Look Jane, see Don run…

Okay, it was that sort of week–reverting to grade school thoughts and language along with moments of terror, frustration and serious sweat equity.

Thursday, we headed up to Asheville to install AD8J’s new 45G tower & DB-36 SteppIR. Imagine my surprise to find his tower base about two inches from his shack and the assembled beam mounted on a concreted-in post amidst his garden, complete with tomato stakes and a myriad of other vegetables. And turned the wrong way on the post, too. And setting on about a 45-degree slant, too. There was literally no room or way to tram the beam up on to the tower like we’d normally do.  So, after some serious pondering, I decided to move the beam by hand up and on to my McCoy Tools saw-horses (which are capable of holding 4000 lbs, so I knew they’d be okay even on the severe slope). Once turned, I then decided to try moving the antenna on to the tower by simply tramming it horizontally. I’m sure it looked like the old monkeys funning with the football for several moments there, but in the end, it worked out just fine. Once on the tower, we were able to simply pull it up vertically. Then, of course, we ran in to some guy cable issues (every length is unique and next-to-impossible to compute, not knowing the slope to the elevated posts, et cetera), requiring that we measure each one. It was 6PM and we were dead tired, plus I had to leave in the morning for MD, so we planned out the final approach to the project and headed home to Charlotte.

The plan to leave for MD early in the morning didn’t work, either, as I had several issues to complete for the XYL, so she could continue recuperating being left alone all weekend. The trip to MD took 10 hours, instead of the usual eight, getting caught up by two construction sites and then an accident slowdown.  Saturday morning finally found me at the PVRC Field Day location, setting up the station for 40M SSB. Running W3LPL’s FTDX-5000 and our usual 2L shorty forty, with 2nd op Marco, HB9OCR, doing the once-in-a-lifetime signing of W1AW/3. While the goal was to break our PVRC record of 12K QSOs, that did not happen, as conditions were really pretty punk all day Sunday. Saturday afternoon and night were great rates, running neck and neck with 20M phone (W3LPL operating). Both of us left at midnight for some rest.  FD ended for us with 11,500 Qs in the log. I had a great time, as I usually do when operating–after 52 years I still get charged up by simply “playing” radio!

Monday morning headed down to Rockville from LPL’s, to do some maintenance work for N4DR–a simple rotator swap. Of course, that was hampered by MFJ’s lack of QC in packaging. They only provided seven of the needed eight pins for the rotator plug, which meant I had to cut the plug off and solder a short stinger on. This took some time, and then of course had to come up with a EU Molex connector and a way to WX-proof it on the tower. But everything worked perfectly, Marc was happy, and it was time to move on. Stopped off at K1DQV’s to pick up his spare Big Bertha gearbox, which I hope to utilize as the rotator for an AB-105 tower install. My local fab shop has told me they think they can duplicate the bearings, etc. if I provide drawings, which I now have courtesy of LPL.

Managed to slog and slug my way down I-95’s interminable traffic delay corridor to Fredericksburg, where I camped out at the Best Western, called K4FJ to pick up some gear purchased earlier, then headed to Spotsylvania to meet new client WA4JUK and perform his site survey. With that accomplished, it was another crash night–falling asleep about as soon as the head hit the pillows.

Headed home Tuesday afternoon. Local jobs in the queue.

stay tuned….

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