Thursday, March 26, 2009

What is this?

Here’s an object for sale at a local market. You see them being used in many places around Banda Aceh. What is it? I’ll provide an answer tomorrow.

Hint: It’s nothing medical … :-)

I just got back from a stay in Jakarta where we installed two radio systems at the PMI (Palang Merah Indonesia) HQ.

The antenna's were installed at the top of this four story building occupied by PMI.

Wonderful view looking down from the roof.

The HF antenna was hoisted up using a commercial tower and the VHF antenna was mounted onto the top of a standard IFRC 30’ mast which we put up on the top of the structure covering the (blue) stairwell. The antenna cables were fed down to ground level and then across to the radio room in a converted sea container (top of the picture) next to the HQ building.

All went as well as can be expected, without the assistance of my expert installers in Banda Aceh, with 90 degree temperatures, and 90% humidity - talk about sweat – I drank a lot of water, nobody wanted to sit beside me on the trip back to the hotel! The VHF radio tested fine but the HF radio is giving me problems. All of the equipment is new but the radio just won’t produce anywhere near its rated output. Unfortunately I had to leave to return to Banda Aceh so I’ll be debugging the HF radio when I return to Jakarta on April 7th. Obviously, the problem lies in one of the three major components: radio, antenna cable, or antenna. It's figuring out which one that will be the challenge.

Very frustrating.

Today and tomorrow I’ll try to wrap up some sites in Banda Aceh then it’s off to the island of Simeulue to move an HF radio from the Australian Red Cross HQ to the PMI chapter building.

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