Assorted Tower Work

Tower work done October 14, 2006

These pictures document some of the activities in adding to and repairing several things on my tower....... actually, towers.  The primary work was done on the 69 foot Rohn 45 fold-over tower which holds most of my various antennas.  The high altitude work was done by my good friend Harry - KC5TRB.  To document some of the activities, Harry had affixed a 2.4gig wireless TV camera to his helmet to show us on the ground what he was seeing in the air.  The video was interesting but had some drop-outs as he moved around on the tower.  To save the TV picture I had placed an MFJ-1800 beam antenna on a tripod and aimed it up the tower.   This helped a lot but there were still some dropouts in the pictures. All in all, however, we got a very good view of the activities.

One of the primary projects this day was to add a small color TV camera purchased from Harbor Freight, at the tower top so it rotated with the mast and beams.  It comes with an 80 foot, 4-conductor cable to transfer power from the ground to the camera as well as send composite video and and audio signal along with ground to the hamshack.  The camera usually sells for around $49.95 but they place it on sale for $39.95 just about every other month, or at least they have for at least a year.  Their older models came with a built-in internal infrared filter over the lens so the colors remain true out in the sunlight.  Some of the newer cameras they sell have that filter missing and, although indoor pictures are true color, the outdoor shots show anything with green (grass, trees, etc.) as white.   Both cameras, physically, look the same so if you buy one and plan to use it outdoors, check to see if yours has the filter.  One small tip -- you can look across the front of the lens at about a 60 degree angle and the cameras with the filter have a rose-colored tint.  One local ham has bought several but takes his camcorder with him when he buys.  He can hook it up in his car before he leaves the Harbor Freight parking lot and know if he got a filtered camera.  The camera we put up on my tower does have the infrared filter and the colors are quite good and natural.

My friend Harry, KC5TRB, handled the climbing and camera installation activities and these pictures chronicle the time.  Click on any of the thumb-nail pictures for a larger version.

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Here's Harry getting near the tower top.  The antennas from the top down are:  Comet VHF/UHF ground plane, pair of stacked Cushcraft 20 element vertical/horizontal beams, Cushcraft 6 element 70 cm beam mounted vertically (not too visible in this picture), and 3 element SteppIR with 6 meter element.  Two of the three top guys are insulated off and fed with 300 ohm KW twinlead.


101406 002.jpg (1003909 bytes) Here's Harry upon arrival near the top.  His helmet looks like a miner's hat but that's not a light on top.   That's the 2.4gig TV camera so we on the ground could see what he was seeing while our feet were still planted firmly on the ground.

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Here I am adjusting the MFJ-1800 2.4gig beam antenna mounted atop the tripod.  The beam image has disappeared into the picture of the cables in the background.   If you squint carefully you might be able to see the beam which is pointed nearly straight up and the top element  is about even with the bill of the red ball cap.

I'd like to say that the picture caught me at a bad time when the shack wasn't cleaned up but the truth is, this is about typical. 

K5lad_101404_01.jpg (74574 bytes) Harry has mounted a small color TV camera a foot or so above the SteppIR and just below the end-mounted 6 element, vertically polarized 70cm beam.  When I view this camera I see just the end of one 70cm element at the top of my picture, the 6 meter element on the SteppIR and the SteppIR director.   The camera has no pitch adjustment so it looks straight ahead and follows the scene seen by the SteppIR as I rotate the mast.

The camera is from Harbor Freight and comes to the shack via an 80 foot 4 conductor cable which was supplied.   The hood above the camera is the "weatherproofing" and, so far, has been sufficient.  This camera also has a built-in microphone so I can hear the neighborhood sounds:  weather, dog's barking, sirens, wind, and often the birds.

K5lad_101404_09.jpg (105293 bytes) Harry also took a small camera up with him and here's the picture he took of himself from atop my tower.  You can get a better shot of his helmet and 2.4gig TV camera in this shot.  I understand that the birds in my neighborhood are still talking about what they saw on the tower that day.

In the near background is the SteppIR director and 6 meter element.

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Looking just about West.  I say "just about" because my property is pie-shaped and nothing on it sits truly NS-EW.   Not the house, not the hamshack./garage and none of the property lines.  I just have to guess at directions if I'm trying to tell something quickly.




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Looking about Northwest.  This cell tower is 330' and is about a block away.  No, they won't let me run a long wire over to it.




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Looking just about Northeast.  This is the front of my property and the mailbox in the lower left is mine.  Yes, those are high tension power lines running by but I'm fortunately not bothered by them.  I've never been aware of any noise coming from them but I'm saying that "vewwy - vewwy" quietly so they don't hear me.



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Looking just about due North, on the other end of my garage/hamshack., is the 40 foot Rohn 25 with the TA-33jr.  Actually it's a TA-33jr with MPK (KW driven element).  Other antennas are Hustler 2 meter gain ground plane on top for the 146.70MHz repeater, a Cushcraft 70cm Ringo Ranger for the 444.3MHz repeater, and a Hy-Gain trapped dipole.   Note the shadow of the 69 foot Rohn 45 tower at the left and you can see Harry's shadow up near the top.



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Looking down from the top of the Rohn 45 and about due West you can see the 30 foot pipe tower with a 6 element 70 cm antenna on it.  This pipe is supported near the center and breaks over for providing a place for antenna experiments.  The 70 cm antenna is only used to provide a mark at North when the rotor is on North.  My property sits crazy and does not run true NS/EW so it is sometimes difficult to tell which way I'm aimed.  The round antenna is an old........OLD.... 6 meter halo.  I use it on a separate receiver which allows me to monitor 50.125MHz 24/7 (except not while I'm sleeping).


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Here's another picture of Harry......... working....... hey, how did he take that picture?

Where would the world be without duct tape?






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Here's another picture looking down from the top but this one shows some of the folks who were helping with the antenna project from the hard ground level. 

I like this picture because with the distance perspective, it makes me look smaller.  That's me on the left.





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Later, Dirk - N5PEF climbed the 40 foot Rohn tower for me and re-adjusted the alignment on the TA-33jr beam.  In this picture you can see the difference between the KW traps on the driven element (called by Mosley the MPK for More Power Kit) and the small traps on the reflector and director which are rated at 300 watts.  When I use the amplifier with this beam I make REAL short transmissions.  The small antenna by his left leg is a Cushcraft ARX-450 which is a 70cm Ringo Ranger.  This one is attached to the 70cm (444.3MHz) repeater.

Updated 04/28/07

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