Rain day…

Home late last night…here’s a summary of work this roadtrip.

Began with another visit to W4CYS. This time, we planned to do the “wiring” for the tower–running Heliax & control lines, then burying them back to the house, & so forth. That was hampered a bit by the vendor sending me the wrong Heliax connnectors! But we did get the trench dug, the PVC buried to the house, & the Hoffman boxes installed at the tower base & at the shack end. I was even able to solder a new PL-259 at the tower top, replacing an old, broken crimp-on connector on the 6M feedline. Thank God for the Hexxacon 175W iron…

Then it was up to MD, where W3LPL & I found ourselves installing feedlines to the 10 Beverage receiving antennas on Friday afternoon. Never again do I want to be lugging RG-214 cable around a field an hour before CQ WW begins! With 1200-ft feedline runs, that’s a LOT of cable. We started the contest a bit behind with the RX antenna system, & with lousy propagation, but you always assume the competition isn’t faring much better, & you persevere, et cetera. Saturday dawned much better, & 20M got going early. Sunday was much, much slower, but again, you simply keep plugging. We’ve never beaten K3LR in WW M-M competition, & this year was no different: 21M to 19M.  But you can’t complain about Frank’s station performance. Everything worked well, & we were able to run & work mults despite the less-than-ideal conditions. We ended up with over 2500 Qs, all 40 zones, & 154 countries on 20M.

Then on Monday, we replaced the 40M Yagi’s prop pitch rotator. A five hour job. W3UR walked over & helped me raise the motor, after I’d installed it (a K7NV rebuild, beautiful, as usual) on the mounting plate, & hauled it up to Frank atop the tower. Then a quick lunch, & I headed off to NJ, where I’d promised W2GD I would help install insulators in the 200-ft guy level EHS at WYRS, where they have some 160M wire antennas, on the 300-ft 55G tower. The tower is located in a salt marsh, & the conditions are (as usual) messy & more messy. It’s always exciting to do tower work wearing fly-fishing waders! And stepping into over-your-knees deep holes makes for some exciting verbal exchanges. W1GD, W2GD & I manged to get everything done in five hours.

Then, it was back on the road, headed to Richmond. Yesterday found me at N4HB’s place, where we were faced with getting Henry’s 80-ft aluminum tower down, all the antennas removed, et cetera. The tower was originally installed by W4DR, before he moved, so it’s been in place a while. We found significant dissimilar metals corrosion issues. Luckily, the existing tiltover mechanism was still working okay, so we were able to get the tower tilted over & I was able to remove everything, working from up on the roof! Slowly but surely everything came off the mast. Nothing worked for getting the tower sections apart, however. Henry made the wise decision, though, & the Saw-Z-All made short work of dismantling the old aluminum tower. There was two inches of “play” or movement at the 30-ft level joint anyway, along with considerable standing water in the base section legs, so it was time….

Home to Charlotte very late, after driving through rain much of the night. Showers continue today, supposedly all day. Preparations this week for trip out to Peoria, IL, where W2GD & I meet up once again, to begin K9CT’s 11 tower installation.

stay tuned

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