A non-Winter Event Out In Chicago-land…

This week’s project began inauspiciously enough…
NA9A sent me an email, photograph attached. It showed a rather large OptiBeam, multi-band Yagi, assembled at the base of a tower. The elements extended a considerable distance out, into trees & shrubs, surrounding the tower. “What do I do?” he wanted to know. “I want to replace two broken KLM Yagis atop this tower with this new OptiBeam.”

Of course, the only solution was to cut down some trees, which had been growing there for the past 19 years. Which Joe did. But not enough, or not as many as he should have, as W2GD & I discovered when we got there. A quick phone call brought the tree company back, & they began removing the offending over-hanging branches. In the meantime, we were beginning the painful process of dis-assembling the old 4L KLM 40M Yagi atop the tower. Since one element was already broken, balance issues became even more critical. Temperatures slightly above 40 degrees made things somewhat easier. 10-15 MPH steady winds hindered things. But over two days, we managed to remove elements from both the 40M beam, along with the KT-36XA, & lower them to the ground. The third day dawned with even milder temps & even lower winds, very helpful in getting the new beam into position.

I intended to simply remove two of the lower guy sets & pull the beam straight up alongside the tower (55G). Then the plan was to install temporary guys & jump over the removed top guy set.
But the boom was too long & the guy angle too severe, making temp guys useless for all practical purposes, so we were forced to simply remove two of the top guy sets & repeat the process, pulling the beam out & away from the tower as we worked it upward.

With lots of tugging & pulling, we managed to get the beam (which weighs 300 lbs) above the top guy bracket, re-installed the guy sets, & then climbed up. Once there, the trusty Lug-ALL comealong allowed us to get the beam atop the tower’s top plate. Then it was the usual juggling act required to install the muffler clamp sets. (I’m leaving out all the problem-solving required to make OptiBeam’s 12-inch square boom-to-mast plate pre-drilled for 2-inch material fit on to the 3-inch diameter, climbing-step-with-10-inch-spacing-equipped mast….)

We came off the tower at 6PM in total darkness. When I went back the following morning to load up the truck, Joe was very depressed–the new beam was dead. I climbed up & discovered I’d installed the feedline jumper in the wrong place on the DXE switchbox. Of course, I’d done that by feel, rather than being able to see what I was doing. Once corrected, everything worked just fine.

A long drive home, but satisfied, et cetera.

stay tuned…

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