Monday, August 9, 2010

KC8UHE is Now a Big DAWG!

Tim, KC8UHE, has detailed on the WVDXA Reflector his desire to replace his TA-33 (10, 15, & 20-M yagi which also did have a 17-M dipole conversion kit) with something bigger that would give him some decent gain on 17-M and 12-M. After weighing the pros and cons of many antennas, he decided upon a Mosley Pro-57B which has a 24-foot boom as compared to the 14-foot boom of his TA-33. It also adds coverage of 12-M and 17-M. In addition, I was able to re-acquire my old CushCraft 2-L 40-M beam and Charlie, N8RR, modified it into a full-size 2-L 30-M beam. It turned out to have a 15-foot boom and the reflector was just over 50-feet! WOOF! That's a BIG antenna. Charlie computer modeled the antenna both as to the dimensions and for the height it was going to be placed over Tim's terrain. The graphs look great - this puppy should really play.

What made the project really come together was an acquaintance of Tim's who has a bucket (boom) truck. He agreed to come and do the installation for Tim. This was going to be a snap! (Or so we thought!)

The truck showed up at 8 a.m. with Tim's friend, Joe, and his helper, Paul. Charlie, N8RR, Dwight, KC8WDT, Tim, KC8UHE, and I were there ready to go as well. I brought a couple of lawn chairs for Charlie and I as we really didn't expect to have to do much.

First the guys lifted up the 21-foot, Schedule 80 mast and dropped it down into the tower to rest on a board. Then they lifted up a tower section and placed it atop Tim's 37-foot tower making the top of the tower now 47-feet. We had already installed a Top Plate and Accessory Shelf (for the Rotor) on this section. Next they hooked up the winch from Tim's Hazer through a pulley at the top of the tower and used that to winch up the mast. That was a GREAT idea!

Next, the 2-L, 30-M beam was carried aloft on the bucket and quickly attached to the mast. Boy, it just doesn't get any better than this. Charlie and I in our lawn chairs watching the bucket truck effortlessly lift that monster antenna to the top of the tower - AWESOME! You can see in the photo above how things looked at this point. (Click on any photo to see it larger then use your BACK button to return to this page.)

Now we carried the 7-L Mosley (about 100 pounds) to the bucket and it was ready to be lifted and put in place. Once it was secured to the mast, the mast would be winched up until it was high enough to clear the Rotor and the Mosley would be secured. Everything was going GREAT! The weather all week had been bad but today the sky was clear, it was not too warm or too humid, everything was right with the world.

But, lurking just around the corner was Mr. Edsel Murphy! As the guys began to lift the Pro-57B with the bucket truck, suddenly a hydraulic hose let go and hydraulic fluid began to pour out of the boom. People scurried around to shut off the truck and to try and catch the fluid. Tim's friend, Joe, tried to exit the bucket which was about 10-feet in the air and got his pants caught on the Pro57-B and was hanging upside down for a minute. He got down OK but the bucket truck was dead in the water.

So, I jumped in the van and rushed to my house to pick up my gin pole, rope, climbing belt, etc. Tim ordered Pizza for everyone and when I got back they were ready to continue the project the old-fashioned way - rope, gin pole, and muscle power!

With no other visits from Mr. Murphy the rest of the installation went well. By 3 p.m. Tim had now upgraded his antenna farm from a Little Pistol to that of a Big DAWG! The bucket truck was not removed until Monday evening and Tim and I finished the guying Monday night (he used Phillystran a non-conductive guy cable.)

It is difficult to get Tim away from the radio now. He keeps telling me about the New Ones and even All-Time New Ones he has worked just today! Yep, 30-M is going to be owned by KC8UHE.

Oh, the 30-M beam (as predicted by Charlie, N8RR) was 1.0:1 and 50 ohms at the low end of the band and 1.1:1 and 51 ohms at the top end. Yep, it's a KILLER! Tim has already found he can load it on 40-M as he worked KHØ/K3TQ on 40-M CW on his second call Monday morning when he came in from work. The Mosley's SWR graphs all agree with the antenna for each band so that antenna is on-the-nose as well.

Here is a short (6 min.) video showing some of what happened during the Antenna Raising at KC8UHE's QTH. In the final shot you see Tim's QTH from a distance. The hill behind his place is to the South. But his take-off to the NE, N, NW, and W is fantastic.

That was certainly an amazing experience to watch an antenna (and tower section) being installed with a bucket truck. Also, doing it on flat ground without the need to avoid hundreds of tree limbs, made this a walk-in-the-park compared to what others of us have to contend with. GL with the DX, Tim. You have a great station now.

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