Nov: Antenna maintenance – part 2

Harry and Steve getting a close look at the top of the East Tower.

Harry and Steve getting a close look at the top of the East Tower.

Maintenance on the East Tower at ZL1ZLD continued on 6 Nov 2018, with Harry ZL1BK, Steve ZL1FS, Martyn ZL3CK, Jim ZL1TGS and Merv ZL1SK on hand. (See Part 1.)

Summary by Martyn ZL3CK
Photos by Ann ZL1BFB

The rusted pivot bolts on the East Tower have been successfully replaced with marine grade stainless steel ones. The tower should now stay upright for quite a while yet!

The non-functioning rotator was retrieved by the “climbing team” of Harry, Steve, and Jim. It has been consigned to the bin as it has stripped gears, a damaged braking mechanism, and the feedback pot is worn out.

Martyn inspecting the old rotator before determining that it could not be repaired.

Martyn inspecting the old rotator before determining that it could not be repaired.

Thanks to the “climbing team” the tops of the towers can be worked on without tilting them over, potentially a difficult operation.

Harry (left) and Steve working at the top of the East Tower

Harry (left) and Steve working at the top of the East Tower. Note the timber foot rest – a necessity on a tower with no climbing rungs! The line at bottom right is the halyard for the 630m Marconi Tee, and the plastic tackle box near the centre of the photo contains the terminating resistor for the eastern leg of the 80/40m Vee Beam.

The 3-element beam on the East Tower has fortunately been designed to sit on the tower on its supporting pipe, allowing the rotator to be removed without taking the beam off – what a good idea! The beam is currently roped to prevent too much freewheeling until the new rotator is in place.

On Monday, the rotator generously gifted to us by the late Ray Chandler was successfully retrieved from his antenna. It is in good condition but will need to be checked out, and a mounting to suit our antenna mast will need to be made.

The two 330 ohm 150 Watt terminating resistors for the Vee Beam obtained by Dave ZL1DL are now assembled and await fitting to suitable weather- and UV-proof boxes. Jim has volunteered to find suitable boxes.

Harry ZL1BK prepares to remove the rotator from the East Tower at ZL1ZLD.

Harry ZL1BK prepares to remove the rotator from the East Tower.

The ideal plan is to have these ready to go and be put up the East Tower at the same time as the rotator is installed, and if time and energy allows (!) on the same day the climbing team might go up the West Tower to install the new terminating resistor there too.

We will then have two functioning 3-element beams and a Vee Beam for 80/40 meters. What a combination!