September 27, 2021, 02:13:01 pm

Little L-Per repairs

Started by LtCol. Penguin, April 04, 2021, 11:06:41 am

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LtCol. Penguin

Hey group!
My squadron is still hanging on (barely) to 2 of the original 1970's Little L-Per's from LTronics. They have both seen better days. They both were not working so I opened them up and found multiple broken wires inside. Even with the schematic diagram, getting it wired back correctly is not as easy as it sounds.
Last attempt to get L-Tronics to do a repair, they said they didn't work on them anymore. Checking there website and it looks like they are now out of business.

Anyone know someone somewhere that is good with repairing these? I don't want to make them museum pieces just yet, but neither one is functional if we were to ever need to use it.

Thanks
LTP

NIN

I haven't heard of anybody doing repairs on those anymore. We have several ( a half dozen? ) on the shelf that are non-functional/degraded in some way.

While I do hold a high degree of nostalgia for the L-Per, the fact is that there are more functional, less fiddily (and likely cheaper) alternatives these days.

It's probably time to retire cobbed together L-Pers and learn new technologies, techniques and devices.

Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
Nothing posted on CAPTalk should be considered policy unless otherwise stated
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2020 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Eclipse

Odds are there's a quarantined comm guy (or 12) in your wing who could potentially do it.



LATORRECA

Quote from: NIN on April 04, 2021, 07:01:20 pmI haven't heard of anybody doing repairs on those anymore. We have several ( a half dozen? ) on the shelf that are non-functional/degraded in some way.

While I do hold a high degree of nostalgia for the L-Per, the fact is that there are more functional, less fiddily (and likely cheaper) alternatives these days.

It's probably time to retire cobbed together L-Pers and learn new technologies, techniques and devices.
Good morning Col Nin,

      You mentioned it should be in our best interest to shelf the old L-Pers; however, it should be on CAP HQ to field a new equipment approve by them, is that a true statement?

Latorre


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Eclipse

Quote from: LATORRECA on July 15, 2021, 02:25:38 pmYou mentioned it should be in our best interest to shelf the old L-Pers; however, it should be on CAP HQ to field a new equipment approve by them, is that a true statement?

Should?  Yes.

Does?  The last attempt at a national standard was the No-Finds.

NHQ hasn't put DF gear in the field since. Much more important to pay for multi-packs of
radios no one will use.

You best and only hope, assuming you think you need one, is either a soldering iron or one of the commercially available units from Squadron funds - prob run you about $400 with the antenna handle.



Strategic Organizational Safety (S.O.S.)

September 12, 2021, 12:06:36 pm #5 Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 12:23:29 pm by Strategic Organizational Safety (S.O.S.)
I worked as a Low Voltage Contractor and electronics repair for many years after AD. I repaired the Little L-Pers and even replaced the wood pieces for the antenna for the Albany Composite Squadron in March of 2015. Though I am not active anymore I believe they still work and are used for training. If it is just soldering that is easy to do but detailed work.

The most common pieces repaired:

1) Power supply loose
2) BNC connectors for the antennas
3) SPST Switches

It is detailed but not hard to do.
Jim Shaw
Lt Col, (CAP) Formerly everything....Currently nothing.
FT Professor of Safety & Emergency Management

NIN



Quote from: LATORRECA on July 15, 2021, 02:25:38 pm]
Good morning Col Nin,

      You mentioned it should be in our best interest to shelf the old L-Pers; however, it should be on CAP HQ to field a new equipment approve by them, is that a true statement?


Sorry I missed this before.

HQ hasn't funded DF units that aren't in an airplane in, as far as I know,  ever. I could be wrong,  as I wasn't around in CAP when the first L-Pers were acquired.  But I do know that wings and units funded purchases at some point. My wing years ago had wing-funded DFs issued to units, and it's the wing-funded DFs that today are end-of-life and need replacement.

We picked up a Sniffer Mk IV recently to test.   We haven't tried it out yet except to turn it on.  I anticipate that we will test it out at our October SAREX. But with antenna it was about $400 or $475 with shipping. Not terribly expensive.

It's intended for the low power homing option on 121.5, not DFing the 406mhz burst. Some of the dual band DF units are over $1000 (one is closer to $5000, I think, and they give you instructions how to get a Walmart grant). Honestly, that doesn't pass my ROI smell test as a wing commander. We don't do enough regular DFing to spend that much on a capability that sits in a case for 99% of the year.








Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
Nothing posted on CAPTalk should be considered policy unless otherwise stated
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2020 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Spam

Off topic, but you can use any air band receiver with a signal strength indicator (dots, or needle) to DF a 406. I did so about seven years ago on an ND Find for an unencoded radiating beacon. Just drive a consistent pattern, noting down the signal strength of the pulses, and drive towards the stronger pulses. Takes a while, but it is possible. When you get close enough you'll hear the low power 121.5 paired tone (so listen for that).

We see so very few ELT/EPIRB missions any more, this is hard to keep teams in practice, or to justify a funding request to repair the old gear. Or, to train to proficiency with the new gear  :'(

R/s
Spam

etodd

"Don't try to explain it, just bow your head
Breathe in, breathe out, move on ..."

PHall

Quote from: etodd on September 12, 2021, 08:01:03 pmAs another aside, is this the most current training info from 1991?

https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/media/cms/P002_F2612F9969C5A.pdf

Yes, the basic principals of electronic search haven't changed.

Capt Thompson

Quote from: NIN on September 12, 2021, 05:03:05 pm
Quote from: LATORRECA on July 15, 2021, 02:25:38 pm]
Good morning Col Nin,

      You mentioned it should be in our best interest to shelf the old L-Pers; however, it should be on CAP HQ to field a new equipment approve by them, is that a true statement?


Sorry I missed this before.

HQ hasn't funded DF units that aren't in an airplane in, as far as I know,  ever. I could be wrong,  as I wasn't around in CAP when the first L-Pers were acquired.  But I do know that wings and units funded purchases at some point. My wing years ago had wing-funded DFs issued to units, and it's the wing-funded DFs that today are end-of-life and need replacement.

We picked up a Sniffer Mk IV recently to test.   We haven't tried it out yet except to turn it on.  I anticipate that we will test it out at our October SAREX. But with antenna it was about $400 or $475 with shipping. Not terribly expensive.

It's intended for the low power homing option on 121.5, not DFing the 406mhz burst. Some of the dual band DF units are over $1000 (one is closer to $5000, I think, and they give you instructions how to get a Walmart grant). Honestly, that doesn't pass my ROI smell test as a wing commander. We don't do enough regular DFing to spend that much on a capability that sits in a case for 99% of the year.

The sniffer is great, but lacks range. Last week I opened up the old LPer and dug out the soldering iron and did some maintenance and hopefully bought it another decade (fingers crossed). Using the left/right and fore/aft antenna on the van over the weekend, ran the audio output of the LPer into the aux input of the stereo, the LPer picked up the signal about 5 miles out and brought us to a parking lot about .2 miles from the beacon. At that point my old JetStream had audio, but the Sniffer still had no signal until we were about 50 meters into the woods where it finally picked it up.

For ramp checks, where we know the beacon is somewhere on the premises, the Sniffer is a great tool. If we can jump out of the van and have signal, it will pretty much walk you up to the beacon with little issue. If given an area of probability a few square miles or more, the LPer is the only tool that can pick up the signal with any kind of range, so that's our main tool until we narrow the location down enough for the Sniffer to pick up the trail.

I used the newer cheese block LPers at NESA, and while they were much smaller and easier to manage, they didn't seem to have the range or accuracy of the old ones. It's too bad someone couldn't grab the schematic and start producing something workable for CAP that doesn't cost $5000.
Capt Matt Thompson
Deputy Commander for Cadets, Historian, Public Affairs Officer

Mitchell - 31 OCT 98 (#44670) Earhart - 1 OCT 00 (#11401)

Eclipse

Quote from: NIN on September 12, 2021, 05:03:05 pmHQ hasn't funded DF units that aren't in an airplane in, as far as I know,  ever.

They funded the Seimac No-finds, which was probably the last time they did that.

Having no standard and expecting units to fund the purchase of a mission-required asset is ridiculous, assuming
DF actually still is a CAP mission.

Radio go packs no one uses, flight training to support a non-existent pilot shortage, any number of failed toys for aerial imaging, but nary a whiff for a decade plus of funding DF equipment, including ordering aircraft with out DF gear.



jeders

Quote from: Capt Thompson on September 14, 2021, 12:26:43 pmThe sniffer is great, but lacks range. Last week I opened up the old LPer and dug out the soldering iron and did some maintenance and hopefully bought it another decade (fingers crossed). Using the left/right and fore/aft antenna on the van over the weekend, ran the audio output of the LPer into the aux input of the stereo, the LPer picked up the signal about 5 miles out and brought us to a parking lot about .2 miles from the beacon. At that point my old JetStream had audio, but the Sniffer still had no signal until we were about 50 meters into the woods where it finally picked it up.

That's interesting, because I've always found my sniffer to have just as good of range as the squadron's L-Per. I'm curious what antenna setup your sniffer has.
If you are confident in you abilities and experience, whether someone else is impressed is irrelevant. - Eclipse

Eclipse

Quote from: jeders on September 15, 2021, 02:09:33 pmThat's interesting, because I've always found my sniffer to have just as good of range as the squadron's L-Per. I'm curious what antenna setup your sniffer has.

I thought the same thing - we bought the one that acts as a handle along with the device
and never had any range issues.



etodd

Quote from: Eclipse on September 14, 2021, 03:36:37 pm... assuming DF actually still is a CAP mission.


My Squadron was tasked last year to find an ELT. We found it, first with the Becker in the plane, and then on the ground with ElPer. It was on a old boat in a salvage yard. Someone had moved it and set it off. LOL

A Squadron a few years ago found an ELT going off in someone's house, in an aquarium.

The adventures of CAP. :)
"Don't try to explain it, just bow your head
Breathe in, breathe out, move on ..."

Capt Thompson

Quote from: jeders on September 15, 2021, 02:09:33 pm
Quote from: Capt Thompson on September 14, 2021, 12:26:43 pmThe sniffer is great, but lacks range. Last week I opened up the old LPer and dug out the soldering iron and did some maintenance and hopefully bought it another decade (fingers crossed). Using the left/right and fore/aft antenna on the van over the weekend, ran the audio output of the LPer into the aux input of the stereo, the LPer picked up the signal about 5 miles out and brought us to a parking lot about .2 miles from the beacon. At that point my old JetStream had audio, but the Sniffer still had no signal until we were about 50 meters into the woods where it finally picked it up.

That's interesting, because I've always found my sniffer to have just as good of range as the squadron's L-Per. I'm curious what antenna setup your sniffer has.

We have it mounted to a diy yagi, the instructions for which are on the Sniffer page. I've also used it on the LPer antennas but no real change in range. What are you all using?
Capt Matt Thompson
Deputy Commander for Cadets, Historian, Public Affairs Officer

Mitchell - 31 OCT 98 (#44670) Earhart - 1 OCT 00 (#11401)

jeders

Quote from: Capt Thompson on September 16, 2021, 01:29:14 pm
Quote from: jeders on September 15, 2021, 02:09:33 pm
Quote from: Capt Thompson on September 14, 2021, 12:26:43 pmThe sniffer is great, but lacks range. Last week I opened up the old LPer and dug out the soldering iron and did some maintenance and hopefully bought it another decade (fingers crossed). Using the left/right and fore/aft antenna on the van over the weekend, ran the audio output of the LPer into the aux input of the stereo, the LPer picked up the signal about 5 miles out and brought us to a parking lot about .2 miles from the beacon. At that point my old JetStream had audio, but the Sniffer still had no signal until we were about 50 meters into the woods where it finally picked it up.

That's interesting, because I've always found my sniffer to have just as good of range as the squadron's L-Per. I'm curious what antenna setup your sniffer has.

We have it mounted to a diy yagi, the instructions for which are on the Sniffer page. I've also used it on the LPer antennas but no real change in range. What are you all using?

I'm using this one from Bob Miller https://www.rdfantennas.com/products/bc-121-5-df-antenna/
If you are confident in you abilities and experience, whether someone else is impressed is irrelevant. - Eclipse

Eclipse




NIN

Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
Nothing posted on CAPTalk should be considered policy unless otherwise stated
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2020 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

PHall

Bob Miller is a 50 year plus member who has been chasing ELTs since forever.
He knows what CAP members need in the way of DF equipment and his products provide it.