Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Summer (blog) Vacation

I'm still here. New blog articles are slow to appear because I am very busy with antenna and tower projects, 6 meter DXing and a large number of non-ham summer fun stuff and chores. I thought I would fill the blogging gap with a progress report of sorts so that regular readers don't think I've vanished. I haven't. Regular blogging will resume, eventually.

To give you an idea of what I am up to I've listed the most important projects below. From this you will get an idea how busy I am. All will be written up in future articles as each project is completed and I have the time. But right now the weather is too good to waste. I have not provided links to articles which discuss these projects so if interested try the search box.
  • The 80 meter vertical yagi is near completion. The parasitic elements are tuned and the switching system is operational, as is the control head in the shack. What's missing is the control box containing the switching matrix, cable interconnections and switchable L-networks. It is partially built and I have all the parts.
  • Options and specs for the mast and rotation system for the new 140' tower have been discussed with my local machine shop and I should have the fabrication complete in the first half of August. I will be using my spare prop pitch motor as the rotator.
  • One boom left to be built for the 2 × 5-element stacks of 20 and 15 meter yagis. That one requires machining of a 20' long pipe the machinist can't handle in his shop. But it'll get done one way or another.
  • I have fabricated 2 sets of 5 element-to-boom clamps for those yagis. The rest are awaiting an order of fasteners to make drilling templates.
  • All the aluminum for the 20 yagi elements (4 × 5) is on hand and the bulk of the machining is complete. Once that is done the sections will be joined and yagi construction and testing should begin around mid-August. Elements have been scaled in software for the taper schedules that I settled on.
  • Design of the elements for a forthcoming full size 40 meter yagi is proceeding. I hope to at least get one complete element in the air as a dipole for testing over the winter to see how it performs electrically and mechanically.
  • Tower maintenance is ongoing. This includes patching surface rust, vertical alignment and checking of all hardware. Repair of malfunctioning antenna requires getting them down using the same tram line used to put them up them.
Reading the list is fatiguing enough, yet these are things I have to get done in the next few months.

Haying on my land should be complete this week and I will have more freedom to work on towers and antennas. This includes malfunctioning yagis that need to come down for repair or to be moved to a different tower.

I hope the weather is as good where you are as it is here and that you, too, are making progress on your station projects. Soon enough the weather will turn cool and the race will be on to complete work before winter settles in. Then I will have the pleasure of cold weather projects such as low-noise receive antennas and shack equipment. It'll be a while yet before I can truly relax.

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