My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Monday, July 17, 2006

digipeater down

I have been distracted the last few days recovering from my recent adventures in colonoscopy, and I just discovered that my APRS digipeater, WA1LOU, is down. In fact, it has been off the air since Saturday morning.

On Wednesday, I assume that an electrical surge on the phone line took out the DSL modem and perhaps, the wifi base station at home. Thunderstorms were in the forecast, but Laurie does not recall any storms passing through. She might have been away grocery shopping when a storm passed through.

I replaced the modem and wifi on Thursday and everything was back to normal. For some reason, the voice telephone equipment was not affected.

I am not sure whether the wifi base station is bad or not. I had a spare and it was easier to diagnose the system problem with a known working component (the spare wifi) then try to diagnose the problem with multiple potential bad components. I will check out the questionable wifi base station later.

I also found that my Peet Ultimeter 2100 weather station was out of commission, too. Its front panel was blank. Pushing its power button did not bring it back to life. I assumed that it also had been affected by whatever damaged the DSL modem.

For the heck of it, I replaced the 9-volt battery in the 2100 that provides backup power in case of a power outage. Surprisingly, the 2100 came back to life and has been working correctly after I ran it through its set-up procedures. Go figure!

While I was working in the shack Saturday morning, I heard a clicking sound that was not normal. After a brief investigation, I found the source to be the power meter connected to the WA1LOU digipeater transceiver. Each time the transceiver transmitted, the power meter pinged the high end of the scale and caused the click.

Originally, I had set the transmitter for about 25 watts out and had set the power meter accordingly, but now the transmitter was transmitting full power (about 50 watts out) and pinging the incorrectly set power meter.

I assume that whatever damaged the DSL modem must have affected the transceiver, too, resetting the transmitter output to its default value (50 watts out). None of the other options in the transceiver seemed affected, but I did have a difficult time resetting the transmitter output option. I have only had this radio (a Yaesu TM-621A) for a month and had set up its options once, so I don't remember if I had the same difficulty then.

While dealing with the radio problem, I must have messed up some setting or did not connect a cable correctly because indicates that my digi is among the missing. My guess is that I did not seat the module plug in the radio's connector properly (that connection mates the radio to the TNC). I now recall that it is a very tight connection and I had to be sure that the plug was inserted all the way into the socket, not just seated on the lip of the socket, and thus, not making an electrical connection. Hopefully, that is all that is wrong and that I will be able to correct the problem later today.

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