Monte & Darlene Visit Chattanooga PAGE 284. 

November 16, 2008:  The aerial sights are continued with one last shot of the mountains and NO reflections from inside the canopy.  Wendell was also flying closer for this one.  The photo is not cropped, only shrunk to 960x720 pixels to fit the page.
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We headed west for Mcminnville, Tennessee to get some bargain-priced AVGAS, then headed for home before the sun could get too low for a flight through the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee River.  We flew the river from West to East arriving in Chattanooga with a flyby of Raccoon Mountain reservoir seen in the photo below.  The low sun angle emphasized the red hues of the forest around Raccoon Mountain.  We skirted Chattanooga Class C airspace with Lookout Mountain off the right wing on the way back to Folks Field before sunset could catch us still in the air.
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November 23, 2008:  I have been working on the past few pages about Monte and Darlene's visit for the past two days.  I have had other things to do of course, but I wanted to be sure to get all this stuff published before this Sunday was over.  A total of 45 photos and maps filled the four new pages added today.  I have updated the Hobb's meter readings on the home page to show the 2.3 hours flown last Sunday, November 16th.

I went over to the hangar today just after Wendell and his wife returned from Savannah, Georgia.  They flew down there for the weekend and returned this afternoon.   He has been having problems with his alternator and will remove it tomorrow and take it to a local shop for service. 

I went to the hangar to check out why Darlene could not talk on my radio during last Sunday's flight.  I also had some problems with my SL-30 with intermittent COM FAILURE messages displayed.  The radio would continue to transmit and receive on the last valid frequency entered, but could not be changed to a new frequency.  If I turned the radio off and back on, Wendell could still hear me, but I could not receive his replies.  I powered up my portable radio and confirmed with Wendell that we would fly directly to Mcminnville for fuel.  The radio came to life again upon departing Mcminnville, but again gave the COM FAILURE error message.  I talked with John at Garmin AT the other day about the issue.  He told me to pull the unit out of the basket and re-install it to see if a bad connection could be the problem.  I did that, but the problem came back.  Today, I was checking the set up of the radio to transmit from BOTH microphones.  When I discovered it was configured properly, I checked the PTT button for the passenger joy stick and found that was not working.  I brought the stick home and fixed the broken wire on the kitchen table.

December 1, 2008: My weekend attempts to revive my SL-30 COM radio have failed.  Since the unit was out of warranty, I opened it up and checked the internal ribbon cable connections and looked for anything "obvious" to an electronics engineer.  Everything was in its place and nothing rattled, as in loose surface-mount parts that came off the board.  I packed up the unit and sent it back to Garmin AT in Salem, Oregon on my lunch hour break.   Here are some photos I took before I packed the unit.  If you own one of these units and never had a look inside, here is your chance.  The unit has two large circuit boards inside running the full length of the chassis.  The four large metal shield cans closest to the camera are all on the NAV receiver board.  There are actually TWO receivers here, one for the VOR and Localizer reception, and a second one for the glide slope to fly an ILS approach.  The COM radio is on the circuit board that has the microprocessor and the open shielded areas, plus the three electrolytic filter capacitors (black, blue, black cylinders).  The COM antenna connection is at the upper right side of the photo.  The VOR/ILS antenna connector is at the bottom right side of the photo.
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This photo is looking at the front of the COM radio circuit board.  That ribbon cable with the red-striped wire was why I opened the unit to check for a possible intermittent connection.  I had opened the unit over the weekend and made sure the cable and its connectors at both ends were properly seated.  I gave the entire unit a good visual inspection looking for something that might be a cold solder joint, but found nothing visible on the main circuit boards.  I did not get out my soldering iron to do anything since this is a very densely packed board.  I have worked on other products with surface-mount components, but only in my field of expertise, broadband CATV RF amplifiers.
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That white round device with the four gold-plated tabs soldered to the circuit board is a 50-watt rated RF power FET from Polyfet.  The SL-30 RF output power is only 8-watts.  There is not much danger of blasting that FET when it is operating at less than 20% of its rated output capability.
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This is the rear end of the unit where all the I/O connections occur with power, RS-232 data, PTT, and GI-106 resolver connections.  There are a couple of wires that were probably added to my unit when it was factory-serviced last year for a repair and upgrades.
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December 6, 2008: I have been out of town for a few days this past week with a road trip to Miami University of Ohio.  My day job was the reason, and the subject was fiber optic RF broadband communications.  The I.P. data guys have a hard time understanding RF and the specialized optical connections needed for a clean RF distribution system.  I had some Power Point files to show them and some recorded video of an RF spectrum analyzer display comparing two identical RF fiber optic transmitters and receivers, but with different optical connectors linking them together.  The BLUE SC-UPC connectors performed miserably due to optical reflections.   The recommended GREEN SC-APC connectors have much lower reflectance, providing clear video channels free of noise and coherent RF interference products.

OK, enough of that!  I can tell some of you fell asleep trying to read that last paragraph.  I can tell by the fixed stares and the thoughts of "what was that all about?"  Let's talk about the airplane radio repair.  I confirmed the delivery of the SL-30 to Garmin AT on Tuesday.  It was repaired and shipped out by Thursday.  UPS tracking shows the unit here in the Chattanooga UPS facility, making the trip from Oregon to Louisville Friday morning, then trucked to Knoxville Friday evening, then to Chattanooga overnight, arriving at 5:56 AM today.   The box should be delivered to me by the UPS local truck on Monday.

Wendell had a luncheon for the "Saturday friends" at his air strip today in the warehouse/airplane factory.  Here is the parking lot view of the site.
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There were three guests who flew in today even with the overcast conditions.   Rich Nadig brought his red and white Mazda rotary-powered RV-3.  John Myers has finished the phase one testing of his RV-8, and Harley McGatha flew up from Fort Payne, Alabama in his newly-acquired RV-7 with its US Flag vinyl artwork.
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