Hot dogs. Chips. Salsa. A truck load of cold water. And, as always: Murphy!
On Friday September 22 and Saturday September 23 – almost 5 years to the day after erecting our tower and antennas – Jason KS5TX and Erik K5WW finally got around to replacing all the lightning-damaged equipment in and on the tower!
We had one little helper: an amazing lift from Reno’s Rentals in Uvalde. It allowed Jason to reach over the Spiderbeam and get to the VHF repeater antenna:
And yes, the repeater antenna was in worse shape than we thought:
After hooking the new rotator cable and new controller to the old rotator we were able to diagnose it as well. It turned; but we got no feedback for the azimuth indicator. Busted potentiometer, at the very least. Out with the old, in with the new (rotator):
With the new rotator installed it was time to (literally!) hoist up the new repeater antenna, a Diamond X700HNA. It is 24 feet tall, 6 feet taller than the one we had. Here it is on the left, with the old, broken antenna on the right for comparison.
With the new repeater antenna installed it was time for another well-deserved break:
We didn’t replace the coax for the beam; because it looked and tested fine. But the repeater antenna coax was replaced by LMR-600 coax. The lower loss and taller antenna should give us quite a few extra dBs!
No photos of Erik K5WW, you say? No, he decided to play official observer at ground level. And pick up a few nuts and washers that got blown out of Jason’s hands.
Two days of hard, long overdue work in hot and muggy weather. But we had fun; even though unlike 5 years ago we had no fun building. In-joke! 😉
Would you believe we didn’t take any pics of the finished product? Yeah, once the hot dogs started coming in we kinda forgot. But hey: go and have a look; we didn’t move the tower. Better yet: go and use it!
(all photos © of the guy who hates heights, K5WW)