All right…while the weather was a worthwhile topic of convcrsation across much of the USA this week, it was doubly so for those of us doing tower work.
Things go off to a hot, dirty, & sweaty start in N4IZ’s backyard, when Joe arrived from Florida. Don, N4IZ, whose installation I successfully did about 10-12 years ago, had called to say his beam (a TH-11) was no longer aligned with the rotator. A simple fix, but from his description, a site survey seemed to be a good idea. Imagine my surprise to find his backyard totally overgrown, & one of the elevated guy posts (wood, which I told him at the time was a bad idea), rotted off at the base. Whoever installed the tower initially had not plumbed it, & their solution was to use 5/16-inch EHS to pull it plumb. This wasn’t a good idea, since it’s only a 60-ft tower using two guy sets. I reconfigured it was three guy sets of 3/16-inch EHS & it wasn’t “too bad” in terms of being level & plumb. Needless to say, that was no longer the case. So on Wednesday we dug a new hole for a new metal elevated anchor, which I’d had an EQ plate welded to, etc. The rental house provided the wrong size auger, so we were faced with lots of grunting labor enlarging the hole by hand! And then, of course, there was the joyous “mixing SaKrete in wheelbarrow” shenanigans…but all worked out & Don headed for his beach rental house seemingly a happy camper. Next trip, I have to cut & clear away the cedar tree branches (the tree is literally less than 3-ft from the tower base!) which have now grown almost to the tower top….don’t ask….then re-guy things & figure out why the beam has moved.
After that, the next day found us on the road to Chapel Hill, NC to finalize the repairs to KZ1X’s setup,, re-installing his F-12 3//40M rotary dipole (sandwiched between a large Optibeam 10-20M beam & a WARC OptiBeam. Corkscrewing it up the tower & around the guy brackets worked out, as did turning it vertical & inter-weaving it through all the elements. Getting it mounted, aligned, etc. wasn’t as easy as we’d figured, because the damn thing droops so much, but we prevailed.
Then it was a bit further up & over the state to Clayton, where we were faced with taking down N4TCP’s tower/antennas. This job had begun two years ago when we took down his broken SteppIR. But now Ken had decided to get out of ham radio all together, so his 80-ft of 45G & a variety of VHF/UHF antennas were to be taken down. Overall, considering the high temperature & humidity, things went pretty well. We got the antennas down Friday, broke for some lunch, came back intending to start working on the tower, but lightning & thundershowers halted the idea of working aloft. We took the tower down in four hours on Saturday morning.
It’s back home time, where the Charlotte temp is slightly cooler, but still not the most pleasant working conditions for heavy outdoor exertions. Always sobering to listen to the TV/radio announcers tolling out “heat index” numbers of 110 degrees…~!