Since we moved to our home in Fall of 2011, I’ve been collecting parts for what I hope will eventually be a tower with stacked beams on top. Not having the kind of cash required to buy all new equipment, I drove all over New England picking up pieces here and there as good deals came up. Being a member of YCCC is helpful as members regularly list used equipment for sale on the club mailing list at very reasonable prices.
In the meantime, Frandy – N1FJ loaned me his AB577 tower and we put that up in the woods with the DXEngineering Hexbeam that I had up at on an eave mount at the last QTH. It worked very well for a temp setup and kept me on the air for the next year.
Last fall I finally had enough parts to put up 50ft of ROHN 25G. I had also picked up a TH6-DXX tribander and 40-2CD monobander, but with two tower sections above the last house bracket, I wasn’t willing to put either or both of those large(r) antennas up yet. So we split the project into two stages. Stage 1 would involve putting up the 50ft of tower bracketed to the house at two points with the hexbeam on top. Stage 2 is slated for Spring 2014 when we will add 2-3 more sections of tower using guys to support the upper sections, which will handle the wind load of the two large beams stacked on top.
So began Stage 1 and as with any tower project, the first step was to determine the location.
Then dig a hole.
Order some ready mix.
And start mixing, pouring and floating!
Thanks to Jim – KK1W, Frandy – N1FJ and Marty-W1MJB for helping with the back breaking work.
After about a month of curing and more prep work, I was ready to complete Stage 1. KK1W and N1FJ arrived Saturday morning and worked as ground crew as I climbed up the tower (any tower) for the first time. I had a nasty cold that weekend and after putting up a couple sections and the second house bracket, I was out of energy and not feeling safe on the tower. We agreed to try it again the next day. Sunday was much better and after over four hours on the tower we had finished the installation and everything was working as planned.
During some of the slow times while I was fiddling with bolts and a drift pin fitting sections together, Jim took advantage and got some great photos and video with his quadcopter.
Are you my mother?
The tower with the Hexbeam works very well. No problem working DX around the world on all bands (see 2013 contest stats). Between this project and helping Jose – N4BAA take down his towers at his MA QTH, I learned a lot about tower work. However, I think spent way too much time researching (more like obsessing) on the best way to execute the project before I got started. Thankfully, I’m lucky enough to have “just get it done” friends who have are experienced in these types of projects and who were there to lend a hand and give me a kick in the pants when I came up against the unknown. Thanks guys!
As soon as warmer weather arrives this spring Stage 2 will begin and the larger beams will go up. When that’s finished, we’ll be done with new tower work here and move on to finding solutions for the low bands– probably an inverted L that combines 80 and 160.
Matt – W1MSW