Okay….it’s the end of something, 2017 mostly, & I apologize for not keeping current on the blog, & to all the starving Pygmies there in New Guinea, et cetera..
The knee surgery went well, & I was basically back at work full-tilt-boogie within three weeks. I truly appreciate all the questions & queries (mostly via email) wondering just how I was (am) doing. As I’ve said numerous times on various forums, the friendships one makes in the ham radio sphere are all truly special. Thank you for your concern!
To catch up, the last job of the year was unique in several ways. First, it was for a long time friend, Rob, AI0O, who I first met in 1981, when I moved to Columbia, MO to work as the Film Producer for the UM system. 36 years of friendship means a lot, so it was great to witness all the tremendous changes around Columbia, but to see how Rob’s station has withstood the rigors of the past 11 years, when I was last there to put up the 40, 30 & 160M towers. Boone County has a 100-ft height limit, so we put up a top-loaded 25G vertical for 160M, which seemed to work quite well. But Rob wanted a full size vertical, utilizing parastic elements hung from it, to provide some gain. He suffered through the slings & arrows of typical gov’t obstructions, but received the needed variance at long last.
Our plan was a new radial field, a new base holding up 30-ft of 25G, atop which we’d simply set the old 100-ft tower, using a crane. And that all went well. The fly in the ointment part derived from having only two of us to set & adjust the guys, which required an hour longer of un-budgeted crane time. But we got it done. And I should say we were incredibly fortunate to have the weather cooperate–with temps hovering around 45 – 55
Friday, we planned to put a new mast in the 30M tower, which acted oddly at times, sticking as the beam rotated, etc. Indeed, once I lowered the Yagi, I couldn’t get the stub mast OUT of the tower top! It took some serious effort to remove it. The plan was to install a new mast, mounting a 6M Yagi at the very top, jacking the new mast up into position, then moving the 30M beam back up on to that mast. Oddly enough, the new mast would not go in the torque tube. We finally decided the only solution was to take off the top tower section, examine it on the ground, & then proceed. Once on the ground, the mast could not be inserted. So, it was obviously bent “just enough” to prevent using it again. Luckily, National Tower is still in business in Shawnee Mission, so with ND0N agreeing to go retrieve a new 25AG3 top section, Rob & I finished up the 6M beam & made ready to do the swapout, installing temporary guys & so forth.
Here’s where the work got interesting, as the weather changed to real winter, with temp right at 27 degrees. I’d left the cold weather gear at home, based on the forecast & figuring on being done by Friday. All went according to Hoyle, albeit much (much!) more slowly, due to the cold. One doesn’t realize how cold the steel can get or is while doing tower work, but you’re often forced to stop, swap gloves for the thermal pair (those are in the truck at all times…), & then start over, etc. We wrapped up at 4PM & admittedly I’ve not been so glad to get off a tower in quite some time.
Temps here in Charlotte are now hovering right at freezing, with much lower ones forecast. Quite unseasonable for our part of the world. Lots of work in the queue, so I do hope things get back to normal, et cetera.
Tnx ND0N for the photo!