When I was in France the other week I preempted an imminent SOTA equipment failure. One of my antennas uses a small loading coil, or two coils in series with a shorting link attached by crocodile clips. Both coils for 30m, the small coil for 20m and no coils for 17-10m. Anyway one of the fly leads, made from the shielding of RG58 flattened was breaking up. I was able to borrow a large soldering iron from my brother-in-law such that I could bodge a repair which held for the rest of the expedition.
So yesterday, I removed the old fly-leads and made some new ones out of an off-cut of some wonderful Teflon insulated multi-stranded silver-plated cable. This is kink free and very flexible and two runs in parallel forms a nice strong fly-lead. I was able to make a much better soldered connection after cleaning up the corrosion on the terminals. A new shorting link made from the same cable completed the repair. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I’m packing up ready for a business trip next week followed by 4 days SOTAing in OK and probably SP with WX looking nice. I looked at the coil and for no good reason found myself with the Ohm meter checking the continuity. Hey… this has just been fixed why is it open circuit? Well one of the wires from the 30m coil wasn’t actually connected having popped off when I was cleaning the corrosion. A quick zapping with the iron and we’re back in business.
I have no idea why I didn’t check it when I did the re-work yesterday but I’m glad I did today. Sure something could have been bodged but it’s so much easier to give the gear a check over when you have time rather than panicking when you are 1800km from your shack workbench! Suffice to say, lots of other stuff is being carefully checked as it gets transferred from the UK-SOTA bag into the EU-SOTA bag!
Fail to prepare… prepare to fail. As they say (much to Tom M1EYP’s annoyance.)