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Old 21-03-2015, 17:57   #1
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Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

Well, dangnabbit.

As some of you know, courtesy of another thread, I've installed a new SGC SG-230 tuner to replace the dead one I had, and which the boat had installed many years (20 or so) before its failure.

Much testing occurred, including before and after the lazarette in which it was located was repacked, but not before the final closing-up of the panel which hid the radio from view at the nav station. Prior to that, aside from some nuisance-value wait for the whistling to achieve the first-ever tuning of each frequency, all was indeed well, with signal reports from near and far in the 5-9 or 5-10 range.

Having done that closing up of the panel (replacing a sheet of light ply), suddenly, I'm no longer, apparently, tuning my 802, based on the lack of bars on whistle, and the now-reappearing SWR blink in the top left of the screen combined with no response to my calls. Stranger, however, is that the SWR blink doesn't occur at every frequency, nor on every mode - but the transmission bars are uniformly nearly nonexistent, in any event.

Having done such exhaustive testing before that point (well, it was exhausting to ME! - the stuff in the lazarette is unwieldy and heavy, for the most part, and it went in and out twice), I'm pretty disappointed. Short of taking it entirely apart (including cutting the connections I've just made), a major exercise (still sore!), I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to check where the problem might be.

On the advice of the local ham who's the net control for 14.300 at 7AM, and who came to the boat to do my initial testing of my dead tuner, I coiled my slack coax at the radio end (the tuner end had already been done), to act as a choke, wire-tying it, mostly to corral it. His shack has what looks like it must be 10 feet of his that way; mine probably isn't 3 feet in 2 1/2 coils - but it worked when it was only loosely coiled, about like a spring, which was the case until this afternoon.

That is the only change which occurred from instances of entirely successful transmission on bands from 2Mhz through 19Mhz. I was very careful in the reseating and collar screw-down when I replaced my coax, so I expect that part should be ok.

Would coiling and wire-tying (to put the 2 1/2 coils closely together) the coax have caused that problem (apparent no-throughput)?

Any other ideas?

Thanks.

L8R

Skip
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Old 21-03-2015, 17:58   #2
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

You put a screw thru the coax when re-installing!
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Old 21-03-2015, 18:34   #3
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
You put a screw thru the coax when re-installing!
LOL. I wish. Loops made tight with a plastic strap is the only change.

Sigh...
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Old 21-03-2015, 18:42   #4
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
You put a screw thru the coax when re-installing!
Quote:
LOL. I wish. Loops made tight with a plastic strap is the only change.
Not quite. You repacked the lazarette and you re-mounted a plywood panel. But you also tied the loops on the coax. Could be a break in the coax or at the connector at the radio. Could be something in the lazarette against a cable.
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Old 21-03-2015, 18:54   #5
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

Loops in the coax near the tuner are NOT a good idea, expecially not small ones. Somewhere in one of the manuals for Icom or SGC radios they tell you that.

A "drip loop" is good practice always, i.e., enough extra cable to renew the terminations if needed at a later date.

It's best to trim the coax to fit the length needed, but if you must coil it suggest you do so near the radio, not the tuner.

Still, it sounds very much like you bumped something when replacing all the heavy stuff.

Bill
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Old 21-03-2015, 21:25   #6
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

In these days of lead free solder, check the soldered connections.
I'm finding lots of problems like this in computerized sewing machines.
Vibration, plugging/unplugging is all it takes for broken connections.
California and other laws be damned, I re solder everything with REAL 60/40 LEAD solder of which I have purchased a lifetime supply!
But Steve, tell us what you REALLY THINK !
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Old 22-03-2015, 08:31   #7
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

Not knowing how to conveniently quote all so far, I'll just address the points.

The level of coil at the tuner was present when my Tx/Rx was great.

The lazarette had been reloaded and closed during successful testing. All wiring at the tuner was made to be impervious to any surface disturbance.

The only change made was at the radio end and was tie-wrapping ~2.5 coils in the coax.

The panel is a removable slider; no fasteners were used in the buttoning up of the Nav area.

The soldering on the Coax is at least 10 years old, and likely of lead composition.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to open the nav station area all back up, and see if there's any visible issue. I'll also unclip the wire ties and expand and separate the loop.

I'll have another person on board by tomorrow and will have her listen at the tuner end for what should be clicking on power up and any frequency change. If there is none, the smoking gun is the power to the tuner. As nothing much other has changed, it's got to be either the radio end (which I removed at the time of the coiling of the coax, for easier access) or the internal fuse.

L8R, y'all.

Skip
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Old 22-03-2015, 09:37   #8
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
Well, dangnabbit.

As some of you know, courtesy of another thread, I've installed a new SGC SG-230 tuner to replace the dead one I had, and which the boat had installed many years (20 or so) before its failure.

Much testing occurred, including before and after the lazarette in which it was located was repacked, but not before the final closing-up of the panel which hid the radio from view at the nav station. Prior to that, aside from some nuisance-value wait for the whistling to achieve the first-ever tuning of each frequency, all was indeed well, with signal reports from near and far in the 5-9 or 5-10 range.

Having done that closing up of the panel (replacing a sheet of light ply), suddenly, I'm no longer, apparently, tuning my 802, based on the lack of bars on whistle, and the now-reappearing SWR blink in the top left of the screen combined with no response to my calls. Stranger, however, is that the SWR blink doesn't occur at every frequency, nor on every mode - but the transmission bars are uniformly nearly nonexistent, in any event.

Having done such exhaustive testing before that point (well, it was exhausting to ME! - the stuff in the lazarette is unwieldy and heavy, for the most part, and it went in and out twice), I'm pretty disappointed. Short of taking it entirely apart (including cutting the connections I've just made), a major exercise (still sore!), I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to check where the problem might be.

On the advice of the local ham who's the net control for 14.300 at 7AM, and who came to the boat to do my initial testing of my dead tuner, I coiled my slack coax at the radio end (the tuner end had already been done), to act as a choke, wire-tying it, mostly to corral it. His shack has what looks like it must be 10 feet of his that way; mine probably isn't 3 feet in 2 1/2 coils - but it worked when it was only loosely coiled, about like a spring, which was the case until this afternoon.

That is the only change which occurred from instances of entirely successful transmission on bands from 2Mhz through 19Mhz. I was very careful in the reseating and collar screw-down when I replaced my coax, so I expect that part should be ok.

Would coiling and wire-tying (to put the 2 1/2 coils closely together) the coax have caused that problem (apparent no-throughput)?

Any other ideas?

Thanks.

L8R

Skip
Use minimum length of coax. Let tuner do its job. Or, eliminate tuner completely, tune antenna. For any vessel, minimums apply. [KV4FR]
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Old 23-03-2015, 11:07   #9
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

With a great show of wiping the sweat from the brow (as in, "PHEW"), I can report a power issue, resolved.

The clip I'd so carefully reconstituted from its previously not-so-good condition had the red lead receiver slip. That meant that it wouldn't assuredly go over the pin.

So, I pushed it back in and made the receiver end yet a bit more troublesome to move, and reconnected.

My open 14.300 connection suddenly got louder. Sounds good, for a start.

So, I attempted log-in; props were lousy but a relay in DC heard me very clearly, and my SWR blink disappeared, and my tx bars returned.

So far, so good.

I had some nervous moments when I went to winlink to try it out, but the momentary SWRs went away, and, given their short duration, the Tx bars were "ok" in my estimation.

Better yet, I connected instantly to a station which had only 92% likelihood of success based on the propagation schedule.

So, I think at this point that my coiled coax and anything else explored are not a factor; if I have a similar problem in the future, I'll start with the power clip.

Thanks for the thoughts.

73

Skip
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:37   #10
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Re: Raggasnaggagigafratz! 802 SWR blink

Small update.

We're back cruising (see Shake And Break series elsewhere), and have some real-time and life experience with our radio.

The admiral, in the aft berth, can hear the new tuner clicking away as I tune.

You here may have a better suggestion, but I have some difficulty whistling to the level that the tuner does something about it, and, as well, I hate to perhaps step on someone else.

So, I tune to the FSK band, and key the mike. The SWR quickly disappears and the bars fly out. Back to USB/LSB and it's tuned.

There are, of course, many different frequencies I use all the time; for some reason, they don't seem to tune up as fast as would be expected now that they're in memory. So, I do the manual tuning before going in on voice.

In winlink, the attempted connection tweets get it done, of course.

And, as to the efficacy of the system, I've acted as relay on several occasions on a variety of bands, and listeners usually tell me that they're seeing me in the 9s and 10s, even, unless the propagation is generally lousy.

So, I'm very happy with the rig. But I'm about to introduce a variable...

When we were moored in Vero Beach, and dived when we were just about ready to go, we found that our maxprop zinc had disappeared. Screws still firmly seated, but no zinc remaining. Now that we've been out for a while, and in much friendlier (well, you can see through it) water, I see that, after after only 2 months, there is notable loss in the zinc.

Apparently, our Honda eu2000i and whatever our system looks like electrically are "leaking" - we've not been tied to a dock or shore power anywhere in that time, even briefly.

So, we got two zinc groupers, and will deploy them overboard when at anchor. They are very substantial and are electrically connected to our counterpoise via the railings/stanchions, the only locally easily available point which also is "ground" on the boat.

The lines are long enough that at times we may even have those touching the seabed. Will this connection improve or reduce our experience?
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