Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Moving forward with a plan... ?

We do not know what is around the next corner. Perhaps it is just as well.

I could worry about everything, or I could make some plans to move forward.

I guess I will do both. Anyway, the overall outcome will be the same - entropy and decay will win the argument in the long term.

When I was a part-time student long ago I went to evening lectures at the university for 8 years. Sometimes after a long day at work I fell asleep in the lectures. I left a long pen mark across my notes when that happened. I still managed to get qualified, but I am not sure how.

I have forgotten most of it. I do remember the economics lecturer telling us that the ideal savings profile across a lifetime is to start at zero and end at zero. We should have savings, in case of problems. But we arrive in this life with nothing, and we will leave with nothing. He could not see much point saving to build up money to leave to future generations. So he reckoned we should organise our lives to have no savings left at the point of death. He said that the issue for the later years of life should be about spending savings, not adding to them.

Maybe he was right. We do not know when our key will fall silent, so why keep a large sum to be left at that time? OK, save some, but spend a little now too, before it is too late.

Well, that is my story anyway. A reason not to sit and worry and a reason to spend a little now to make life more pleasurable.

For some that means changing a perfectly good radio for an £8000 one on which to work the same stations. Not for me. Time to expand the 1296MHz set-up, and time to get the antennas better organised in the hope of working something new.

So it is that I find I need more storage. My linears are perched on top of my shelving - not good. Where can I fit in a new linear?

I have been busy obtaining more shelving. Not your cheap and tatty stuff, but from a high-end supplier called Ikea. All hand made (hand made in the hall outside the shack and carried in). And another free little quad-key screw driver to add to my collection, courtesy of Ikea.

And not just Ikea, but Ikea's kids range. After all, amateur radio is child's play. I already have 4 sets of their children's range "Trofast", an adjustable sets of boxes meant for toys and therefore holding my toys. Or my components, plugs and sockets.  But now Trofast has a fancy option, finished in white rather than plain wood finish. The other wood finished stuff is hidden away in cupboards, but the new white one can go on view in the shack. Wow! Premium quality.
Ikea Children's Trofast storage unit in white at GM4FVM
If this looks a bit odd, there is only one of them. It looks like two, but the cupboard on the left which contains the older Trofasts has mirror sliding doors. The previous owner of this house used this room as her bedroom, and she had one entire wall covered in MirrorRobes. It has never been clear to me why she wanted to cover an entire bedroom wall in mirrors, but there you go (Jim, really). When we made the room smaller it made sense to keep the cupboard doors, so one side of my shack is mirrors. Now I can watch myself operate. How strange. Why would I want to do that?

But enough of all this. Also left over by the previous owner of this house is the television shelf above the new unit. This was screwed to the wall, and I left it. Now it has my 70cm TE Systems linear amplifier on it. Also there is the temperature controlled fan unit for the linear, the 70cms sequencer and a bias-tee. The Trofast fits below and the 23cms linear will go in there, along with another sequencer and bias-tee. Then there will be the power supplies lower down.

There is also a box in the Trofast for all those cables I never quite know where to store. The ones I need at short notice, but not very often. Patch leads, for example. I discovered that if I put the box at the top of the unit I could save a shelf. I am getting very organised.

This is the point here. I have actually given some thought to where to put something, before the something arrived. It helps that my economics lecturer from 40 years ago gave me authority to spend my savings on this unit. But it is necessary, and is a good way to spend not very much money. The basic frame is £30, and the shelves and boxes are extra.

Come to think of it, he would have called this investment, so it is even more easily justifiable.

The 23cms linear is under construction but I am not sure when it will be ready.

Another investment of my savings is in an experimental antenna for 4m and 6m. I have two perfectly good PowAbeams for 4m and 6m, but that is the problem. There are two of them. For the winter I have put up my old Vine 4m/6m dual bander which is better then as it is only a single antenna, but not very good as it has a single feed. Single feed does not suit my multi-band operating method. And anyway, I like my antennas to be connected to my rigs by co-ax.

The Vine uses the sleeve method of driving the 4m beam. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a bit of wire to my antennas. Erm, well the sleeve method is old fashioned too, but ... right, ... when I think about it, I have no good reason for not liking the sleeve method, but I just don't like it.

To get round my issues with single feed in the past I built a diplexer for the Vine, which meant that I could use 4m and 6m simultaneously. I was never happy with that either. At this point in my life I reckon it is time to be a bit happier.

Rig - coax - antenna, that is my preferred route.

So I am also gambling a bit of my savings on having an experimental calculation done for a 3/4 element dual band antenna for 6 and 4 metres. This would have two separate feeds and work as separate beams on a single boom. All the commercial ones of my size  (3m boom max) are single feed and have all the same issues as the Vine. My idea is being modelled now so we will see if it works without sacrificing too much.

So there is actually a bit of planning going on here. Life planning, to free up some savings. Room planning, to make some space. And antenna planning, to model something a wee bit different and hopefully more efficient.

Funny, I am not noted for planning.


No comments:

Post a Comment