[CQ-Contest] Re:The Station Notebook

Fred Hopengarten k1vr at juno.com
Sun Aug 15 19:32:56 EDT 2004

> >Do you keep a Station Notebook?  

> >What parameters do you keep track of?  Which do you
> >find the most useful for troubleshooting antenna or
> >station problems?  How do you organize the data?

> > I have separate folders 
> >for tower, antennas, rigs, antenna switching, and non-station 
> >stuff like DXCC etc.

I keep a chronological lab notebook, as if I were taking an engineering
course in college. It has large boxes (i.e., graph paper) on the entire
page (which is handy for drawing straight lines for diagrams). I left the
front four pages untouched to create a Table of Contents or Index. I also
make a note in the left hand column as to what the subject matter of the
note may be. Example of something you'd find in the left hand margin: "2
EL 80"

I record SWR curves, but feel that there are other very important things
to record. #1: Findings when I climb the tower. (Example:  Hmmm. Was that
a missing nut on the middle antenna, or the lower one? The station log
knows.) #2: Color codes for cabling (Example: When the rotator wire gets
into the shack, the jumper to one rotator control box has a different
color code.) #3: I hand write into the log batch files for CT in various
configurations (SOLP, SOA, M/S, etc.) #4 If I break the station apart to
do M/S, and wish to return it to SOA, the log has the cabling diagram. 
#5: Antenna tuner readings.
#6: Pictorial diagrams of which coax plugs in where outdoors (as printed
labels fade with the passage of time in the outdoors). #7: Service notes
on Beverage antennas. Sooner or later, my Beverage boxes let water in, or
something develops a lot of oxidation. It is good to know which of my six
Beverage boxes was replaced or repaired, and when, and what I found when
I did it. It is more likely that a Beverage box that is seven years old
has failed than a Beverage box which is one year old. I also record
splicing records. After the station log shows that a particular Beverage
has been spliced six or more times, it is probably time to put up new
wire rather than to splice.  #8: Histories on mysteries. These histories
help to answer the really tough ones. Example: Years ago, when I was a
very early adopter of the TIC Ring, bad things happened when I
transmitted on the 40 meter beam (rotated by the TIC Ring) at 1 KW.
People kept offering suggestions. "Try this, try that." After a while,
when it still wasn't soilved with the easy suggestions, it became
difficult for me to remember which suggestions I had tried already. WIth
a good station log, I was able to answer: "Been there, done that." In the
end, TIC solved the problem, and I'm told that the RFI problem has
remained solved ever since (ultimate solution, an aluminum shielding
around the motor). I've been very happy with my TIC Ring, much happier
than I have been with my side-mounted HAM IV. But the station log really
made it possible to track down and solve the problem.

The first four pages have entries such as: 2 EL 80: 14, 21, 21, 23, 30,
52. This permits me to quicklly reference work on a particular station

Yes, I also keep subject matter files.  

Hope this helps.

Fred Hopengarten K1VR     hopengarten at post.harvard.edu
Six Willarch Road
Lincoln, MA 01773-5105
781/259-0088, FAX 419/858-2421 www.antennazoning.com

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list