End of the road…

Flight home from Houston delayed 45 minutes, so not home ’til a little after 1AM…tired but happy I guess explains my condition this morning. Here’s a recap of the week’s tower adventures:

Flew down & headed to the ranch (NR5M). Kenny is still suffering from his tower accident there right before the VHF contest. Punctured lung, some broken ribs, et cetera. A classic case of hurrying, working in the rain & otherwise lousy conditions, et cetera. Kenny’s belt simply slid down & off his skinny frame while he was pounding away at the PIROD bolt flange with a 16 lb sledge hammer! The next thing he knew, he was on the ground…

Anyway, we managed to get most of George’s worklist done, before heading to Austin, on Wednesday morning. We drove right to N5TSP’s place, & began to unload & prepare to install his stack of 6M Yagis. K5AND drove up & before you know it, W2GD had the ginpole in place & we were hauling up the new mast, holding it in place with the traditional muffler clamp. I climbed up with the beam, corkscrewing it around the guy wires, then went back down, while John mounted the beam, taped the feedline to the mast, etc. Then it was a simple matter of raising the mast & installing the rotator. While John secured the coax & rotator clamp, I climbed down & came back with the second Yagi. While he bolted it in place, I secured the rotator. Then we aligned & double-checked everything. Four hours from arrival to departure. N5TSP was happy & we were on our way to K5AND’s place!

Dick’s job was to tram up his new 4L OptiBeam 40M Yagi.  We spent the late afternoon clearing the field of the scrub brush & small trees, allowing us space to actually stage the antenna. Thursday morning dawned & we got the tram line in place (3/16-inch EHS), & once the antenna was up & on the line, we found it to be very unbalanced. I’d brought along the tools (just in case) & we discovered it needed 12 lbs of weight to bring it into dynamic balance. Not one word in the manual regarding the condtion, but recent OptiBeam experiendces show this to be the case. By late afternoon, we managed to find some suitable galvanized pipe & got the beam to fly well on the tram. It was up & on the tower in about 15 minutes. Looks good up there. Dick has another tower & more Yagis to go up–probably later this summer.

Friday morning I climbed his little 25G  “house tower,” adding two more sections. That tower will hold all his UHF antennas, with the transmitters & preamps right in the air-conditioned attic!  Then we packed up & went down the road to N5CQ’s. Literally three clients whose QTHs are all visible from each other’s tower! We trammed down his problem C-51XR. I was pleased to discover this beast was well balanced as-is, making the tram job go rather quickly. Then we stuck a C-3 up on the mast in its place, along with installing a new thrust bearing & Orion 2800. Then it was time to pull new control cables & Heliax to the rotating 80M tower. Hot, hard work, by hand, in the high Texas humidity & heat…but all accomplished in short order.

Then Sunday morning we were back on the road to Hempstead, where NR5M had called asking for one more try at the non-working 80M Yagi rotator. This time out, Kenny had gotten us a working power supply & control box, however, & we quickly discovered that there was a wiring error at the junction box at the tower base. Once through that (there are multiple 24-conductor cables there!), we had it turning in short order. The THI was 104 at this point, so the required visits to each tower to work out suitable covers for the K0XG rotator motors went veryyyyyyyyy slowly!  Exactly what we will used remains to be seen. PVC & other slipon covers probably won’t work. A wraparound solution (like a literal jacket) probably required.

stay tuned

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