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 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!