091112 - Al M. was down at the cans today, waterproofing the roof.  He did an awesome job.

I'm willing to bet that this will be watertight!  Al also picked up a wack of Roxul insulation.  Steve didn't show up today - so I am looking at bringing in some more resources to get caught up tomorrow

091111 - Take two - here are the pictures from yesterday - put up this morning

The main Coax and network cable transfer between the two C cans

South Can - Ceiling with the Core line run

Bill's workstation - coax, power, network drops, 12 volt and 24 volt power drops

North Can - insulated and vapour barrier on the ceiling

Dennis - working the world from his car - on one of our antennas

091111 - Steve worked down there for the day today and got a lot of the insulation done.  And I forgot the camera at the cans.  Ben came down late this afternoon, and completed the grinding of the floor.  He also cleaned up the ladder welded to the door.  Here is a picture from my car of Ben using a cutoff wheel to clean up the ladder.  Camera phone - picture does suck!  I'll push up the other pictures tomorrow.

Steve put in all of the insulation that we had.  The whole North can has had the ceiling insulated, and the ceiling had the vapour barrier installed.  The C cans were cleaned up.  Jeff and Al E. dropped by, and dropped a bunch more radio 'stuff' for the project.  Jeff, who is an industrial electrician, pointed out some things I needed to change (i.e. separate the high voltage core lines from the low voltage core lines - whoops).  the place is really coming together.   The kerosene heater is helping out big time - we put some plastic in front of the open door, and it was quite balmy in there at times!

Dennis dropped by earlier today, with his 7000 mounted in his car, and an auto-tuner.  We put together a quick patch cable, along with an end on the cable going out to the 80 meter dipole.  Dennis had a blast, working stations through out North America.  Glad it worked for you Dennis - Drop by and 'plug in' anytime.

091110 - I had Steve, a contractor, in there for the day.  He finished off all of the core line that I had, and tied down most of the four inch electrical boxes.  Al showed up, after work, and pulled in most of the 12 and 24 volt wiring.  He also brought about six bags of Roxul insulation, 2x4 on 24 inch centers.  They got a chunk of it in, and then started to put up the vapour barrier.  Steve also foamed behind each electrical box, to isolate it from the steel outside of the C can.   Here are some pictures:

North Can - Coax transfer room - first insulation going up, as well as vapour barrier.

12 and 24 volt wiring - the 24 volt wiring is in the center - we'll put the AGM batteries under a seat, along with a charger / inverter.

My workstation to the left

The 12 volt wiring back into the electrical room - Al pulled all of this in this afternoon.

Looking East in the North can - insulation is starting to go in.


091109 - Ben spent some time at the cans today.  He ground the side walls down on the South Can (where we had opened up the two C cans in the center).  He went through all of the grinding wheels he had on doing the South side.  He had a good point, we should look at just knocking down the high points on the North can, as we could use some leveling compound (after we insulate and get some heat in there!) and avoid another couple of hours of grinding.  Here are some pictures:

Where there's sparks - there's Ben

The South side can ground down - Ben indicated that it was incredibly strong steel and difficult to grind through

I've given up on the idea of spray insulation.  I am getting quotes of $4.5K to $10K to do this - that is way out of line with what I can justify.  I think I am going to go with Roxul Mineral Wool insulation, and then vapour barrier the daylights out of it.  Next steps are to finish pulling the core line, then fix the boxes so they don't move (nail through them, screw them down, etc).  I will then insulate the ceiling of the first C can, vapour barrier it, and then move the temporary lighting to the center of that ceiling.  I can then do the outside wall, and then repeat on the other C can.  We will then do the center walls, and the two end walls.

We won't be doing the two doors - one will have a sliding glass patio door in front of it (on the kitchen side), and the other will have a seven foot patio, and then a sliding glass door.  I may have to rethink this - but that is the current plan.

091107 - Spent the day at the site today.  Got there early.  Al joined me for several hours, and we got the first piece of coax pulled through the first four inch sewer pipe.  I knew the plan would work, I just didn't know how well.  Al had picked up a four inch squishy toy.  We fastened the wire to it, and then some string.  Al started the blower, and holy cow, the string just flew out of my hands.

We have over 2500 feet of Core-line run already.  Here are the first pictures of how they are being terminated.  There is huge pressure in the core-line - so it warps the connector blocks.  I can't find a way around it - so we might have to live with it. It is more aesthetic than anything else.

Above - thanks Dave G. for the heat - it helped a lot!

The pipes coming through the floor that run to our hydro poles and future towers

North Can - coax, power, network transfer station

North Can - Coax, network transfer station

Electrical panel - South Can - West side


091103 - Had a contractor in there yesterday and today for a few hours.  He cleaned up a bit, and then continued to run Core-line.  We have used up all of the 1 inch and the 1/2 inch.  Only 3/4 inch left.  Here is a picture - from a camera phone so it  isn't that clear.

Above is 'my' workstation location.  From left to right - network connection, 120 and 220 volt power connections, and then four core-line pipes that will bring in Coax from the coax transfer room. Each of the 1 inch pipes should allow two or more coax lines to come in to the workstation.

The Coax Transfer room, also the bathroom, is where all outside antennas will come into.  They will all terminate on a thin, 1/8 thick plate of aluminum, with a PL259 connected to a bulkhead connector.  This will be grounded to the station ground.  Above this plate, will be a couple of other aluminum plates.  These plates will terminate the core-line - in their various dimensions.  From these core-line connectors will hang the coax that goes to each workstation.  Each individually labeled coax line can then be patched to the appropriate antenna.

We will need to enforce some fairly stringent change control to ensure that antennas are only removed or changed with the full knowledge of the other station operators.  Over time, as we add more antennas, we will need to add some more complex switching arrangements (i.e. remote coax switches).

The aluminum plates are worth a bit of a story.  I ordered them from Metal Mart - three inches deep, and as wide as the space between the studs.  I figured we would just drill in or punch the holes to contain the core-line.  When we laid it out on Saturday, with Chris S., we realized how many holes we needed to drill.  I spoke with Ben L. on Monday, and he indicated that this was not going to be a trivial task!  I got some quotes and I was floored.  Ben suggested that I go to a fabrication shop that had a computer operated plasma cutter or a water cutter.  I have one locally.  I spent some time with the fabricator, and got a quote for about $250 - or half of what it would cost to drill and / or punch them.

In addition to the coax core-line terminations, I also arranged for some extra ones for the power going to the two electrical terminations.  These would be screwed into the studs, the core-line connected to them, and the electrical cables hanging down from them to be terminated in the electrical panel.

Still to be worked out is how I do the DC power distribution.  We anticipate that the 12 volt power will be on the top of the C cans - so we will jumper them some way between the top of the can, and the power distribution panel. This will be the liquid nicad batteries - outside and vented.  The 24 volt power system, the AGM batteries, will be in the office, under the resting platform ;>}}  24 volts will be available to drive a UPS (for the computers, maybe the solid state amplifier), and for a DC to DC converter.  We have 800 amp hours of wet cells for distribution to the radios.  We have almost 880 amp hours for 24 volts.  In addition, we have other wet cell battery technology to run the alarm system, lighting, etc.

The 12 volt system will be floated off of a 90 amp hour power supply that I have.  Even with three stations going, I doubt we are going to exceed that (if we have hydro power, or a big enough generator).  I don't currently have a 24 volt charger - I will need to work on that.  For the other 12 volt systems, Scott S. has a charger that I am interested in - 45 amp hour if I remember correctly.  I also have a 30 amp hour charger in my jeep that I can use for another battery bank.

091101 - Big weekend on the project.  Many hundreds of feet of core-line were installed.  This is plastic hose, which allows cables to be run through them in the future.  We are wiring the whole environment with this hose - so that we can pull whatever cables we need in the future.  I don't have any pictures - but will take some and get them up shortly.  Here is one picture from Al - how the AGM batteries were wired together - can't lose this...

I need to call Hydro tomorrow and see about getting hydro power in there.  I would like to finish off the core-line and get the insulation in shortly.  It is chilly in the cans!

We were down there one night this week -forget which night, and Ben welded the ladder to to the inside of the door.  It was a foul night - raining like crazy.  Al moved the welding unit with Baby Huey (the mini-excavator) and Ben did the welding under less than idea conditions.  We now have a ladder which is accessible when the door is opened.  I will take some pictures and post them. 

I have been listening to the bands - awesome signals at this location.  We only have an eighty meter dipole up - and listening to the bands has been awesome.   Big signals - no noise floor.

091027 - I was down to the project early this a.m.  The excavating contractor wanted to be there between 7:00 and 7:30 - so I was there at 6:30 a.m.  Beautiful clear morning - major storm clouds on the horizon - but stars aplenty.  1 degree centigrade - and the geese were migrating overhead.  Once again - beautiful morning.  I spent most of the day working out of the mobile office.  The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid has a 16 speaker surround sound system that is integrated via Bluetooth to my two phones.  In addition, I have high speed internet - so my office is my car on days like today.  Works big time.  What follows are some pictures of what went on the last couple of days.