Flying Big Beam, Cranes, Riding the Mast Pipe and More
There were a number of firsts for me. I had never climbed above 65' before. I had never climbed a mast pipe. I had never mounted an antenna with a crane. In retrospect it's really a miricale that the project went as smooth as it did overall!
A total of 11 beams were laying around waiting for a lift up on the two towers. In the photo below are the 10, 15 and 20m JK monobanders. At right on the spool the JK 2-element 40m, and in the background the 5 reworked beams of KLM and Hygain orgin.
Populating the 40m Tower
The towers were put up with the rotors loosely installed at roughly the right level. Feedline was brought up in a bundle and attached to the tower at the top and then later strapped to the tower the length of the tower down to ground level. Short jumpers ran from the top of the feedline to a KF7P junction block.
The next step was to lift the mast onto the tower. Stairs were attached to the masts in advance (see photo above of masts with stairs laying in the trailer). Masts were lowered from above the tower using the crane, slipping the mast end through the thrust bearing and into the waiting rotor.
Once the mast was attached, the homebrew 30m/17m beam was brought up by the crane and mounted first. Shown here at right.
Next up was the JK106, a 6-element 10m beam on a 36' boom.
A look at the feedline runs as they head down the 40m tower.
The final beam to be mounted was the JK402T 2-element beam on a 22' boom. It mounts on the top of the mast.
Last to be mounted was the FT5ZM 3-element 10m beam mounted at about 50' and fixed on SA.
An additional JK106 and a modified KLM 5-element will be mounted at fixed locations beaming EU further down the tower providing a 3-high stack when the top beam is pointing to EU.
Populating the 20m Tower
The 20m tower has a lot more antennas mounted than the 40m tower.
The feedline bundle lifted and strapped to the tower. The feedlines were later nailed to the tower starting from the top and working down.
Then came the antennas in this sequence:
4-element 15m OWA fixed on SA
4-element 20m OWA fixed on SA
4-element 20m OWA fixed on EU
5-element 15m OWA modified KLM fixed on EU
The picture at the right was taken with the fixed antennas mounted, taken looking down from the mast as I was standing on the beacon plate after the 2-1/8" mast was mounted.
Next to come up were these antennas, mounted in this order from the bottom stack position going up each time:
5-element JK105 15m on a 36' boom
7-element M-squared 6m beam on a 35' boom
6-element JK206 20m beam on a 44' boom
The JK206 on the ground is seen in that same photo - just above the crane.
Here's a ground view photo of the JK206 on the way up after the 15m and 6m antennas were mounted to the mast. That antenna is huge on the ground and even bigger when you are hanging off the mast at 130' up!
The Towers - Dec 2017
Here's what the towers looked like in December 2017 after the initial beams were hung.
Winter was uneventful except for an ice storm. It was the first test of the integrity of the beams. The 40m tower antennas shown here with about 0.4" of radial ice. There was quite a bit of wind in that storm and with ice accumulation expected to continue another 1-2 days I took this picture (above left) thinking the next day I would be able to show what a winter disaster looked like. Fortunately the temps heated up a couple of degrees more and the forecasted ice loading never came.
The Final Configuration - July 2018
In one day with temps in the 90s we pulled down the remaining Hygain-based home brew OWA and swapped them all out with new JK-made beams. Here's what the 20m tower looked like after the work that very long and hot summer day.
A 2nd JK402 2-element 40m beam was mounted on the 40m tower as well.
A number of things remain - some antenna tweaking, a bit of alignment and the mounting of the last 10m beam. And the stack controllers for the top 4 bands. All projects for another day.
N0XA (SK) told me when I started this project that towers were a never ending demand of time with something always in need of doing. His words describing this were somewhat more salty that my paraphrase but he was right. With towers, something "always needs doing."
Shown below - the 20m 5-ele fixed on SA beam flying by crane.