|220 VAC Y-Splitter for 6-M & 2-M amps|
|Two 13-L 144-MHz Yagis|
Today I began the building of the 2-M antennas in earnest. On the right you can see the shipping tube that contained the two 13-L InnovAntenna 144-MHz yagis. The two 13el LFA2 2-M yagis were tendered to FedEx on June 29th (of 2016) and delivered to me on July 5th. That's just 6 days and may have been much less if it wasn't for the weekend and the holiday. I can't believe how fast InnovAntennas can ship antennas from England right to my house in Hurricane, WV. (Click on any photo to see a larger image.)
|Element Center Markings|
Next, each element was plainly marked as "RE", "DE", "D1", "D2", "D3", etc. WOW! No need to measure each element to find the correct one. I am suitably impressed now.
Next I noticed that the elements have three marks near the center of each. The manual indicates that these marks show EXACTLY where the center of the elements are and the two marks on either side, are spaced perfectly so that you can see them on the outside of the insulated element mounting brackets to know you have the element centered. (This just keeps getting better and better!)
You can see in the photo on the left how those centering marks work. When the top piece of the element mounting bracket is installed, the marks on the outside show up nicely so you can perfectly center each element.
The one complaint I have is that the actual written instructions for the antenna leave a good bit up to the builder to figure out on his own. Luckily I had built an InnovAntenna 6-M beam two years ago and had solved some of those problems. For example, there is a one metal element mounting bracket (all the rest are plastic) and no indication in the manual of where this goes. From the 6-M antenna build I knew that this was a grounding bracket for the Driven Element loop. Things like metric measurements, "P" clips, "RivNut inserts", "Jubilee" clips, and so on can cause some confusion but Mr. Google is your friend in these circumstances. ("Jubilee" clips are "hose clamps.")
|Marks Center Elements|
|Never-Seez on Boom Joints|
After the boom pieces were in place and supported on plastic saw horses, I began the process of installing the elements. Since the elements were labeled and the centers were marked, this process proceeded at light-speed. I just laid down one of the element clamp halves, placed the element on it, put the other half of the clamp on top, smeared some Never-Seez on the end of the metric Cap Bolts, and screwed the bolts (with an Allen wrench) into the "RivNut" inserts that were already installed in the boom. Notice there was NO MEASURING to figure out where to mount the elements. The "RivNut" inserts were already in the boom and I just had to screw in the bolts. Easy-Peasy!
I found that I could pick up the two halves of the element clamp, two cap screws, the next element, smear on the Never-Seez and install the element in about 3-4 minutes. It went SO fast I was getting dizzy! I did double (and triple) check the element names to make sure they were in the right order as well as the centering marks. Before completely tightening down the elements, I placed a large metal square alongside the boom and made sure the elements were square to the boom.
|Antenna #1 Nearly Completed|
|Never-Seez on Bolts|
There is also a "Truss" assembly that I need to construct and install to support the 26.26-foot length of the antenna. Also, the boom-to-mast bracket needs to be installed. This was not done today because it requires balancing the antenna and I'll leave that for another day.
So, today was a VERY good day on the EME project. Antenna No. 1 is pretty much complete. Building Antenna No. 2 should go a little faster now that I have a work flow established and all the necessary tools in place. I carried the antenna around to the EME tower and just laid it on the roof so that the deer won't trample it in the yard. Hopefully we get no strong storms before I finish the mounting - Hi!