Spring Construction and Work

Late May — Aquired a spare 8877 “pull” for the AL-1500.

Dayton 2010 — I made the trip with K5ER and KC5WA.  I always enjoy the fleamarket and Mendelson’s downtown.  Attended CTU for the 4th consecutive year.  Won the CTU eyeball sprint, edging out N9NB by only a few points.  Enjoyed Wed thru Sat nights in the Contest Super Suite.  Attended the 18th annual Contest Dinner; congrats to Louisiana Contest Club member Don Hill AA5AU for his induction to CQ Hall of Fame.

I always seem to bring home work from Dayton.  I bought the ‘stuff’ to: 1) shunt feed my tower on 80m and 160m (vacuum variable capacitors, 5,500 feet of 12 AWG for radials); 2) enhance my beverage receiving antenna system; 3) continue streamlining control cabling in the antenna switching shed;  and 4) be LOUDER and HEAR better!

05/08/10 — Today I installed the frame and bearing portion of the 1st TIC ring rotor at 85′.  My C-31XR will reside on it.  Looks like it will get completed sometime after returning from Dayton.  

04/14/10 — I pulled control wiring for the 2 new TIC ring rotators thru conduit from the antenna switching shed to Tower #1.  Also made up the cables from the shed to the shack.

New Tubes

04/06/10 — Received new set of tubes for AL-811.  Now I have an amp for the 2nd radio, albeit not legal limit.

Station Building Continues

02/28/10 Constructed my first beverage antenna.  It is 285 feet, oriented at 45 degrees.  Average height above ground is 5 feet.  My homebrew feedpoint transformer is of ON4UN design on a FT-114-43 core.  I used the design from the 3rd edition of Low Band DXing by ON4UN as found on page 7-16, figure 7-17.

Now only time will tell if it works!  Right now at 23:32 UTC on 28Feb2010, I hear EA6DX calling CQ on 3.506.


02/23/10 — Made a deal to acquire (2) Tic Ringrotors model 1022D.  Now I’ll be able to rotate the lower 2 antenna!  I hope to get them on the tower before really hot weather gets here.

Ice Storm #2

02/03-04/2011 — 2nd ice storm in only 2 weeks.  Rare enough in LA; this frequency is really rare.  All appears to have survived once again. 

Website Updates

01/02/10 — Just updated many photos and descriptions on the website.  Installed 2nd cross arm on tower at 105 feet for hanging dipoles.  Moved my 160m Inv-V to that location.

August 2009

08/16/09 — Just finished a full 10 hours of NAQP, from the starting gun with no breaks.  Now I know why I need some receiving antenna for 40-80-160.  Also know that I need better transmitting antenna on at least 160 and 80.

Band  QSOs  Mults


  160:    1     1

   80:   28    11

   40:  220    41

   20:  388    49

   15:   21    12

   10:    1     1


Total:  659   115  Total Score = 76,444

08/13/09 — Installed the 160m dipole on the crossarm at 75′.  I should have put it up at 105′, but will wait until I get a 2nd crossarm up there, so that I can have more options. Completed the last jumpers from my SixPack to the row of Polyphasers.  Finally have 6 independent bands worth of monoband antenna fully available in the shack.  Finished recording the various *.wav files (including the letters.wav, both letter and phonetic style) for use with N1MM.

08/06/09 — Received, modified and installed the last StackMatch controller.  I’m inching closer to being fully operational.  John WE3C gave me the tip back at Dayton to make a goal to complete at least one task each day on the station.  That was good advice; I’ve tried to do so, and the progress is amazing!

08/02/09 — Made a minor repair to my homebrewed PC-soundcard interface (Icom ProData, from QST March 2002).  Verified operation with N1MM.  Trying to get ready for NAQP SSB on August 15th.  Made a few PSK contacts.

08/01/09 — Mounted a cross arm on the tower at 75′ from which I can suspend two dipoles, etc.  Installed my 80m dipole as inverted Vee at that point.  I had been off 80m since early April, when a limb fell and broke the old dipole which was up 30 feet.

June 2009

June 2009 — Much of my ham time was spent preparing my insurance claim resulting from the lightning strike. I did build a new operating desk.  Using a borrowed transceiver, I learned that the AL-1500 that I bought at Dayton in the fleamarket was not functional and “only used for three months” as I was told.  Sent to Ameritron for repairs (labor bill of over $250 to correct some “strange modifications”).  It is in 100% condition now.  

Coasting the rest of May

05/30/09 — Installed coax to top C51XR; installed power and control wires to M2 Orion 2800.  Tested rotator- it appears to have survived the lightning strike.  Also tested all feedlines, control lines, etc. – all test OK.

05/26/09 — On Tuesday May 26, the station was severely damaged by a lightning strike.  Apparently entering via the AC power mains, very little gear that was interconnected survived.  As it turns out, another ham ½ mile down the road took a direct hit on his tower, which appears then to have back fed thru his solar power/battery inverter system and then to the power transformer to his home then down the lines toward my home.  


05/25/09 — Installed connectors on shack end of hardline.  Installed SixPack.  Installed terminal strips for control wiring junctions from 4 StackMatches.  Installed feedline up tower to middle C-31XR.

05/18/09 — Installed the new StackMatch, made up the control cables for the four StackMatches.  Climbed up to the bottom C51XR and installed the feedlines in a temporary fashion.  Now need to install connectors on the shack end of the hardline.

05/12/09 to 05/17/09 — Attended CTU and Dayton Hamvention.  Acquired a used AL-1500, another used StackMatch, several connectors, some repair parts for 3 Heil headsets, EZNEC 5.0+.  Participated in the Kansas City DX clubs CW Pileup event for the first time.   

Antenna Party

05/09/09 — Antenna party!  With a group of friends and a crane, we mounted the 3 large Force 12 antenna to Tower 1.  Certainly no one in our group had ever handled antenna as large as the C51XRs.  I thought the crane would be safer and save time – however it was on site for 7 hours.  W5KGT and WX5CW were up the tower first to change out the top section (I had pre-assembled a complete top section with rotator, thrust bearings, guy brackets, and mast.) and mount the top C51XR.  On the ground, we had much difficulty tuning the 40m portion of the 1st C51XR; took 1.5 hours, with the crane lifting and lowering the antenna a couple of dozen times.  We also had difficulty with the crane boom being in the way of the elements as the 2 C51XR were raised and mounted.  The C31XR install was pretty easy.  W5WZ and W5PEM were on the tower to mount the lower 2 antenna – with W5WZ working on a tower for the first time.  A nearby late afternoon thunderstorm brought everyone down the tower before the feedline could be run.  

05/04/09 thru 05/08/09 — Wow!  What a week!  Many final finishing touches from gathering final nuts and bolts, assembling comlete top section, installing last PL259s, installing baluns, assembly of 40m sections of both C51XR, verifying lengths of coax for the up the tower runs, gathering tools, electrical tape, etc, etc ad nauseam.  I did the very best that I could to plan ahead so the install would be smooth.

05/03/09 — Climbed a tower for first time – my tower – to the top!  Assembled 2/3rds of the C31XR.  Made a mast plate for the C51XR boom truss cables.  Made 2 plates to sidemount the C31.  Met with a crane company foreman to evaluate the antenna raising next Saturday.  Found a broken element tip on one C51XR – will order tubing tomorrow.  Wound the final 15m helical hairpin.  Assembled the last balun for a F12 antenna.

05/02/09 — Helped take down my F12 C31XR from a tower at K5ER and put my KLM KT34XA up in its place.  The C31XR will reside as my middle antenna at 85′, locked down to Japan.

April – T-minus 30 days until antenna stacking

04/25/09 — Assembled 11 LMR400 flex coax jumpers for rotator loops with PL259s.  Installed baluns on first C51XR.  Primed and painted mast.  Fit the boom-to-mast cradle to the top C51XR.

04/23/09 — Pulled control wiring in conduit.  1 – 12/2 UF; 4 – 18/4 w/grd; 3 – 18/4; 2 – RG59, a total of 2,000 feet of control wire.

04/18/09 — Cut 11 lengths @ 125 feet of LMR400 type coax for my StackMatch feeds to the antenna.  Installed PL259s on one end of each cable, using the K3LR method of soldering the shield to the connector body. During the past week, I’ve continued gathering the myriad of bolts & nuts, truss cable, electrical tape, etc. that we will need to install the antennas.  I borrowed an AIM4170, swept both antenna on 10, 15, & 20 — they do look and perform in a reasonable manner, considering they are only 3 feet above ground.

04/06/09 — Assembled the second Force 12 C-51XR.  Now both C-51’s need the 40m linear elements installed and tuned, all 4 bands baluns and feed lines installed, 20m driven elements lengthened for separate feedlines, and the truss cables inspected.  Then, a thorough inspection of each antenna, and they will be ready to fly!

04/05/09 — Installed three StackMatch relay boxes in telco pedastal box at tower base.  Parked M2 Orion 2800 at 0 degrees with South stop.  Installed studs in 2800, grade 8 bolts in mast clamp.

04/04/09 — Assembled the first Force 12 C-51XR, and laid out the parts for the second one.  The antenna party is getting really close now!  My daughter painted the 3/4″ plywood.