Category Archives: Ham Radio

SGC Auto-Tuner SG-237 Repair

I have had the SG-237 for nearly 5 years and it has worked perfectly matching my random length wire across the bands, due to changes to the garden, I had to power down the SG-237 for a few weeks, on powering up, nothing would tune.

Checking current to the tuner showed that no power was being drawn, so off came the lid, and out came the voltmeter.

Tracing 12v through the circuit, it appeared their was a break between jumper J5 and the fuse holder, (the 2A fuse was in tact), but I couldn’t see any damage to the PCB tracks.

The reply from the SGC support ticket was within two days and their tech support said this was a very unusual fault and bridging from J5 to the base of the fuse holder was fine.

I can only deduce that the track link is made within one of the layers of the multi layer PCB, I did try and re float all the relevant solder connections, but this didn’t work unfortunately.

In the end, I soldered a link from the diode, bypassing J5 as I’ll never remove the link to the fuse holder, this link now removes another future point of failure and everything works just fine 🙂

Longwire supporting steel tube replacement with GRP

New RED GRP tube delivered next day from Engineering Composites Ltd.

Link to previous blog on the longwire installation: HERE

The existing steel tube is outside of my physical strength to bring down from the vertical and put back up again, I was very reliant on a local scaffolder to do this for me, for which I was ever grateful.

My intention has always been to replace the galvanised steel 6m scaffold tube supporting my longwire with a lightweight Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) composite version, the two main reasons are maintainability and performance.

Performance is related to the effect on the antennas radiation pattern by the influence of the steel tube, use of a non conducting supporting tube will remove this effect.

The 6m tube in RED was bought from Engineered Composites Ltd of Chester, the total cost including VAT and UK Delivery was £130.54.

Product Code TU627IR

The GRP scaffold tube is only available from Engineering Composites in 6m lengths and in either Red or Yellow, I choose red as it was going to painted light grey anyway and red is way cooler than yellow, didn’t want the neighbours to think I’d installed a Gas vent pipe :-).

red pole

I used Ultra Grip Primer before applying the top coat, and it seems ok, time will tell how effective it has been.

pole up

GRP tube installed without any assistance as its 75% lighter than its steel equivalent, I noticed that the tube has a greater deflection that the steel version which is only to be expected, the highest wind the steel tube had to cope with was a gust of 62mph, so it will be interesting to see how this copes with wind!

MFJ 1786 Magnetic Loop Modification


I bought at used MFJ 1786X (240v version) from Tony G3RGQ, I have been after a magnetic loop for quite a while, so when the opportunity presented itself to buy one at a reasonable price, I went for it.

The 1786 covers from 30m through to 10m, looking on Youtube was a modification to increase coverage into the 40m band.

After looking at the video it was off to eBay:

  • K15U-1 47pF 10kV 8kvar Capacitors including delivery from Ukraine £13.57.
  • Vacuum Relay 10kV 3A including delivery from Poland £23.53.

Opening the case and looking at the butterfly capacitor, I located a way to securely mount the capacitors and relay.


I had some left over copper sheet, so I cut a 25mm wide strip 100mm long and used this as the capacitor linking strap and mounting brackets, making sure I had a solid connection to one side off the butterfly capacitor.


The relay was mounted to the opposite side of the butterfly capacitor using a similar strap to that on the capacitors. To avoid straining the glass relay switch connection, I used some RG213 braid to link the capacitors connection to the relay, I deliberately didn’t secure the base of the relay to the fibreglass insulating sheet, this is to make the relay ‘floating’ in an attempt to reduce the chances of relay breakage.


I installed a ‘flywheel’ diode across the relay coil (coil voltage  27VDC) to protect the operating switch in the shack.

Once the loop case was refitted, the modification was tested and works fine, many thanks to the Youtube author for sharing his practical experience.

Update 1 June 18

I bought a offset pole and 9 x 9 bracket to mount the magloop on, the existing 6 x 6 bracket was too undersized and slightly in the wrong position, the new bracket was fixed with M10 sheild anchor rawlbolts.

The tricky bit was getting it mounted due to it being top heavy compounded by a cranked pole, the solution was to use a pully arrangment from the mast to take the weight to help get me up the ladder and also position the pole to put the ‘U’ bolts in 🙂

loop up

Sonoff 4Ch Pro WiFi/Internet Switch Linked to Alexa

Sonoff 4 Channel Pro


I have had an Amazon Dot for a while and use the interactive plugs and lights all the time, one of the plugs is for my Ham Radio PSU, so I have been looking for a relay interface which will work with the Amazon Dot, one of the key requirements is that the relays must be able to pulse on then off.

The Sonoff 4Ch Pro costs ~£25 and has 4 programmable relays including the ability to ‘inch’ a relay (pulse on then off), the reason this is important for me,  is that it allows a momentary trigger to the PLC controlling my automated mast.

The Sonoff 4Ch Pro is well made and can be powered from either the mains or 5 – 24v DC, relays are all voltage free.

The Sonoff App is EWeLink and allows direct control of the relays from anywhere, this App is then linked to the Amazon Alex App to allow voice control of the relays,m if you want to use voice control from your smartphone, Reverb is good.

EWeLink App needs an account setting up, once this is done, follow the instructions to pair with your router.  The default pairing LED flashing sequence did not work for me, I had to keep my finger on a relay button until the blue LED rapidly flashed and then followed the instructions.

Once paired, the blue LED remains steady, after a power down, WiFi locks within 20 seconds.

Sonoff Enclosure

I decided to mount the Sonoff 4Ch Pro in a 220 x 150 x 96mm ABS enclosure (£9.70 eBay), in Visio I drew the cutting stencil and transferred this to the enclosure.

The width of the Sonoff needing trimming slightly to make a snug fit, the get the correct height I packed the unit with 25 x 25mm wood off-cut.


Using a Dremel equivalent, the lid was cut to accept the Sonoff.


The IEC plug and socket stencil was attached to the side of the enclosure, using a scalpel, the cutting pattern was transferred.



Wired Sonoff 4Ch Pro, Relays 1 & 2 momentarily switch +24v as a trigger input to either Raise or Lower my mast, Relays 3 & 4 latch to supply individual IEC outlets.

The Relays and outlets are rated at 10A, the feeding plugtop has the appropriate fuse fitted.


Finished unit tucked behind a PSU, LEDs show that Relay 3 is energized and WiFi is connected.


The label below is the remind instructions on the voice commands (prefixed with ‘Alexa’) and how to change the relay names.

operating instructions

Update –

Had a huge headache trying to get this unit to re-pair once I had done some modifications to my home network and access point, looking through the help forums a large number of others are having the same problem, the solution which worked for was to put the iPhone in ‘Airplane Mode’ and follow the process to pair an Android phone (Touch) and not AP which had worked previously. What didn’t help was an unannounced outage of the European Sonoff servers!

The second issue which came to light was relay 4 would randomly operate, the fix was very simple, press and hold the internal S5 button to erase any pre-enabled RF switches.

Boltek LD-250 Relay Interface






The LD-250 Lighting Detector from Boltek has an internal output for a relay interface, the manufactures units are quite expensive, so I decided to make my own.

RLO-10 Boltek Relay Interface

Inside the LD-250 is a 14 way header which connects via ribbon cable to the RLO-10, off eBay I bought the 14 way ribbon cable and IDC cable mount socket for £5.00.

Opening the LD-250 the header JP1 is immediately obvious:














Using my multimeter, the header output pins linked to the front panel LED’s and the operating voltage was quickly found.


Using a spare strip of veroboard I mounted a magnetically shielded reed relay 5v, with flywheel diode across the coil, and the switched Normally Open reed output to a 2.54mm x 2 pitch connector, I also put veropins in the board so I can select which function I want the relay to operate on, should it be needed in the future.

The reed switch is used to switch 24v DC to an indicating LED and a a PLC input, the total load was measured at 21.49mA, well within the 500mA rating of the reed switch.

The module was placed in a small enclosure:enclosure








The ribbon cable was then plugged into JP1 inside the LD-250:













Switching on the Boltek performs a self test of the front LED’s and internal buzzer, as I have used the output from the ‘Close’ LED, the reed relay operated and the mast which was raised, automatically retracted.

All in all the project performs as expected and cost me £7 (enclosure was £2) saving me £58.95 on a factory unit.

Voltage Control Relay

Link back to Radio Mast Automation – HERE where the EASY RL-V23 unit can just be seen attached to the lid of the mast controller.

Voltage Unit
EASY Voltage Unit

The above module was from eBay and advertised as a ’12V Voltage Control /Delay Switch /OverVoltage /Under Voltage Protection Module’ for £4.92.

This unit is incredibly versatile, and I’ve included the operating instructions in the blog.

I have used this module to monitor the charging voltage of a battery, once the voltage has reached a pre-set value, an output will trigger to stop the charger.

voltage relay


Operating modes:
P-1: Timer ( 1-999 S / 1-999 Min)
P-2: Delay timer ( 1-999 S / 1-999 Min)
P-3: Voltage control relay ( control the load on/off)
P-4: Voltage control Timer- A (release first)
P-5: Voltage control Timer- B (close first)
P-6: Voltage range control relay
P-7: Voltage range control Timer
P-8: Set display off
Timing Range: 0-999 seconds or 0-999 minutes (0.1s-999s optional)
Voltmeter display range: DC 0-99.9 V
Voltage detection error: ± 0.1V
Operating Power: DC10~16V (5V,24V optional)
Relay parameters:
Coil Voltage: DC 12V (5V,24V optional)
A set of conversion (normally open and normally closed)
Contact load: 10A/277V AC or 10A/30V DC
Contact resistance: ≤ 100mΩ (1A 6VDC)
Mechanical durability: 10 millions
Electricity durability: > 100,000 (10A-250VAC)
Operating Temperature: -40 ~ 85℃
External signal input: (5~ 12V) or passive switch (9 levels delay time can be set)
Timer mode can set the relay contact close and release time, the implementation of a single timing loop
In voltage control mode, can preset upper and lower voltage values limits
Set display shut, the minimum current values are 6mA/12V (delay released)
The pre-set parameters can be saved after power off.
2 Operating modes:

Connect to power, LED digital tube displays words “E-A-Z-Y-t” in turn, system enter into the selection state, the initial mode selection is displayed as “P-0”, press the “SET” button to select “P-1~P-8” mode, press “ENTER” to enter the corresponding mode.while any mode running, press the “ENTER” button for 3 seconds, system will return to the mode selection state.

Press the “SET” and “ENTER” button to connect the power, the controller will be restored to factory settings.

2.1 Timer mode (P-1)

Press the “SET” button to select “P-1”, controller system will enter into the timer mode.

“P-1”/ “P-2”: 1-999 seconds /minute can be set.

Cyclic run:

In the timer mode, the user can set the relay’s close time T1 and the release time T2,such as setting T1 for 3 seconds, T2 for 7 seconds, the relay will be closed for three seconds then release for 7 seconds, cyclic run.

User also can set cyclic times.

When you have set the values of the T1 and T2 , the system saved the settings, the next time system will be loaded automatically T1 time to wait running.


If you set T1 with a specified time, set T2 (release time) with 0, the relay will stop after the timer run T1 time, no longer running, it can be used as a timer, with running time end, the normally open contact of relay release, then press the “ENTER” button, the system re-start the timer for T1 time.

In timer state, you can use external switch or pulse signal input Interface on controller to start the timer (trigger).

Timer setting steps:
1) For the first time of set , select “P-1” time relay mode, LED digital tube display” 000 “;

2) Press the “SET” button, system will enter into the T1 time values settings first, the digital LED that wait for set flashing with 1Hz frequency, press “ENTER” to select the number of values, press the “SET” button for three times to enter the T2 time values settings, and cyclic times, press the “SET” button to exit the set state, the system waits to press “ENTER” button to start running.
3) In the time setting state ,time values’ unit can be switched to minutes unit or second unit, press the “SET” button to enter the time set by state (set LED digital tube flashing) ,at this time Press the “SET” button for 3 seconds to release ,the LED digital tube will light the right decimal points, it means that timing values with minutes unit, if the decimal point dose not light, it means that timing values with seconds unit.
4) After setting is completed, press the “SET” button to exit the setting state, press “ENTER” to start timing, if timing values is set with second unit, seconds values will display with countdown form. If timing values is set with minute unit, the right decimal point flashing with 1Hz frequency, means the countdown is running. While timer is running, the normally open contact of relay connected, the normally closed contact of relay disconnect, press the “ENTER” to halt run, press the “ENTER” for three seconds to return mode selection state “P-0”.
2.2 Delay timer (P-2)

The Setting method of “P- 2” is the same as “P- 1”, in the mode of “P-2”, the relay will first execute release of T1 time then closed with T2 time.

2.3 Voltage control relay mode (P-3)

In mode selection state(“P-0”), press the “SET” button to select “P-3”, then press the “ENTER” to enter the voltage comparison control mode, the controller will detect voltage from “VOL” Interface and display values (DC 0-99.9V),it also can be used as a DC voltmeter ,the default initial run state relay contact is closed (normally closed contact is disconnected, normally open switch on), press the “SET “button to set the three bit values, the LED digital tube is set to flashing with1Hz frequency, first to be set upper limit voltage values , press the “SET” button three times, lower limit values of voltage to be set,press the “ENTER” button to increase the number of values, the lower limit voltage can not exceeds the upper limit, press the “SET” button to make digital tube is no longer flashing, this time system enter into voltage control mode , the controller detects DC voltage from external input Interface , when voltage detection exceed the upper limit of the pre-set, the relay close (normally open contact connect ,normally closed disconnect), until the voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set, the relay will release (normally closed contact connect , normally open contact disconnect).

In voltage control condition, press the “SET” button for three seconds then release the button, the contact of relay state will be reversed. such as: the relay close when detect voltage below the lower limit voltage.

If the pre-set voltage upper and lower limits set to the same, such as 12.0V, when controller detect volts at 12.0 fluctuations may cause the relay contact frequent action, we recommend to set the voltage to maintain the difference between the upper and lower limits.

Note: The detection voltage terminal must connected reliable, have not loose wiring around the circuit board insulation ,may lead to the induced voltage detection values is not accurate.

2.4 Voltage control Timer mode (P-4 / P-5)

“P-4” or “P-5” mode is composed of “P-1” and “P-3” or “P-2” and “P-3”.When the system switched to “P-4” from “P-1”or“P-2”,it will enter the voltage control timer mode, the controller will detect voltage from “VOL” Interface ,when detect voltage exceed the upper limit of the pre-set voltage, the timer will start , until the volts drops below the lower limit pre-set , the timer stop.

If you set time in “P-1” mode previous, then enter the “P-4” mode , the relay will close with timer first ,then release, If you set time in “P-2” mode previous, then enter the “P-4” mode ,the relay release with timing then closed.

The difference between “P-4” and “P-5” is the relay’s Initial state, “P-4” mode relay release first, but “P-5” mode relay close first.

Press the button of “SET” last for 3 seconds, the timer will start in the case of the voltage is below the lower limit. the setting method of limit pre-set voltage, please refer to section 2.3.

For example:

(1) In P-2 mode , set T1 005, T2 000, then enter P-4 mode , voltage detection exceed the upper limit of the pre-set the relay will close after 5 seconds, voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set the relay release Immediately.
(2) In P-1 mode , set T1 005, T2 000, then enter P-5 mode, voltage below the lower limit pre-set the relay close immediately, voltage detection exceed the upper limit of the pre-set the relay will release after delay 5 seconds.
Voltage control logic can be reversed with press SET key for 3 seconds.

2.5 Voltage range control relay (P-6)

If the voltage controller detects exceed the upper limit of the pre-set voltage, or the voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set voltage, the relay will close, otherwise the relay release between upper limit and lower limit range. Press the button of “SET” last for 3 seconds, the relay reversed. The relay will close between upper limit and lower limit.

2.6 Voltage range control Timer (P-7)

If the voltage controller detects exceed the upper limit of the pre-set voltage, or the voltage drops below the lower limit pre-set voltage, the relay will run follow time relay mode that has been set in P-1 or P-1 mode previous.

When voltage values between the upper limit and lower limit range, press SET key for 3 seconds, relay reversed between close and release (ON/OFF).

For example:

In P-1 mode, set T1 005, T2 000, then enter P-7 mode, set relay close between upper limit and lower limit range. When voltage below lower limit or exceed upper limit, the relay will release after 5 seconds.

2.7 Set display shut (P-8)
The display shows “d-0” means keep bright, you can press the button of “SET” set 0-9 minutes for display shut.

graphGraph showing operation of raise and lower including the automatic charging cycle.

Mast and Wire Rope protection & lubrication system

Mast and Wire Rope protection & lubrication system

I wanted a quick and easy way of applying protective lubricant to the wire rope which raises and lowers my mast, my first effort involved a paint brush and a tin of grease and I thought then that their must be a better method, both in terms of speed and effective application.

The option I chose was to use a spray wire rope and chain lube in conjuction with a home brew applicator.


The FORCE spray lube costs £6.25 for 400ml from eBay, the details of product are:

  • A long lasting highly tenacious spray grease which reduces wear and increases chain life.
  • High grip, anti fling properties provide long lasting, high depth lubrication and protection.
  • Penetrates inner rollers and resists the highest shock loads.
  • Ideal for chains, cables, wire ropes, fork lift chains, open gears and tail lift assemblies.
  • Reistant to weather and salt, provides high resistance to wash off.
  • ‘O’ Ring Safe unlike other greases!


  1. 1 off 10mm copper pipe 150mm in length
  2. 1 off 15mm copper pipe 135mm in length
  3. 1 off 4mm copper pipe 60mm in length
  4. 1 off 12mm panel grommet


The 10mm pipe had a 5mm slot cut down the complete length to allow the pipe to fit over the wire rope, at the base of the 10mm pipe I ‘flared’ this to 14mm.

The 15mm pipe was cut at one end with a roller type pipe cutter (pipe slice) and this formed a nice curved lip, at the other end I used a hacksaw, this pipe also had a 5mm slot cut down its length, for the cutting of the slots I used a dremel with a mini abrasive disc.

As the spray gease doesn’t come with extension tubes, I decided to use 4mm copper pipe (the 2mm inside pipe bore is perfect to slide over the spray cap nozzle), this was soldered half way up the 15mm pipe, this pipe enters directly opposite the cut slot. To act as a ‘key-way’ it protudes into the pipe by 1mm.

A 12mm panel grommet is cut to fit inside the 10mm pipe.


The 10mm pipe is slid over the cable with the flared section at the bottom:

10mm pipe

The grommet is installed at the top:

cut grommet ready to fit in pipe

grommet in 10mm pipe

The 15mm pipe is now slid over the cable above the 10mm pipe and rotated so the grease inlet is inline with the slot in the 10mm pipe:

4mm inletNoting the alignment, the 10mm pipe is pushed inside the 15mm pipe, the 4mm pipe protuding inside the 15mm pipe ensures the 10mm pipe can only fully slide in if the slot aligns, The lip on the 15mm pipe holds the grommet in place:

grommetThe finished product works quite well and gives an even coating to the wire rope, the length of the 4mm pipe was to allow the spray can to rest on a bracket, so I simply raise the mast and hold the spray button down 🙂


Mast Lubrication

For the mast lubrication I use Lithium Grease, this is easy to apply from the spray can and is designed for metal to metal contact, a typical lubrication application for my mast with a rising section of 5.4m is 200ml.

The Hazard Data sheet for WD40LG White Lithium Grease.

Radio Mast Automation – Part 5: Control Modification

Since my last blog on Mast Automation when I thought I’d finished the project, I have made some changes to my weather station which means I no longer have an output to the mast controller, this output used to trigger the mast to lower when the wind speed hits 30 mph.

I decided to update the discontinued version of my Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) with a Rievtech PR-18DC-DA-R from Audon Ltd, this unit is a direct replacement for my old PLC and has 12 Inputs and 6 relay Outputs.

Rievtech PLC

The PLC accepts a number of input types, in my application I’m simply switching a voltage state with the exception of one of the inputs which is configured as an Analogue input, to which I have connected my mast mounted Anemometer as a means to trigger mast lowering during unsafe wind conditions.


Adafruit 1733



  • Height (base to center): 105mm / 4.1″
  • Center out to Cup: 102mm / 4″
  • Arm Length: 70mm / 2.8″
  • Weight: 111.8g

Wire Dimensions:

  • Wire Length: 99cm / 39″
  • Plug Length: 30mm / 1.2″
  • Diameter (thickness): 4.8mm / 0.2″


  • Output: 0.4V to 2V
  • Testing Range: 0.5m/s to 50m/s (111.8 mph)
  • Start wind speed: 0.2 m/s
  • Resolution: 0.1m/s
  • Accuracy: Worst case 1 meter/s
  • Max Wind Speed: 70m/s (156.5 mph)
  • Connector details: Pin 1 – Power (brown wire), Pin 2 – Ground (black wire), Pin 3 – Signal (blue wire), Pin 4 not connected

I tested the output  with help from my better half by driving at steady speed and monitoring the output from the anemometer:

  • 0 mph = 0.40  mV
  • 25 mph = 0.75 – 79 mV
  • 30 mph = 80 mV
  • 31 mph = 81 – 88 mV

Anemometer mounted on 2m/70cm H/V relay switch box

I mounted the anemometer to the top of my mast to get a representative wind speed, the next job was to strip out the old PLC from the control cabinet.

Starting mods, (hand held winch controller on top of cabinet)

I needed to make several changes from the original design in order to free up one of the PLC’s inputs, also out of the 16 Inputs only the first 6 allow analogue inputs, so some moving of inputs was needed along with some minor works to the LED voltages and override/luffing switch.

Completed Cabinet

All went back together quite nicely but an intermittent problem remained after the PLC replacement in that when the mast completed the mast raise cycle, the motor would immediately reverse and the mast would lower.

Hooking up the laptop to to the PLC, I selected ‘live monitoring’, this displayed the input and output condition, this showed that after operating the ‘raise’ toggle switch (centre bias On – Off – On centre off), the ‘lower’ switch input also went and remained high. This output to the PLC caused the motor to immediately  change direction and lower the moment the mast raised sensor was triggered.

To reduce the chance of a repeat problem occurring, I modified the replacement DPDT switch wiring so that both poles need to switch in order for a signal to pass.

switch wiring

Prior to starting the upgrade works I had the programmed PLC on the bench and I thoroughly tested all control permutations by simulation using the software from Audon Ltd to ensure correct operation.

PLC Modified block diagram (Program File for use with xLogicsoft)

As you can see, the logic has grown with the project, I’m sure this could be significantly simplified, however, it works for me.

Mast Control Logic

Pressing the Emergency Stop button will inhibit any operation and reset any timers which are running.

Raising the Mast

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin IN. (Input 1008)
  • Mast in the lowered position. (Input 1006)

Trigger –          Switch input momentary high. (Input 1003)

Action –

  • Lower switch inhibited.
  • Switch input via wiping relay with a 1 second ON timer to ensure momentary trigger to the next stage.
  • 36 second up timer start to operate Up relay (fail mechanism in case the ‘raised’ sensor fails).
  • Up relay closes to energize motor drive. (Q002)
  • After expiry of Up timer or on activation of the Up sensor, Up relay opens.
  • Mast raised output relay energizes. (Q003)

Lowering the Mast

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin IN. (Input 1008)
  • Mast in the raised position. (Input 100C)

Trigger –          Switch input momentary high. (Input 1005)

Action –

  • Raise switch inhibited.
  •  Switch input via wiping relay with a 1 second ON timer to ensure.momentary trigger to the next stage.
  • 39 second down timer starts to operate Down relay (fail mechanism in case the ‘lowered’ sensor fails).
  • Down relay closes to energize motor drive. (Q001)
  • After expiry of Down timer or on activation of the Down sensor, run on timer operates for 0.15 seconds to take slack off winch cable.
  •  After expiry of run-on timer, Down relay opens.
  • Mast lowered output relay energizes. (Q004)

Wind Speed Triggered Auto Lower

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin IN. (Input 1008)
  • Mast in the raised position. (Input 100C)

Trigger –           Wind measured via Anemometer at 28 mph for 15 seconds. (Input A1001)

Action –

  • 0.4 – 2v Anemometer to Analogue Threshold Trigger output set go high at 80 mV and off at 76mV, these values equate to ~28 mph and ~24 mph respectively.
  •  ‘On Delay’ timer from analogue threshold trigger set for a sustained output of 15 seconds duration before the next stage is enabled in order to reject gusts.
  •  ‘Off Delay’ timer set to 10 minutes, if no input from the ‘On Delay’,  ‘Off Delay’ resets.
  • Whilst the ‘Off Delay’ timer is running, the WX Amber LED is lit. (Q005)
  • Output from ‘Off Delay’ to wiping relay timer set to 1 second to ensure a momentary output to the next stage.
  • 39 second down timer starts to operate Down relay (fail mechanism in case ‘lowered’ sensor fails).
  • Down relay closes to energize motor drive. (Q001)
  • After expiry of Down timer or on activation of the Down sensor, run on timer operates for 0.15 seconds to take slack off winch cable.
  •  After expiry of run-on timer, Down relay opens.
  • Mast lowered output relay energizes. (Q004)

Battery Charging Process

The winch has 3000lb capacity from Winch-It and is powered by a 12v car battery with a capacity of 45Ah – 360cca.

Normal Operation –    4.5w solar panel connected to the battery via CMP Solar Charge Controller.

Automatic Operation –

Trigger –       After 4 operations of the motors (raise & lower twice) or Weekly – Sunday 01.00

Action –

  • Multi-pole relay energizes after a 2 second delay via Q006, this:
  • Disconnects the solar panel.
  • Applies mains to a 4A output battery charger (charger sized for Ah of battery).
  • Connects the battery charger output to the battery.

Charging ceases when:

  • Battery terminal voltage reaches 14.14v (Over-voltage detection module to Input 100A).
  • 8-hour battery run timer expires.

Manual Operation –

Charging Start – Push button in control cabinet (Input 100B)

Charging Stop – Cursor key on PLC (C3)

Note –

If the battery charging cycle has started and the motor (either up or down) is operated, charging will cease and resume after a delay of 2 seconds after the motor has stopped.

Luffing the Mast

Conditions –

  • E Stop not pressed. (Input 1004)
  • Top Securing mast pin Out. (Input 1008)
  • Bottom Securing mast pin In (Input 1002)
  • Mast in the lowered position. (Input 1006)
  • Luffing switch set to On (Input 1007)

Trigger –           Momentary switch (raise or lower) (Inputs 1003 or 1005)

Action –            Operating the Luffing switch supplies power to the wireless receiver and manual switch which came with the Winch-It kit via a relay , the supply for this is taken from the Luffing/Override indicator LED, (the Luffing switch is a Double Pole Double Throw On – Off – On, the LED is fed from one side of the switch).

A further change to the control is to from latching to momentary switch operation allowing the motor to be ‘inched’ via the wireless handset or panel switches in the control cabinet.

Using the handset allows the mast to be walked down whilst lowering or the reverse when reinstating the mast to the vertical.


Operating the Override switch bypass all limit switches and enables momentary manual control.

Amber LED indicating high wind has triggered lowering the mast and inhibiting it from raising whilst lit.

Stopping MM0CUG Mast Rattle

With the latest round of high winds, my wall mounted 12m mast makes a loud rattling noise which transfers into the house as the mast marginally moves within the top bracket and was getting to be a nusance.

A simple solution was to make a plastic shim to take up the small slack bewteen the mast and bracket, this is visible in the picture to the left of the pin sensor (I put a 90 degree bend in the shim so I can put it out easily).

Top mast retaining pin

For the shim I used the a section of lid from 16 x 16 trunking lid from Screwfix.

Trunking lid

Grinding the lid lip took only a few seconds.

Trunking lid grinding down

Finished shim, I used two, one between the fron pin and mast, the other to the side of the top bracket and mast, nice, cheap and easy solution which has solved the noise problem.

Finished lid for cutting

Arduino Windspeed Switch

I used to have a PC on 24/7 running weather software linked to my weather station, this allowed me to have a relay operate should the wind speed exceed a predifined value, this would then signal my antenna mast to automatically retract.

To save energy, I no longer use a PC to publish weather station data to the internet and once this was switched off I lost the relay facility, so I needed a solution.

Looking for windspeed switches on the Internet kept pointing to commercial units at £320 ish, however, I did stumble accross this link from Geeky Gadgets for an Arduino based unit which looked perfect for my needs and all credit must go to the author.

Key Parts

Mouser Electronics:

Anemometer part# 485-1733  @ £42.62


LCD Keypad Sheild 2 x16 display 1602  @ £5.75

Arduino Uno @ £8.95

Relay unit @ £0.99

Total Cost £58.31

Construction was very simple, it involved plugging the LCD sheild onto the Arduino, uploading the sketch and making the three connections from the anemometer to the Arduino.

The connection information is in the Geeky Gadgets documentation with the exception of the relay output, the picture below shows this.

Things to note:

  1. The contrast pot on the LCD sheild may need to be adjusted to give an optimal display.
  2. The ‘standstill’ mV of the anemometer needs to be measured and entered in the sketch (min was 0.4345 mV) so the display shows 0 MPH at rest. This is done with a digital voltmeter to measure the resting output, or you could use trail and error and enter values in the sketch until  zero MPH is registered, and then slowly increment the values, uploading each time a change is made, until you hit a point where a speed is registered, then back the number down, at this point you should see and increase in speed displayed with minor turning of the cups.


The above is the finished setup, just ready to mount in a suitable enclosure, for test purposes I have set the relay to operate at 4 MPH, when the speed drops below this, the relay de-energises.

The finished unit will be powered by 12v and will work as a standalone unit with a simple normally open output to the mast automation PLC.

Arduino Software can be downloaded from HERE , the working sketch which allows a replay to operate if the windspeed exceeds a preset value is below, simply copy and paste the code below into Aduino software and save the file before compiling:


Arduino Wind Speed Meter Anemometer mph – Adafruit anemometer (product ID 1733).
Modified code created March 2016 from original code created by Joe Burg 11th November 2014
At with help from Adafruit forum user shirad

12 Feb 17 added relay output based on wind speed.

//Initialise LCD display

#include <LiquidCrystal.h>
LiquidCrystal lcd(8, 9, 4, 5, 6, 7);

int serial_in;
int relay =3;
//Setup Variables
double x = 0;
double y = 0;
const int sensorPin = A1; //Defines the pin that the anemometer output is connected to
int sensorValue = 0; //Variable stores the value direct from the analog pin
float sensorVoltage = 0; //Variable that stores the voltage (in Volts) from the anemometer being sent to the analog pin
float windSpeed = 0; // Wind speed in meters per second (m/s)

float voltageConversionConstant = .004882814; //This constant maps the value provided from the analog read function, which ranges from 0 to 1023, to actual voltage, which ranges from 0V to 5V
int sensorDelay = 2000; //Delay between sensor readings, measured in milliseconds (ms)

//Anemometer Technical Variables
//The following variables correspond to the anemometer sold by Adafruit, but could be modified to fit other anemometers.

float voltageMin = 0.4345; // Mininum output voltage from anemometer in mV.
float windSpeedMin = 0; // Wind speed in meters/sec corresponding to minimum voltage

float voltageMax = 2.0; // Maximum output voltage from anemometer in mV.
float windSpeedMax = 32; // Wind speed in meters/sec corresponding to maximum voltage

void setup()

//Setup LCD display with welcome screen

lcd.print(“Geeky Gadgets”);
lcd.print(“Windspeed Sensor”);
Serial.begin(9600); //Start the serial connection


//Anemometer calculations

void loop()


sensorValue = analogRead(sensorPin); //Get a value between 0 and 1023 from the analog pin connected to the anemometer

sensorVoltage = sensorValue * voltageConversionConstant; //Convert sensor value to actual voltage

if (sensorVoltage <= voltageMin){ windSpeed = 0; //Convert voltage value to wind speed using range of max and min voltages and wind speed for the anemometer. Check if voltage is below minimum value. If so, set wind speed to zero.

}else { windSpeed = ((sensorVoltage – voltageMin)*windSpeedMax/(voltageMax – voltageMin)*2.23694); //For voltages above minimum value, use the linear relationship to calculate wind speed in MPH.

//Max wind speed calculation below

x = windSpeed; if (x >= y){

y = x;


y = y;


//Print voltage and windspeed to serial

Serial.print(“Voltage: “);
Serial.print(“Wind speed: “);

//Display Wind Speed results to LCD with Max wind speed

lcd.print(“Wind Speed mph”);
lcd.setCursor(7, 1);
lcd.setCursor(11, 1);
if (windSpeed >4) { //Enter the value of MPH windspeed to be exceeded which will operate the relay
} else{




For my purposes the displayed wind speed does not have to be calibrated, I only need an indicative reading, therefore cannot vouch for accuracy of this unit.