I want to take this opportunity to thank the senior members allowing me to jump in the Mike Area Maintenance activity for the Romeo maintenance.
AP2NK, AP2MF, AP2CJ were very helping and did tons on knowledge sharing.
To begin i was exited since Thursday since AP2MF called to me ask if i can join in the activity and my excitement did not mellow down since. Started at 6:00 am on Sunday, had a quick breakfast, gather the basic tools and head of to AP2NK home-base.
Got to meet the members there and then my jaws dropped when i saw the AP2NK shack, though i had seen a such setup in pictures only, it was an amazing scene to see it in person. then the antenna(s) setup just blew my mind.
Headed our to Mike area and reached there in about 45 minutes (though this was the most sane driving I've ever done as Nasir Sb was sitting next to me).
After reaching the Mike area, we unloaded and started with the Romeo setup investigation. Nasir Sb, Akif bhai and Pinks started to investigate and found out that the PS, and repeater were fried, and the battery was drained to 7 volts. Sent the battery to the charging station and the team started on the Romeo setup, stripped up everything, and started with the replacement amplifier, which eventually did not work. DC power was extended from the Romeo unit for the AMP, but as the amplifier did not work, it was left for future purpose. Eventually the setup was re-rigged with removing the amp, and the filter and power was cranked up to 20 watts.
Next we moved to the Rx antenna and replaced the old coax with the new one on the antenna, and tested the receive quality, AP2MF was in contact with Papa area, and Indigo area and testing quality, we learned the English alphabets and also learned some maths in English and Urdu
Next we moved to the main tower site with the replacement antenna. AP2CJ and Myself split-ted the antenna parts, secured the tools and started climbing. Reached to the mid platform and started assembling the antenna as per AP2NK instructions and markings. Once assembled, we informed AP2MF to power down Romeo and on confirmation, started disassembling the antenna, found out that the cable was bent a bit more than normal, and informed base. Installed the new antenna, once secured, we inspected the cable connectors and saw a lot of charring and blacked out parts. AP2CJ advised that it should be cleaned, and using a screwdriver we cleaned it and connected the cable to the Antenna.
Not to forget, AP2AM (Asad Marwat) was in constant contact from Myanmar and provided constant support and coordination with members. Primary mode was whatsapp group that was setup by AP2CJ a day back which is now quiet active.
AP2MF started testing with the Papa area and Alpha area and the quality was not up to mark, we adjusted the antenna in length and angles but eventually it was decided by team that we should put the original antenna back. It was blackened out as well on the connector, and we found a piece of metal wire and cleaned it. this process took good 2-3 hours, AP2CJ and myself decided to stay up the tower, gup shup and enjoyed the view, while sun bathing side by side
On testing we figured that the signal strength was better with the connector service, loosening up the bend on the cable & increasing the power of the Romeo Unit. Started to dismantle the antenna and secured the tools and started to climb down, which was a bit challenging as the antenna poles kept getting stuck on way down in loose wires on the ladder.
We had snacks, thanks to AP2NK for the sandwiches and water and then later had tea. Our host at PTV station was very supportive and helpful and his hospitality was simply superb.
On our way out we saw the Rx antenna to be a bit flimsy on the joint (brown area) but we left it as it is.
All in all it was a successful trip and we had the Romeo site fully functional by the time we left. I had a lot of learning through this activity, special thanks to AP2CJ for letting me work on tower site at the Romeo setup, I can understand that this is a very precious setup and no in-experienced person are allowed to touch it, I am honored by the team to let me work hands on and letting me gain experience on a live setup.
Our journey way back was quiet comfortable and we reached around 6 pm, took out all the gear and adios'ed ourselves.
I am looking forward to further opportunities to work with the team. I personally believe that more members should participate in these activities specially new members who do not know how a such large scale setup functions.
PARS team, keep up the good work.
Alpha Sierra Nancy Victor (Abdus Samad Nazir Vaid)