Thursday, April 6, 2017

The EME Tower has been Planted!

Gravel for Drainage
Build the Form
Once my grandsons had finished the digging of the hole for my new tower (see the "O&G Tower Construction Crew" Post), it was time to call Mr. Concrete (aka, Tim, K8RRT) and get the tower firmly planted in the ground.  Working around everyone's schedules and the weather, it turned out that Sunday, April 2, 2017, was THE DAY!

I picked up the grandsons and then we picked up Tim plus his wheelbarrow and concrete finishing tools.  After a brief stop for fuel for the workers (Tudors Biscuit World) we were ready to begin the job.  My grandsons, Owen and Grant, had no real experience working with concrete so this was a learning experience for them.  Mr. Concrete had mucho experience so he was appointed as the Job Boss!

Lay Down the Tarp
Tim was very good about telling the boys everything he was doing and, most importantly, the WHY of what he was doing.  I am sure they leaned quite a bit that day.  Not just about concrete but even some tricks about sawing wood with a hand saw.  Tim was really impressed by how well the boys listened so it was a really great crew all around.

Pour the Concrete
I took on the role of "Stupidvisor" and Chief Gopher!  Anyone needs something and W8TN is your man to go and get it.  We only had one major issue develop and that was my choice of where to locate the tower in the hole.  Tim noticed that if we put it there, the Hazer that would eventually carry the antennas up and down the tower would not be able to clear the gutter on the house.  WHEW!  I am sure glad he spotted that one!
Just Add Water

You can click on any of the images here to see them larger.

We first put a couple of inches of gravel in the hole to allow water (that WILL accumulate in the tower legs) to drain out.  To make sure the tower did not sink in the gravel and get plugged by dirt, we suspended the tower by using a small rake under a couple of rungs to hold it at a particular height.  We tied three light lines to the tower and staked them to make sure the tower did not topple while we were working.  Another 3 inches or so of gravel was added and then it was time to add the concrete.

We had previously purchased eleven 80-pound bags of Quickrete.  When the smoke cleared, we had about 15 pounds left over.  I get credit for measuring the hole and calculating how much concrete would be required (plus, just maybe a little luck?)

Once the concrete job was finished, Evelyn prepared a great hot dog lunch that all enjoyed immensely!  My recollection is that the entire job took about 4 hours including correcting our (my) mistakes.  We then cleaned up our tools and the grandsons asked could they please mow the yard?  WOW!  They are at an age where that stuff is fun for them. 

After I took everyone home, I came back and spent a couple of hours doing the final cleanup work including putting the tools back where they belong.  The next two days were miserable for me!  I was sore in places I did not even know I had!  All I did was "fetch and carry" and that did not include lugging 80-pound bags of Quickrete.  Could I really be that out of shape?  DUH!

"The Crew" is DONE!
The Base is Now Planted
Over the next few days I kept the concrete moist to prevent it from cracking by drying out too fast.  Now all that we need to do is to install the Hazer and add the top section of the tower.  Then, it's time for ANTENNAS!

I am very grateful for the help of ALL the crew (and my wonderful wife!)  Without everyone pulling together this would not have taken place in such a relatively short length of time.

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