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k6fvc
19 set 2018

MIDI Motor Failure when Tuning - Solved

5 commenti

Modificato il: 26 set 2018

I have previously posted under another subject, Antenna Detection Failure. However now after several changes, I am down to just one failure, intermittent 80m to 40m tuning. This occurs after a 'reset procedure' that I devised in which the SWR steady increases after several tuning cycles until there is Motor Failure when tuning only from 80m to 40m.

 

I have had my antenna for almost 2 weeks and have only for a few short hours at a time that are problem free. It's very frustrating for me because when the antenna works, it works very well.

 

There are two changes I made which stopped other occasional problems such as high SWR and Antenna detection failure. 1) Removed any bends or excessive curves in the motor control cable and antenna wires, 2) Added ferrite RF chokes to all cables connected to my ATU (except the antenna cables) and my rotor control box.

 

I am also having a problem with extended semi-auto tuning times ranging from 5 seconds to over a minute.

 

My radio is a FTDX-3000D.

 

My reset procedure is to unplug the ATU for 15 minutes - then opening and closing the antenna in Debug Mode. This always fails the first time with an ATU power reset or Motor Failure error when opening from fully closed at high speed. To complete the first cycle I have to use slow speed when opening the antenna in Debug mode. Once I cycle the antenna in Debug mode a couple of times, I can successfully run Auto Detect Antenna. Finally, I am able to use the antenna system normally for a few hours until the problem occurs again.

 

Has anyone else had this problem? What was done to resolve it?

 

k6fvc
19 set 2018Ultima modifica: 19 set 2018

Repeatable results:

1) In all cases, moving from a fully open position (20m) to the mid-position (40m) or to a fully closed position (80m), the SWR is always lower (less than 2) and I do not get any type of tuning or motor failure.

2) In all cases, moving from a fully closed position (80m) to the mid-position (40m) or to a fully open position (20m), the SWR is always higher (greater than 2 for 40m) and this is typically when I get a tuning or motor failure.

3) I can recover from a motor failure by utilizing debug mode and fully opening and closing the antenna several times.

 

Help is Appreciated. If you have had this problem and have fixed it, please let me know.

 

 

k6fvc
24 set 2018

I made a wiring change recommended by the support folks at Ciro.This seemed to reduce my errors further. Although I did have 3 X Motor Load failures on Saturday, I was able to simply press "Enter" in semi-auto tune and on the second try, the antenna tuned just fine. So no more resets or needing to use debug mode to get the antenna to operate. Later in the evening I participated in a contest for about 3 hours (switching bands and frequencies quite frequently) without any issues.

 

I have a found that if the antenna tunes to an SWR that's higher than desirable, that it will on occasion retune to a lower SWR by just pressing "Enter" again (waiting for the antenna to retune each time) in semi-auto mode. One one occasion, I was able to reduce the SWR by 5 points.

 

I used the antenna lightly on Sunday with no failures. I was able to listen in on South Africa, Australia, and Indonesia clearer and louder than my trusty wire dipole 35 feet up in the backyard. I could not make a QSO as they could not hear me with either antenna through the pile ups during the short time that the conditions were good. At this time I am running 100 watts. I have made lots of contacts across the CONUS with great reports.

 

 

 

k6fvc
26 set 2018Ultima modifica: 25 ott 2018

Here is my report for the last four of days with light use of the antenna system (1-2 hours of daily use). 

Things seem to have settled down quite a bit. No more Motor Failures and tuning issues from 20m to 40m have disappeared,  and from my QTH in California I made a QSO with South Africa. 

Since my last report I have made two changes;

1) Put ferrite beads on my numerous USB cables on the computer side of the cables. - These cables connect to both of my radios, rotor,  Signalinks, and UPS. 

2) There was about 1 foot of extra antenna wire near the bottom of the base of the antenna mast below the rotor. It had a gentle 1/3 to 1/2 loop. I cut the cable and added a new connector to eliminate the excess cable. 3) Attached is a picture of the rerouted the cables connecting into the antenna per the recommendation from technical support.

The only issue that remains is the excessive time that it takes for the red light to come on for semi-auto tune. There is quite a spread from 3-50 seconds.  When tuning up to and within the 20m band, it can take as long as 50 seconds. Fastest seems on the lower bands, but I haven’t been able to identify a repeatable pattern. This is a known problem with Yaesu radios that technical support is working to address.

Finally, here is a link to a short 3 min YouTube video I made about my antenna.https://youtu.be/usjflq_oOUA

k6fvc
10 dic 2018Ultima modifica: 10 dic 2018

I would like to provide an update after owning my antenna for several months now.

 

1) The results for this antenna of both transmit and receive exceed my folded dipole in all cases. I constantly make contacts across the globe. Granted, this is not a beam yagi, but it does extremely well for the small footprint.

2) When the system works, it works very well.

3) Although the antenna system is expensive, if you're like me and can't put up a tower and operate primarily on 40m and 20m, the investment is worth it. However, be ready to make some accommodations and accept some quirks.

a) Despite making an investment in time and materials to move my antenna away from all structures, to help eliminate persistant intermittent problems, I continue to have the same intermittent problems with the actuator and ATU. The move has made no noticeable difference in operation.

b) My problems are almost always when moving to or from 80m.

c) Occasionally the ATU will perform a power on reset

d) Occasionally, primarily during high humidity or during rainy times, I will get a Motor Failure error as the actuator will not operate (no blue light). I can resolve this condition 100% of the time by entering manual mode to open and close the antenna to 'get it moving again'.

 

The antenna is installed to or exceeding spec -

High quality 12G ATU wire

DX Engineering 400MAX Low-Loss 50-ohm Coaxial Cable

All connections are solid and weatherproof

No cable loops or interfering equipment

Excellent grounding

Antenna is installed 130 feet from my shack and 80 feet from any metal structures or large buildings

 

I believe because of the high-tech design, the sensitivity of the ATU system is such that water vapor and atmospheric conditions affect the capacitance of the air capacitor and hence the tuning of the antenna which is contributing to the intermittent failures and problems I have been experiencing. I also believe that these errors can be mitigated with tweaks to the ATU firmware. For me, this is evidenced by the detailed longer tuning sequence when tuning for 20m (which I never have had tuning errors or high SWR) versus the shorter abbreviated 80m tuning cycle (which I experience the most frequent errors and high SWR). It seems that the 80m tuning cycle just, "gives up" too soon. I rarely have had any issues with 40m tuning or SWR.

 

So the Ciro MIDI antenna is much like a beloved family member; you love them and adore them for all they do for you and accept their occasional shortcomings and quirks.

k6fvc
gen 24

The problems I was experiencing was related to an assembly error on my part. All problems have been resolved.

 

Moral of the story is to carefully check and verify all assembly steps.

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