Expecting the Unexpected

Monday, the 13th, found me driving home from Ohio, where I’d made the trip to MC a gathering of friends, former students, family and fellow Ohio University folks, for the somber farewell memorial to professor David Prince. That event went well, and was the driving force behind my thoughts on the long trip home. After all, David was the closest thing to a mentor I’ve ever had, introducing me to the mysteries of the motion picture camerawork, as well as acting like the older brother I never had. And I ended up working there running the Ohio University Film Production Laboratory for five years. It was, quite simply, a magical time for film-making and a great collection of friends, some of whom were at the memorial. Et cetera…

Then my cell phone rang. End of reverie. It was long-time client Dick, WA4MWX, who was, in a word, panicked. He’d just discovered that all three legs of his 100-ft 25G tower had broken off right at the concrete. The only thing holding his tower up were the Z-bracing and the guys! Although this sounded pretty odd (I’ve spent considerable time on that tower, replacing the old Telrex stuff with a C-3, and so forth), I agreed we needed to take immediate action. So I went directly there when I got to Charlotte, and Dick was correct. As it turned out, he installed the base himself, nearly 30 years ago, but neglected to install any gravel or stone underneath the base section legs. So, over the years, water simply crept up the legs, rusting them from the inside out. The solution was one I have done numerous times (over a dozen, in fact, as this is not an uncommon problem!), and that was to simply build a “box” around the base, and pour new concrete–surrounding the 25G legs and bracing for a couple of feet. After drilling and cementing in a group of rebar “stubs” in the old base, providing solid anchors for the new concrete, and etching the old concrete base before pouring in the new concrete. All in all, relatively easy, but made more so by not going out to Gaston County to retrieve my big wheelbarrow, as I had to mix the SaKrete in a five gallon bucket!  Never again…

stay tuned (I’m sure there will be other unexpected tales to follow)


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