Antenna project is complete! My new US Tower MA770 and SteppIR 3 Element is working great.
This is a 3 element SteppIR with the 30m/40m trombone and 6m passive fourth element options. Here, it's at 60 feet on a US Tower MA-770MDP tower that goes to 71 feet.
The rotator is a Yaesu G-800DXA. While the rotating portion of the tower weighs over 900 pounds, its rotational momentum is small due to the small diameter, so the G-800 has no trouble rotating the antenna. I could rotate the tower, before the antenna was installed, by pressing my index finger against the mast and pushing tangentially. Other antenna options include the trombone truss kit, junction box and high wind kit. Antenna height at full tower extension is 1,042 feet ASL. The third picture shows the tower in its service position, cranked down to 25 feet and tilted over. Note the 2 ton automotive safety stand (just to the left of the step ladder) that I use for additional support while working on the antenna.
These four photos illustrate the work put into proper cabling and grounding. A twelve foot long rough cut cedar post from a local sawmill was used to support the lightning protection and remote coax switch. The post was coated with Australian Timber Oil (several coats) and then wrapped with 6 mil plastic sheeting. A backhoe was used to dig the trench and deeper hole for the post. The soil here is a gravely hardpan mix that's difficult to dig by hand. I used L-Com coax lightning arrestors in a weatherproof box, mounted to a solid copper ground bar. There is an 8 foot long ground rod driven into the ground and a piece of AWG 6 solid copper wire connects it to the ground bar. The DX Engineering switch is an 8x1 controlled from the shack. A 2" PVC electrical conduit was run. Note the slip joint (thanks to K1YXP for the donation) used at the connection to the shack. This compensates for frost heaving. There is another ground rod driven into the soil just outside the shack and this is connected with a piece of AWG 6 bare copper to a ground bar inside the shack for grounding the equipment. Finally, note the four ground wires on the tower base where four 8 foot ground rods are protecting the tower itself. One of the last tasks was to pack Type S grout under the tower base. As of September 28, the job is totally completed.
And now with 11 elements on 2 meters and 15 elements on 440!
Below is my home in the Autumn of 2015 - You can see the new SteppIR on the 71' tower behind the house. See some older photos, below.
Below is my workshop, located to the north of my house.
The winter photo was taken in 2008, a few years before I returned to the hobby in 2011. The summer photo was from 2013 after I had installed several vertical antennas and inverted Vees. Many of the trees behind the shop were removed to make room for the new tower and SteppIR antenna.
Below is my ham shack, located in a workshop behind my house
I'm enjoying my Kenwood TS-990S, shown here with the main display replicated on the 32" HDTV. The TS-990 now has over 15,000 QSOs logged.
The adjacent TS-940sAT has made over 4,600 contacts since returning to the air in November 2011. It was my Dad's rig and now it's my standby rig.
The KX3 was purchased in September 2012 and I added an Icom 7000, now installed in my pickup truck.
As a young boy in the 1950's, I spent time with my Dad at field days and sitting on his lap as he called CQ DX with his call sign K2GAV, which he received in 1953. So, in 2013 we celebrated the 60th anniversary of having K2GAV in our family. Dad enjoyed operating 2 meter AM back in those days. Here are some photos of my Dad, the original K2GAV,one on Field Day 1958 and another (c. 1950) working on a customer's radio and TV in his shop at Capitol Radio & TV Service.
When I was a sophomore in high school in 1967 I studied for my novice license and earned the call sign WN2EHZ for myself. I built a home brew, crystal controlled transmitter for CW on the novice bands. My first receiver was a Hallicrafters S20R. I later upgraded to an old Hallicrafters SX-71. I also used my Dad's Heathkit DX-35 as a transmitter. I earned my General class license about a year later and became WB2EHZ. I finished high school and entered college with this call sign. Of course, the hobby suffered as my attention was drawn to other things in college. I earned my Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1975, met my wife to be, and we got married in 1977. She's put up with me since then! She tolerates this hobby and I tolerate her quilting (LOL). My first real job was with a television broadcast equipment manufacturer in California and we moved there in 1977. My call changed to WD6CWY due to that relocation, back in the days that you had to do that. I was unable to setup a ham shack in our apartment, so I used the rig of a work colleague and had QSO's with my Dad from California.
Here's a picture of my Dad's TS-940s as it is today. I've added the MC-60A mike and the SP-940 speaker. The Heathkit SA-1480 remote antenna switch has been replaced with a DX Engineering 8x1 switch located in the attic of my workshop.
We were transferred to Long Island, NY in 1979 and I became KC2IP. I got back into ham radio with our first home there, and I used my Dad's converted CB radio on 10m and made several contacts in Europe with that little 5 watt rig. I also purchased a Trio TS-820s from a work colleague, which he purchased new in Japan while on a business trip. I used that rig for many years. Two and a half years later we were transferred again to Connecticut, and I became KB1BR. We've been in the same home in Connecticut for over 30 years now. I had QSO'd with my Dad from here on both HF and on 2m back in the 1980's. My older daughter used to sit on my lap as her Dad and Grandad would talk on the radio. So, the legend continues. My older daughter is now an electrical engineer like her Dad, and she works for Northrop-Grumman in Maryland keeping our troops safe. She works on projects involving high-tech digital radar systems! Her younger sister is a successful graphic designer living now in North Carolina.
Thanksgiving holiday in 2011 is when I returned to the hobby after a 20 year hiatus. My younger daughter was listening as I checked out the newly installed 40m dipole and she convinced me to contact a CW operator (my microphone was dead). I was shocked that I could still copy and send Morse code! My younger daughter has a BFA in Graphic Design, and she designed my QSL card, shown at the top of this page. She now lives in North Carolina working as a Graphic Designer for a national firm.
Here's the linear my Dad built. I installed a new 3-500ZG because the 25 year-old original tube in it was gassy. I also did some rewiring and cleanup, replaced the band switch, added the labels for 17 and 10m and the maximum ratings label. I found that the tank coil was not installed correctly, causing it to work poorly on 40/80/160m. A stretch and remounting of the coil and replacement of the buss bars to the band switch with longer ones fixed that problem! New white LED illumination of the meters and a soft start mod completed the restoration. I also purchased the TelePost, Inc. LP-100A Digital Vector RF Wattmeter in March 2012, and I love it.
My Dad passed away in 1992 and I took advantage of the then new option from the FCC to obtain a close relative's call sign. I've been K2GAV ever since, now about 25 years. However, when my Dad went silent, pretty much so did I on ham radio. When he passed away, my Mom told me to take all of his old ham equipment, including taking down the 40 foot tower and antennas. It had all pretty much sat in storage here for 20 years.
I have been on 2m a little bit over the years, but it was a current work colleague (W1GHP) who got me reinterested in ham radio as he was doing the same himself. I sold my TS-820s to George and worked on restoring my Dad's TS-940s for myself. Next it was time to upgrade the Advanced class license I've held for decades and earn an Extra Class license, as George had recently done himself. I studied and passed the exam on December 17, 2011, so I'm an Amateur Extra Class licensee now! I also was granted certification as a Volunteer Examiner by the ARRL in January, 2012.
I was the first, and now a past president of the Worldwide Amateur Radio Club at ESPN, Inc., where I worked for nearly 24 years. I am now retired, but still a club member. Check out our site here on QRZ.com. Our call is WE1SPN. Also, see our website at http://we1spn.org Mike, WJ1X, is now our president.
And, here is my very first new HF rig ever, the unique Elecraft KX3, which I received in early September 2012...
Here are some photos of me at ESPN. I worked there from 1991 and I retired in 2015 after 24 years.
I'm using the KX3 and the Buddipole portable antenna system.
I'm atop the ESPN Cafeteria, where there is a rooftop patio.
It was a beautiful late summer day in September, 2012.
Here is my mobile setup, an Icom 7000 in a 2013 Ford F-150. I fabricated the teak wood block to fit into a recess in the console made for an iPhone.
6842735 Last modified: 2015-11-09 14:16:03, 20356 bytes
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