Mike Roos Cave Radio Report for Nov 5, 2006

Mon 11/6/2006 3:44 PM

From: Earl Hancock

Hi All,

Optimistically the Subject Line should read MIKE ROOS RADIO COMPLETED AND DELIVERED TO THE CCC !!!

And basically that is true. The Mike Roos Radio is finished and functioning! It is vastly different today, but it is finished. The Service Manual and Operating Instructions are still in process to reflect the recent changes to the circuitry but should be finished and delivered soon.

John Kessler, Lannis and I met Randy Bruegger and Jeff Page at the Schoolhouse Friday night and reviewed the latest changes and began an orientation of the usage of this radio. It was a beautiful night and we went to sleep anticipating the beautiful morning. Well, it was cold and raining and we spent some time erecting a rain fly until the wind picked up and we then erected a second shelter in the SW corner of the schoolhouse.

OK, we got coffee and get to work, only to discover one radio does not work (it did last night). Test gear comes out and we sleuth the problem to a broken solder joint on a connector. We have an electric soldering iron but have to relocate to the silo and fabricate a wooden workbench. The repair is completed and we make a mental note to make that connector more robust.

The fever is getting worse and we HAVE to get that transmitter underground as daylight is short and the clouds are gathering again. We are going to play a little Hare and Hound hunt. Earl is going underground without telling John and Randy which direction he is going. The instant the Transmitter (TX) came on they were on point like Bird Dogs and within 7 minutes had located Ground Zero (GZ)! Earl thinks he heard the heard the sounds of dancing on the surface 🙂  With little attempt at refinement, the circle-of-error for GZ was about 10 inches.

Voice communication was strong and clear in both directions (up-down) and the Transmitter was heard loud and clear on the surface. We talked a minute and they began to do depth calculations. Only three soundings gave an average depth of 136 feet (we estimated the depth to be 140 feet). We then UN-leveled the TX antenna by moving the bubble just outside the target circle and found the new GZ 3 feet away. Good correlation of all numbers. The radio is fully functional!

There is work yet to be done:

TRAINING: While this radio has been greatly simplified, it is not intuitive enough to use without 6-8 hours of hands-on instruction. Why risk a 20 hour trip because someone didn’t know?
PACKAGING: We packaged this radio as we used it ourselves. YOU need to consider how to package it for YOUR conditions.
CUSTODIANSHIP:  ONE person should be given this responsibility.
STORAGE: We have tried to put the entire 50 lb. Roos Radio in a SINGLE container (large suitcase) so that nothing is left behind when the radio is taken out. Forget ONE cable and it’s a wasted trip.
MAINTENANCE: After EVERY trip the radio HAS to be cleaned and air dried. The batteries HAVE to be recharged. Then the radio should tested to make sure everything works and stored in a dry basement or closet. (not an unheated shed or garage because of condensation)
NEXT TRIP: The radio should be reconnected and tested again before leaving home. Arriving at the site it MUST be retested again before entering the cave.

There are some concerns that need voicing. This radio will command an audience and you will be asked to use it in the MOST unusual ways. Do it! It will always be fun.

Eventually, you will be asked to build one, and money will be offered. Most of us haven’t the time or equipment necessary to do that. So the next question will be “Can I copy this one?” You have all the plans… but the Ethics… “Can You?” (This radio was developed in an Open Source community where everyone shares input and everyone can use it for themselves. We all benefit. You will probably add to the compendium of knowledge. We will all benefit again. Nobody will make a dime.)

“Can You?” No, not without obtaining the permission of Ian Drummond, William Plummer, Brian Pease, Lois Roos, John Kessler, Earl & Lannis Hancock and the entire Cave Radio Community who put this radio in your hands. (It represents THOUSANDS of hours of development and testing, THOUSANDS of hard earned personal Dollars, and a willingness to share)  It sounds harsh, but who wants to be like Bill Gates anyway?

OK, sorry for the lawyer lecture, but it will come up someday.

We have had a ball with this radio and project. The ONLY regret is that Mike is not here saying these things. His radio is a testament to his excellent craftsmanship. His outstanding contribution to this cave radio is the innovation (probably invention) of  the dual frequency capability of the antenna!!! His ONLY mistake was buying the best CB radio money could buy. It was too good, and prevented it’s use as a beacon finder.