23 September 2007

Down Comes the Beam

This morning a few guys helped me take down the A3-S beam for some repairs. We started a little after 6 a.m. and by 8:00 the tower was looking pretty lonely without it. It's been about 13 years now since I put the antenna up, and unfortunately it's been providing rather poor SWR readings for a while now. I was fortunate to have the help of some experienced, safety-conscious hams - Owen AK7AR, Eric KC0AYD, and Larry W7LB. Eric did the tower climbing - in this picture, he's lowering the beam (Owen was holding a rope on the ground, attached by a pulley at the top of the mast), while I'm maneuvering it to the resting spot on the roof.

I was hoping it would be a quick fix, but decided that it needs a little more detailed work, so we didn't put it back up yet. It's sitting on the roof, and hopefully this week I'll spend some time cleaning out traps, etc. I also need to decide whether or not to replace the rotor. The old one, a Yaesu G-450XL, still works very nicely, but it isn't capable of computer control, and given its age I would not be surprised if it didn't last a whole lot longer anyway.

So I'm off the air on HF at the base for a while. I've had some nice success recently, using the tuner; last night I worked some PSK31 including Cuba. But the antenna is arguably the most important component of the station and I'd really like to get it back working the way it used to.

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