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Author Topic: Equipment AAR:: OE-254/GRC antenna system  (Read 5043 times)
aswayze
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« on: April 14, 2010, 06:02:20 am »



Item:  OE-254/GRC field antenna

The plan:  

We planned to pack the OE-254 antenna along as a backup but not actually deploy it this year.  With the truck mounted antennas in abundance, we did not actually need the system and although we had deployed it every East Wind prior to this one just for looks I did not feel that we could justify the effort and risk of damaging/losing parts just for looks.  The plan was not popular amongst NATO troops who largely regard putting up the OE-254 as sort of a Eiffel Tower that defines the coolness of the NATO camp.  

The performance:  

With the vehicle antennas attached to vehicles that could not actually get into the AO, it was quickly determines that the OE-254 was needed.  (Really needed since it actually interfaces with our current radio systems)  Ben Kelley deployed the system but found that a critical pole section was missing.  A substitute was found and employed in place of the missing component then the antenna was put on line.  The OE-254 feed line and system interfaces perfectly with the URC-111V radio and comms were obscenely good.
  
Traditionally, the OE-254 is severely damaged on tear down day and many parts are lost that take me an entire year to source again.  (hence why I did not want to employ the system unless ABSOLUTELY needed).  This time around, tear down of the antenna was again a goat rope and the antenna was poorly packed with many parts not coming apart due to galvanic corrosion (we were actually running current through it this year) and the rest sprinkling out of the bag or loose packed in the M-101 trailer.  This caused me considerable distress but in the end actually worked out ok since for the first time, NO parts were lost at all and the antenna was actually in pretty good shape.    

The issues/fixes:  

Missing part.  The missing link pole (that is not on the packing list by the way) is up in my attic.  I’ll add it to the manufacturers packing list and put it in with everything when I repack the antenna today (took it all apart for cleaning).

Poles, antennas sticking together.  The manual clearly says to use silicone dielectric grease on all joints.  We had not done this in the past and had never had any issues.  I think the assumption was that this was needed as an anti-seize for longer term deployments or to calm corrosion issues when used with the higher powered VRC-12 sets.  I never thought we would have issues with little 5 watt URC sets but boy was I ever wrong…  I added a tube of grease to the set; we need to make sure we use it as it is QUITE needed.  I actually had to use my lathe to get the antenna rays unscrewed without marring them, I think a tube of grease is a lot lighter to take into the field than the lathe is.  
Attention to detail when repacking.  Everything in the OE-254 case has a place.  Parts do not get lost if everything goes into it’s spots.  I am going to laminate up a packing diagram and stuff it in the case and will look at options for labeling the specific locations in the case as well.  Even if it’s just Silver Sharpie pens, we need to note them somehow or another.  

Case is getting a little shappy looking as well.  We need to repair or replace it soon or we will start sprinkling hard to replace components on the ground.  

Overall:  

I think we should sustain use of this system.  It is really optimized for the Sincgars system and given that I expect to have at least one PRC-119 Sincgars on hand for next year, we may as well plan to deploy this again.  We just need to pay real close attention to it and give it the respect it deserves, these are hard to get and fairly expensive systems and they are well worth it, just ask Abica who I promise you would love nothing more than an antenna that he could use between 30-88 Mhz without tuning or adjustments.  That’s really quite a piece of gear!  

« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 05:06:11 am by aswayze » Logged
aswayze
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 05:20:19 am »

Bag is repaired, adaptor is added, and all of the funny little slots now have both what goes in them stenciled on there as well as a outline of the part for those of you who do not know what a BNC adaptor looks like.   I reinforced the wear prone sections of the transit bag using the heavy duty tarp repair tape Trucker turned me on to.  That stuff is tough as nails and should do the trick nicely.   

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aswayze
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2010, 07:56:35 pm »

Picture is worth a thousand words:

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d.thomas
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2010, 06:38:06 am »

that looks awesome
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Dave Thomas -tamer of the ferret - keeper of ELMO
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