Sort of like D-Day, only 66 years later….

Home late last night from another road trip.

Here’s a summary of the work. Began at K4VV’s, where the focus was to replace a series of damaged baluns on the HF Yagis. I specified a crane with a man basket, but Jack rented a brand new 141-ft JLG manlift.  Cranes, beings self-leveling with their out-riggers, are much more usable on uneven terrain. And that’s exactly the situation we found ourselves in with the manlift. It’s built-in protection sensors would either limit travel, or shut the functions down totally. So, we spent considerable time digging in the dirt, to allow an even footing for the lift. Needless to say, Jack’s xyl wasn’t too happy with the condition of the yard surrounding the bases of towers one, two, and three! But that work was accomplished okay, and we went on, only to find that there was no continuity between the shack and the StackMatch units at the tower base on tower one. Finally, in desperation, I suggested we install all new control lines, and Jack agreed.  Who knows where/how the cables got damaged or broken underground, but this was the simplest solution.

Friday saw me back at WN3R’s place, where I was hanging a new 16-conductor control line for the MonstIR beam. I’d assumed one of the two splices we’d made when patching the system together back in February had failed, but it turned out to be a case of simple cable wear—apparently caused by the wind slapping the line against the tower. The rotation loop is large enough so that the cable cannot hit the top place of the SSV tower (which is very sharp-edged). In any case, a new control line solved that easily enough.

Saturday found me at W3HXO’s, where the task was to remove his antenna system. I arrived at 7:02 to take delivery (sometime between 7-9AM) of the manlift, required here as the tower was unsafe to climb.  Sunbelt delivered it at 7:30. Turns out, it was another terrain nightmare. The soil was too soft, and the lift kept sinking in, either right or left, front or back, limiting me to 40 feet of lift. After three hours of digging up the yard, I gave up, and decided to simply fell the tower. I’d already sold the beams up top, so wasn’t keen on the idea, but there was no choice.It came down about where I wanted, sliding a bit to one side as the water pipe splice he’d used at the base twisted as I sawed through it! All in all, spent 10 hours there, getting everything down, on the trailer, and hauled away. John Hite and his xyl, Chickadee (!), K3SGB and K3SGA, were there the whole time, providing not only moral support, but labor and ham sandwiches for lunch, making the experience pleasant and memorable….

Then Saturday night, went back over to WN3R’s place and basicallly crashed. Sunday morning bright and early,  it was over to the new 25G tower, installed last summer, with a C-3 and 6M beam up top, that Dick wanted to use as an 80M vertical. I’d already installed 100 radials, and the shunt feed arm. It’s 60 feet of 25, so I simply put the shunt arm at the top of the tower, spaced out about two feet. Nothing we did could cause us to find anything close to resonance! Yesterday, by going super slow with the tuning, I noticed a dip at 3 mHz. So, I climbed up, moved the shunt arm down nine feet, and slid it in closer to the tower, to about 12 inches. The result? 1.2:1 at 3.8 mHz immediately. Sort of anticlimatic, but hey, I’ll take it…! Dick was pretty happy. He showed me the remote control functions of his station (set up right now for his 706), but now that the MonstIR is working again, he’ll be using the K3 & 87A, going full tilt boogie, I’m sure.

While on the road home, my cell rang. A voice says, “This is George Carpenter…” Which was amazingly surprising, since I’d just written about George’s Dad, Archie, in this blog a few weeks earlier. Archie, who was then WA8FTX, later to become NS8D. Somehow (and I wish now I’d gotten this info from George), he’d read that post, and decided to call. Talk about the old small world cliches…I was immediately flashing back 45 years or so to when George, WA8FRA, Archie, and a whole slew of hams in that part of Ohio would gather on 6M AM.  Truly amazing, all mostly accomplished through the ease and access of the Internet, of course.  “Boy,” as Joel McCrea exclaims at the end of Sullivan’s Travels…indeed!

The WX in mid-Missouri looks pretty bad for this week, so planned trip there is doubtful. Lots of local work beckons. Giving a presentation to the QCWA this Saturday, up in Raleigh area.  Then it’s back up to N VA/MD, for FD with the PVRC brethren (W3AO), then working at W3LPL’s and others!….

stay tuned….

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