Here We Go Again…

Back home last night around midnight….from another dash down to Texas. Friday’s arrival found me (along w/the rest of Houston) in the midst of a weird winter snow storm. Sleet, high winds, & plunging temperatures brought some strange weather conditions. The snow would suddenly start, disappear, & be back five minutes later. The sky seemed to just drop to the ground, & visibility was probably less than 200 feet. I missed the Tollway exit, in fact, even though I’ve been making this trek for over two years! Lots of wrecks on briddges & overpasses. Lots of creeping motorists (beats driving too fast for conditions, I guess).

Anyway, the focus this trip (just me–W2GD did not come down) was to repair the top 10M Yagi on the four stack. Turns out, the rotation loop had somehow gotten snagged on the guy bracket, just enough for the jacket to tear off for about six inches. The ingress of water simply ruined the feedline. Luckily, that antenna is mounted on a PVRC mount, & while it was a tricky operation (it took some juggling & precise rotating to get everything aligned), but I was able to turn the elements vertical, then tilt the boom down & in to the tower, & by holding the boom somewhat steady with a sling, reach way out & get to the feedpoint. It was a stretch, & I admit that extending the positioning lanyard & lying nearly horizontal & attempting to work on 10-32 sized hardware is not my most favorite activity. Not only does the blood cease flowing to your head from the pressure exerted at your waist, but the ability to hold on to the tiny hardware goes way down as you reach ever further outward. Of course, the 30-degree temperatures didn’t contribute anything either. But all went off without a hitch (meaning I only dropped one machine screw), and the beam plays like it’s supposed to–once again, the station is ready for the 10M Test. George will be doing single op, phone only!

The remainder of the day & Sunday was spent (in misting rainfall) working on the M2 EME array. The eight big 41-ft boom Yagis are all up, the AZ-EL & prop pitch are working, so the focus was on getting the power dividers installed & phasing lines routed. The manual leaves a lot to be desired (there are no photographs, merely line drawings, & literally no text or narrative). Luckily, the manlift on site made getting up, down, in & out around the beams relatively easy. The rain made any attempts at WX-proofing connections next-to-impossible. I tried clearing everything w/the heatgun as I went, but soon reached a point where even it could not keep ahead of the wetness. After a short break, we were able to resume that work, while N5YA installed SuperFlex & hardlines connectors on the runs into the shack. Finished up w/everything run & cable-tied in place, then it was time to drive back to IAH & catch the Continental Express puddle-jumper home.

If the WX holds, local NC/SC jobs this coming week, then a leisurely drive to MO, for AI0O’s install….

stay tuned

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