Thursday, August 23, 2007

Of Red Lights Aloft and New Problems

Hi Folks,

Well, the tower light works. A pretty red object in the sky next to the moon earlier this evening. Upon returning to the COPINH office here in La Esperanza, I wasn't able to see it. This is important, because we're planning to use a sub-microwave link from the studio here in the office to the transmitter site at Utopia. We've got a 60 foot tower for the FM station here at COPINH. Probably from up there, it will be possible to make the shot. Amongst other things, folks from COPINH wound a rf choke (of lampcord wound around a piece of 4 inch PVC drainpipe), dug a 25 meter ditch to run power for the tower light, and planted the ATU (antenna tuning box) at the tower base.

I just discovered a mechanical difficulty in both transmitters, very similar to a problem I once cured in another Harris transmitter -- The Voice of Nicaragua, Shortwave -- in 1989. This has to do with belts, much like a timing belt in a modern car that has teeth on the inside, though these are alot narrower and shorter. The problem is that, with age the teeth have sheared off, disconnecting the two gears that need to be turned together exactly, just like the valve timing in a car. This makes it nearly impossible to tune up the transmitters. So tomorrow I'm going to try to extract one of the belts, then look for an automotive belt that can be cut down to fit. If I do find that, it will be the best coincidence imaginable, but the alternative of waiting 3 or 4 weeks and paying a small fortune to get raplacemets from the states, is not an option.

I played some soccer tonight with Don Chico and Ronaldo, the wat-chee-mahn (Espanglish for watchman.) Even though it was a heavy day of work, the exercise and break from work were good to have.

Thanks for your blog comments and emails.

Peace, Bill

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