100509 - Went to the project yesterday morning with Al - we had to drop off a countertop donated by Gord K. Thanks Gord. Well;, guess what - we had some condensation inside the power room - where the water would be pooling above it. So - general consensus is that I need to pull the air that is in the space between the walls and ceiling (which is insulated) and circulate it to the outside. Dave G. suggested I go to a boat place, where they have solar powered fans - one in each can should do it.
100425 - Went down to the project at about 1:15 today. Opened it up, let the air blow through it, and fired up the generator. I was there about 2.5 hours. Good opening into Europe - but didn't actually work anyone. Dave Barber and his daughter dropped by and we had a nice visit in the sunshine. So - my power room leak is still missing, but the leak in the other C can - is back! Grrrrr.
Here are some updated pictures.
The brothers told me that the field would self seed - and they were right. I'm surprised - but it is working. The pad is very dry, and the field is starting to dry out. Now if I could only figure out the leaks!
100421 - Went down to the project this afternoon. It has been raining a lot lately, and I wanted to check on my leak. Surprise - surprise - no water in the power room. What the F***? Here are the pictures:
The ceiling - ripped out.
Dry-as-a-bone! What the heck? You can see that there was
water up there,
No water on the floor - on any of the
walls, or any where! I know I have a leak - I just can't
My messy workstation - see my call sign on the right above the Broadcast Radio? Thanks Gary.
On the porch - the Roxul Mineral Wool insulation - drying out - it was soaking wet.
100414 - Was down at the site yesterday, and we pulled a section of the ceiling in the power room down. We also cut out the plastic, and pulled down the soaking wet Roxul mineral wool insulation. It was pretty wet up there. The ceiling had a lot of moisture on it - beaded up and looking like condensation. It likely is condensation, but there is definitely a leak or two in there as well. I need to find the leak, fix it, and then float something on the roof to keep water from pooling there in the future.
The field is drying out, the pad is very dry, and Al M. scored a urinal for the project - whooo hooo.
100326 - We had a big team working on the Project last Sunday. We got the generator stand, and the generator installed in one of the pods. We also put in two of the pipes between the Electrical room and the pod. We have a third one to finish - another weekend. We now have 120 Volt ac into the pod, and out of the pod. We didn't get the actual propane plumbed in, but we did jury rig a 20 pound tank to start with.
Ben had converted one of the man hatches with louvers, but after running the generator with the door open a foot, we will need a lot more ventilation if we are going to run the generator with the door closed - and that is the plan. We are going to cut a large hole in the floor, and then put ventilation screen over it. I think we are going to need to put in a large fan and actually pull warm air out of the pod. I also need to look for some muffler cloth, as there is a lot of vibration and it is banging the pipe against the hole we cut. The muffler cloth will also help to keep the heat out of the pod that is radiating off of the muffler pipe.
100316 - Worked from the Project today. It was slow on the work front, and there were some major openings into Europe and the Middle East. Added Jordan to my country list, and worked Wales, the Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and a wack of other countries. Here are some updated pictures on how the environment is working. There are two workstations set up there. Jeff's and mine. I've got the Flex-Radio 5000A set up, as well as the SPE 1KW Expert amplifier. The gentleman I talked to in Wales today was actually the service engineer for SPE in that part of the world. We have a G5RV up, a three band dipole, a Cushcraft AS3 beam, on a rotator at about 32 feet. We also have an 80 meter dipole, a 40 meter dipole and a 20 meter dipole. There is a 2M - 440 antenna up as well.
Above - looking from the road access. The two pods are welded onto the roof - there is an AS3 Yagi with a rotator on the far end of the second pod. The propane generator will be in one pod, the 800 amp hours of liquid ni-cads in the other.
Looking from the East into what will become the Porch, and on the other side of the sliding glass doors, my operating position.
Looking East - across the babbling brook, is one of the utility poles
Looking North - if you look carefully you can see the grass / hay starting to reseed
Looking West - you can see the SARC 'Big Yellow' tower that is on loan to me. In addition, you can see the 500 gallon propane tank
Here you can see the propane exhaust - and unintentionally, behind it you can see a 21 foot mast with the AS3 on it.
The Yagi in the foreground, isn't in use, it was just the safest way to store this Yagi until we find a home for it
Looking due East - the other two Utility poles and if you click on the thumbnails, you should see the dipoles
To the right, the propane airtight stove. Ben L. welded up the stand for the propane generator, which will go in one of the pods. In the foreground, you can see two 500 foot spools of RG8X - we're going through a wack of coax!
In the foreground you can see the distressed leather couch. Thanks Kathy. In the background is where the kitchen will eventually go in
Looking the other way - East - Jeff's workstation, and the washroom / Coax Transfer station
Bill's workstation in the background - and then the porch past the sliding glass doors. There is linoleum in the foreground, which hasn't been installed yet. The big oak area covers the 900 amp hours of batteries, as well as the Pro-Sine 3 Inverter / Charger. There is also storage in the banks of drawers. The bench can be used as a sleeping platform, a work bench, or in its current configuration, a junk collector! The four clocks show GMT, Local, CTT and Japan local time.
There will be another workstation at this end of the bench. The folding chairs will find a new home. I've got some pictures to put up. They are Budweiser and Labatt Blue Light beer posters. Some are legal, and some were not approved. I got rid of them a few years ago, as I had a young daughter and thought they wouldn't be appropriate. My brother's boys enjoyed them for a number of years, and they have just found their way back to my possession. So they will decorate the 'Man-Cave'.
I've insulated the floor in the electrical room (soon to be a bedroom), and the washroom / Coax Transfer room. I need to put a priority on getting the composting toilet installed. I've had a donation of a nice area rug - thanks Gary (red wine coloured!). Water and a kitchen install need to be on the list, after we get the propane generator installed.
100313 - I spent a couple of hours at the project today. Only had the 2 meter radio on. My main goal down there today was to recharge the batteries. I got there about 2:20 P.M. PST, and fired up the generator with a fresh tank of gas. Running the Honda EU2000, and it is running hard. I’ve plugged the Xantrex tri charger into the Pro-Sine 3KW inverter. This lets the inverter manage how the power is split between running the load and charging the 24 volt batteries.
Currently, for the 12 volt batteries, I’m using one 150 Amp hour Gel under my desk. There are three of those batteries, and I need to look at adding more capacity to that battery bank. We have equipment plugged into it and running 7 x 24 (our internet link – which isn’t yet up – but we thought it would be good to see how the load is handled). Also, last weekend, I ran the whole environment – radios and amplifier just off of batteries for the better part of a day. The Pro-Sine will charge the 24 volt battery bank at over 50 amp hours, if I could give it enough juice.
The 12 volt charger will charge at 40 amp hours. Which it did when I first got here. It has dropped down to 10 amp hours now, after running for almost 2 hours at 20 amp hours. So the batteries were exercised this week. The Pro-Sine is charging at up to 42 amp hours – and is slowly dropping down – now at 29 volts at 31 amp hours.
The long term plan is to add a wind turbine to top up the 24 volt batteries. The wind on top of the C cans seems to be pretty constant, so maybe it will do the job – we’ll see. There is an option I am looking into as well, where the propane generator could be automatically started and run to top up the 24 volts battery bank. Theoretically, I could charge the other 12 volt battery systems from the Pro-Sine 3.0, or remotely turn them on and off. I also want to look at solar power for the 12 volt and 24 volt battery banks.
The next major work package for the team is going to be getting the propane generator installed in the pod. Ben has put a louvered escape hatch on the pod. It will be set up so that it cannot be easily removed, but will allow hot air to rise, and vent through the louvers. Expanded steel mesh will prevent birds from getting in to next.
Holes will be cut in the floor of the pod – and expanded steel put over them. This will give us a rodent proof place for cool air make up and combustion air to get into the pods. We will be putting steel pipes between the pods and the electrical room. We will run our 120 volt wiring, the 12 volt wiring, and the control cables through individual pipes. With any luck we will get this done before the end of March. It will be really nice to come into the project, press a button and the generator starts, and we don’t have to haul fuel for it (it will be plumbed into the 500 gallon propane tank).
I took some pictures today, but they suck - so will have to see if I can take down a better camera.
100220 - Well - I've been a little remiss in keeping the web site updated. I will get some pictures in here tomorrow or Monday. This is a status update.
Jeff moved his equipment in there a week or so ago. I moved my new gear in there yesterday. I spent a good chunk of today operating from there - both as VG7G and VE7XS. I now have my Flex 5000A, SPE 1K Expert amplifier, and peripheral equipment located down there. We have dipole antennas up for 20, 40 and 80 Meters. We also have a G5RV up, and a triple band dipole. We have put together two yagis, neither of which is operating as planned (not resonant on the frequencies we want). We picked up the Big Yellow tower from the Surrey club (thanks for the loan) today. We will try and install it tomorrow and get either a tri-band or mono-band yagi working on it. With any luck, we'll also get one of the other yagis fixed as well.
Heat is in - nice, dry propane heat - leave the shack at 55 F, and it comes up to 70 F very quickly. We have two full operating positions working.
In service, we have a Pro-Sine 3KW Pure Sine Wave inverter, running off of almost 900 amp hours of 24 volt batteries (GNB Sealed Lead Acid batteries) in an air tight box vented to the outside through the floor. In addition, we have three SLA 155 amp hour batteries under my workstation, providing 12 volts to my workstation. We have two EU2000 Honda generators providing temporary power as required. There is 880 amp hours of 12 volt liquid ni-cads that haven't been brought into production yet - more work required.
We have a propane 2.5 KW generator ready to install - maybe tomorrow if we can get things organized well enough. This will be a remote start, from inside the shack. Eventually, I will tie this into the Pro-Sine 3.0 Inverter, and it will automatically start as required. I ran the shack today on and off for about 4 hours, without running the generator. I was running up to 1 KW into the dipoles, and racked up about 70 contacts. I did a lot of rag chewing, so fairly high demand on the environment. After we picked up the mobile tower, I ran the generator, and the battery banks were almost fully charged after an hour or so.
Big Al (VA7MP), finally embarrassed me into fixing the mobile radio problem in my car. Thanks Al - I appreciate the push, and the help! So I have new fancy fuses in my car wiring. I'll take some pictures and share them up shortly.
Having the station run completely off of batteries works really well. When you unlock the containers, you face a wall, and it has a door and a regular door lock on it. As you step into the containers, it is looking more and more like regular office space than the inside of two shipping containers. There are wall light switches inside the cans. If they are painted red, they are on 'emergency' power, and will work even when the generator is not running. It takes about four seconds for the Inverter to sense a load, and then it turns on. There are also plugs inside the cans that are painted red - they operate in the same manner, they work even if the generator isn't on.
The intent was that you could run the stations completely off of the grid - for a protracted period of time. The kitchen is not yet completed, but we have a counter top that we can use. There is a propane and butane stove down there, and we have an electronic coffee pot. We have not installed the composting toilet yet, on the list, but hasn't been done.