Rotator Swap

Tower work/rotator swap done Sept. 24, 2002

The rotator originally, a CDE TX2 Tail-Twister, had been having a problem.  It experianced a failure to turn completely around and generally not acting very "rotator-like" so it was removed in Sept. of 2001 and replaced by an older Ham III.  That one worked OK for a couple of months and allowed some good activity in the 2001 CQ World-Wide DX contest at the end of October but shortly thereafter, it too failed on me.   First, I noticed that the whole mast array was windmilling, that is, turning in the wind when it should have been solidly stopped in its last-used direction.  I assumed that the ring gear inside had broken, which is not too uncommon with these rotors and the larger arrays.   Also, the indicator in the shack was not indicating properly.  A test of the resistance from the ground gave incorrect values or none at all.  I figured that not only was the ring gear broken but the rotator cable must be broken in one or several places.

In planning for the rotator swap, I prepared a whole new cable to replace the old one.  I checked over the old Tail-Twister and verified that it was 100% OK, then I awaited help from a friend who was a climber.   Gravity has a severe hold on me and I cannot climb so I am at the mercy of my friends.   I believe in good ole terra firma and the more firmer, the less terror.

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


First, Harry pinned the mast so it would not drop when the rotor was removed.  The tower mast collar has two bolts already attached to it to allow this.

Coming back level with the rotor, Harry checked all of the hardware around the area.  He discovered that of the 4 bolts which hold the rotor to the rotor shelf, 2 were missing and 2 were sheared off.


The ring gear was NOT broken, when the bolts disappeared and sheared the whole rotor was able to rotate sitting on the shelf.   This, of course, quickly broke all connections from cable to terminal strip.

With the older Ham III removed the rotor shelf is ready to receive the Tail-Twister.

The Tail-Twister sits on the ground, referbished, re-checked, and re-painted.  It's ready for another 20,000 miles, or actually another 20,000 aims at those good DX stations.




A couple of assorted pictures of the tower base and the back yard.  After the rotor swapping project is completed, I'll clean things up a bit.

Updated 04/28/07

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