Thursday, 25 March 2004

Beaconsfield Upper

Our initial scout of this location had filled me with some trepidation. The owner wouldn't hear of defeat, but they'd be in South America when I needed to be on-line, so their level of concern was not quite the same as mine. Basically there were large trees between us and the satellite, but some gaps did exist and some planning was in order.

I improved the method used to construct the frame, this time bolting the three shorts together whilst it was on the ground, then attaching the centre beam and post. I did need to move the whole frame a few meters sideways to clear a tree after set-up, but apart from that, the whole thing is becoming routine.

The electronics boxes were mounted prior to the dish install, which required some fancy jiggling later on and an improvement was made at Bishop's Creek. We again used the dainty tarp to protect the electronics and left the dish to the elements. I made a concession by covering the feed horn with a rubbish bag.

Clean-up was swift and simple. The dish without the electronics boxes was much easier to handle for the two of us and it looks like it may stay separate from now on. Of course everything is lighter once you've lifted 160kg between two of you, now it's only 100kg :-)

Monday, 1 March 2004


We arrived at our new location only to find that the only location for any chance of a successful setup was on the side of a hill, overlooking a house. The frame comes with wheels, which were removed because I felt they would only hinder the process of actually putting the frame together in any meaningful or secure way. Besides, I felt that the stand-offs wouldn't be able to lift them clear off the ground either.

Unpacking was interesting because everything was on an angle and you needed to be very careful about dropping things or having things come out of drawers assisted by gravity.

I decided that the frame idea, separation of the frame and the dish was not going to work and I unbolted the red boxes from their home underneath the dish. Instead I bolted them together and with some wire cable I attached them hanging from the mount post.

The tarpaulin was minimised and only covered the red electronics in a dainty little cover, rather than the huge tarp we had used until then. A big concern was that the location was very windy and I even used chain and pickets to secure the dish, double pegging both chains.

After all the stress about the location, the actual setup was simple. I pointed the dish roughly and 15 minutes later we were online, tuned and cross-polled and all!

Packing up was slightly different. I'd determined that the frame would fit in a different location in the van, against the firewall, rather than in the back, making the weight distribution more even between the wheels. This freed up space in the back, so the red boxes now fit, bolted together behind the rear wheel.