Calgary Amateur Radio Association

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CARA Communications Trailer

  • 30 May 2018 10:18 AM
    Reply # 6273264 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

     On Friday morning, after 09:00, I will be monitoring VE6RYC as I prepare to take the communications trailer out to the proposed new HF site by DeWinton. 

    For those who want to see where the trailer is stored, and how it is hooked up to a vehicle, if properly equipped, I can do a demonstration.  Included in the demo will be how to use the MANDATORY electric trailer brakes on the trailer.

    If anyone cannot make it out to the HF site over the weekend, I can do a quick orientation on the trailer at the storage place before towing it away.

    Those interested can meet me at the Calgary West Campground office at 09:00 this Friday morning. Address:  221 101 St SW, Calgary

    If you are a bit late, call me on VE6RYC, and I can let you in at the locked storage gate which is 200 metres south of the campground office on 101 Street SW.

    Don't forget to review the trailer user manual "Technical Reference Manual" which is posted on-line on the CARA web site. 

    Are you an amateur radio operator but not a member of the Calgary Amateur Radio Club (CARA) yet?  It not necessary to be a member of CARA to come see the trailer or be a participant at the HF site over the weekend.

    Any other questions or comments, post them here, or contact me at .

  • 11 Apr 2018 10:02 PM
    Reply # 6095877 on 6081178
    Dave Cason (Administrator)
    Hi Peter,
    Yep, it's gonna stay where it is and we're going to clean up the inverter noise and get a 12v lighting system in it .....
    Peter LaGrandeur wrote:

    I have asked the Exec Committee to leave the trailer where it is for the summer.  It is fine there with good access for 2WD vehicles, and it is close to the areas west of the city where it is used.  But we definitely have to find another place for it for next winter.

  • 10 Apr 2018 7:34 AM
    Reply # 6081233 on 5742135
    Harry Maylor (Administrator)

    Good job Peter on the trailer work.  I have removed all my comments from this discussion as we should not be responding here on the open public forum.  Responses should be posted in members only section.

  • 10 Apr 2018 7:03 AM
    Reply # 6081178 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

    Hi Harry, sure, all those who plan to tow the trailer should be able to try it out ahead of time.  This Tekonsha electronic brake controller works the same as any industry standard inertia-actuated brake controller with adjustable voltage control to control the brake grabbiness.

    Yes, as mentioned below, the controller is in the BedNet protective bag at the front of the trailer, hanging up at the front.  I can find another container, too.

    Please plan to adapt your vehicle with a 7 pin RV connector with a power wire from your battery.  Please do not run jury-rigged wiring into the trailer power system to run the electric brakes.

    I have asked the Exec Committee to leave the trailer where it is for the summer.  It is fine there with good access for 2WD vehicles, and it is close to the areas west of the city where it is used.  But we definitely have to find another place for it for next winter.

    Yes, in terms of someone forgetting to put the RF controller back into the trailer, that could be a problem.  The controller can also be plugged into a 12 Volt socket power port in the trailer, with the braking force pre set.  I've already installed a 12 V socket next to the RigRunner for that.  See attached pic.

    Last modified: 10 Apr 2018 7:17 AM | Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)
  • 09 Apr 2018 10:40 AM
    Reply # 6079174 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

    Comm Trailer Batteries - Tested and Found to be in Great Shape!

    At Disaster Alley last year, there was some concern about the way the trailer's three Trojan Group 31 AGM 100 Ah batteries seemed to be discharging at a rate faster than expected.  The batteries are now five years old.  So, I took the batteries out and had them tested at the shop that supplied them to us originally.  It takes around ten hours per battery for an exhaustive load, recycling, and recharging test protocol. The report came back this morning.  The results were very good.  They all easily charge to a full 13.9Volts.  As for capacity, referring to how much Amp-hour reserve the batteries have, here are the results: 

    Battery 1 - 71 Ah

    Battery 2 - 74 Ah

    Battery 3 - 79 Ah. 

    So, the batteries are in very good shape.  Probably a tribute to using good batteries like Trojans.

    The battery shop does not recommend replacing them yet.

    This battery testing was done free for CARA by Battery World on Barlow Trail NE, compliments of Ken Waldron, manager.  Normally there is a cost for this.  Perhaps, in return, HAM radio people can take their battery business to Battery World and say hi and thanks to Ken.

    So, as to the question as to why the batteries discharge at a faster rate than normal, it will be due to other components in the system that draw power just to run themselves.  Solution to that coming in the upcoming fine tuning to the trailer power system.

    Last modified: 13 Apr 2018 9:29 AM | Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)
  • 09 Apr 2018 10:22 AM
    Reply # 6079110 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

    Hi Harry, this electronic trailer brake controller is industry standard for consumer level trailer systems e.g. boats, holiday camper trailers, etc.. 

    The system works off the inertia sensor, which is located in the newly mounted Tekonsha black box on the trailer hitch.  There are no gyros.  The handheld console contains only things like the thumbwheel which controls the voltage (braking force) sent to the trailer brakes.  It also has the manual brake actuator button on it to manually apply the brakes.  The handheld unit contains no brake sensing or inertia sensing. 

    The in-vehicle handheld unit plug inserts into the 12 V cigarette lighter power port on the tow vehicle's dash.

    Last modified: 16 Apr 2018 1:51 PM | Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)
  • 08 Apr 2018 9:07 PM
    Reply # 6053360 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

    Solar System for Comm Trailer

    Since this is the blog central for the Communications Trailer, I will add a link here to the photos I shared last fall on the newly installed solar system.  This trickle charge system was implemented to protect the three Trojan 12 Volt Group 31 AGM 100 Ah (each) batteries in the trailer, connected in parallel.  I have been monitoring the state of charge of the batteries over the winter, and can happily report that the batteries have been at a steady 13.9 volts ever since!    :-)    Success!

    Last modified: 16 Apr 2018 1:53 PM | Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)
  • 08 Apr 2018 8:43 PM
    Reply # 6053339 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

    Spring 2018 Upgrades for CARA Communications Trailer

    Over the last while, a large number of suggestions have come forth asking for improvements on bugginess, functionality, safety, and ease of use of the Comm Trailer.  This includes making the trailer user friendly and functional in cold Canadian winters.   I am making up a task plan and budget for submission to the Exec Committee.  Most of these involve minimal expense, so I am hoping these can be accomplished before Field Day this year.  Stay tuned ...

    Keep your suggestion coming in!

    Last modified: 08 Apr 2018 9:17 PM | Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)
  • 08 Apr 2018 8:37 PM
    Reply # 6053338 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

    Technical Reference Manual Updates

    I shall update the Communications Trailer's Technical Reference Manual soon with the updates outlined below ...

    On the CARA web site, look under the ‘Operating’ pull down menu.  You'll see the listing "Communications Trailer."

    Last modified: 13 Apr 2018 9:36 AM | Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)
  • 08 Apr 2018 8:36 PM
    Reply # 6053336 on 5742135
    Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)

    Trailer User Orientation

    It is the intent to bring users of the CARA Communications Trailer up to speed with its features and functions as fast and as intuitively as possible.  To that end, I have posted Notices throughout the trailer, including one on the exterior, on things users need to know about effectively, safely, and expeditiously utilizing it.  Please see the following folder:

    Last modified: 13 Apr 2018 9:32 AM | Peter LaGrandeur (Administrator)
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