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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tweaking the 80' Section, 6/26/17

I went back up the tower tonight, just before dark. Once I got all of the guy cables adjusted and everything set a few days ago, the 80' section was driving me a little nuts. It was off a couple of degrees, and while I could have pulled it perfect with the next set of guys when the 90' and 100' sections were stacked, I just couldn't let it be. It's now redrilled, adjusted, and as perfect as I can make it. Now, I'm content and ready to stack'm up, I can't wait! Here's a few pics...










Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net








Saturday, June 24, 2017

WB4IUY Tower Work, 6/24/17



 After working at my "real job" all day, I got a little more tower work in at WB4IUY this afternoon. Wow, it was hot and humid, but my personal body's AC (sweat) was working well :-) . I'm trying to push forward and make myself get this tower finished and back in operation.

I got the 80' section up and bolted on about 2 weeks ago. I've been soaking the turnbuckles on the guy wires in penetrating lube for the last 2 weeks, and they had broken free and were turning easily, despite being installed in 1994! The cables have become stretched over the years, and the storm in 2016 that destroyed the tower probably didn't help. I decided I needed to get the tower wires tweaked and the tower nice and straight, before I go any higher. I installed several weighted ropes on the tower from 70' and 80', to act as plumb-bobs, and allow gravity to provide a visual indicator of "straight". the 40' point of the tower needed to be pulled back NNE, while the 70' guy point needed to be pulled NW and S. Needless to say, it wasn't straight nor vertical.


I started with the guy for the 40' point on the NW leg of the tower. It wasn't grown over too badly, so I pulled the vines and leaves away to begin adjustment. Wow, the NW leg of the tower was very loose, the tower was pulled hard to the SE in the storm.
 

Vines and undergrowth all cleared away, and ready to adjust. The turnbuckle only allowed for about 3" of adjustment, so I decided I needed to loosen the clamps and pull all of the slack out before beginning the adjustment. I weave a cable through all of my turnbuckles, so they can't turn over time and loosen themselves.



I had to rig a mechanism to pull the slack out of the cable... I adjusted the turnbuckle to minimum (most loose), used vise grips to clamp a ratchet strap to the cable, and connected the other end to the turnbuckle. I was able to crank the cable up nice and tight, pull the slack out, and re-install the cable clamps. This allowed for another 3" of adjustment later...


The NE leg of the guy wires go to an elevated guy point. It was originally used by the cell phone industry at a commercial site, I snagged it up when some surplus parts popped up from a decommissioned cell site. I installed the elevated guy point back when I added on to the north side of my home workshop. I loosened the NE turnbuckle of the 40' guy to minimum, rigged my ratchet strap as before, pulled the slack out, and retightened the guy clamps. This is a much larger turnbuckle, and allows for about 5" of additional adjustment later.
 

Looking up the 40' guy cable for the NE leg of the tower. This turnbuckle snugged up nicely, and allowed for lots of tweaking. Time to move on to the 70' guy for the S leg of the tower...it was WAY off...


This is the guys for the S leg of the tower. The bigger turnbuckle (nearest to the camera) is for the 70' guy wire on the S leg. I was able to snug that cable up, and bring the 70' point of the tower vertical . After about an hour of running from point to point, checking the tower, and wiping a lot of sweat, it was finally pulled vertical and very stable.


A shot of the tower after all adjustments.... I need to go back up the tower and redrill the NW leg junction, and tweak it slightly to the NW, maybe about 5 degrees at most. Once that's done, it's time to climb up and start stacking more tower. I'm getting excited, antenna day is coming soon! I can't wait to see that Force 12 6 element HF yagi up there well above the tree line!

Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net

















Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The WB4IUY Tower up to 80'...



 Up to 80 Feet, now!


Warm weather is here, and I'm back working on my tower again. The tower was destroyed during a storm back in April of 2016, that also did considerable damage to our home. At that time, the tower was cleaned, stripped of all antennas and cables, and cut off just under the 70' point. In November of 2016, it was restored as a simple dipole support for 40, 80, and 160 meter antennas to keep me on the air through the winter months.



The top of the 70' section, where I had to cut it off and make repairs...




View from 70'...




Temporary dipole mount with "winter" antennas at about 65'...



Over the weekend of June 10-11 2017, I decided it was time to get busy. Debbie AC4QD was my ground crew, and she worked to pull lots of things up to me with the garden tractor (and even by hand!!), depending on the weight. On Saturday, I had to climb to the 70' point, pull up a tag line and pulley, hoist a heavy duty electrical cord (for the AC drill) and tie it off on the tower top, and pull up various hand tools and supplies. A batch of 6" long, schedule-40 3/4" galvanized nipples were drilled, fitted, and double bolted into the top of the 70' section. This would serve as splices to allow the next tower section to be stacked. This stuff is hard to drill, and required 18 drill bit changes...not to mention lots of me straining my back while strapped into the top of the tower. Needless to say, my hands were raw after that piece of work. Once I finished that task, I came down the tower, assembled the gin pole, laid out all of the ropes, and prepared everything for the next day's work.


Top "splices" made from schedule-40 3/4" galvanized nipples...




 Looking down the tower from about 60 feet...




 Looking down at my truck from about 60 feet...


On Sunday, Debbie and I fired up the lawn tractor, tied it to the pull cable, and hoisted the gin pole to the top of the tower. It was attached to the top of the 70' section, Debbie snapped the rope to the next section of the tower, and used the lawn tractor to hoist it up. I got the 80' section set in place, and drilled / fitted / bolted... it had to be fastened to the splices I had installed the day before. Once again, it required loads of drilling, including another 18 drill bit changes. Wow, my hands were beginning to protest. Folks have said "why don't you wear gloves?"... I don't like the loss of dexterity from wearing gloves while on the tower.


Gin pole bolted to the top of the 70 foot section, ready to hoist the next piece of tower up...



Looking up the gin pole, after it was extended , about to hoist a piece of tower in place...



80 foot section in place, bolted in, and ready for more!


I'm almost ready to stack the rest of the tower. Some guy wire adjustments are in order before I go any further. I'm currently soaking the turn buckles in penetrant, as they've been in place since 1993 (24 years!) and are a little rough to turn. Once the guy wires are adjusted, I'll pull up more tower. I'd love to get this thing finished soon, I'm anxious to get my antenna farm back up!

Dave WB4IUY
http://www.WB4IUY.net