On The Road with Tower Works

Headed North last Thursday, with Shaun, for various tower jobs.

First up: Kam, N3KS, where our job was to swap out his old (relatively small OptiBeam), for the largest one they make–which includes 3L on 40M! Obviously a crane job, & the guy from Titan Crane arrived on time & immediately got stuck in the pasture. But Melanie (Kam’s xyl) dashed to the rescue in her new Bobcat, piling some stone under the wheels.
Ya gotta love a gorgeous gal who can wheel around a skidsteer with such finesse! We had the old Yagi down in a few minutes, & then began unbolting the rotator, the old mast, & associated hardware. Kam wanted to upgrade the pot in the Prosistel 61-D (for better response from the Green Heron box), which took a tad longer than we expected. We were getting a bit tired & cranky hanging out at 100 feet waiting (it’s especially tough standing on one foot for long periods!), on his ANW tower….but we finally got the upgraded rotator back & it checked out perfectly. I’d prerigged the big Yagi & they had it up & over our heads in another few minutes, with the new 4130 mast already attached. The plan to loosen that mast, allowing it to slide slowly in to place, went off without a hitch, too, & we were soon tightening up the Slipp-Nott on the boom to mast plate and securing everything. I admit to not being a Prosistel rotator clamp fan, & it took seemingly forever to hold the beam in place (North), while Shaun tightened things down. Weatherproofing the connections took another few minutes, & we were finally off the tower at 5PM.

I’d promised to haul away some old aluminum, so we loaded that, then headed to Leesburg, to K4VV’s QTH.

The K4VV station is unique, in that Jack has TWO original Telrex Big Bertha rotating monopoles. Shaun had never seen one, & was duly impressed. The focus of this worktrip was to take down ALL the non-functioning StackMatch boxes (apparent victims to lightning damage) & shift their locations to ground level. This required installing some new RG-213 jumpers between the old switchbox location & the ground, of course. And weather-proofing each connection, along with testing each individual Yagi, etc. We found some broken balun connections, which we able to fix while on the tower, but the two 20M Yagis will have to come down, as their feedpoints are not reachable from the tower. We finished with Bertha ONE on Saturday, then with Bertha TWO on Sunday, along with the 40M OWA stack on tower FOUR. Tower THREE still has a broken Prosistel at the top.

Jack has decided we should replace ALL the baluns–before any more problems crop up. This is indeed a good idea. But in going over the plan, I am more & more convinced it makes sense to do this work with a crane & man basket–doing both Berthas in one day. I believe that’s possible. Taking each individual Yagi down, off the pole, & repairing them, then re-stacking them once again, is simply not economically sound. It’s too labor intensive, or expensive. Hopefully, that’s the way we can resolve this repair work.

Monday brought ridiculous rain showers, so the planned work at WN3R was post-poned, until our next trip to MD/VA.

Amidst the rain, drove over to W0YR’s place, & retrieved some old 4-1000 amplifiers of his. I simply could not resist Mike’s generous offer; it’s a terrific collection of stuff! As usual, we had a few laughs & shared stories. (It’s standard practice–if one has been licensed long enough, say over 30 years–that stories & shared experiences never fail to create a unique & lasting bond of friendship between hams. At least this seems true in our case. Mike has also been instrumental in keeping the K4VV station active in the various contests, & provided me with valuable feedback about the station.

Home at 11PM.

Email from K1GD–the rebuild of NR5M will be a topic at this year’s Dayton Contest Forum.

If the weather ever FINALLY stays nice, tower work can resume in force, with lots of work awaiting….
(It was 73 yesterday in N VA; it’s 33 here this AM! Go figger~!)

stay tuned…

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