Sunday, May 20, 2012


Finally the moon and stars were aligned and this morning we were able to put the Optibeam back up on the tower.

After hauling all the ropes, toolkit, harness, and accessories up to the roof, we positioned the antenna on one of the guys:

Vic then headed up the tower with the other end of the rope (the one you can see hanging from the centre)

The rope was threaded through the rotator cage and back down to where I was. This was used to form a V, together with the guy wire, and between the two of us we pulled it up while resting on the V. No photos of this, we needed all our hands for doing the job!

Once up, and after a false try because the mast wasn't pulled out high enough for both U bolts to fit over, the antenna slotted into place:

This is the dangerous part of the operation, the antenna is completely free and any shift in balance or a strong gust of wind can make the whole thing come down to earth. Luckily it all went without any problem.

Once tightened onto the mast, the mast has to be lifted up high enough to allow the rotator to be mounted (if you check the above photo, you can see the mast goes down through the centre of the rotator cage and down into the inside of the tower). This is a tricky job for one person, to lift the weight of the antenna and mast and have a free hand to tighten the side bolt which holds the mast in place. To do this, we fitted a climbing grip on the end of a rope and fastened it inside the bottom of the mast. The rope then went up to the top of the cage and then back down to where I was. I pulled on the rope to raise the antenna/mast, with Vics help, and then held it fast while he tightened the lateral bolt to stop it slipping back down. Once done, we hoisted the rotator (a Yaesu G-650C) and fitted it:

Once fitted, it was a case of easing the mast down into the rotator and tightening everything up:

And with that, the fitting was done!

A thousand thanks to Vic EA5KV without whose help this would have been a whole lot more difficult.

And now, time for DX, 10m is wide open!

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