That damn groundhog…

…was right. There will be six more weeks of winter!
And we seemed to experience most of them this past week, where once again we found ourselves (W2GD & I) at the NR5M radio ranch, getting the station ready for the up-coming ARRL DX Test. There were two high priority items: fix the high 15M Yagi (which was not turning) & fix the high 80M Yagi (which was showing an erratic SWR).

Arriving on Monday, we ran into intermittent rain, so put off the climb to 185 ft & the 80M Yagi fix ’til Tuesday, when the winds were blowing a mere 30MPH (gusts had to hitting 40MPH). It was COLD up there! But I found the problem at once (I had predicted it, in fact). A stress fracture of the small aluminum bracket from the switchbox to the element. We patched in a couple of #12 wire leads & climbed down, cold but happy.

The remainder of the week found us over on the new 15M multiplier tower, which we’d prepped last month. It was now time to get the two old legacy KLM 6L Yagis up & on the tower. But we first installed the 6M beam at the very top of the tower. We did not dynamically balance the KLMs, just hauled ’em up on a tram line & wiggled them into place. Not pretty, but fairly easy & efficient. We are using TIC Rings to turn each—they’re literally toys compared to the K0XG orbital ring rotators used everywhere else at the station, but since this is a 25G tower, they represent the only logical solution. They are, in a word, a pain to put together. They are not precision made, parts don’t fit exactly, etc. Sloppy assembly (loose bolts until everything’s assembled is the order of the day, & then you tighten everything together). The drift pin punch is your friend! But I digress…for the money, they are a real bargain.

I spent considerable time wrestling with the Rosenberger-Leoni hardline connectors–a first experience for me.
George had puchesed several shortend runs of their 7/8-inch Heliax, but the center pin is a different size from our normal LDF5 cable, so none of our existing Andrew connectors fit. We overnighted some Leioni N-connectors to the ranch &, as I say, I spent a bit of time figuring them out. All the dimensions are metric (I admit, I’m not a fan) & they require quite precise cutting. I used a Dremel tool quite a bit to get into their tolerance range. We finished the week yesterday by installing the 7/8-inch Heliax phasing lines on the tower, along with a run to the very top for the 6M Yagi. Everything checked out perfectly.

W0UN surprised us with a brief stopover visit—having been to Houston for a Doctor’s visit & a Toyota tuneup at George’s dealership. It’s always a treat (& a learning experience) to chat w/John. George was playing in the RTTY contest, & planning to do the Sprint SSB contest later that evening. His reported score is the highest (so far). Kudos…!

Wednesday, ‘GD & I are going to EA8 for a site survey, then hanging on to do the ARRL DX Test from there. It should be, shall we say, great fun! Look for EF8M, pse!

stay tuned…

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