DFR Telecoms Diary
1 January :
3 January :
4 January : I got the keys and charger from Norchard and went to the Junction signal box to see how the exchange was. The battery volts were down to 33. I did the usual, I felt all the uniselectors and sure enough an incoming selector was stuck and quite warm. I think an intermittent fault on the cable had been driving the uniselector off normal and home continually until the volts reached the point where the uniselector stuck on. I disconnected both incoming junctions and homed the uniselector manually. The volts promptly went up into the forties and was still climbing when I left.
6 January : Peter, Roger, Sam and I met at Parkend mostly for a look at progress on the work there and a bit of a general discussion on future jobs and procedures. It looks as though we will get the cable for the Town Crossing job next week. Peter, Roger met Jean and I for lunch at Kaplan's.
10 January : Sam, Rick, Martin and I were going to have a go at finding the DP3Y to DP3X cable fault. Both 301C testers refused to switch on. Perhaps they hate the cold. In the end we got the 301B going and went to Whitecroft to try that. Useless. We could hardly make out the cursor on the CRT screen, it's too small and if the sun shines it makes it extremely difficult. I walked the length but could not find an obvious disturbance. The only thing that might be a pointer was a bit of a signal pointing to 70 metres away where there is sound whistle sign. Could it have been moved? Sam will enquire. So we have ended up really no wiser after a day tramping the lineside. The 301Cs are now in my home waiting for me to check inside but are no better after a night in the warm. Peter and Charles carried on with the Parkend job. Martin and Rick had a bit of a go at some maintenance.
13 January : I went to the railway to see if the town crossing cable was going to be laid. The answer - no! It's still not been ordered. I had a chat with Bob Hawker trying to persuade him to find us a decent cabinet for parkend DP1E. He will have a go and he also hopes to find concrete posts at Middle Forge where S and T are to replace a cabinet with another box.
17 January : Sam and I went to the Whitecroft area to continue looking for the cable fault. Rick and Martin stayed in the exchange to test with us. After a lot of wandering up and down the line, the 301C leads us to believe that the fault is in the section DP3Y to DP3Z and about 12 m from DP3Y. We either have to dig and find the fault for confirmation or assume the 301C is right and dig further along to find the cable, insert a cabinet and lay a new cable over the faulty length. We shall be glad to see the back of this cable fault. The token is now not working so the cable is all faulty except possibly for one pair. Sam put the token out of use. Rick and Martin did some maintenance in Norchard and Peter and Charles continued work on the Parkend rewire.
19 January : Sam and Peter agreed to meet in the cafe at Norchard at 11:30, Peter had an early lunch and after meeting with Sam who had to attend a meeting arranged to meet Sam at Parkend at 2:30 PM. Peter proceeded to Parkend with a view to removing DP 3 cable from the old MDF and reconnecting it to the new MDF by way of one of the newly provided Box Conn 254's. Recovery of cable proceeded well until it came to removing it from behind the bench / chest of drawers in the exchange, it would not budge and was stuck fast. Peter cleared all of the items currently on the bench with the thought of how to move the chest of drawers beneath to release the cable stuck behind. After laying on the floor the problem was found to be that the cable retaining clips were acting as a lock every time the cable was pulled. Fortunately when the cable clips were fixed some one had used cross point screws, at arms length with a 150mm cross point drill bit Peter was able to remove the offending cable clips and the cable was recovered, coiled up so as to retain spare length and terminated. Literately within minutes of Peter finishing Sam arrived and it was decided this was a good point to stop for the day.
20 January : Peter, Sam and Roger worked at Parkend today. The goal was to sort out the cable between the Exchange and the Station and to start extend the broadband internet connection from the station building to the exchange and signal box. With the aid of 3 different drills (including the 110v hammer drill) and several visits to the loft by Roger and Sam, we had the BT master socket moved, the external bell on the BT line re-cabled, the 10 pair from the exchange re-routed via the loft and some old cabling stripped out.
24 January : As the day was continually rainy, there was no chance of working on our cable network problems. Consequently we all had quite a good and productive day. Rick and Martin cleared a long standing fault on a final at Norchard. In the end it was silver migration between U9 and 11 preventing the selector from releasing. They are fitting another tubular heater to that rack as all the migration faults have been on that equipment. Peter, Sam and Charles worked on the Parkend recabling job. It's approaching completion. I made a start on simplifying the Parkend ringer control arrangements but could not finish phase 1 as I was unable to obtain access to the back of the rack due to the large amount of gear hanging around in the exchange. First job will be to start on clearance of the stores in the exchange. Roger P says that the town crossing cable will be here in a fortnight.
26 January : Peter and Sam surveyed the state of telecoms along the line and upcoming projects. This included the new MDF at Lydney Junction, as well as having a quick look at Whitecroft (which needs documenting properly).
27 January : Peter and Sam ran in most of the cables into the signal box, with the concentrator rack-head cable, cables to telephones along the back wall and cables to the S&T racking. A little more work is needed for this before they are all terminated. Steve Harris then constructed some "Heritage" wooden trunking around where they rise out of the floor in the signal box. Peter and Sam then went to Caerphilly to collect an eBay purchase described as 130 sip phones, as a job lot (which turned out to be 170!), before depositing them into the telecoms office to await sorting. A quick sift through revealed several types, and a number of them were sorted into a box, which was delivered to Roger for testing/evaluation.
28 January : Peter and Sam met about 09.30 to start sifting through the new SIP telephones, cleaning and testing them before they were boxed up ready for storage. Peter left to do other things, and Sam was joined by Jane Bambridge, who had come in to help. By the end of the day, all 170 phones were cleaned, boxed and two thirds of them were put away in the attic of the shop office.
31 January : Peter, Sam, Rick, Charles and Martin met in the telecoms office, and we were joined by Pete Hyneman, ex-BT, who was interested in joining the team. Rick and Martin returned to their maintenance jobs in the Norchard exchange, while Sam, Peter, Charles and Pete went to Parkend to work on various tasks. Sam showed Pete around the site, to look at what wiring needed completing. On arrival, Peter joined us in the exchange, while Charles went to complete the earthing in DP3.
4 February : Sam, Peter, Roger, myself and Alan met in the cafe. Alan is a possible new recruit, ex BT but radio trained rather than telephones. He joined us for the morning to get an idea of our work. We all went off to Parkend. Sam and Roger spent the day sorting out the programming side of the Asterisk with the SIP phones we have obtained. Peter did several small jobs at Parkend towards the rewiring job. I completed the work changing over to the new ringer control relays. I installed the new clock/NU Spare Levels relay set and got it wired in and tested. It worked. I also recovered the relay strip of the old ringer control though the wiring has to come out later. We had lunch at Kaplan's.
7 February : Sam and Charles reorganised the E side pairs at Parkend DP1 with Peter in the exchange. I walked the line to check on the plastic bag DP1E, it seems OK for now. I also got three temporary floodlights fitted to enable us to work on the Parkend North exchange. Ray had a go at a puzzling fault on a Parkend linefinder. He has got so far in determining where the intermittent fault is but it still needs further investigation. Rick and Martin changed the ringer in Norchard. The spare works OK but doesn't sound as good as the regular ringer. This now needs new brushes, which we should have somewhere.
14 February : Rainy, cold and a chill wind. We met in the cafe as we can hardly get into our office at the moment with stores all over the place. Ray and Martin went off to spend their day at Parkend trying to locate a fault on a first selector. In the end it seems to be silver migration again. This will be the first instance of this at Parkend. The selector is now working well but we will keep an eye on it.
17 February : Sam, Roger and I worked on terminating the replacement cable between DP3Y and DP3Z. We got everything terminated. Sam and I had a disagreement about what constitutes pairs in the railway colour coded cable we used, and so we have ended up with split pairs in one or other of the cables each side of the new DP3YA. A first check of the circuits between Norchard and Parkend showed them all to be disconnected somewhere. Sam and Roger wandered off up the line having an initial look to see if things had gone wrong at the damaged DP1E or if the recent permanent way work at Parkend has caused further problems. I await their report.
21 February :
Rick and Martin spent the day on strowger maintenance. Peter, Ray and our new man, Alan, spent the day at Parkend.
Sam, Charles and I walked the route between the "tin can joint" near DP3F to the Town crossing to inspect the cabinets and see progress on the trenching. It's coming along nice and deep.
24 February :
Peter and Sam started terminating cables on the Parkend North Krone frame. They terminated all of the operating floor cables, and the cables to the signalling rack.
28 February : Peter M and Charles worked on Parkend North, working on terminations on the frame, and a few small jobs. Rick and Martin worked in the exchange at Norchard, continuing their maintenance overhaul. Sam and Pete H went to look at the faults between Whitecroft and Norchard, testing DP3Y, 3X and 3V. In the afternoon, they reterminated several joints in DP3S, hoping that would clear the fault, which it did not.
7 March : Peter M and Charles returned to Parkend to work on the new MDF. Rick, Ray and Martin repaired the Signal Post Telephone at Middle Forge, this turned out to be a simple case of the screw terminal block having come undone. They then went around testing and checking all of the other SPTs. They found signal 13 to have a faulty ring. Sam and Allen, with John's testing expertise helping in the Exchange, went to investigate the faults between Parkend and Whitecroft. This again started in DP3S, where we discovered that the cable between DP3S and DP3A had been terminated wrongly when installed some time ago! We were then able to reconnect a Norchard outgoing junction, so that calls can now be made across it to Parkend!
10 March : At Parkend Exchange Peter and Roger spent the day installing CAT5 cabling and terminating it in the data cabinet. This gave us 4 network sockets on the bench for testing SIP Phones and ATAs. We installed a PoE switch and rack shelf and powered up the data extenders ready for the Parkend Asterisk server. Rick was lineside testing cabling from Parkend to Whitecroft.
14 March : We met as normal in the cafe. Tea was noticeably shorter than usual, and people were keen to get out and working (wow!). Rick and Martin went fault hunting on the Parkend-Norchard Junctions, with Peter M in the exchange. Sam, Allen, Pete H and Charles went south to sort out the newly laid cable. Pete and Charles went to Lydney town and started terminating the south end of the cable, while Sam and Allen went to Goatfield to work on the north end. By lunchtime, we almost had both ends of the new cable stripped and ready to be terminated in the new cabinet. After lunch, Rick and Martin went off fault tracing again, and then onwards to Parkend with Peter M. Peter and Allen went to work on terminating the new cable in the new cabinet, while Sam and Charles went to find a suitable piece of the old 50pr to make into a temporary tie cable to the new one. By the end of the day we had both the new and the tie pair terminated, with only a few minor issues, which Pete H was kind enough to come and fix the next day. Rick, Martin and Peter managed to get a junction in each direction to Parkend working.
17 March : Sam and I decided to test our junctions, particularly to Lydney Signal Box. This required us to visit the box where we got the two outgoing junctions to Norchard working. We unplugged the incoming circuits but neither would work. We returned to Norchard to find strange conditions coming apparently from the two circuit distributor relay set. In the end I bypassed the set for the two outgoing circuits to Lydney Junction to find that there were still problems. Both junctions had been reversed in the cable work and were locking up to battery on the "wrong" leg. One junction was also "dis" on the earth leg and this fault has to remain for a later date. Rick came in to help after calling him for information. Reversing the good junction got it working. We ended with three out of four junctions back in service. We also have three out of four junctions working to Parkend, so that the only current loss of service would be for calls from Parkend to Lydney Junction. The distibutor circuit now needs to be carefully examined (perhaps for silver migration) on a non running day. Sam went to the town crossing to reconnect the phones there but could not get both to work. Again something odd for Wednesday next.
21 March : Rick and Martin went off chasing the faulty Parkend junctions. I stayed in Norchard exchange testing with them. They finished the day with all four circuits back in service. The alarm circuits from Parkend and Lydney Junction still need to be faulted. Charles went off to Lydney Junction to advise the group replacing the crossing gates about the electrical supplies available. Sam had a day exploring the loft while he, Sam, Alan and Ray got the cables in to the new PA speaker positions. We ended the day with something quite positively completed.
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