ham-5 operating position. Written by KO6NO, this program provides not only an easier method of tuning the rig but also adds many features that do not exist within the radio.
Steve cleaned up the installation of the analog phone line in the Ship's Store, some items of which were left by the original contractor of years ago.
Bill L performed his normal checks of the Wind Speed / Direction equipment, reporting that the replacement spur gears are holding up to the constant operation of this mini analog computer.
Steve and Bill L then headed down to CIC begin the reassembly of those SPS-25 radarscopes we gathered from the former USS Forrest Sherman.
Jerry and Bill B spent time in the transmitter room inspecting and devising a plan to connect the donated AN/URR-74 HF receiver into the compartments audio switchboard. John was, as usual, busy in the O2 level shop working on equipment restoration and repairs. Too Tall Tom was busy in GCS working on the repairs to the HRO-5 receivers.
Although he was not at the ship we hear that Rich R was busy at the Trenton Computer Show passing his Tech Class test and almost passing the General test. Good job Rich.
As all of you should know by now there is a chance that the Turret 2 Experience may be opened to the public soon. With only a couple of jobs left for us in those areas the next two or three Saturdays will find most of our work effort being directed towards that end.
March 9 - This past Saturday started off with a crowded shack but settled down after awhile. Yes, the Ham-3 operating position now has EQF running again, including the RigTalk circuit that allows the program to track the frequency and mode of the transceiver.
Yes, the Ham-2 replacement computer has been placed on the equipment shelves and EQF installed but minus the Rigtalk feature due to a serial port conflict, which will be corrected soon. Digipan has also been reinstalled but needs some fine tuning of settings.
If you open Ham-3 or 4 for some operating time do not be surprised if EQF presents you with a message about a radio error. Opening the program without the radio being powered causes this message. The program will catch up with you after a short period of time. Better yet, turn the radio on before opening the logging program. Either way receiving the error message will damage nothing.Because of a problem in setting the clock in the Ham-5 computer, we have obtained a replacement machine, which will be installed, most likely, next Saturday.
Yes, a large pile of incoming QSL cards have been placed in their proper position within the QSL card file cabinets. Yes, a nice rag chew was held with the gang on the USS Wisconsin while they were operating as part of the Wisconsin State QSO Party event. Yes, the phone line for the Encampment Store credit card machine has been installed and tested.
March 2-3 - Wow, what a weekend at the ship! If you have been following these reports or been to the ship during the past 4 weekends you know that we had been preparing to try our hand at the 2013 ARRL International DX SSB Contest. These preps included adding software and cables to Ham-2,3 and 4 so that the transceivers could talk with the logging program, supplying frequency and mode updates. Along the way the age of two of the computers became evident when one suffered a stroke and the other a full cardiac attack. We even discovered a couple of network connectors that were suffering from a bit of arthritis. Even on Friday afternoon when we brought the whole system on line just before the contest start time of 7PM one of the computers stuck its tongue out at us.
But during the contest all equipment and programs acted like true professionals. True there were a couple of hiccups but they turned out to be human errors. You had better believe that the computers were laughing at us humans. At contest end the team had totaled 666 contacts with 89 countries. This is far from a winning score for this contest but it ain't in the bilges either.
Operators Pete, N2LVI; Rich, KB3NRL; Dave, KC3AM; Jerry, WB2CAK and Dave, WA2TVS appear to have had a great time working the contest. Behind the scenes we had Margaret, KB2BRR, tending to the computers, interfacing with the ship's Overnight Encampment Team for food and lodging of the operators and doing whatever was needed to help the team. How many contest stations that you know of are fed by a real restaurant catering service, not take out from some fast food place? My personal thank you to the NJ2BB contest team for a great weekend at the ship.
On Saturday there was a turnout for the work party. While Too Tall Tom worked on the HRO-5 receiver, Steve helped recover station logs from the computer that suffered the cardiac arrest. He also extended an analog telephone line into the Overnight Encampment Store, aft of the Mess Decks, for use with a credit card machine.
Next Saturday's first jobs will involve returning the shack to normal use and appearance, followed by general ship and BNJARS work.
Feb 17 - Due to the general membership meeting we had an extra large pool of members to "abuse", work wise. Prior to the meeting I needed to visit a number of compartments to correct or assess some requests by the Curator. Problems in Forward Plot and the Turret 2 Gun House were corrected, while requests for telephone service to one staff stateroom and the Captain's stateroom were found to be "no brainers". These last two will be taken care of next week when full access to the areas will be available.
After the meeting Bill B and Ted tackled the serial communications idea involving the Harris RF-350 located at Ham-5. Based on the design and work performed by the gang at the USS Hornet we have discovered that our RF-350 has its original serial control board installed. Bill and Ted worked on establishing communications with a dumb terminal that is temporarily sitting along side the RF-350. If you have ever worked with an undocumented serial network you can understand the headaches encountered. By the end of the day we had the dumb terminal displaying AGC, mode and frequency of the RF-350. Next week we will do phase 2, getting the rig to talk with the Ham-5 computer running the USS Hornet graphic display of the RF-350. This program provides for full remote control of the transceiver and power amp via the RS-232 line. Once this phase is completed we will, in the future, try to get the Harris talking with our EQF logging program followed by interfacing with the N1MM contest program.
TV Dave installed Pl-259 and N-style connectors on the Transmitter Room coax cable used as an antenna feed line for the recently installed Hammarlund SP-600 HF receiver. I didn't get a chance to see TV Dave at the end of the day but I did venture down to Broadway to give the radio a try. Thanks to the months of work by the restoration shop we how have the joy of using another classic radio.
Also in the Transmitter Room Roberto and Lenny rearranged the coax that had been feeding R-290 #6 and converted the coax into an antenna feed line for our second RF-350, which we have been using as a receiver only due to the limited 120-volt power available on that side of the compartment. A few weeks ago the RF-350 was moved to the opposite side of the Transmitter Room where proper power is available. Roberto and Lenny also moved the coax into the Transmitter Antenna Patch Panel (CA-1100). We did not get a chance to try the transmitter side of the rig due to the lack of "N quick connect" to "N" adapter. John has a bulkhead mounted "N" connector that he is donating to the cause for installation next Saturday. I can guarantee the rig will get a good on-the-air testing after the connector mod is completed. This will also be the first time use of a donated Navy "cross needle" SWR meter. You have to see this rack mounted meter to really enjoy the Navy design of a cross needle meter. While the work at the RF-350 was taking place Bill L helped with front panel changes to the CA-110 to accommodate the relocated RF-350.
One of the multitudes of "get to it later" jobs was given to Beth and Jerry. In Forward Plot they documented the correct position of all 46 snap switches on the Fire Control (big guns go BOOM) Panel. During this week I will be printing and laminating the final product, which will be hung on the Fire Control Panel, with a copy being sent to the Curator. Hopefully this will stop the endless trips to Forward Plot to correct senseless switch movement by people who should not be touching switches.
Up in the Restoration Shop new guy Rob W. revived ancient memories of working on R-390A receivers. John is glad to have a R-390 helper since there are 4 more to pass through the shop. Rich E continued with the reassembly of the HP spectrum analyzer in preparation to its return to FACCON 1 for transmitter and antenna testing.
I did see Rich R in passing but did not talk with him about his on going radar control panel restoration project.
During the entire day the NJ2BB shack was filled with members like Ron R (AA2RR) operating SSB at Ham-4. I have already mentioned Ted and Bill B working at Ham-5. In the middle of all this was PA Dave (K3FT) who was setting up the N1MM contest logging program in prep for the DX contest in less then 2-weeks. He has run into a problem setting up the local area network that allows for spotting, master log and various other features of the program. For those with no knowledge of the N1MM program it is full of more features than any one operator would use at one time, but is very clean and easy to use from the "front panel". The space bar and two mouse clicks are all that are needed to log a contact.
In the midst of all this activity you would have found Gene and Ed acting as AO, Logger, Technical adviser and general gofer for the others in the shack.
As we were heading towards the shack after lunch on the Mess Decks we passed someone who said "hi Dave". I replied in kind, took a couple of steps, stopped, put the engines in full reverse and changed my reply to "HI Rob". Visiting the ship and his former Sea Cadet Detachment was BNJARS member U.S.N. Ensign Rob DelConte. Rob paid a long visit to the shack and an even longer visit to his old work area up in the O2 Level Restoration Shop, aka John's World. For those who do not know of Rob, as a teenager he was a member of the BB-62 Sea Cadet Detachment, became interested in our work on the ship during the year 2004 and gained knowledge of electronics by spending Saturdays in John's world. He than joined the Navy, attended MM School, Nuclear Power Training School and Nuclear Power Prototype before changing course towards the U S Naval Academy. He is now stationed only a couple of hours away from the BB-62 so he took the opportunity to stop by and say hello. In my words, Rob is BNJARS favorite son. Rob's visit also sent Roberto and Lenny back down to the Mess Decks to work with the Sea Cadets and their CW skills.
As we were leaving for the day I learned that the three SPA-25 radar repeaters, obtained during our last shipyard raid, are back from the Brass Team with a new coat of paint. Located on the O3 Level these small cabinets need to be separated into two sections each before being transported down 6 levels. Two are headed to CIC while the third will find a new home in Aft Plot. Can anyone guess that this is the point where I ask for a couple of strong backed, weak minded members to handle this chore next Saturday?
Jan 26 - The workday began with a small group of the Battleship Bandits, all three of us, gathering in the NJ2BB shack. By the end of the day we still had only three of us. I guess the threat of snow was most likely the reason for the large turnout. To say that the ship was quiet for most of the day would be an understatement.
Two of us headed down to the Transmitter Room where John connected his test equipment and performed another sweep of the Disc antenna. With new knowledge about the antenna matching network this second sweep showed a fully functional antenna. But the story of the Disc does not end here because we found another "N" style connector that needs replacing. Guess what has been added to the work list for next Saturday.
While John was doing his magic I worked on a couple of small jobs in the Transmitter Room. That list of old jobs is on the decline.
After returning from lunch Margaret, with tools in hand, opened the Harris RF-350 located at Ham-5 and discovered that the very rare serial communications board is installed. This leads us to the possibility of having the EQF logging program exchange frequency and mode data with the rig, as happens with the other operating positions. Thanks to work performed by our counter parts at the USS Hornet we have paperwork and software for some early testing of this idea this coming Saturday.
Jan 19 - As you may have deciphered from my last update the visit to the NJ2BB shack by the Sea Cadets was in a fluid state. But things finally settled down and the NJ2BB gang hosted 30 Sea Cadets from both the BB-62 and the Cape May detachments. As I understand it the Cape May group suffered a last minute loss of their meeting building due to a heating system failure. This is when the BB-62 offered them the chance for a combined drill weekend on the Battleship.
Thanks to Ed W2KP, Ed N2PV, Gene N2WFN, Bob N4XAT, Sheldon K2MEN and Lenny WA2BTK, the shack was able to offer some airtime as well as a lesson or two in CW (Morse code to you non-hams) to the Cadets. Thanks guys for a job well done!
Although the Disc antenna was returned to service last week I asked John and Rich E to perform a TDR sweep of antenna. The results looked funny until we found a document that indicated that the antenna contains an internal "shorted coax stub" matching device. This style of construction explained the reading John obtained. We still have one "N" connector to replace before calling the antenna completely healed.
Rich R has been immersed in thought about 555 timers and light bulbs, all due to the blinky alarm light project on the radar control panel from CEC. Too Tall Tom was seen busy with his restoration project.
After the Sea Cadets were finished with the NJ2BB shack a group of us tore into the operating positions doing some upgrades to Ham-2, 3 and 4. These three operating positions now have "computer assisted tuning" for use with our logging program. No longer is the operator required to enter frequency and mode. There are other added features due to this modification that will be explained later. But have no fear, operating the stations remains the same, just easier.
Also added to the three mentioned positions was the contest logging program N1MM. This was added in preparation for the upcoming ARRL DX (SSB) contest in March. Again, no effect on the normal daily operation of the equipment.
While the shack was in shambles a handful of members traveled to the Transmitter Room to pull 6 new coax cables from the Receiver Antenna Patch Panel to each of the recently added or relocated receivers. This removes one more of those "hanging around too long" jobs that I mention from week to week.
Jan 12 - First was the 2-meter communications support, provided by Harry, Bob and Lenny, for a large group of Boy Scouts during their day at the College of New Jersey School of Engineering.
Second was the discovery of three items that had caused so much trouble with the Disc antenna over the past few weeks: 2 bad “N” connectors and one very loose UHF connector. Down in the Transmitter Room work on the Receiver Antenna Patch Panel is about finished. All that remains is the proper marking of all those cables. Thanks to Bill L and Rich E another of the Ft. Monmouth R-390 receivers is sitting in its new home. Now we have only two more to go.
I know that Too Tall Tom and Rich R were at the ship but I did not get around to their section of the ship for any updates, but no doubt they were hard at work with their projects.
This upcoming Saturday ( Jan 19) will be a busy time in the NJ2BB, what with an updated count of 31 Sea Cadets venturing into the area as part of their weekend drill. As I typed these words I learned that the Cape May Division of Sea Cadets will be joining the BB-62 Cadets for the weekend drill which means the number of visitors to the shack will be increased by who knows how many teenagers.
One thing that has been talked about doing during this Sea Cadet visit to the NJ2BB shack is to move the Ham-4 transceiver out to the normally empty Ham-1 position in the Message Handling Area. Since there won’t be any civilian visitor during the day the normal noise conditions that hinder Amateur Radio operations from the area will also be on absent.
Jan 5 - First to happen was the total test of the SITE System directors intercom system. I am happy to report that all but one of the cables tested OK. The single failure was due to the lack of memory as to where that cable (museum) is hiding. But since this circuit has never been used I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, but it will be re-discovered at the next opportunity.
Next was a request for more new phone work. We lucked out by finding some existing station cables that run between the needed locations.
While Steve and I were doing the above-mentioned tasks, Bill L and Bill B moved three of the Ft. Monmouth R-390 receivers from the O2 Level down to Radio 2. Along the way they also picked up the SP-600 receiver from John’s World and transported it to Radio 2.
Rich R appeared at the ship expecting to work on his “Minor Alarm” blinky light thing but instead found himself working on the tally light mounted on SITE camera #2. All hopes of a simple burnt out bulb vanished within minutes. A swap with a spare view finer made the tally light operational, but the spare video monitor was bad. When last seen he was working his way through the tech manual learning the circuits that control this red lamp on top of the camera. Who said life is simple on a Battleship?
Both Tom and John spent their day in the O2 Level shops doing their continuing restoration work. Gene tried to place more PSK contacts in the NJ2BB logbook but found the ongoing contest to be a hindrance to his adventures.
Joe and Bill L were able to overcome some speed bumps with the AN/WRT-2 transmitter. The major one was a broken screw head in a barrier style terminal strip. They used a dremel tool to cut a new screwdriver slot in the broken screw shaft and were then able to extract the pesky piece of metal. Joe has ordered a 3-phase bridge rectifier module to eliminate the need for the bank of mercury vapor tubes that once graced the lower drawer of the transmitter. When last used, in Pittsburgh, these tubes had been replaced by a single phase, free-floating set of diodes, but since we are returning to a 3-phase supply why not do it the right way?
Steve set about building the slides needed to mount the R-390 receivers in a 19” rack. By the end of the afternoon one rig was in place, a second was about to be hoisted into the rack and a third set of slides was being manufactured. The SP-600 now sits in an adjacent rack awaiting connection cables.
As for me I picked up where Rich E left off the other day while changing the internal wiring of the SB-2727, receiver audio switchboard, to their final arrangement and appearance.
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