Friday, December 11, 2009

Twisted SteppIR

On Wednesday we had some high winds. Various places close to me measured 62 MPH and as much as a 74 MPH gust. I was gone all day and when I got home, it was too dark to tell any more than the tower was still standing. In the light of day I was able to see that the SteppIR got twisted a bit by the wind. Below you can see two views of the antenna that is canted at about a 30-degree angle from horizontal.

Using the telephoto lens of my camera I was able to see that the truss wire on the driven element side of the antenna has come loose. It can be seen hanging down below the antenna. (Click on any photo to enlarge it and use your Back button to return to this page.) Below you can see the reason the truss wire is no longer connected. The turnbuckle came unscrewed. Apparently there was no safety wire put through it during installation. In the first two photos below you can see the turnbuckle body hanging from the boom and it is missing the end that attaches to the mast. On the second photo you can see the missing "eye" that is still attached to the mast.

On the third photo I have put an arrow that shows the EZeye eyebolt. This is used during installation to quickly and easily secure the SteppIR to the mounting plate before attaching the U-bolts. I can't tell for certain but it looks like the SteppIR boom has rotated in the U-bolts and has been stopped from further rotation by the bolt hitting the mounting plate.

Repair should be simple. just loosen the U-bolts and return the antenna to horizontal, then reach out and retrieve the truss cable and re-connect it to the mast. This time, a safety wire WILL be put through both turnbuckles so this does not happen again.

This minor damage to the SteppIR installation is not the extent of the wind damage here. The 160-M Monster-L was working great on Thursday morning when I checked out the antennas. However, this morning the SWR was nearly 7:1. Possibly something failed last night as we continued to have high wind on Thursday. Also, the 80-M Inverted-V is no longer functional. I suspect either one leg has come loose or broken on it. So, some of the wire antennas need a little work in addition to repairing the truss wire on the SteppIR. Then, we will again be back in business.