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Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
Current Year 2014
Dec 6 - For each of the past weekends the operators at NJ2BB have kept the ship’s presence alive, but on Dec 6th our activity was the highest in recent history. Because it was the weekend of Dec 7th, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the launching of the BB-62, Rich E spent the entire day at the Ham-3 position working mostly 20-meter SSB. His first target of the day was to make a contact with N4WIS at the USS Wisconsin. Being early in the morning it took some time but he did snag our sister ship. Later in the day Jim started assisting Rich by acting as his logger, then they shifted seats with Jim taking over the rig. Their contact rate soared to contest level once someone spotted NJ2BB on the DXcluster network. About noon time I first spotted Jerry at Ham-4 using his favorite mode, CW. At the Ham-5 position we fiound Alan hard at work on finding a way to interface our logging software with the Harris RF-350 transceiver. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, ‘ I haven’t failed at making an electric light bulb, I now know how not to make a light bulb’. I guess it was around 3 o’clock that the shack was shutdown for the day.
Work on the restoration of the animation system continues. The 2-forward Tomahawk control consoles are once again displaying a bright screen thanks to the replacement parts taken from the 2-aft displays which are less visible to our visitors. One of these aft displays is in our shop awaiting a new flat screen display to replace the aged CET unit. (aged equals 24/7 operation for over 14 years)
Work has also started on the front panel indicators for these consoles. Beginning with the printer control panel located on the top of each console we find the need for over 80 miniature lamps. We need to replace the non functional lamps before we can continue with our education of how the system should work. Heck, without operating lamps we do not have a clue if the system is working or not. What's that you ask? Drawings? Think again my friend because for some strange reason the original contract to design and install the animation system did not include giving the ship any data on the system. Note to Chief Carlson; take a long deserved bow for keeping most of this system alive all these years without any information to fall back onto.
As part of the mini work parties held each (mostly each) Saturday Ski, Jim and Rich E beat the rest of us to the punch by moving 24 type G dial phones from the Captain’s Wine Locker on the O1 level down to the Oil Lab off Broadway. Thanks guys. Now Steve and Bill L can ensure they have ready spares on hand for service calls. Note to Steve and Bill; the phones were randomly picked for transfer, it's up to you two to restore these instruments for later use.
Ski and Jim finished their troubleshooting of the 2nd of the 4-red phones in the compartment. By days end the sounds from receivers located in FACCON 1 could be heard in CIC. Along the way the pair took notice of the work Doug has completed to date, including the restoration of the edge lighting of the large status board in the foreword section of the compartment. Doug's biggest problem with the restoraton of the lights was the need for a 6-volt high current transformer. There is where teamwork comes into play. Joe had just removed a no longer needed filament transformer from the power supply of the WRT-2 transmiiter. Hum, what to do with a junk part? Hey, give it to someone else!
Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the animation of the Central Station Helm, Tom shifted his thoughts to animating the Engine Order Telegraph and Shaft Turns Order system. It appears that the work on this system of synchros will be easier then the Helm but will include a Basic Stamp module to provide the needed 5-steps of time delays needed to make it appear that the engine room is actually answering the commands.
Joe has been working on the lower section of the WRT-2 transmitter where he has replaced the cabinet cooling fan and capacitor. He indicated to me that after a final wiring check of the rebuilt power supply he will need the help of a couple of strong backs to install the power supply.
After some redesign work John is more than happy with the output waveform of the 400-hertz power supply needed to make the pair of OE-82 (trash can) antennas operational. Once these antennas are proven to be controlled from the Transmitter Room Rich E can get down to the physical work of extending their control up to the NJ2BB shack. Hey, operating via the earth orbiting amateur radio satellites is looking like it will happen.
Rich has mounted one of the restored remote depth indicators, gathered from the former USS Boulder during our most recent ship yard raid, above the Dead Reckoning Tracer (DRT) in CEC. He used an existing welded mount that looked like the indicator belongs there. We do have system drawings that prove that during the ‘80’s there was one of these indicators in CEC as well as the one already restored to display function in the Chart House.
As of last night Margaret has completed the arduous task of cross checking each claimed contact submitted by Hams requesting a certificate for contacting at least 15-museum ships during the June 2014 Museum Ships Weekend event. Due to some “busted calls” in museum ship’s logs and poor time keeping on the part of ships and operators, some of the certificates have a lower number of contacts then claimed by the applicants. The highest score for this year is something like 48 ships contacted, but the final results will be posted on our website soon.
Thanks to Jim we now have new batteries for the UHF handheld radios that Ron gave us a number of years ago. After testing the radios the first order from Jim was that I once again carry a radio (aka leash) while away from the shack. Hint taken and will be compiled with, at least for the first week or two. Hi hi
Since my last report both the Brass Team and BNJARS members have successfully Full Dressed the ship with nearly 800 feet (660 sockets) of colored LED lights AND converted the Cage Antenna into one very large Christmas tree (330 feet of wire using 220 light LED lamps). These lights have a very pleasant effect on the Camden waterfront. Photos will be posted soon.
During the first decent Saturday in January 2015 the tree will be disassembled and placed into storage then the holiday lights will be replaced with 660 white LED lamps. These white lights will remain in operation year round unless the Friendship Flags are hoisted for an occasional holiday weekend or special event.
Though seldom menitioned in these updates but still doing their encampment thing, the members of the Merit Badge Team continue to provide training to those Boy Scouts of America who visit the ship for an overnight encampment and desire to earn their Radio Merit Badge. Bravo Zulo to Ed, Ted, "TV" Dave, Ron, Bob, Harry, Tom and their newest member Joe.
Nov 15 - To say that the last couple of weekends have been busy is an understatement. For example, this past Saturday thirteen of our members joined with the Brass Team in a day long effort to remove the Friendship Flags, fore and aft, and then hoist the new LED Friendship Lights in their holiday colors. By new I do mean new; lamps, wire with sockets, rope and snap hangers still in their individual status. While some team members recovered the flags and returned them to their proper storage compartments, others filled the Wardroom assembling the two strings of new lights (440 ft and 390 ft long with 660 lamps).
The time frame has become a blur to me but I think is was after lunch that the first attempt to hoist the forward string took place. After seeing some problems with the “hang” of these lights it was decided to lower the string, change the attachment method and then hoist the new string. It worked! A nice straight run of hundreds of colored light running from Spot 1 to the Cage Antenna support structure.
Next came the hoisting of the aft string, which due to the experience of the foreward string, went without a hitch. By 1430 hours all areas were clean and neat. The new lights were left on for Saturday’s Marine Ball which took place on the Fantail. Happy Birthday Marines. The lights will remain off until a more formal lighting ceremony on Black Friday when the yet to be constructed tree and friendship lights will be lit for the holidays.
This is where I have to thank everyone for helping with this gigantic effort which did not involve a single transistor, vacuum tube, coax or rig. I'll even add a pinch of sugar to those members who would normally not have been at the ship that Saturday but changed their schedule after reading my beg letter of the previous week.
Now let's travel back in time to the previous Saturday, the 8th, when the gang hoisted the 135 Friendship Flags in honor of Veterans Day. Then on Veterans Day NJ2BB was on the air thanks to TV Dave (KC3AM), guest Dave (WA3ZTR), Dave (WA2TVS) and Alan (W2AVR). Yep, 3 Dave’s in the small compartment at the same time. The QSO total for the day was 75 contacts.
Inside the ship during the time since my last update we find;
1) New Tom continues with the animation of the Central Station Helm.
2) Up in CEC the research continues for the task of rebuilding the 14 year old system of monitors, computers, 96 I/O modules and associated equipment used to educate and entertain our visitors. Hopefully we can complete the job by the end of the annual January shutdown period.
3) In the NJ2BB shack Alan is hard at work learning the “navy speak” of the RF-350 transceiver so he can complete the Arduino translator package that will tie the rig to our logging software.
4) Steve is making headway on dial telephone testing and repairs.
5) Rich R is busy with monitor change out in CEC and his wiring of the depth indicators.
6) Ski is nearly complete with the re-activation of the TA-970 red phones in CIC.
7) A reported AC power problem with the HAM-4 rig was traced down to a bad plastic power connector on the cable running between the power supply and the back of the rig. Parts have been ordered, but in the meantime an Astron supply donated by Ron, K3ZKO, has been placed into service thus returning the HAM-4 position to full operation.
During the time period of this report we have also answered three trouble calls from Curator Jason Hall. The first was a poor sounding Salvo Warning Bell in Fwd Plot which turned out to be a loose screw in the bell. Next was the failure of the projectile hoist in Turret II. This turned out to be a bent limit switch actuator arm. The arm was repaired and tested satisfactorily. The third trouble call mentioned that the Mark 8 Range Keeper was not operating. This one took the longest to troubleshoot but all is well once a switch in a different compartment was found to be out-of-position. We’re chalking this one up to wandering hands. Oh well, all’s well that ends well.
Next Saturday will find four of us hanging lights on the Cage Antenna thus turning it into a very large white Christmas tree. Because I do not have any experience with C9 LED lights in a strong RF field, the Disc Cage Antennas will be tagged out of service during the holidays.
Our next Friendship work party will happen after the holidays when we remove the Christmas tree, lower the colored lights and hoist white Friendship lights. Onboard the ship there is talk of creating two more strings of lights. This would give us dedicated strings (holiday colors and all white) which would greatly simplify the holiday lamp change over.
Oct 25 - This update covers the time since Sept 20, the last published status report.
The typewriter (mill) table has been moved to the foreward end of the Ham-4 operating position. When not in use the table has a storage location under the breaker panel to the left of Ham-4 so as to not block access to the panel.
Rich E and Jim have been busy with the recently acquired OE-82 antenna which has now been raised to the trailing edge of the Aft Funnel, mounted, tested for rotation and elevation control from the Transmitter Room then declared ready for modifications for use with Ham satellites.
A note that the ship's dial phones were not operating sent Steve, Ski and I to the switch room located off Broadway. After weeding out the large number of alarms being indicated by the various circuit cards and the local computer monitor it was determined that one of the units many power supplies had failed, taking out one of the primary 120 volt fuses contained within the switch cabinet. A spare power supply and fuse were installed thus returning the system to full service.
New Tom has been busy with his project of animating the Helm in Central Station. So far all the reports indicate that his ideas of how to make this a new interactive display for our visitors have been proved correct.
Alan, who let his license lapse way back in 1987 has passed his General Class test and is now KD2HID. The rumor is that he has applied for a new call sign. He has also been observed coping CW while Jim was operating at Ham-3. Besides Jim, Rich E, Jerry and Gene have been keeping NJ2BB on the airwaves.
Also found in the NJ2BB shack since my last report was Bill, N2WB. "Wild Bill" is a native of South Jersey who has visited 68 DX entities, operated from 50 countries, all seven continents and has been an operator with 40 DXpeditions.
Speaking of Alan, he has accepted the challenge of designing, building and programming a micro-processor so that it performs the language translation needed to allow our EQF logging program, or any Ham logging program for that matter, to speak with the RF-350 transceiver at the Ham-5 postion. The translator is needed because the RF-350 speaks Navy, while Ham rigs talk a simpler computer language.
John has been making circuit changes needed to provide a cleaner output of the 400 Hz power supply he built for the OE-82 control circuits needed to provide control of the 2-antennas from the NJ2BB shack.
Rich R has modified the 2 remote depth indicators acquired during our recent shipyard raid. These nixie tube displays would normally indicate the depth of the water under our keel, but since the ship is sitting in the river and the depth indicator underwater transducer is not usable, he has faked the displays to show 60 feet of water beneath our keel. Recently found drawings show that CEC had an indicator, so, one of Rich's modified units will soon find a home in CEC.
Thanks to a donation of equipment by Ron, K2ZKO, Rich R has been busy replacing the 4-black and white video monitors in CEC that were part of the Tomahawk missile launch and security system. The original monitors have been in use since 1982 so, to say the least, they have out lived their useful life.
After the recent safety meeting Steve was handed a list of ship's phones that are out of service. While troubleshooting the instruments he noticed that an improvement to the system could be made by reprogramming tour route phones so that they are all fed from the "A carrier" of the switch. This way these phones take advantage of the internal backup batteries and would be available during an emergency should there also be a power failure at the ship. Although this battery backup is good for only a few minutes there should be enough time for the word of an incident to reach the Quarter Deck watch standers.
Bill L has been busy moving the Wind Shop to its new location in Aft IC Shop at the aft end of Broadway. This is made necessary since the future Steam to Speed tour route will use Damage Control Central as a new display area. No, the new tour route is not scheduled to open till some time next year; Bill is just being pro-active.
Joe will soon be asking for help with moving the heavy WRT-2 power supply drawer back to the Transmitter Room, followed by more inspection and testing prior to applying power to this HF transmitter.
Martin, our support guy from North Jersey, recently provided us with several 15" flat panel computer displays that were being replaced at his place of employment. After stripping away the exterior plastic housing and stand we find that these units make a perfect fit inside some of the BB-62 equipment to provide a realistic image of what should be seen on the screen if the equipment was in service. For example, Bill B found that these donated screens are a perfect fit into the NAVMACS terminals in Radio Central and CEC. Since 2001 Bill has been using "dumb terminals" to give life back to these message display terminals, but since his source of dumb terminals is drying up he tried a flat screen. Since the flat screens use VGA inputs instead of the RS-232 we have been using to display APRS comms found on 2-meters, Bill installed one of the mini (Adam) style computers that his employer was also taking out of service. This very, very small full function PC computer fit nicely inside the NAVMACS. With the addition of a RS-232 to USB dongal the display will be back in full service with more reliability and less heat.
While on the subject of these donated monitors, we have also performed a test mounting of a screen into an '25 radar repeater salvaged from the former USS Forrest Sherman a couple of years ago. Yes, the flat screen fits nicely and will display the simulated radar echo that Rich R has been programming. Why not use the display program that is running on other '25 around the ship? Because Rich's version will display the area of the Deleware Valley around the ship instead of what the group from Virginia thought was appropriate at the time (2001).
Ski has been busy working in CIC, next to Main Plot Forward, awaking the TA-970 control stations, aka red telephone, as part of Doug's work in the compartment. When last heard from he had finished with the phones themselves and had shifted his flag to FACCON 2 for some wire changes to the receiver audio distribution network inside the Coke Machine. Doug is making progress on a number of items in CIC, but the target of most of his energy is rebuilding the large status board in the center of the compartment.
As a side job at the ship I have been hoisting signal flag messages from the Starboard Signal Bridge. While doing this action I came to the decision that the current rigging of the Signal Bridge is not how is was rigged during active duty time. A search of the ever growing Internet proves me to be correct, so now it is time to consult with our Curator and Maintenance Director for permission to make permanent changes in the ropes and lines that hoist the signal flags.
There are some near future dates I ask everyone to consider supporting.
First is Nov 8th when BNJARS will again join with the Brass Team to hoist the Friendship Flags in honor of Veterans Day. These 120 signal flags hang high over the full length of the ship.
Next we have Nov 11th, Veterans Day, which will find some of us operating NJ2BB. Please let me know if you plan to attend.
November 15 will find the crew lowering the above mentioned Friendship Flags and replacing them with over 600 LED light bulbs, again hanging high over the length of the ship. This will be the first time in nearly a decade that the ship has displayed this night lighting. The lowering of the flags combined with the hoisting of the lights promises to be a long work day. Please think about helping.
Sep 20 - Now back to Saturday the 20th. I'm proud to announce that besides the previously known absentees, every one showed up for the mini work party as announced in the update for last week. It only took ½ hour to haul some non battleship non shipyard trash from the Battery Charging Room to the dumpster. Actually, the job contained a large amount of social gabbing while hauling and tossing the stuff into the dumpster.
On the way back to the ship we found Bob Westcott and his chauffer, son-in-law Charlie, headed to the NJ2BB shack. It is always good to see Bob when he returns to his home during World War II. Thanks Charlie!
My work on making minor changes to the shack included adding some trim to the left side of Ham-2 where last week I remove those aged rafter tails. I also attacked moving the typewriter (mill) shelf to the left side of the Ham-4 position but more time is needed to complete this task.
The first item on the list of real work for the day found Jim, Rich E and Alan connecting the control cables to the OE-82 antenna controller in the Transmitter Room. They then used a couple of hand held radios to communicate from the Fwd and Aft antenna pedestals in order to test both pedestals. They report that both pedestals are functional and were left in their designed home positions. The only speed bump to their testing was the failure on the sound powered phone links built into the control circuits. This is where I get to congratulate the crew on another BB-62 first; mainly the first time since 1991 that the ship has had both trash can antennas in position and controllable. Cool!
Alan and I traveled to Central Station to calculate the turns ration between the helm gear box and the input of the modified wind direction modules that will be used with the animated portions of the interactive helm station. Along the way we discovered some trouble with the new output shaft; problems that Alan will be correcting during the week at his home shop. Hopefully all goes well and the shaft can be reinstalled next Saturday.
The final job of the day was hanging the donated studio lamp fixtures that were discussed at our last general membership meeting.
Sep 13 - This past Saturday was a good day for the work party, if you ignore the rain. I mention the rain because just as Jim and Rich E got busy with a pail of water and rags to wash the recently acquired OE-82 antenna, which is sitting under the south brow, the clouds opened up on them. But in true volunteer fashion they took advantage of the added source of water and completed the task at hand. Thanks guys. Rich and Jim were joined by Bill B and John to move a RBB receiver from FACCON 1 down to WWII radio.
Harry joined the group for a trip to GCS for de-cluttering of the compartment. Not that the compartment is all ship shape, but it is much better then before their visit.
Bill L reports that after inspecting the Wind Speed Integrator replacement gear that was installed last April, there is zero signs of wear on the gear. So, after the many twists and turns involved in keeping this system alive it appears that a long time solution and source for parts has been found. Down in Central Station New Tom and Alan have installed the old drive gear with its new vertical output shaft and bearings into the Helm Station. Next on their schedule is mounting the modified wind direction components and manufacturing the needed reduction drive to connect the new output shaft with the torque amplifiers. While Alan and Tom had the Helm Station open for work and all their pieces and parts available for inspection, the ship's Curator stopped by with a couple of special visitor involved with the ship's history. I'm hoping the ongoing work added to the knowledge base of the visitor's journey through the ship.
In the NJ2BB shack we found Jerry manning the Ham-3 position operating CW while Gene was on PSK at Ham-2. After the end of the work part of the day Rich used Ham-5 to warm up the airwaves while Jim replaced Jerry at Ham-3 for some more CW. Then, after the shack cleared, Alan asked for permission to become reacquainted with CW by doing some off air practice at Ham-3. Alan had let his license lapse many years ago but it appears that since joining our band of bandits he has been bitten by the bug to reenter the hobby.
While all this was going on, Beth joined Margaret in Avionics to continue with spare parts storage and cataloging. Part of their time was spent removing hundreds of cut wires from Navy style terminal blocks. No, not BB-62 wiring, just items found during a ship yard raid years ago. After everyone except for Margaret and I had left the ship I settled down to do something that has been on the "job list" since April of 2001; that would be removing the "rafter tails" that have been sticking out the left side of the Ham-3 position since we built the table nearly 14 years ago. Yes Jerry, slow work takes time.
While typing these words of boredom I received a phone call from John reporting on his work with the "Scott-T" circuit board in the OE-82 antenna controllers. Using his home shop, John has three of these boards under going some "as found" testing prior to developing any changes needed to make this system computer compatible. An interesting tidbit about the different version of this board is their construction; ranging from an original version that utilizes discrete components (resistors, transistors and caps) to the latest revision with its surface mount integrated chip technology.
As a late entry from last week; years ago when we took possession of the AN/WRT-2 it was missing the large rear panel. Two weeks ago Joe created a template which his son used to fabricate a new cover for us. As I understand it the son used an automated water jet cutting machine to cut the steel plate for us. Last week Joe installed the new panel without so much as a misaligned screw hole. Thank you Son-of-Joe.
But this report doesn't end at Saturday. It continues into this week with an E-mail on Monday evening from a potential guest operator who wished to operate NJ2BB on Wednesday. Normally I would have passed on such a short notice request, but having known this South Jersey native for years and how much he has done for the DX side of our hobby I just couldn't say no. So, on Wednesday morning Harry and I were at the ship for a meet and greet with Bill, N2WB. Bill then took control of Ham-3 and operated for about 4 hours, adding 80 contacts to the NJ2BB logbook. Bill expressed his concern over such a low number of contacts for the time frame but agreed that some of the contacts were long "rag chews" vs. his usual DXpedtion rapid fire contacts that lasts no more then 20-seconds
Sep 06 - Saturday was one of those quiet days at the ship even though we had most of our regular members on hand.
The first job of the day found Rich R, Ski and I capturing about 70 stray signal flags and returning them to the Aux Signal Compartment for further storage and use. About 20 signal flags were found to be in need of repair and have been placed into proper storage awaiting an appointment with the Sail Locker for repairs and return to service.
Thanks to Margaret and her tech manual database, Rich R now has a full manual for the remote depth indicator that is associated with the AN/UNQ-1 fathometer. In its final restoration the unit will be mounted in CEC, which it should be, per ship’s drawings, indicating a static level of water beneath our keel.
Ski was found in CIC undoing all the wire cutting, aka de-milled, performed on the TA-970 red phones in the compartment prior to our receipt of the ship back in 2000. During my end of day travels of our work spaces I see that he finished this phase of getting audio from FACCON 1 into the speakers associated with the above mentioned phones. He still has 2 or 3 days of work to complete the actions needed in FACCON 1. This is just another case of adding some flavor to a future visitors display area.
Alan and Tom worked on the helm in Central Station, measuring and fitting the new interface shaft and bearing into the guts of the enclosure. My understanding is that this Saturday should see the final installation. Next will be determining the gear ratio needed to tie the steering wheel, with the new shaft, into the Navy wind direction torque amplifier that Tom has modified for use with the rudder position indicator on the helm. To date Tom has had all the components spread out across the deck of Central Station, wired and responding to wheel movements; turn the wheel and the rudder indicators respond while the ship’s heading indicator changes.
Rich E, John and I had a productive meeting about the steps and sequence needed to bring the OE-82 antenna system into the world of Amateur Radio earth orbiting satellites. One of the early steps needed is to clean the recently acquired “trash can antenna” prior to painting and installation. Anyone out there have a truck, power washer and a backyard to do this job in?
FACCON 1 has received a total removal of clutter, junk and temporary storage items. Hopefully I can manage to keep this compartment in this status for more than a few weeks. The NJ2BB shack also received a removal of deck clutter, but in this case some of the stuff ended up on the Ham-4 operating position awaiting further instructions from me.
Aug 30 - Even though the 30th was a holiday weekend the BNJARS crew still performed various tasks for good of both the BB-62 and NJ2BB.
Jim and Alan gathered mounting dimensions and data for the new drive shaft Alan has created for the ongoing work of animating the Helm Station located within Central Station at the head of Broadway. They then turned their attention to tracing and identifying some video cable that run between the ship's weather station and the SITE studio. In a week or two the termination of these cables will be changed to provide for a better access to these weather points by the SITE Control Room during production work such as what happened during the Sea Cadet training week three weeks ago.
Steve and I traveled the ship doing some quick jobs such as assembling a requested signal flag hoist for a wedding that is on the schedule in a few weeks, removing personal equipment that was used in the SITE studio, as well as tracing and programming the CIC dial phones into the System 75 phone network. After lunch we helped Joe with some panels for the AN/URT-2 during which search we located 3 more control panel for the OE-82 antenna.
As a late report, 2-weeks ago Doug was able to locate the short in the 6-volt wiring of the large status panel in CIC. With repairs completed he can now move forward to installing a new power supply for the lighting of this display item. On Saturday, as we entered CIC, Steve commented on the advances Doug has made in the compartment since his, Steve's, last workday at the ship about 1 year ago.
Joe has been busy finishing up the restoration of the AN/WRT-2 cabinet areas located below the power supply drawer prior to installing this very heavy drawer.
John has installed a new heat sink he manufactured for the 400 hertz power supply for the OE-82 antenna control circuits. John designed and built this supply way back in 2004 but the departure of one of our members cooled the progress we were making with getting NJ2BB into those amateur radio earth orbiting communication satellites. Now that Rich E has taken the helm of this project he has renewed our interest not only with the power supply but also with the design of the computer interface for the Navy controls that were never intended to be operated by modern desktop computers.
But what about the NJ2BB shack? There you would have seen Gene in front of Ham-2 operating his most favorite mode, PSK31, adding about 10 contacts to the logbook.
Aug 23 - Well, another week long visit to the former Philadelphia Navy Shipyard has ended with good results for all. First, the weather was bearable for the days I was there although the internal humidity of the ships was the “comfort factor” that affected each of us the most.
The top three items on our wish list that were obtained are as follows;
1) An OE-82 “Trash Can” antenna, without motorized
pedestal, to be mounted on the trailing edge of the aft funnel after some
cleaning and painting. This will bring the BB-62 up to her full complement
of NavComm satellite antennas.
2) One HP-85 mini-computer for Fwd Plot. Since the current machine in use in Fwd Plot has a broken tape drive there isn’t a way to properly store the several hundred lines of code that “Princeton” wrote to add some flavor to the display. Hopefully this new machine, with as yet unknown expansion modules will help.
3) A second touch screen smart computer terminal to compliment the one already in use in the shack for APRS loop control (NAVMACS display stuff).
Next we have the items found and gathered as a surprise gift;
a) Thanks to the “7-Wire Fan Antenna” that once graced the yardarms of the former USS Boulder we now have more then enough insulators and wire to repair our wire antennas for generations to come.
b) Six each of the three internal modules used by the AM-3729 audio amplifiers found around the ship. Collecting just the internal modules seemed a faster, easier method instead of removing the entire equipment once you realize that we have enough housing for these amps.
c) Five or six mint condition 1MC microphones. No marks, no scratches, no bruises!
d) Many medium lengths of RG-213 coax with N connectors on each end.
e) Two sheet metal sides for the A&J equipment rack in the Transmitter Room (safety item)
f) Numerous 19” rack filler panels ranging in height from 1-RU to 16”.
g) Six internal deck and synchros used in the Wind Speed / Direction repeaters. As mentioned above for the AM-3729 amps, we have plenty of spare enclosures but we do need the guts for future repairs.
h) Numerous adapters for N series coax connectors
i) A pair of dual fan cooling units for use with the ships cable TV head end equipment.
j) One Teletype distortion analyzer.
k) Five more patch cables for the CA-1100 transmitter patch panel in the Transmitter Room
l) Six patch modules for the CU-???? LF/MF isolator/patch panel located in FACCON 1. I was really surprised to find these items.
All items now reside on the deck of Avionics awaiting final placement by our Supply Officer and her staff.
From what I have gathered during conversations with our team, those BNJARS members who were new to the shipyard raids all had a great time and are waiting for another chance to hunt for items for the BB-62. My thanks go to Steve, New Tom, Jim, John and Rich for taking the time to help improve the status of the systems on the BB-62. Other BB-62 team members gathered all kinds of things needed to repair or improve the condition of the ship.
July 15 - In my last update I forgot to mention that Rich E operated NJ2BB during Field-Day 2014 on June 28th reporting us as “1D SNJ”. Even though the operation was only an hour, 1400 hours till he left the ship at 1500 hours, he did work 24 other participates in the event. He has since submitted the logs to the ARRL for scoring. Most of us have home clubs that operate Field-Day, making hundreds, even thousands of contacts during this 24-hours emergency communications exercise, but please do not think small about our score; this is the first time NJ2BB has ever entered this event. Thanks Rich.
Saturday’s workforce was a mixture of places, timing and work. For example, while Jim and I were on the O11 level helping to undress the ship, Rich E, Bill B and Joe were in the Transmitter Room performing loop continuity tests on the circuits of the Forward OE-82 antenna. Once the test were completed and the climbing crew was free to observe any movement of the antenna pedestal Rich gave the antenna a rotation command. Nothing moved, but after some investigating it was found that one of the new switches was mislabeled. Rich then tried the test again but this time Jim was able to confirm that the fwd pedestal was indeed moving, both in azimuth and elevation. Here I’m happy to report “It’s alive!”. Hopefully by the end of next week’s work party the BB-62 will once again have a functional forward OE-82 antenna.
Prior to lowering the aft full dress flags BNJARS members Rich E, Joe, Bill B, Jim and I performed a cleanup of the newly created flag storage compartment located under the CPO area. Earlier in the week we had strung 60 feet of “clothes line” to aid in the long term storage of this flags and pennants.
The lowering of the full dress flags, fore and aft, was performed by BNJARS members Jim, Doug and Dave B in conjunction with Brass Team members ED, Frank and Matt. Rich R reports that the Captain’s “Key Telephone” is back on his desk, winking at guests as they tour the Captain’s Stateroom.
Doug reports that he has been having trouble finding the source of the 6-volts used by the CIC status board lighting circuits. The big hassle for him has been moving the deck plates (false flooring like in a computer room). To help Doug we have set Saturday the 26th as the day when the entire group of us will attack the deck plates and find that pesky transformer, wherever it is.
July 10 - Yes, it has been nearly a month since the last workday report has been published. This delay was due to a virus attack on our mailing list and associated systems. Evertech Inc, who provides the Internet home for nj2bb.org was quick to recognize the attack, isolate the attack, make repairs and corrections then ask Margaret to perform some testing of systems involved. Yesterday morning the final go-ahead to return to service was received. Thanks Ron, N2LCZ, and your techs for the response to the attack and for providing a home for nj2bb.org for all these years.
As last reported we were planning on a second attempt to hoist the Friendship Flags to full dress the Battleship for the weeks before and after the 4th of July weekend. Learning from speed bumps of the prior weekend we did succeed in hoisting 130 flags and pennants in the Navy specified sequence. The following weekend the Brass Team hung bunting on the bow of the ship to finish off the full dress procedure. For the week leading up to the holiday weekend the ship’s curator hoisted our new battle flag to the top of the recently restore flag gaffs on the radar platform. The flags, pennants and the oversized Ensign made for a grand sight as one approached the pier.
This weekend will find a couple of BNJARS members helping to retire the full dress items to their new long term storage compartments which have been cleaned and serviced for this purpose. With so much time focused on dressing ship you might think our other work on the ship has suffered delays, and you would be correct but work has continued.
During this period I was able to reconfigure the manual control functions that Terry had installed on the OE-82 Trash Can Antenna system many years ago. This change was because when the original work was performed we had only one antenna in place, but thanks to the Camden Fire Dept we now have both pedestals in place. Work on bringing the forward pedestal back to life will continue this Saturday.
Rich R continues with many projects including repairing display items for Chief Carlson, making the Captain’s Stateroom phone appear more functional and more.
John has been spending a couple of weekends with the grand-daughter but reports that the IFF controller restoration is nearly complete, which should bring a smile to Doug’s sour face. Doug is making slow but steady improvements to CIC and its systems.
“TV Dave” was at the ship on Friday the 4th of July for a few hours of operating time. He reports that he made 122 contacts on 20, 15 and 10 meter SSB. During one memorable contact the other Ham asked Dave to “kiss the deck for him because he was alive today thanks to the ship” being off the coast of Viet Nam. No word yet if Dave arrived home with splinters in his lips. Dave also reports that most contacts ended with a “God Bless America” from the other Hams. Thanks Dave!
Al and I have been spending time on the SITE (Ship’s Information Training Entertainment) TV System getting it ready for the upcoming Sea Cadet Training Week scheduled for August 11 through the 16th. BNJARS has a full schedule of Sea Cadet training classes on Saturday the 16th.
If you remember, in an earlier update I asked for help with setting up a portable satellite operation on the fantail. This request was made because I feel there are mixed messages to the young Sea Cadets by operating wireless from a compartment filled will hundreds of wires and cables. Without any response to the request I have changed my course to setting up a simple station on the fantail and use the Trussed Vertical for the antenna. Help!
June 14 - Last Saturday's attempt to hoist the new flags to full dress the ship ran into a number of speed bumps. On this past Tuesday, New Tom and I joined Ed Hamilton from the Brass Team for a day of re-rolling, marking and assembling the sequence of flags and pennants needed to full dress the ship. When we left in mid-afternoon the forward set of flags was in their new storage area on 1st deck, forward of the windless room. Later in the week I received word that the lights in this new flag locker have been repaired by the ship's electrician. This Saturday will be another attempt to hoist the forward string of flags, with hope of continuing our task on the aft set of flags.
A week or two ago New Tom performed a successful test of the theory of how to animate the helm in Central Station. By rotating a synchro that will be driven by the steering wheel at the helm he was able to cause rotation of the rudder position indicators on the helm, with a reasonable time delay between wheel movement and indicator changes. With help from Joe a proper sized synchro for the helm's compass repeater was located.
John has been busy building a faux code indicator for one of the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) displays in CIC. Along the way he also managed to build a new power supply for the Heathkit 6-meter rig.
Rich R was called to CEC to investigate a loud clicking sound coming from the recently restored RD-390 tape recorder. As it turns out the set screw on one of the belt hubs needed an extra amount of tightening. He has also been busy modifying the KTU (6-button phone) in the Captain's Stateroom so that the buttons do not have any affect on the use of the phone, which since reactivation back in 2001 only has one line connected to it. Also planned is making one of the button's indicator lamp flash as if the line is in use or on hold. Most of us remember how this style of phone had multiple steady, flashing or blinking lamps, depending on the status of phone calls.
May 24 - The Dayton Hamvention was a blast this year. The weather for all 3-days was cool with a couple of passing light showers. The show attendance seemed good which meant our booth was busy answering questions about our work at the ship and about the upcoming Museum Ships Weekend. We even had one group that asked about activating a new ship.
Work at the ship these past three weekends has been mainly with the OE-82 antenna installation and the repairs to the Fan Antenna. Both OE-82 antenna pedestals have new mounting hardware installed and are awaiting the mounting of the actual forward antenna. The last of the broken parts of the Fan Antenna have been removed for either replacement or repair. As I'm writing these words of profound intellect I'm waiting for an appointment with a friend here along the Jersey Shore to do the crimping of the lugs onto the repair pigtails for the antenna. If all goes according to plan, which I'm sure it will, the Fan Antenna should be back in service by noon this Saturday, just in time for some testing the following weekend during Museum Ships Weekend.
Speaking of MSW, we are still looking for operators for the event. We, Margaret and myself, will be aboard the BB-62 for the entire 48-hour period, so pick a day and time frame that fits your civilian schedule. Those that notify me in advance of their preferences will have first claim to a station. We could especially use some Sunday ops.
Yesterday I received a request for BNJARS, support for this years Sea Cadet training to be held sometime in August. As in past years, the BB-62 detachment of the Sea Cadets will host other units from around the area and country for a week long experience at the Battleship. Our part of the training will involve the NJ2BB shack for some on the air time, then some time in the SITE System for some studio and production experience.
Over the years of hosting Sea Cadets in the NJ2BB shack for an introduction to the world of wireless communication I have had a gray cloud hovering over the event. Why? Because the wireless room has hundreds of wires and cables in it. What I would like to add this year is working some satellites from the Forecastle much like Kevin, VE3RCN, did 2-years ago during a MSW visit.
May 03 - When I arrived in the NJ2BB shack on Saturday I found Rich E introducing Jim to the operation of the Harris RF-350 at Ham-3. When the day's logs were downloaded at the end of the workday I noticed that they had also done some PSK operating at Ham-2.
The morning work found Rich E on the O10 Level, Ski on the Radar Platform, Jim on the Fwd Missile Deck and myself sitting out on the end of #3 yardarm. Why you ask? The first of the 2-hanging wires for the Fan Antenna was pulled up to the Radar Platform and stored for further work. Although the terminal was still on the free end of the wire, the mounting hole had been opened to look more like the letter "J", thanks to the strain that caused the wire to fall in the first place.
Next the second hanging wire was hauled up to the Radar Platform, but not for storage yet. Instead Ski redid the manner in which the temporary line was attached to the wire, removing any signs of edges that might grab other items during the next step in this recovery program. Because this wire had managed to wrap itself around one of the horizontal members of the Fan Antenna we needed to unwrap the tangle of wire hanging out there in space. This is where I enter the work picture.
After lowering the temporary line back to the Missile Deck, Jim transferred the line to me at the Aft Yardarm. I then pulled this line up between two of the horizontal lines at the apex insulator, then with a gentle tug pulled the wire up and over the horizontal member, removing the first of the two twists. Jim and I repeated this maneuver a second time, resulting in the wire now hanging free of twists and kinks. This wire was then hauled back up to the Radar Platform for inspection and left in a secure status. While still in our positions above the decks the four of us discussed the next steps needed for the final repair of the feed lines. Having 4 members with different angles of view of the job added to the picture of the task at hand.
After lunch Jim, Rich and Ski attacked the OE- 82 antenna pedestal, placing it in a vertical position on it's mount and tightening down the bolts. As soon as the weather permits, the antenna section will be mounted to the pedestal, a sight never seen since the ship arrived on the Delaware River back in 1999.
Meanwhile, Joe finished with the installation of solid state rectifiers in the WRT-2 power supply. He hopes to move the drawer back to the Transmitter Room during his next day at the ship. And, not to be left out of the report, Rich R. spent his day making repairs to a video distribution amplifier from the CEC animation system.
Just as we were about to post this update, Mail Lady Cathy handed me a large envelope from the ARRL. Inside was the certificate we earned during March 1st and 2nd of 2013 when we operated for the 48 hours of the "ARRL DX Contest SSB 2013". Thanks to Rich, TV Dave, Pete, Jerry and myself, NJ2BB placed 1st in Southern New Jersey. The score numbers are 414th out of 3,545 entries, 636 Q's with 276 multipliers. Not bad for a first attempt by that little boat along the river.
April 26 - Success!!!
Located high above the main deck of the ship is the Fan Antenna which consists of 6 heavy gauge wires running fore and aft between the 2nd and 3rd yardarms.; 3 wires on the port side and 3 on the starboard side. At the forward end of each set of 3 wires is a basket weave of 3 more wires, tying the fore to aft wires together electrically, then extending to the feed line termination box on the top foremast. Just think of a weird looking inverted-v antenna consisting of 3-dipoles bundled together.
About 5-years ago it was noticed that one of the starboard tie wires had broken free of the termination box and was hanging down from the main group of antenna wires. A couple of weeks later a second tie wire was observed to also be hanging downward. Time for a trip to the radar platform to make repairs? Think again since the hanging wires are located far above the nearest deck and far below the radar platform, while being some distance from the forward funnel (exhaust stack). Over the years we have often looked for a way to get a rope around the free end of these hanging wires so as to pull them up to the radar platform for repairs and re-attachment to the termination box.
If you remember, about 2-weeks ago I posted a request for a light weight pole, about 30 or 40 feet long , to aid in snagging these wayward wires. On Wednesday the 23rd I received a phone call from the ship and received a scolding. The caller continued with "don't ya know that I have a 100 foot ladder?" asked Bill Stoup. Than I remember that he is a local fire fighter and was talking about a fire engine. Well, to keep things short, on Saturday the 26th at 9:00 am the Camden City Fire Department appeared on the pier with their 100' aerial truck, position it against the edge of the pier and made the climb up to the 2 hanging wire ends. They attached some ¼ line to the wires and dropped the free ends down to the forward missile deck to be tied off until next Saturday when we will use the recently repaired flag gaff halyards to pull these temporary lines up to the radar platform, dragging the hanging wires with them.
SUCCESS part 2
After Camden Fire Dept had lowered their very helpful ladder and moved the engine out of the way Bill once again thought outside the box and asked the fire fighters for another favor. Capt Bain replied that his crew was scheduled to be at the ship all morning for training (aka help us however they could) so "What's next"?
Here we have to go back many, many years when Ruben and I captured a pair of OE-82 Navy satellite antenna and their motorized pedestal. One had been mounted on the trailing edge of the aft funnel years ago thanks to the likes of Paul, Gale, Ski and a few others whose names escape me at the moment. The second antenna has been waiting for its trip to the leading edge of the Fire Control Tower, adjacent to the ship's whistle. Doing this lift ourselves was out of the question do to concerns of our liability for the safety of visitors and the ship. Do you get a hint as to where I am heading now?
Yep, Bill asked and the Captain obliged by having his crew buggy lug the large cumbersome antenna and the heavy pedestal from the O1 level up to the O10 level, where the 2 items now rest safely secured awaiting our next visit to install bolts. Within the next month we should see the forward Trash Can antenna in it's rightful location high above the decks.
THANKS BILL! THANKS Camden Fire Department!
Please visit http://www.qsl.net/wa2tvs/62-pics/ for some pictures Margaret captured during the Fan Antenna job.
April 12 - Just before leaving for the ship on Saturday I decided that my health wouldn’t allow me to make the trip, so I asked Margaret to “send the message”. Included in it was notice that there were three different sets of visitors expected during the day and for all members present to please pull together to insure a pleasant visit by all. Well, thanks to Harry, AA2WN, for being part of the first group and who then extended his time at the ship, the first two groups had their time in the shack. Harry then went on the search for the third visitor, who was celebrating his 80th birthday in the Wardroom. Again, Thank You Harry.
About 4 weeks ago it was reported to me that the volume control for the Kenwood 2-meter rig we use with the local .82 repeater was broken (not noisy, broken). Last weekend Bill B dug into the rig and its problem. He than found a useable replacement, while not being an exact replacement, he installed it and tested the rig. All that is left to do is find a knob bored for the proper size shaft.
Old Tom and Bill B report that they have finished with the installation of a new run of coax from GCS to the MARS antenna located on the Aft CWIS deck.
Two weeks ago Rich R, with the help from Jim installed the animated RD-390 tape deck into its cabinet in CEC. This past Saturday Rich added the finishing touches to the motor drive belts and reports that the tape spools are rotating as if the machine was in service. Thanks to Rich we have added one more bit of flavor to the CEC experience.
Finding the Curator on board the ship two weeks ago for the Vietnam display and forums, Ski was able to introduce Jason to the restored Officers Call Drop Annunciator System. At first Jason was somewhat quiet about the reactivation, until he realized that the system was actually back in service for the first time since some IC Tech gave up with his troubleshooting of the system, way back in 1990. Thanks Ski
On that same Saturday a group of BNJARS members hauled some equipment up to the O11 level in preparation for the next excursion to the Radar Platform. While there they replaced the telephone at O11 level (extension 7195) with one from our spare parts bin.
As many of you are aware of, Bill L and Gene have been working on the Wind Speed Integrator trying to solve a problem with stripped gears. Their big speed bump has been the lack of any replacement for these unique gears. Now this is where BNJARS members and friends come to the rescue.
First we have new guy Jim whose neighbor has a basement machine shop. Jim showed the neighbor the needed gear hoping this would become a source for spare parts. Well, hogging a new gear was outside the neighbor’s resources, but a friend of the neighbor has a larger machine shop. Thanks to a friend of a friend there is now a brand new 35-tooth gear in the Wind Shop awaiting evaluation. If it passes muster there are 12 more gears waiting to be machined for us. Thanks Jim and friends.
Second, we have member Joe A whose son has a machine shop. Thanks to the son’s efforts we now have a second 35-tooth gear for evaluation. Thanks Joe and son.
Two weeks ago new Tom and Jim did what I thought would be impossible; namely removing a synchro transmitter from the Helm station in Central Station. Yo Dave, what’s the problem, synchros are hand sized? Not this one which is about 12 inches in diameter, 24 inches tall and weights in at about 110 pounds. As they reported to me, the unit cleared the Helm housing by less then 1/16 of an inch. The removal was dictated by the need to access the gear train used by the ship’s steering wheel. I hear there was lots of sweat but no blood or tears. Good job guys.
On my last day at the ship I had the chance to inspect John’s progress with building a new power supply for the donated Heathkit SB-110 6-meter transceiver. This is a long story involving many hours by several of our members. Hopefully the end is in sight and the 100-watt rig will find a useful home in the NJ2BB shack. Thanks John.
During the January maintenance period I noticed that the public service scanners we use to pipe river traffic through out the ship was OOS. Two weeks ago a replacement scanner was installed and found to be working. At this time it was noticed that some of the amplifiers being driven by this scanner circuit were still quiet. Rich E and Ski started troubleshooting the network and quickly discovered that the amp in the QMS (Quality Monitoring System) cabinet was loading down the audio circuit. But when this amp was isolated other amps continued to present indications of various troubles, so work on this audio circuit continues.
Mar 22 - Once again I pass a job well done to Rick, WC2K, who volunteered a second day of his life on the Radar Platform rebuilding the weather beaten flag gaffs. As the clock struck 1500 hrs and the Quarter Deck passed the “attention to colors”order, our group that had gathered on the Fwd Missile Deck and the BB-62 Sea Cadets on the pier presented proper honors as the Ensign was hoisted to the top of the ship for the first time in months. A job well done goes to Ski for his time at the top of the world and also to Rich Thrash, of the Brass Team, who pushed to get this work done. As a side note, Rich was relentless in his goal of using only “Made in the USA” material.
Rich E spent most of his day acting as a safety person, on the O11 level, for the team on the Radar Platform. I spent most of my Saturday acting as the ground crew for the aloft team, therefore I’m a little short on information of who did what within the ship. But here is a glimpse of work done.
Rich R and Princeton gathered information, including interior photos, about the IFF antennas that are on their way to the Radar Platform. These 1080 MHz antennas will only find use as window dressing when installed during Rick’s next trip. Princeton then joined Bill L in Aft I/C storing sound powered headset in a proper fashion.
Doug spent more time in CIC doing restoration work of the compartment. John split his time between the 6-meter rig and restoration work on an IFF display panel from CIC.
First timer Jim, N3GUY, joined New Tom in investigating and developing a plan for animating the helm in Central Station. This job is going to be a lot of sweat, hopefully without the blood.
Bill B entered a number of SSB contacts into the NJ2BB logbook, including one of this week’s W1AW special event stations. When last seen, Rich R was heading to his shop with a drill in hand. Hopefully it was to be used on the RD-390 tape deck.
Over the years at the ship we have gathered a nice collection of multi-meters, wire tracers, telephone test gear, etc, all of which has been stored in the QMS cabinet in the center of FACCON 1. Because this drawer is overflowing with gear, I asked Bill B to move everything to the 2-door cabinet located along the aft bulkhead of the Message Handling Area. The emptied drawer will be returned to its design purpose of storing items used with the QMS rack.
Even though Museum Ships Weekend is more then 8 weeks away, Margaret has 75 ships confirmed as being on the air for the event. I bet that by Saturday, when she updates the website, this number will increase.
Mar 15 - After the All Hands meeting on the 8th Ski and I met up with Rick Conner, WC2K, for a trip up to the Radar Platform. Rick, who is volunteering his time, is a well-known South Jersey tower climber/erector who was contacted by the ship to do the repairs of the flag gaffs located on the aft end of the platform, about 150 feet above the waterline. After inspecting the situation and laying out a plan of attack he took a look at the broken tie lines/feeders for the Twin Fan antenna. Although no repairs were made that day, this Saturday he and Ski will again visit the platform to install new carabineers, pulleys and line for the gaffs. If all goes to plan, by the end of the day the Ensign will once again be flying high above the ship.
A third trip to the Radar Platform is being scheduled for a day without visitors so yardarm work, which involves tools and larger material, can be performed. Since the day back in 2000 when we received the ship from the Philly Shipyard the Battleship has been missing her 4-IFF test antennas. Though small compared to other items on the platform, these shoebox-sized ice-cream cone shaped UHF antennas will fill the empty spaces on the yardarms. How did we come to have these antennas now? Simple, we found them during one of our “ship strip weeks” at the shipyard. Of course, moving these things out of a drawer in Avionics to the yardarms which makes Supply Officer Margaret happy.
During the past two workdays more cleanup of our spaces has been accomplished. The above-mentioned Avionics has never looked better, or at least since we started loading it with stuff, Forward I/C is spotless and Radio II is nearly perfect as is FACCON II.
I believe Rich R is ready to re-install the RD-390 tape into its cabinet in CEC. Doug Mc is making headway on CIC. This is a large, long-term project that may seem to progress slowly but will be well worth the effort when completed. During our cleanup last Saturday we moved 4 small rolls of battleship linoleum from Avionics to CIC. Guess where this floor covering came from? Can you spell shipyard?
In the NJ2BB shack Jerry was observed operating the HAM-3 position via his now famous and favorite mode, CW.
Ski indicates that the Captain’s Call system is ready for power to be applied. I need to schedule a meeting with the ship’s Maintenance Director for the power fuses to be installed. Keep your fingers crossed. Old Tom (formerly Too Tall Tom) is chasing down the short between shield and center conductor of the coax feed line for the MARS HF antenna that he uses as a test antenna in GCS.
New Tom, after helping move some items for cleanup reasons, continues with animating the helm station in Central Station. So far he has learned tons about the station but has had zero success with a way to accomplish the task. The problem at hand is how and where to install a sensor of some type that will sense the movement of the steering wheel. Think this is an easy task? Then pay him a visit in Central Station this Saturday; you’ll be sorry.
Mar 01 - Being a major contest weekend (ARRL DX Contest SSB) Bill B took the opportunity to do some “hunt and pounce” operating (7 contacts) looking for foreign stations. He did land several including Croatia. Jerry snagged 16 more contacts using CW. Along the way he did place last week’s two W1AW portable stations into the log.
One problem that has been facing both BNJARS and the ship is what to do with aged rechargeable batteries, such as found in UPS systems. After some serious Internet research a local company has been located that not only buys the type of batteries mentioned above but also accepts, free of charge, used computers. All other companies found on the Internet had a service charge. With this in mind Bill joined Tom and myself in transferring all known batteries to the junk computer compartment on the Main Deck. Learning that the recycle company accepts items only on a scheduled weekday, Chief Carlson has taken on the task of transporting the batteries and computer items to the company. Thanks Chief.
Rich R continues with the installation of a power supply and a proper ON/OFF switch into the RD-390 tape deck.
John’s latest discovery inside the SB-110 6-meter rig is that the previous owner had installed improper final tubes. Replacements are in hand and are being installed.
Despite my best efforts Margaret continues to make progress with the cleanup and organization of our supply section known as Avionics.
Doug Mc continues to make headway with the restoration of CIC (Combat Information Center) located next to Fwd Main Plot. Not to be confused with CEC (Combat Engagement Center) on the O2 Level, CIC has been in existence since the construction of the ship while CEC is a 1982 expansion of the ships facilities. Thanks to the many shipyard raids over the years Doug has been able to install missing items ranging from Red Phone handsets, channel selector boxes, IFF decoder and status boards. One new thing discovered on Saturday is what appears to be a mount for TV monitor that may have been connected to the Pioneer Drone video system. Some cable tracing is needed to confirm the use of this monitor. This video system has already been returned to operation in the plots and CEC.
On Sunday the 2nd I made a solo journey to the ship for the sole purpose of attacking the conditions in Forward I/C. By the end of the workday the compartment is back to an acceptable condition with the exception of a couple of temporary storage bins that will be removed during our next workday. Next on my private cleanup agenda is the Aft I/C shop.
Two weeks ago Ed mentioned an idea about reducing the clutter found at the 4-operating positions in the NJ2BB. Feeling it was a worthwhile idea I gathered the needed material, handed them to Bill B this past Saturday and left the shack. When I returned Bill had done a great job of installing a headphone storage hook above the Han-2, 3 and 5 positions. The Ham-4 positions needs a bit more engineering done. Thanks Ed. Thanks Bill.
Feb 25 - I’ll get to the NJ2BB portion of this report in a moment, but first I have to thank the Saturday regulars who hauled 8 large containers of sound powered phone stuff from Avionics down to the Aft I/C shop. Thanks “Too Tall Tom”, “New Tom” and Ski.
Why the move of sound powered phone stuff? Well, lets go back to day one on the ship when all of us former Navy types felt that the sound powered phones were, and would be, an essential system for the museum life of the BB-62. Therefore, during visits to the former Philly Shipyard we were always on the lookout for SP stuff. Well it turns out that other then some Overnight Encampment demos the phones are not of any real use in the ship’s new life. With space in Avionics becoming a premium item we needed to move the phone stuff to Aft I/C where other phone stuff from an earlier life of the ship are stored. When we were done with the move not only did Beth and Margaret have two empty cabinets but also down in Aft I/C there is no signs that we moved stuff into the compartment.
Speaking of Beth and Margaret, they spent the entire day utilizing the new space to move our shipyard bounty from the deck of Avionics and into more proper storage. This is not to say that the compartment is all neat and pretty, yet, but that the ladies did a great job of separating switches, diodes, resistors, connectors, tubes and junk into more proper bins, including some items finding the circular file. The first job for next Saturday will be to haul those piles of cardboard, pieces and bags to the dumpster.
Now, down to the NJ2BB shack where we find Ed and Jerry warming the atmosphere with signals from NJ2BB. Jerry was operating CW while Ed was on SSB chasing the USS Iowa, NI6BB, during her birthday special event. The countries worked during February include Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, England, USA, Slovak Republic, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Scotland, Romania and Canada. Besides the efforts of Jerry and Ed, some of the countries were from TV Dave operating during a recent Boy Scout Merit Badge Session. Others were due to Bill B being in the shack prior to the start of a workday.
“New Tom”, the former Navy I/C Tech that joined BNJARS at our last general meeting has begun the task of making the Helm Station in Central Station an interactive display. The plan is to have the movement of the steering wheel result in indications that the rudders are responding, ship’s course is changing and the ship’s mileage indication changes as orders are given to the “visitor Helmsman”.
Ski is approaching the end of his job with the Officers Call System, or so he thinks. What started out as a 3 or 4-day job is now in it’s 7th day. Not that Ski is doing anything wrong, but just that the system had so many problems in it. Of course not having any system drawings helped slow down the work pace; Nothing new about not having drawings or manuals when doing this kind of project on a museum ship.
Tom reports the BC-312 playing but has more work needed. Rich R is at the point of installing a power supply and wiring some front panel lights on the RD-390 tape recorder in CEC.
After much research into the power supply for the Heathkit SB-110 6-meter transceiver John has discovered and confirmed a design error in the power supply. A trip down to Avionics provided him with everything needed to correct the 60-year-old errors. At last report we now have a stable power supply for the rig. Hopefully soon this rig can be placed on the air, making that first ever 6-meter contact for the NJ2BB crew and the BB-62.
Joe was spotted below decks cleaning the contactors in the WRT-2 power supply drawer. If I understand my memory cells correctly, this is the last item on his list before returning the drawer to the transmitter. Which of the remaining 4-drawers is next to see the light of Joe’s eye?
Feb 22 - Once again the threat of bad weather held the number of members at the ship to a short list. Oh well, warmer weather is in the future, maybe.
The only operator in the NJ2BB shack this past weekend was yours truly who managed to log W1AW/4 in Georgia and W1AW/9 in Minnesota. These two stations are part of the yearlong celebration of 100 years of the ARRL. The represented states change each Tuesday evening.
Tom was huddled down in GCS working on an Army receiver that was donated to NJ2BB years ago. At the moment the model number escapes me but think of a BC-348 look alike. Ski and New Guy Tom were still in the attack mode while working on the Officers Call system. Along the way they have located and repaired a number of problems with the system. Each repair completed brings them one day closer to adding some new flavor to the Captains Stateroom.
Margaret was still knee deep in parts needing to be placed into proper storage locations within Avionics.
As part of some spring cleanup scheduled for this Saturday we could use an hour from some of the local members. Nothing heavy but we have 3 decks to travel several times.
Feb 1 - The main event in the NJ2BB shack was the sight of Gene H sitting at the Ham-2 position reacquainting himself to his favorite mode, PSK31. Life events have kept Gene out of sight for way too long. Welcome back Gene. And yes Jerry added more CW contacts to the logbook.
Bill B was introduced to the racks of computers, mixers, video and audio amplifiers that handle the A/V portion of the Combat Engagement Center (CEC) experience. First he investigated integrating a battery backup system for the high tech audio amplifier used in the system. This amp uses a LCD display to adjust all of the system sound parameters, however, the internal memory storage “super capacitor” has died of old age. This means that after each and every loss of commercial power, no matter how short in time frame, all the parameters need to be reset. Since we cannot remove the amp from service for troubleshooting, parts purchase and repairs we have decided to add a UPS to the equipment. Bill also added an equipment shelf to one of the racks. I then mounted a TV video monitor connected so that the video seen by the CEC visitors is also available to persons working on the equipment.
Next on his work list was one of the CEC powered sub-woofers that decided that loud 60-cycle hum was more impressive then the sounds of the 16” guns firing on a target. After removing the unit to one of the O2 level shops, Bill discovered that both of the power supply filter capacitors were bad. He found replacements in Avionics but had to leave before repairs could be made, so the actual repairs were completed by Too Tall Tom. The unit has been returned to CEC but now indicate that the amplifier mentioned above needs some more parameters adjusted, thanks to a power outage.
Next on the list of things for this system is the addition of a local “start” button, also for the purpose of aiding anyone working on the system. After discussions with Senior Chief Carlson about this system I learned that drawings and other documentation of this network does not exist, so over the next couple of weeks we will be doing a few hours of wire tracing and drawing creation work.
Ski and team are making steady progress on the Captain’s Drop Annunciator system. Over the weeks we have known of a grounded wire that would have prevented applying power to this system of push buttons, electro-magnets and bells. Well, on Saturday Ski discovered the cause of the grounded wire in the form of a wire smashed between the cover and body of the push button station mounted on the headboard of the Captain’s bed. Ski made quick and proper repairs to this mess. Next we discovered exposed bare wiring in the push button station at the Captain’s deck. We’re beginning to think some crewmember had it in for the Captain back in the late ‘80’s.
After checking on the wind speed and direction system, Bill L joined Joe with work on the power supply drawer for the AN/WRT-2 transmitter. The two moderate sized contactors (relays) used to select RF power levels needed their contacts cleaned, which necessitated the relays be removed from the drawer first. Thank goodness this is not a reoccurring maintenance item.
Margaret and Beth did a top-notch job of sorting through some boxes of donated parts and pieces. Arriving at the ship late last summer, these boxes contained everything from small test equipment, integrated circuits, torrid forms, resistors, RF connectors and RF power transistors. Most of these items are still in their original packaging.
After his own winter induced health problems, Rich E returned to the ship this past weekend and joined John in doing performance sweeps of the new 6-meter antenna and all of the HF antennas. The resulting data plots are now on file in the TTY Office.
After being out of the NJ2BB picture for way too long, Doug Mc has reappeared and taken on the task of helping Chief Carlson with the restoration of CIC. Yes, I said CIC, not CEC. For those not familiar with CIC (Combat Information Center), this compartment predates CEC by 40 years and was the original war center for the ship. Even after the 1982 modernization of the ship, this compartment which is located next to Main Plot Forward was loaded with radar repeaters, plot boards and tables, as well as communication systems which once back in service will be a nice addition to the tour route. Doug’s work lists will keep him busy for months. Now all I have to do is inform Chief Carlson that he has a dedicated helper, finally.
Not to be left out of this weeks report I add that Rich R is making final adjustments to the recreated belt drive system in the RD-390 tape recorder that belongs in CEC. After waking up some of the front panel lamps this unit will add some more flavor to the CEC experience of our guests.
The typewriter shelf for Ham-3 has been installed and tested. Now to find a local storage point for this removable shelf for the times when its use is not needed. This Saturday will see the addition of a pull out slide mount for the computer monitor at the Ham-2 operation position. This is an effort to make operating a little easier for our members who have sight problems. Mounted on full extension, ball bearing rails this mount is easy to move in and out so as to adjust the distance between the monitor and the operator’s eyes. I'm positive that final adjustments to the design will be needed before placing a completion check mark next to this item on the NJ2BB work list.
Jan 11 - As has been the new sequence for these weekly updates, first we check out the news from the NJ2BB shack. Jerry spent the day at the Ham-3 position operating CW, sometimes in a heavy pileup condition. He did go on a search and contact mission to find and work the two ARRL special event stations that are on the air this week. W1AW-7 in Utah and W1AW-4 from South Carolina are now in our logbook. For those not aware of this year long special event, the ARRL is celebrating 100 years by allowing selected Hams in each of the 50 states to use the W1AW call sign for 2 one week periods during the year. This event is very coordinated as to dates, modes and bands by both the League and the state representatives. All the details are available at the On-The-Air section of WWW.ARRL.ORG.
Jerry made enough contacts to pass Ron R on the Top Twenty Operators list. He is now slightly, 3 Q’s, behind Fred M. Any bets on what will happen next Saturday? Since Jerry is having so much fun using the “mill” for coping his CW contacts I have offered to add a removal mill shelf to the left of the Ham-3 operating position. By design it will take only about 30-seconds to install the shelf when needed and even less time to remove when not using the mill; no tools required, batteries not included.
As any of our Saturday work party members can attest to, when a piece of ship’s equipment or one of her systems is returned to life after these decades of silence, I turn into a giddy little kid, all happy and doing a terrible imitation of a little dance. On Saturday Rich Rauth saw this action when he showed me his progress with the RD-390 tape recorder from CEC. Turning on the 12-volt DC power supply the two tape reels began a nice medium speed of rotation as if they where doing their intended purpose. More work is needed before the unit is back in CEC providing that often referred to “flavor” of a compartment. Hey Rich, sorry about my reactions, NOT!
Because of my involvement with other jobs I did not get any time with Tom but he was working on something. John continues with his quest to find the cause of the instability of the finals in the SB-110 6-meter transceiver. More news as it develops.
Ski’s work on restoring the Captain’s Pantry/Orderly Drop Annunciator system has taken on a new life of it’s own. This is basically a very simple system that needs to be wire verified for safety reasons before it can be powered up. Well now, in the distant past, this system was connected with the Flag Pantry/Orderly Drop Annunciator system, which was removed during the 80’s modernization of the BB-62 but some connection boxes remain and need to be inspected also. Why restore this simple system of bells and little windows with messages on them? Ever hear of “flavor of the compartment”?
Jan 04, 2014 - Saturday was the day our operators provided communications with the Boy Scout Radio Merit Badge class that had assembled at The College of New Jersey. Harry stood the radio watch till noon, when Bill B took the duty. In all, the BB-62 supplied the on-air requirement for 39 Scouts.
John investigated the claim of low output power for the Heathkit SB-110 6-meter rig. It turns out that the external inline power meter we had been using is way out of wack. He also noted that the driver for the final tubes seems to be a little unstable. More troubleshooting is needed for this concern. Tom was once again troubleshooting another spare power supply module for the 1MC system.
Bill L is happy with the latest repairs to the Wind Speed Integrator. He is still looking for the proper replacement gears. Any one out there know of a source of phosphorous bronze pinion stock?
Ski spent the day working with one of the ship’s “Drop Annunciator” systems, verifying the safety of the system prior to re-energizing the device. Of course he don’t have any form of drawings or tech manual.
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