Tuesday, March 6, 2012

W5RRR Digipeater Antenna Replacement

It's not everyday you get roof access to one of the tallest buildings at JSC, but today was one of those days.

View from the roof looking East
The JSC Amateur Radio Club has it's packet radio 'digipeater' and 1.2 GHz repeater located in Bldg. 32 and sometime last year, we noticed the digi's signal strength was not so good anymore.  The antenna was the likely culprit since it has been up there since the mid-90's and it's survived tropical storms Allison & Erin, hurricane Ike, and nitrogen and ammonia fumes (since it's attached to a vent pipe from the high bay vacuum chamber).

John, AB5SS, with new antenna
(old antenna is in the background)
David Fanelli (KB5PGY) and I finally made on the roof about 9:30am, after JSC Security verified we really had authorization to be on the roof and they unlocked the access hatch.  We walked over to the antenna and sure enough, it was in really bad shape.  After a liberal dose of WD-40, we convinced the rusty old bolts to let go and were able to swap out the old Comet GP-98 antenna with a shiny new Diamond X6000A 2m/70cm/23cm tri-band antenna.

Since there was construction on the floor where our radio cabinet is located, we were not able to check out the antenna or re-install the digipeater radio equipment.  That will be another trip...
Diamond X6000A installed on vent pipe
David Fanelli, KB5PGY, with the new antenna

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