Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
Dec 19 - Saturday's work party spent most of its time on the 02 level. Terry installed the new 1MC tie line control which, by the end of the day, passed its "in service" tests.
Bill L. helped replace the CCTV monitor that died in the past week or two. While the cabinet was open for servicing, wire data was collected for inclusion in the new drawings for the S.I.T.E. system. By the conclusion of this project, the entire system of audio, video, switching and distribution will be documented.
There was a call from the quarter deck concerning a failure of the wire-less microphone used on the mess decks for encampments. A new battery solved the problem.
Nov 29 - Saturday past was for the most part a "small turnout day", due to the holiday. But some things did happen.
Awhile back the ship asked about installing an FM tuner in the TV control room for use during the various fireworks displays. As already mentioned in an earlier update, the Burlington ARC donated a Heathkit tuner for the purpose. The unit is now an integral part of the S.I.T.E. system, pumping tones through the 1MC announcing system. The outside vertical antenna still needs some dressing up but it works fine for now.
For the last couple of years, an ongoing problem with the wind speed indicator system has resulted in the destruction of some of the small drive gears in the mechanical integrator. A solution has been developed and parts secured. By Saturday next, a high speed limit switch with manual reset, will have been installed. This switch and its hand made actuating cam, will shut down the system before gear destruction happens.
The shop of the 02 level, aka John's World, has been kept busy with the following projects; Repair of the 70 cm all mode rig Construction of a 28 volt, 400 hertz power supply for the OE-82 antenna postion indicator network Construction of a power supply for the recently returned WWII RBM receivers. These are documented as BB-62 rigs. Repair of one of the NAVMACS displays from the message handling area.
On the bad side, a couple of hours of trouble shooting was spent this past Saturday because someone decided that one of our software programs would work better, their way. Please remember that this is OUR shack, not yours. If you have a suggestion, make it known to me, you may be right. If so, the changes can be made and ALL operators made aware of the change. Your time was not wasted, but BNJARS time was.
In the next couple of days you will be notified that changes in the station operating rules have been posted and where to view them. The most significant change is the requirement to receive minor, informal re-qualification as an Authorized Operator at the time that you renew your HPA badge. Saturday's Board meeting spent quite some time discussing, and recommending, the annual re-qualification. This is not aimed at any one person, but the new process helps keep everybody up to date on their ability to act as an AO. Minor and informal are the key words here.
Nov 22 - In spite of my obvious attempts to divert their efforts, the OE-82 restoration group, headed by Ski, have maintained forward motion. The bad continuity readings on the ship's cable leading to the aft antenna have been isolated to a 26 pin connector that has spent most of the last few years in a plastic bag filled with rain water. A replacement was located in the transmitter room, pigtails attached and now awaits the proper weather for climbing the aft stack.
The TS-440S has been shipped out for repairs. The 70 cm all mode rig has a new audio chip in it. The rig now has plenty of volume, something it was missing at the time of smoke a few weeks ago. The replacement antenna for the ship's TV cable system has arrived, but is also awaiting better weather.
Two or three months ago the ship asked about installing a FM tuner (88 - 108 MHz) in the TV Control Room for use during the annual fireworks displays. Thanks to the Burlington ARC, a Heathkit (remember Heathkit) rack mounted tuner has been installed and is in the middle of being wired to the audio control board of the studio.
In an effort to reduce logging errors, some internal changes have been made to Log-EQF. One of these changes, for example, is if the frequency of 14.070 is entered, the displayed mode switches to BPSK. All changes are transparent to the user and should reduce errors.
The ship has increased it's efforts to open the Broadway tour route. They have asked us to complete the slotted coax antenna for the benefit of the work crews and the tour guides. More details at the Dec 10 general membership meeting.
Nov 8 - In contrast to last weekend's operating report, no radio activity happened on Saturday. But, the aft OE-82 trashcan antenna had visitors for most of the day. Ski and Brian completed the installation of wiring connectors and the azimuth drive motor. Mounting the drive motor took some extra effort due to some "sailor repairs" made sometime while the antenna was still on the former USS H. O. Perry. A helicoil needed to be repaired but we did not have the tools or parts. That is until Bill B. made some phone calls, located a nearby auto store with the needed items, traveled to and from the dealer than delivered the kit to Ski. While at the store Bill was handed a package that had been waiting at the store for quite awhile, for the ship to pickup. I'm glad Bill didn't charge for his time and mileage! Late in the afternoon we commenced wire continuity checks of the OE-82 system. There is one discrepancy in the control circuits as well as one in the motor power lines. Depending on weather, another trip to the antenna is planned for this upcoming weekend.
Elsewhere on the ship a donated Collins 75A4 HF receiver found its way to the transmitter room. After a visual inspection the black crinkle finished radio was powered up without flames or smoke. It appears to work great but could use a little, very little, TLC. Once the 75A4 was alive, work continued on the #3 URT-23. Under cover of equipment repair, John introduced Bill L. to the internal wiring of the rig.
Late in the afternoon Brian learned how to change one of the drive chains in a R-1051 receiver as well as a fuse holder in the CU-2002 antenna coupler. Margaret and Gene kept busy in the TTY office keeping the databases up to date, searching the Internet for documents and putting up with the rest of us.
Last, but not least, while all the above was happening, Dave W. replaced one of the PK-232 TNCs that was acting up. He also installed muffin fans, from the recent ship depot visit, to provide needed cooling to the Packet transceivers and TNCs. Dave W also spent time in Forward IC working on his favorite item, the Wind Speed integrator. Lots of TLC used here.
Oct 31 - During his weekend operating stint, Mike made 310 contacts including 81 countries. Not bad for one old man, with some of his operating time during the buzz of the Saturday work party.
For those of us accustomed to having the two Harris HF receivers next to the shack door, hang on, things have changed. One item that each and every ship visited during our many travels to "ship depot" have been missing is the CU-2007 antenna coupler. This Low / Medium frequency coupler was also missing from FACCON 1 when we arrived on board in 2001. Well, the former USS Butte still had one two weeks ago, but the coupler now resides in its historically correct position, where the two Harris's were. One of the receivers has been relocated to the forward side of the shack door, while the other was remounted lower in its original equipment rack. All outward operations are as before, but the SB-2727 switchboard appearance of one of the rigs has moved.
While the recovery of Avionics continues, the cleaning of GCS (O2 level) has commenced. Evan the TTY Office has more floor and bench space.
At HAM-3, the TS-440 transceiver gave up the ghost. It is currently on my home bench awaiting some simple checks before heading out for servicing. In its place is a loaner TS-430S. For those thinking the 430 is not enough rig. Mike used the HAM-2 TS-430 to do what is mentioned in the opening paragraph of this update.
The rumor mill tells us that Ski knows the meaning of "da-di-da-dit da-da-di-da".
Oct 24 - Another visit to the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard has ended. Although there were only 2 ships, and repeats at that, open to us, the crew did bring back a pile of bounty including one of the last missing items for FACCON 1. Finally a CU-2007 LF/MF combiner/patch panel has returned to the Big-J and soon will be installed near the R-390 receiver.
CEC was also a benefactor of the raid, in the form of the Navy version of a dot matrix printer, located next to the audio tape decks in the forward starboard corner of the space. The transmitter room now has all the needed parts, including spares, for the CA-1100 transmitter antenna patch panel. The telephone guys have another 18 Type-G dial phones to play with.
The ATV station in the NJ2BB shack gained several long lengths of 1/2 inch hard-line. these should help reduce line loss encountered by the 5 watt signal traveling some 200 feet to the antenna.
Avionics inherited lots of hardware, brackets, speakers, intercoms, etc., all of which have been placed in their proper drawers.
Major work for this past weekend was the replacement of 40 feet of RG-214, aka Rg-8, used by the ATV station. Some of the above mentioned hard-line was pulled and pushed through the overhead, amidst the jungle of existing cables, pipes and duct work. A very good job by all involved.
Oct 10 - PSK IS BACK IN OPERATION, thanks to some final wiring by Gene H. This mode has been absent for a few weeks due to problems with the transceiver. We have moved the TS-430 to Ham 2 in place of the malfunctioning rig. Gene and I have talked about a couple of mods to the TS-430 to make this rig more compatable with the mode.
Ron made some final adjustments to the Amateur TeleVision (ATV) transceiver. That leaves only one or two small items before the ATV system is on the air.
Work towards the reactivation of the aft OE-82 antenna system continued with Terry installing the direction control "sub-station" in the Transmitter Room. As wired, this control box bypasses the electronic controls to give us single motion control (up, down, left or right) during testing. As mentioned in an earlier update, there is no need to expose the electronics to our smoke testing actions. After all testing is complete the sub-station will still be part of the NJ2BB satellite station.
Lou and I had the pleasure of escorting a Viet Nam era BB-62 Radioman to his former spaces, namely the Transmitter Room and the former Radio 1. His conversation verified some of the room details we had already heard, but also added some new items. For example, who knew that Radio 1 had a pnuematic tube system for sending messages directly to the Nav Bridge? Ironically, Pete grabbed parts of such a system during one of our previous visits to the shipyard.
Ed made NJ2BB available during the FISTS sprint operating (CW) event.
Brian, with some help and confusion from me, located all the video cables that at one time carried the Pioneer images from the Ground Control Station (GCS) on the 02 level to Aft Plot, Forward Plot and CEC. He also located the mounting location for the CEC video monitor, the cable that carried video to the Fantail control station and some odd ball runs to the aft CIWS station. "What is Pioneer" you ask? That was the remote piloted airplane that was used as a forward fire control spotter. It provided live video, some times as Infrared, to the ship for the purpose of improving the accuracy of the guns. The final results of this project will be a looping DVD of Pioneer video from the 1990's.
Oct 03 - Margaret and I managed to be at the ship for Friday's visit by the BB-62 reunion group. It wasn't long before we were kidnapped by a group of Korean era Radiomen who forced us to take them to their Transmitter Room. We gained some insight as to the layout of the equipment in the space at the time.
Saturday was full of ups and downs. It started while we were still on the pier, not yet onboard the ship. We were given several volunteers from the "Comcast Family Cares" group who planned to be on hand for the day, performing light duty work. Margaret guided the group of sweepers and wipers through the Message Handling Area, FACCON 1 and the Transmitter Room. With assistance from John S., the Transmitter Room has never looked so clean. Besides doing a good job, they all expressed an interest in our work. One in particular, 19 year old Bo, a communication major, than promised to return for a try at our Saturday workday. Another member of the Comcast Cares group, who was not assigned to us, found out about the trip to the Transmitter Room and expressed his sorrow caused by the missed opportunity to see the space. John, KE2OI, has also promised to return and give us a second chance.
In a attempt to reduce all possible causes of the logging problems, Margaret reloaded the logging program used at Ham 3. All went well with the reload, but the Ham-3 machine did seem to have an occasional "Windows style" burp. There is no apparent connection between the problems. A gaggle of the members worked on the problem, including cycling all the internal connection in the computer.
We have the Operators Manual for the TS-950, so now we can have some training on the proper use of this new piece of equipment and its 85 controls.
With the problem in the Ham-2 transceiver not corrected, I decided to replace the rig with the TS-430. The change over went smooth until the last step, connecting receive audio to the computer. We could not find the adapter that had been made about a year ago for PSK operation. So for now, still no PSK for NJ2BB. Sorry.
The Amateur TeleVision (ATV) transceiver has been installed at the VHF (Ham-4) position. After the ATV antenna was reconnected, at the Radar platform, the rig was turned on and received video from Delaware, via the Philadelphia repeater. There is still some cable work to be done, but NJ2BB is closer than ever to becoming part of the local ATV network.
During the past week Harry and I have been in communications with a local group concerning the loan of some radio equipment. On Saturday Tom and Ellen, from the Collingswood Community Theater Group stopped by to pick up the HRO-C rig for use in their groups production of "South Pacific". There is a scene or two the requires the use of a WWII looking radio, so if you have a WWII Battleship in the area............ In return for the use of the equipment, they will give notice of and thanks to the BB-62 in their printed program.
Sept 19 - First on the list of things to report is Mike's (W2OF) efforts to set an all time high, single person, single day, QSO count for the NJ2BB shack. On Saturday he worked 103 stations including the USS Alabama. Great job Mike.
To quote Ski after a day working on the Aft "Trash Can" antenna; "I didn't think we could get that much done in one day".
1) Mounted the actual antenna to
2) Installed the remaining foundation bolts
3) Torqued the Azimuth bearing "hidden screws"
4) Installed the slip ring assembly (twice)
5) Mounted the "sector ring" (once)
6) Mounted and adjusted the sector ring switch
7) Installed the Azimuth position transmitter
8) Discovered that even if you double Brian's age, Brian was still the youngest member of the antenna team.
9) Enjoyed the view from high above the Delaware River.
There are a few things remaining before we can test the Az/El rotation of the Trash Can system.
1) Disassemble and check the multi pin connectors at the antenna. These have been partially exposed to the weather for a long period of time.
2) Megger (insulation check) these same cables for the same reason.
3) Build and install a small test panel in the transmitter room. This panel will provide the control switches for initial testing. There is no need to subject the electronic control package to the unknown conditions of the system.
4) Hold our breath as we power up the pedestal and make it turn.
Sept 12 - As usual for a Saturday when we have a general membership meeting there was only minor work performed.
A security camera was installed in the Helicopter Control Booth since one was installed during the ship's last deployment period. Currently this camera shows up in the center of the security screen, but will eventually be reactivated all the way to CEC.
The trouble with the TS-450 has been positively narrowed down to the PLL board. More troubleshooting to follow.
On the humorous side, upon arriving at the ship Saturday morning I noticed that the Trash Can Antenna looked different then when installed just a week ago. On closer inspection I found, at the base of the antenna, a roll of paper towels which had been left at the mercy of the river breeze. The results being that even though Halloween is still several weeks away, our beloved antenna had been "TP'ed". Needless to say, I made the trip up to the platform and removed the roll of towels!
Sep 6 - We got in, we got out, nobody got hurt. That about sums up our day of hoisting and hauling the aft Trash Can antenna to its new home.
To move the pedestal halves from the main deck to the aft missile deck, we used the RAS ( Replenishment At Sea) boom as a sky hook. For the trip up the aft stack Paul rigged a "well wheel" near the antenna platform. This allowed the pulling to be performed from the missile deck, but the crew on the platform had to mule the items over the handrails.
As it now sits, the halves of the pedestal are mated and the entire unit is mounted to its foundation. The actual antenna is also stored next to the pedestal. In the weeks to come the job of tightening the hardware and installing the drive motor, slip rings and position indicators will take place.
No doubt we can blame this unusual job for the large turnout of members. It was this turnout that made the work easier for all. There was a minimum of running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and a maximum of "talk the work" before doing the work. Another successful adventure for BNJARS and the BB-62.
Aug 29 - The word for Saturday was - GREAT!!!! This will be a long winded update, but, for those in the transmitter room Saturday, worth it.
About 5 weeks ago Harry received an E-mail concerning the donation of some military radios. On Thursday past he traveled to Virginia to pickup the gear for a delivery to the ship on Saturday. Most of the gear was than hauled down to the transmitter room using our standard path past the HT (Hull Tech.) shop and then on the Broadway Limited (mono-rail hoist). Yes, we have another URT-23 transmitter, including the very heavy power supply and the newest version of the exciter with all of its fancy alpha-numeric displays. The difference between this rig and the others that have made the journey down Broadway is that this rig worked right out of the box.
The operation went something like this;
Harry: CQ CQ CQ this is NJ2BB calling CQ from the Battleship New Jersey
Harry: CQ CQ CQ this is NJ2BB calling CQ from the Battleship New Jersey
reply: NJ2BB this is KC2LOC, name is Ross, how copy?
Harry: KC2LOC, good afternoon and welcome to the Battleship, We have just installed this transmitter and you are the first contact. The rig is a Navy URT-23E running about 1000 watts, The name here is Harry. KC2LOC from NJ2BB
Ross: Nice to meet you Harry. This is a strange contact cause I work for the manufacture of the '23, Harris, here in Rochester. Very nice signal. Back to you.
Harry: Any chance of getting a copy of the tech manual, we didn't get one with the donation?
Ross: E-mail me the model and serial numbers, I can start the ball rolling on Monday.
As I mentioned, this is a wordy update but I just had to include the opening of the first contact using the new rig.
Other equipment on the donation list are 1) R-1051 HF receiver 2) URR-74 receiver ( a quick test of this rig shows it to be functional and GOOD, covering 5 kHz to 30 MHz) 3) Struthers "Byrd" watt meter with slugs for DC to light
The weather for this coming weekend is looking good for the Trash Can antenna but I'll wait till Friday to decide. Last Saturday turned out to be WET, at least at the ship.
Aug 25 - Once again the weather was Hot. Brian has taken on the task of restoring the ship's missile launcher video cameras and monitors. Two of the six cameras are now working, though at the end of life for the vidicon tube in the camera. Hopefully once the systems are displaying video in CEC, there can be financing found to do a replacement of the cameras with a modern unit hidden inside the large COHU housings.
Work for the URT-23 transmitters consisted of pre-calibrating the power meter modules. Minor work on the Transmitter Control Switchboard continues. The work involves removing jumpers installed early in the restoration process but are no longer needed thanks to the efforts of our Switchboard Team members.
The Ham-2 HF transceiver is acting up again in the form of a "phase lock loop unlocked" display. For now operation using the TS-450 is random and should not be attempted. Our past method of repairing this situation does not appear to work this time.
At the request of the ship's staff, the telephone outside the armory, forward of the wardroom, has been modified. Originally, this phone rang inside the armory but the phone was located in the passageway. Something about arcs and sparks inside the armory. As left, the spark proof ringer inside the armory still works, along with the internal phone bell.
Aug 17 - As expected for last Saturday, the one word description was HOT. Most of the day was spent sorting through the stuff in the TTY Office. A basic game plan for repairs to the URT-23 transmitters was discussed. The first item on that list was the output power meter circuit, which was removed to a "cooler" spot for troubleshooting. The same goes for the "B-D" jumper for the rigs. We have stopped using a wire jumper stuck into the connector but instead will use the more proper soldered "looping connector" that was built during the day. Two of our operators kept the bands warm to the total of 80 contacts. Yes, it was hot, but the crew slugged away at jobs, piece by piece.
This coming Saturday will NOT see the installation of the Aft Trash Can antenna pedestal due to the uncertainty of the weather. This job demands a mild and completely rain free workday.
Aug 8 - The jobs planned for the next couple of weeks at the ship include;
July 26 - Most of Saturday's work was confined to the NJ2BB shack and FACCON 1. The shack was cleaned, again, but to an extent not seen in a while. A new safety camera was mounted near the clock with the intent of feeding video down to the Transmitter Room. Towards the end of the day, our QSL Manager was observed on the deck, hand scrubbing the layers of dirty wax. After finding a section of clean deck, it was decided to make arrangements with Clean-Rite to complete the work.
During the Sunday of Museum Ships Weekend, news was received that NJ2BB is the owner of a donated Kenwood TS-950 HF transceiver. After discussion with a number of the operators, the rig now resides at the Ham-4 position. This is a large piece of gear with all of its controls being single function, resulting in it having a large number of front panel buttons. It has already been used to make contacts and appears to be in near mint condition.
One of the early "animation" jobs in the radio room was the re-lighting of several transmitter control stations. These lamps received power from the otherwise empty QMS rack in FACCON 1. During the past 16 months we have been returning test equipment to the rack and removing the power supply for the animation lights . These lamps are once again functional, thanks to some rearrangement in the back of the QMS rack. Another animation job was the WSC-3 remote control stations located in the Helicopter Control Booth, CEC and FACCON 1, all of which suffered the same fate as the transmitter control stations. These are also once again bright.
Some of you may remember the mystery cable that was located behind the supervisor's desk in the transmitter room. This cable had been traced from the CW key station at the desk to the area near the transmitter control switchboard in FACCON 1. It had never been completely connected or used. The cable has now been routed to the transmitter control switchboard and ready for installation. When completed, this installation will give us CW operation, using the URT-23 transmitters, without wires running across the overhead.
July 19 - Early Saturday morning found Ski and Bill L. cleaning some dirty switch contacts in the Transmitter Control Switchboard which had seen the last of its wire restoration last week. So far so good.
Next, we aligned the Receiver Audio Switchboard in order to send audio from one of the ship's HF receivers to the 3 remote control locations. Not so good. NO SOUNDS.
Troubleshooting revealed that when the 120 switch knobs were reinstalled, maybe two years ago, five had been tightened 180 degrees out of position. Therefore when we selected position number 5 for the rig, we were actually connected to number 17 which is a empty slot. Solution: reposition the offending knobs. Now we're back to good.
We now had good audio into the speaker in FACCON 1, but still nothing at the Pilot House. After about an hour of signal tracing the audio did appear, most likely due to a loose connect but we are no sure where. Back to good.
With high hopes in mind, a group of us traveled down to the transmitter room where the #2 AN/URT-23 was warming up. The patch panel was checked and the transmitter keyed. There was plenty of output power but just as much coming back at the transmitter while the SWR bridge at the antenna patch panel showed low power with a good antenna match. Humm....
Later in the weekend we did some cable inspection and replacement. This time when the transmitter was keyed we had good reflected power at both meters but there was still a major difference in output power between transmitter and patch panel. At this point it was decided to call it a day and wait till next weekend to revisit the problem. Without a good understanding of the cause of the power differences, we did not want to chance damaging the equipment. At best we kept Mr. Murphy busy enough to stay away from the rest of the weekend operations.
July 10 - At the conclusion of last year's Museum Ships Weekend event, the goal of a full restoration of the "red phone" section of the transmitter control switchboard by 2005 was established. Thanks to the long hours and sore fingers of our members, the 480 + wires of the module are back in service. Circuit checks revealed some problems, which have been corrected. Thanks to Paul, Gail, Bill L, Ski and Brian for the work. This module will allow us to operate "All Navy- All Battleship" next weekend from FACCON 1, the Captain's chair on the Bridge and from the Transmitter Room.
As some of you may have heard, the use of a crane to hoist the "trash can" antennas into position has been postponed for an indefinite period. We have been investigating the option of disassembling the antenna pedestals and hand hoisting them into place. This past Saturday we managed to remove enough motors, data packages and slip rings to split the housing into two sections. The heaviest section is now light enough to haul up to the platform on the aft stack. There was concern about doing damage to items like the AZ bearing, but by keeping large tools, such as hammers, out of reach the units appear to have survived the onslaught of workers.
Awhile back we received a request to repair the security camera in the Combat Engagement Center. The problem was determined to be in the coax cable running from CEC to FM radio booth. Repairs have now been completed thanks to Bill B.
Down in the Transmitter Room an URT-23 transmitter obtained from the former USS Perry was fired up for the first time, really. It seems a bypass capacitor decided to commit suicide at the same time. Since the rig was never on the air, I would say that this does not count as a step backwards. At least the power light worked OK.
We had a Ham visitor to the radio room on Saturday afternoon. He was a visitor to our Dayton Hamventon booth and stopped by the ship to see for himself what we had been bragging about. Of interest to the ship's staff is that the Ham took advantage of the ½ price coupons we gave him at Dayton. The family of three flew in from Chicago to visit relatives in New Jersey, but came to the ship because of the booth. YES!
Some serious operating took place during the day, all in an effort to warm-up the bands for next weekend, with a day's total of about 80 contacts. Just a small warm-up. Remember that next weekend is Museum Ships Weekend.
July 05 - The signal loops needed by the Model 15, 28 and 28TD, Teletype equipment located in FACCON 1, were tested and adjusted as warranted for use during Museum Ships Weekend. During the weekend of July 16th we plan to add TTY to our list of "all Navy, all battleship". Also along this line, work on the transmitter control switchboard is nearly complete.
As most of you know by now, the helicopter has been placed on the fantail, using a crane too small to hoist the '49 radar or the OE-82 antennas. Without a crane in the near future, an investigation into the possibility of disassembling the pedestals and hoisting the parts to their mounting platforms, than re-assembling the pedestals has begun. Next Saturday should reveal if this "plan B" is feasible or not.
A request to relocate a dial phone located in the visitor's center ran into some complications that require further research.
Thanks to a couple of our operators, nearly 50 QSOs were made from NJ2BB.
Remember that next Saturday is the last workday before Museum Ships Weekend and that there are a number of jobs that should be completed before the event.
June 21 - Most of the scheduled work for last Saturday was completed without damage to anyone, but there was some sweat involved. All the heavy equipment that was stored on 2nd deck is relocated to the transmitter room, avionics or the 02 level shop. All the items not belonging in the passageways of FACCON 1 are gone, one way or another. Some small items remain but they have reasons to stay. One items from the shipyard that had escaped my eyes last week was the complete AN/URT-24 HF transmitter. This 100 watt rig is a small version of the '23 rigs that occupied the transmitter room.
John S. was proudly demonstrating his homebrew 400 Hz frequency standard that is needed by the OE-82 (trash can) antenna control circuits. Another speed bump removed from the path leading towards going air via the satellites.
While Harry made some contacts for both Museums Weekend and Kid's Day, we utilized the upper Harris HF receiver to monitor both sides of the contact and send the audio to other parts of the ship; namely CEC and the Bridge.
Late in the afternoon we heard "Volunteer Kafenbaum departing" over the 1MC. Ruben's last day on the ship had ended and his travels to a new home in Arizona begins, or so we thought. It wasn't long before he returned to the ship with a request for a jump start of his car battery. Fair winds Ruben, its been fun.
June 13 - The word from last weeks shipyard crew is HOT! The warm weather made for some interesting times inside the visited ships. But despite the high temperatures and humidity I find a sizable pile of bounty gathered on the decks of the "BIG-J". This appears to have been another good visit by the NJ2BB crew. Thanks guys!!!
Some of the items included are 6 R-1051 receivers; another URT-23 transmitter; an A & J rack and lots of smaller items needed for our restoration project. Considering that the following two weekends are consumed by Field-day and than the Fourth of July holiday, I hope to see a few extra volunteers this weekend to help move items and do some general cleanup of our areas..
One new addition in FACCON 1 is the AM-3729 audio amp mounted to the left of the Coke machine. It is now powered and receiving audio from the receiver audio patch panel. Marked as HAM-200, this amp can be fed audio from any of the ship's receivers or scanners. This makes tuning the rigs much easier. This additional amp does not affect the lower Harris which still has it's own dedicated audio amp.
May 9 - On Friday last, almost 100 boxes of stuff , donated by the New Jersey Historical group, arrived at the ship. The radio room gang has gained three WWII vintage HF receivers. A check of the exterior did not reveal any model numbers.
Saturday's group kept busy wire checking the OE-82 motorized mounts, mounting 12 volt power supplies for the shack, rebuilding dial telephones and installing a Navy style audio amp for the Quarter Deck radios.
Yes, the helicopter is gone.
An outside contractor spent the day walnut blasting the display propeller than applying a protective coating.
April 28 - As happens now and then, I've been remiss in submitting the weekly report of activity onboard the BB-62.
Bill B and Brian had success in powering the donated spectrum analyzer. Covering 10 to 8,000 MHz, this piece of test equipment will find its way down to the transmitter room where it will keep an eye on our transmitted signal. But first it still needs some TLC.
After replacing most of the sleeve connectors in the transmitter room receiver antenna patch panel, Bill L placed the panel into service. Bill also provided a hand drawn sketch of the internals of this equipment. Terry completed the installation of a functional SRR-19, Low Frequency, receiver in the transmitter room.
Ski and Terry installed the isolation circuit and components for automated voice for the 1MC system. The isolation circuit is needed should there be a computer failure that results in loss of the 1MC.
John G. has been kept busy maintaining the 1MC equipment as well as installing the computer voice equipment.
A small gaggle of members worked together to mount one of the Navy dummy loads on shack bulkhead, above the VHF rigs. The dummy loads looks better on the bulkhead than on the deck under the operating table.
The above list is just a portion of the work performed during the past month but I hope you get the idea that the Saturday work parties are ongoing. No words yet about a spring visit to the shipyard. I will forward any news I get.
March 19 - The first item for Saturday was a report by the Quarter Deck that the 1MC system had died during the night. Within an hour, or so, the trouble was isolated to the failure of a system keying (microphone isolation) relay (K50). A spare one, from the former USS Inchon, was installed and tested. While on the subject of the 1MC, we have received word from John G. that the automated announcement system, donated by Ken Kersch, has been installed and is in the testing phase. When placed into service, this unit will provide Navy style voice announcements for a "the ship is alive!" feel.
On Saturday the BNJARS maintenance arena was expanded to include golf carts. It seems that the weather curtain arrangement on the security force golf cart was falling of the cart. The curtain track was reconnected in short order and lasted beyond our guarantee (6 feet or 10 minutes, whichever expired first).
Jack Shaw made a request for BNJARS to take a look at the Tomahawk Missile launch cameras. Of the original 6 cameras, four had been returned to service in 2001, but only one is still functioning, barely. By sheer coincidence we have had a number of small security cameras donated this past week. Ski and Harry bench tested the donated cameras, finding at least 8 of them usable. In the upcoming weeks four of these units will be mounted in the military enclosures, thus supplying video to the four monitors in CEC.
There has been a slight change to the arrangement of equipment of the HAM-3 and HAM-4 operating positions. Each of these positions now have their own dedicated dummy load, as indicated on their antenna tuner.
The transmitter room was quiet on Saturday but the O1 level workshop heard a RAL receiver come to life for the first time in an unknown number of decades. The RAL is a 1936 regenerative, general coverage HF receiver that BNJARS acquired at last year's Glouchester County Hamfest.
The inventory of the Ship Service Telephone system continued through out the day and into the evening. Once the database is certified, repairs and installations will commence. One side effect of this inventory is the discovery of one more TA-970 (red phone). The inventory sheet that was returned by the occupant of this compartment indicated that the dial was missing from this phone. Hum!! Somebody needs some training on the difference between the various communication systems aboard the ship. Hi Hi.
In the Ham shack, the large welded shelf unit next to HAM-2 was the target of a massive cleanup. By the end of the workday all the ATV equipment that had been sitting above the VHF table was relocated to the shelf unit, on a trial basis. Time, appearance and operating ease will determine the final location of the ATV station.
March 14 - Dave W and Ray performed a needed PM (Preventive Maintenance) on the Wind Speed Integrator located in the Forward I.C. shop. We have learned, the hard way, that this mechanical computer must be kept clean and lubricated, monthly, to keep it running.
Ski finished the restoration of the red phone (TA-970) in the transmitter room. Currently we are feeding air traffic controller audio to the receive side of the phone. The transmit side of the phone was tested up to the Push-to-Talk relay in FACCON 1. Somebody is going to have fun operating the Museum Ships Weekend from the transmitter room.
All the debris that had accumulated in the Captain's Wine Locker was transferred to the pier. Harry, Ed M., and Terry moved one of the red tool chests from the transmitter room up to the workshop of the O2 level. That is up four floors to you land lubbers.
Gail prepared the wiring harnesses in the transmitter control switchboard module for reconnection. It may seem simple until you notice that this involved 120 color-coded conductors.
After lugging things about the ship, Harry turned to cleaning the NAVMACS displays in the Message Handling Area. The monitors in CEC received the same cleaning. Dave S. completed the installation of the Teletype TD (perf tape reader) next to the Coke Machine. Next he reloaded the VoCoders (voice encoder) into the same rack, for a finished look. He spent the remainder of the afternoon working 20 meter SSB with Ray and helping Margaret sort more vacuum tubes.
Gene installed ground straps for the FT-101 and its amplifier. Following some time in the TTY Office he helped with a general cleanup of the NJ2BB shack. Craig walked the decks checking the ship's phones for operation. His son Glenn , a new ham with call KC2NRR , was trapped in the Comm Center answering calls from Dad, than returning a call to the same phone. All problems found have been documented and will be part of a future work party. Jean worked on sorting QSL cards for filing while Lou worked with John G.
Terry and Ed M. installed mounting hardware for two of the equipment racks in the transmitter room. Once secured to the deck, various pieces of gear were installed, including the R-390 receiver. A feed line was also installed between the transmitter room antenna patch panel and the TS-820 on the supervisor's desk. By the end of the day the room was filled with audio from the TS-820, the TA-970 phone and the RBB WW II receiver that was powered up last weekend.
Feb 22 - During her last period at sea the transmitter room of the Big-J had all of the HF transmitters located along the forward side of the space, while racks of UHF transceivers occupied the aft bulkhead. Ship's manuals indicate that a total of 20 transceivers (RT-1107) provided Line of Sight (LOS) and Satellite Communications (SatCom). I was a little surprised when it was discovered, by reading a really small label, that an extra (#21) RT-1107 transceiver had been located under the Teletype machine next to the supervisor's desk. Well, in the spirit of restoration, one of these rigs that had been retrieved during a shipyard raid, and not demil'ed, was slide into place. A trip behind the rack located the proper power and RF cables. Possibly this Saturday we will smoke test the receiver section of the transceiver.
The addition of the above mentioned RT-1107 to the work performed by Ski and Terry in the area of the supervisor's desk has produced another restored area for BNJARS and another operating position for the NJ2BB crew. HAM-5, at the transmitter room desk, uses the TS-820 HF transceiver and it's outboard VFO. Antenna selection for HAM-5 will use the CA-1100 transmitter patch panel near this new operating position.
The CW key line discovered behind the transmitter room desk was traced to FACCON 1, near the Watch Supervisors desk. In the coming weeks this cable will be connected to the transmitter control switchboard to provide CW operation of the ship's HF rigs, along with SSB, AM and TTY ,from the transmitter room supervisor's desk (HAM-5)
Also in the transmitter room, cable testing and verification was completed for the OE-82 antenna controls. Although differences in cabling of the ship's original installation and the equipment obtained from the former USS Oliver Hazard Perry were encountered, they have no effect on returning the antenna mounts to service. We still need to check the internal conditions of the mounts, currently stored in the main deck radio room. Part of the reason for this inspection is to determine which mount is the forward-looking mount and which is the aft looking mount. Yes, there is a difference.
The activation of the recently acquired FT-101 and matching amplifier was not performed due to lack of time but may happen this coming Saturday.
Members of the ship's volunteer Brass Team are in the process of moving their shop into the former Band Room, located above our 03 Level workshops. While passing John's world, one of the Brass Team members noticed the construction technique of the bench recently completed there. Last Saturday saw the brass team moving parts and pieces of "coffin lockers" into the 04 level shop for use as benches. Hum, is BNJARS a trendsetter?
Feb 8 - The bulk of the work on FEb 5 involved strong backs and mechanical skills. One of the table height Vidmar storage cabinets in Avionics has been relocated to the O2 level workshop. Combined with material saved from other work areas of the ship, John and his group of techs now have a second workbench. This addition more than doubles the available work surface as well as increases the storage capacity of the space.
In FACCON 1 a used Hewlett Packard model 400EL ac voltmeter was installed into the Quality Monitor System (QMS) in the center of the space. This style of equipment once occupied the panel opening below the o'scope; was removed while the ship was "sleeping" in Washington; but now shows the voltage levels of the sounds coming from the monitor speaker of the QMS.
Craig, upon hearing that NJ2BB was not showing up on the APRS.COM website, investigated why our APRS system was not being heard. The inline SWR meter indicated full output power when keyed but a second rig tuned to 143.39 MHz had little if any audio. After Ed, as Watch Supervisor, exchanged the suspect rig with a spare, NJ2BB APRS was back in service. The recently acquired FT-101 and amp now reside on the VHF/Ham-4 table. When powered up the receiver worked fine but the transmitter was not tested due to lack of time before the parking garage closed.
A seldom-mentioned area of the NJ2BB shack is the "Special Ops" area of the VHF/Ham 4 operating table. If Gene H. is of mind to, maybe he can use this area to show off his new HF radio this coming Saturday. No larger than a TV Guide magazine, this 2 watt transceiver is designed for 20 Meter PSK mode only.
In what amounts to the only wiring for the day, Paul & Gail continued with the Transmitter Control Switchboard restoration.
Last but not least, Jean, Gene and Ed kept NJ2BB on the air using PSK, CW and SSB.
Jan 30 - Despite the chill in the air there was a nice turn out of members on Saturday. After helping with strong backs in the 02 level workshop, Gene and Mike put NJ2BB on the air for some PSK and SSB contacts. A visiting ham from Washington State stopped by to help keep the contacts flowing.
The rearrangement of 120-volt power distribution in the shack continued. Ski has most of the gear on the HAM 4/VHF table powered via individual circuit breakers with only the "world's most expensive" power strip to finish. Curious?
Terry completed the installation of the operator interface station for the transmitter room alarm panel then moved on to the AM-2937 audio amp above the supervisor's desk in the corner of the space. In an attempt to keep in his way, Dave installed a new layer of battleship linoleum, from the former USS John Rodgers, on the same desk. His minor work in the space than moved to the step lights below the 2 watertight doors for the room. Some new ballasts and tubes finished that job.
John and Brian spent the time stripping junk equipment of any usable spare parts that may be needed in the future. They created a sizable pile that needs to be stored in Avionics.
Paul and Gail honed their wiring harness skills on the transmitter control switchboard in FACCON 1. This particular module selects which of the 3 functional red phones (TA-970) controls the AN/URT-23 transmitters. Yes, museum ships weekend is just around the corner, in July. Next weekend we have a cabinet to move from Avionics to John's World, for a second workbench. Also planned is moving scrap metal to landside, wiring, more wiring, operating and lunch. How about joining us?
Jan 23 - Yes, there were members at the ship on Saturday despite the weather forecast. The group of 7 remained till noon when the snow flurries turned heavy.
Ski took advantage of the empty shack to continue his program of improving the power distribution in the space. Terry worked on the operator interface station for the transmitter room antenna patch panel annunciator. John continued his work in the 02 level shop. Margaret, Wayne and Doug worked in the Message Handling Area.
Dave spent time cleaning and tracing wires in the Transmitter Room. I have found evidence that the desk in the Transmitter Room was used as a CW operator's position sometime prior to the yard period in 1987. I found an abandoned cable that appears to have been connected to a CW key socket on the desk. Maybe Gary, NJ8BB, has some info on this.
Jan 16 - The bulk of the work dealt with furniture rotation. Yes, the BNJARS movers were busy. First, a large Steel Case office desk in the 02 level workshop was disassembled, moved to the TTY Office and reassembled. This desk now provides a larger work area for Gene H. and Margaret to do their database, inventory and Donation work.
Second, the small Navy desk from the TTY Office was disassembled, moved and reassembled in the Message Handling Area of the Radio Room. This solid top desk replaced the typewriter top desk that has resided as the supervisor's desk since early in our project aboard the ship. Research of ship's photos showed a solid top desk was the proper style while measurements indicated that the new desk would fit into the existing mounts welded to the deck. There were smiles when the desk was a perfect fit in it's new home.
Third, the typewriter top desk from the Message Handling Area was disassembled, moved to one of our spaces on 02 level for future use.
In the NJ2BB shack Gene H. and Sea Cadet Rob worked on the TS-450 problem. Together they located the PLL board and cycled all the connectors associated with the board. Along the way you could hear discussions about Ham Radio in general, modes, bandwidth and a little history of communications. Sea Cadet Rob even met Plank owner, and former Sea Cadet, Bob Westcott. Again, much conversation ensued.
In the Transmitter Room, visual inspection of the mystery wire and it's wiring added to our knowledge of the AN/URT-23 transmitter but not much to the solution to the key line trouble there.
As with last week some faces long missing from the ship have reappeared. Thanks!
Jan 11 - There was a nice turn out of members for our first work party of the New Year (2005). Among the group were a couple of members, whose work schedules have changed, making Saturdays at the ship possible them.
The main item of the day was the 2-meter activity with the DSRC in Princeton. This group was conducting a high paced, all day, Boy Scouts of America Radio Merit Badge session. The "Big J" conducted QSO with 27 Scouts during the day, much to the delight of the operators at both ends. The Princeton group also ran a station of HF. In a thank you letter from the group mention is made of the fact that at the end of the day over half of the scouts and adults had signed up for a future licensing class.
Ship's work included completing the relocation of "Doug's PLC" to the forward portion of the Message Handling Area; testing of the many Newmar 12 volt power supplies obtained at the shipyard; performing a functional test of selected Ship's Service Telephones (dial) and in the Transmitter Room, work expanded into installing "operator interface switches" for the patch panel annunciator.
The continuing investigation into the trouble with the AN/URT-23 transmitter interlock has narrowed down to a section of wire, maybe 12 inches long, that has 70 volts DC with a very large AC ripple on it. The curious part is that this wire only passes through the amplifier section, yet the DC and AC are controlled by the Amplifier. HUM!!! We either have a break down of insulation or a botched repair attempt by the prior owner (ship) of the rig.