I got out to the hangar for a couple of times during the week, and for a few hours Saturday morning. I repaired the damaged coax connector at the GPS antenna. The antenna is mounted behind the rear seat, at the top of the rear baggage area. I must have damaged it when I had the aircraft stuffed full of camping gear for Oshkosh. The connector was so badly damaged that I am amazed the GPS was still working.

Originally I had a straight connector on the end, so the coax extended down a fair ways below the top of the baggage compartment. I looked for a 90 degree connector, but couldn't find one locally. I did find a 90 degree adapter, so I put another straight connector on, and used the adapter. This keeps the coax up against the top of the baggage compartment. I had a concept to add a metal shield around the bottom of the antenna to protect the coax from getting damaged. But, when replacing the connector I saw that the rear shoulder straps run very close to the antenna, and one of them would have been rubbing on my planned shield. So, I need to work on Plan B - perhaps some sort of plastic shield, if I can find something suitable to make it from.

After repairing the GPS coax, I pulled the Mooney at the front of the hangar outside, then I pulled the RV-8 out too. I fired up the GNS 430W and confirmed that the GPS was working, and that the autopilot was receiving data from the GPS. I had wanted to do this for awhile, but every time I was out to the hangar since I connected the GPS to the autopilot it had been raining.

I checked the audio panel connector, and found I would need to solder the autopilot disconnect aural warning wires to the pins if I wanted to add any more inputs. I was hoping that the connector used pins that are crimped to the wires. The access to the connector is poor - I should have left a longer pigtail on it. I don't trust my soldering skills enough to try doing that job, so I'll live without the aural autopilot disconnect warning.

I also hooked up the pitot input to the autopilot and did a leak check. Of course I had a small leak, and it took some messing around to find it and fix it. I still have to hook up the static system input. I had hoped to do that yesterday, but I ran out of time.

Up til now, I have been using a piece of cord tied to the front of the canopy with a loop that I would hook over the latch nub on the canopy bow. That would hold the canopy about halfway open, but it looked very agricultural. I saw a neat stop for the canopy at Oshkosh, and bought one from Fly Boy Accessories (product page). Vince at Fly Boy Accessories is a F1 Rocket builder, and he provides excellent customer service. The latch seems to work very well. If you open or close the canopy all the way this stop is bypassed. But, if the canopy is more than half open, and you slide it forward until it is just past midway, you can then let is slide back and the stop will catch it. If you slide it forward a few inches, then you can let it go aft and the stop won't be in the way.