WB4IUY's Random Blog

I've been in Amateur Radio since 1974, and still find new and interesting things to do. I like to build, restore, and operate on the air. This is a blog of various info about my Ham Radio operations and activities, projects, and opinions. Visit www.WB4IUY.net for the lowdown at WB4IUY.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tower Work, 9/27/17

I had time to climb the tower and do a bit more work before dark. I got the rotor mast installed, set the height of the mast so as to not vertically load the rotator, locked the thrust bearing inner race to the mast, slipped a home brew rain/ice skirt in place over the thrust bearing, and the pulled the rope back down the tower for the next task.

 Rotator mast installed into the tower top, working on the ice/rain shield. I didn't have this for the first 23 years of use, and it would get water in the top of the bearing and freeze up every year...


 Top thrust bearing now has a shield to help keep ice and rain out...


Looking down the torque arm on the top NE guy wire.


A better view of the torque arrestor in use on the top guy wires.


 Rotator locked to the mast and ready to get busy!


 Looking up the tower to the mast that will soon be supporting the rotatable antenna array.


The sun was setting on me again, while I was up the tower... time to climb down!


The sun was setting on me again, while I was up the tower... time to climb down!


 A 4.0 zoom of the tower top, just before dark.


Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net







Monday, September 25, 2017

Tower work, 9/25/17

Wow, I'm on a roll...got another load of items done on the tower today. Getting close to raising some antennas...yipee!!! I can't wait, I've been using low altitude wire antennas for the last year, and totally off of many bands since my tower came down in April 2016. Peace out from the bottom of the last section of tower...



I didn't get the guy wires secured on the tower last night... night fell and I got the south guy tangled up in an 80' oak tree. The wind wasn't blowing, so I gave up for the day. We started back at sunrise this morning... got the south guy straightened out, tensioned all of the guys, got the rope clamps installed, and all was secured and good to go. Nothing to worry, if a storm blew in...

 This is the elevated guy point for the NE lower guy wires...


 A pic of the tower from our front yard, with the tower top installed, torque arms deployed, and guy wires attached and tensioned. 


 A pic of the NW guy wire anchor point for the top guy wire...




A pic of the southern guy anchor point for the top guy wire. 

I got in a little more tower work before dark... I lowered the gin pole mast down in the mount, raised the gin pole mount to the tower top, pushed the mast back up and got it ready to raise the rotor mast up and into the top of the tower for the rotatable array. I then pulled the rope back down to the bottom of the tower, ready to raise the rotator mast at sunrise. Here a few pics from the end of the day...

 A pic from abt 110', looking to the east...

 
 A pic from abt 110', looking to the south...


 A pic from abt 110', looking through the tower to the west...



 A pic from abt 110', looking to the northwest...


Peace out from 110', top rotor mast thrust bearing seen in the RH side of the pic...




 A pic from abt 100', looking through the tower to the northwest...


 A pic from abt 100', looking to the north...


 Sunset, 9/25/2017, from about 110'...


 Looking up at the tower from the front yard, gin pole move up and mast extended, ready to lift the mast...


 At the end of this day, a little Booker on ice to relax :-)

Dave WB4IUY








More Tower Work, 9/24/17

Well, it's been 2 months since I've had time to work on my tower. I got a little time this afternoon to do more tower work, so I tried to make the most out of it. I decided to stop the tower build at 100', and get the guy wires dropped, so as to get the antennas up before winter. The first image is a crappy cell phone video, it does zoom in a bit near the end.


 Next, here's a batch of pics from the tower and ground. I got the top section set in place with the rotator, top thrust bearing, and pulled up all guy wires in the process. It was heavy, but it's now in place and awaiting me to tension the guy wires first thing in the morning. 

 Looking up the tower, the tool bucket is at the 70' point.  


 Looking down the tower from about 50'. Beautiful afternoon to be doing tower work!


 A shot of the tower section being hoisted up the tower. It's at about 70' in this pic...


Another shot of the tower section  being hoisted up the tower. I pulled it up with the rotator, top thrust bearing, torque arms, and guys wires already attached. it was heavy, but nothing my wife with her lawn tractor couldn't handle :-)




 100' Section bolted in place!


 Sorting guy wires and getting them dropped down the tower in their proper place...


 Heading down the tower...


 A photo from the front yard of the tower with the 100' section rigged in place...


 A photo, zoomed in, from the front yard. 


OK, I'll get the guy wires adjusted in the morning, and then the antenna raising begins!

Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net



















Sunday, July 23, 2017

Torque Arms & Mount Corrected, 7/20/17

Thanks to the keen eye of David Robbins K1TTT, I now have my torque arm system properly installed and ready for service. Over the last 40+ years, I've climbed a lot of towers, mostly ham stuff with a little commercial work sprinkled in here and there. I've climbed towers with torque bars installed, but never gave them a second look as to how they were installed...as long as everything was solid and secure.

My dad recently gave me a torque arm assembly to install at the top of my Rohn 25 tower. He had it for some years, and never used it, so I was surprised when he pulled it from under a workbench up at the lake house. He handed it to me, and I said "heck yeah!". I had noticed my tower twisting a little in high winds and when the rotator would stop & lock, but no problems over the 23 years it was in service.

I was working on the top section for my tower, in the home workshop, so I  promptly got this thing bolted on and ready to go. It's an older version, and I couldn't find any info for it online. When I uploaded a few pics, it caught the eye of David Robbins K1TTT, who walked me through the proper installation. Here it is in a couple of pics, properly installed. They should already be above the horizontal braces, and the little "hump" in each are should allow clearance for the diagonal cross braces. Now, time to get this up on the tower and start stacking antennas!!





Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net











Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More tower work, 7/18/17

Well, this is sorta tower work... I decided to get some of the bugs worked out of my top tower section, before hauling it all up to the 100' point. The previous blog described the issues with the thrust bearing, rotator shelf, and mast position. With all of that out of the way, I moved on to a setup and dry run prior to installation...

I installed the rotator and got it in position, slipped the mast into the thrust bearing, set the height of the mast, installed a mechanical stop on the mast so the thrust bearing would support the weight of the antennas (instead of the weight bearing down on the rotator), and installed a new set of torque arms  my dad gave me. I also have a new upper skirt my dad made, to shed the water from the thrust bearing, once installed. Here's a few pics...


Rotator connected to the controller, and a few test runs made to make sure it turns without any binding. All is well, and ready for action!
 

 Rotator alignment completed, with no issues in rotation. I can't wait to get this beast up on the tower!



Mast centered in the thrust bearing. The thrust bearing is now pumped full of fresh grease, and turning smoothly. Dad fabricated a new skirt for a water shed to install here...


 The mast sits about 1" off of the rotator housing, so as to not present any vertical load. 



 Dad gave me a set of torque arms he had stashed away for Rohn 25! Yes! This thing has always twisted when I would start or stop the rotation of the stack, this should solve that problem!


 Torque arms installed and ready for connection to the guy wires!



Can't wait to get this hoisted upon the tower to the top, and get my guy cables connected!!


Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net











Sunday, July 9, 2017

More Tower Work, July 8 & 9...

Wow, this was a busy "tower work weekend". The temp were in the low 90's with high humidity, so we started early. First thing, I helped a friend take down his 48' Rohn 25 tower, in preparation for a move to his new home. Ken had already removed his antennas and dropped the guy cables (he had a Hazer on it!), so it came down fast. In less than 2 hours, it was laying on the ground and ready to haul away.
 

Before....



After, in under 2 hours!


I returned to my QTH and climbed to the top of the 90' section on my tower, relocating the gin pole from 80' to 90', in preparation for pulling up the next section. I've decided to put the top on it here, and stop the tower at 100'. There will be 15' of mast above that, with a 21' vertical antenna mounted on top of the mast...that'll put the tip top of my stuff at 136'. I'm already on a hilltop, located at 375' ASL, and the nearly identical setup has worked very well for me over the last 24 years. 

 Gin pole moved to 90' and extended to over 100', ready for the next section of tower...





I needed to do a bit of preparation and a few mods to the top section, to remedy problems I've had in the past. I cleaned the grease fitting on the thrust bearing and lubricated it well. It seemed to be dry, but then, it has been in the weather and in operation many years. The pinch bolts in the collar of the thrust bearing needed attention, as one had become loosened and fallen out somewhere along the years, shifting all of the vertical load directly onto the rotator. 

Thrust bearing on the top...new allen screws installed for centering the mast in the bearing...

Mast guide plate, mid-section...


Next, the lower rotator shelf has always been a problem, requiring the rotator to be left slightly loose on the shelf due to an alignment issue. It was pre-drilled when I got it (don't remember where it came from), and I found it was off about 1/4"! Whew... I marked the plate and slotted it with my old manual mill to allow for perfect alignment when it is reinstalled.

 Rotor shelf marked up to determine the error and corrections needed...


 Rotor shelf clamped down on the table of my old manual mill...


Slotting the rotor bolt holes to allow for accurate alignment of rotor, once installed in the tower...

The rotator is an old Alliance HD-73, and has served me well all these years. It's had a rough life, being operated severely overloaded for turning load, as well as having supported a tremendous amount of weight. Rotation, lock to lock, was generally on the order of 80 seconds. It was welded together once by a lightning strike, and I literally broke it loose with a hammer and never removed it for service...about 19 years ago!  Never-the-less, it has performed well. When the storm destroyed the tower back in April of 2016, it was stuck upside down in a tree for about a month, until we could get a crane to get it down. During that time it rained inside of the rotator, which certainly did it no good. I pulled it apart today, cleaned out all of the rust, wire brushed all of the moving parts and all 4 of the bearing races, cleaned and packed all of the 104 individual ball bearings, reassembled it, gave it a good cleaning and a coat of paint. A quick test found it working like new and ready for action. 

I had to use the Dremel tool and a cut-off disk to deepen the slots of the screw heads, so they could be removed from the terminal strip where the rotor cable connects. Lots of rust...


 Loads of rust on the terminal strip...


Corrosion on the bottom of the housing was so bad, it looked as if the bottom of the rotor has been hammered in... I cleaned it off with a wire brush, and it got a heavy coat of paint later... 


Terminal strip cleaned with a small sanding wheel...


New screws installed in the terminal strip...



Rotor, after disassembly, internal cleaning and lubrication, and re-assembly...


I gave it a "road test", a fresh coat of paint, and she's ready for action!


That was all I could do today, and tomorrow is another work day. More work coming soon, the tower top will be headed up to the 100' point in a few days!

Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net