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K6ELQ USA flag USA

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QSL: LOTW, DIRECT, BUREAU

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First licensed at age 11 in 1954 as a Novice with call KN6ELQ in Glendale, CA. My Elmer was W6STA, a neighbor.

Went through Technician, General, Advanced and now hold an Extra Class with current call. I did it the "old" way where code was a requirement and you had to draw schematics. Those were the good old days!smiley

Ham radio led to a BSEE (Electronic Engineering) degree and after 47 years working in the industry I finally retired in October 2012.yes

I started on 40 meters CW with a home brew 6L6 osc/amp transmitter and a Halicrafters S-20R receiver. My first commercial transmitter was a Heathkit AT-1, which was basically the same as my home brew but in a pretty box. Next came a Heathkit DX-100 and SB-10 SSB adapter with a Hammerlund Super Pro (BC-779B) receiver. These were followed by a string of Heathkits ending with a SB-104 with all the accessory boxes and a SB-230 amplifier. My first modern non-kit radio was a Kenwood TS-820S followed by an Icom IC-701 with a Henry 2KD5 amplifier. Then came the IC-751, 751A and 781. Those were the HF radios. There were a bunch of VHF/UHF radios too, ending with a Icom IC-970H and R-9000. Today I have thinned it out to just two boxes, an Icom IC-7851 and Alpha 9500 amplifier, and three antennas (pictured above), a modified Tennadyne T-10 log yagi for 10-20 meters at 60-feet and for 30/40 meters an ObtiBeam OB1-4030 Rotary Dipole mounted 10-feet above the log yagi. An inverted-V for 60 meters is mounted 8-feet below the log yagi. I operate 100% CW and at present can be found on the low end of 40 through 10 meters. I am also active in SKCC with number 10250S and can be found on the same bands but up a bit higher in frequency.

When not hamming my other main interest is motorcycles. I've been riding for 47 years and at present I am down to two bikes, both BMWs, a 2016 R1200RS and a 2014 R1200RT. At last count I've had 32 bikes, the last 20 being BMWs. I haven't had a car for thirteen years. Don't need one--it never rains in California--much!

73,

Tony - K6ELQ

2017 Antenna Project

(April thru May)

With Cycle 24 on the decline and operation on the higher bands declining and increased activity on the lower bands I decided to upgrade the antenna system with primarily BIGGER antennas for 30/40 meters. A 4EL OptiBeam OB4030 Yagi will replace the OptiBeam OB1-4030 Rotary Dipole for a gain increase of 3.6/3.9 dB at a cost of 79 pounds increased weight and greater wind load.  A 9EL OptiBeam OB9-5 will replace the 10 EL Tennadyne T10 Log Yagi. Although the OB9-5 is about 7 feet shorter in boom length than the T10's 24-foot boom, the performance is nearly identical, actually a tad better, and 10 pounds lighter and less wind load. 

My current TX-455 tower is installed on a 3' x 3' x 6' concrete pad (2 sq. yd.), which was spec when installed in 1977. Today's spec calls for 4.5' x 4.5' x 6'. If that weren't bad enough, the new antennas exceed the tower's capability in strong winds so a new HDX-555 tower will be installed. This requires a 5' x 5' x 7' concrete pad (6.5 sq. yd.) so the old pad will have to be jac-hammered out and the hole enlarged. To make matters even more difficult, the pad is set into my concrete patio.

I'll post additional comments and pictures as I progress toward a mid-May completion date.

This picture shows the increase in size of the base for the new tower.

 

I'll soon be stripping the antennas, rotator and cabling off the tower. In the meantime I've begun asseumbly of the two OptiBeam antennas. Lots of shade on my rear patio for assembly of the two skeletons (boom + center element sections) but mot much else.

(March 31 - April 7)

First thing is to lower the tower so I can work on it. For the most part I will be doing this work from a modified extension ladder anchored to the top of the bottom tower section. The ladder was modified by adding a hinged fixture at the top that clips on to a horizontal tower brace. The solid aluminum spacer shown keeps fills the void in the tower's horizontal U-channel and gives the hinge-mounted fixture a solid footing to clamp on to.

Spacer bar taped to tower horizontal member.

 

Saturday, 1 April, about 3½ hours

First thing to do is unplug the "umbilical" connection to the house "bulkhead". This plate can accommodate six coax lines and one rotator control cable. The cables exit from a wall behind the equipment racks in the shack/den (ex-bedroom).

Next the tower is lowered with the motor drive and all the clamps, fixtures and cabling are removed from the top now that they are within reach from the ladder. I also removed the connections to the three ground rods (also shown above in the first picture). These are for static/noise control not lightning protection. That "pipe" in the picture below with the removed cables is the new 22-foot long heavy-duty chromoly mast.

Now the real fun begins. Next is to remove the Log Yagi...... but not today. I'm beat, and a little sunburned! I have not had to climb up on the tower....yet. That comes tomorrow. 

 

Sunday, 2 April

Today's task was to lower the LPY four feet to the top of the tower in preparation for the complete removal tomorrow. To accomplish this task I first attached a modified (added two eye-bolts) mast-climbing step two feet above the LPY. Next I attached a small ¼-ton chain hoist to one of the eyebolts. On the business end of the hoist I attached a pair of Husky Hang-All straps and wrapped the Velcro loops around the LPY. The straps are good for 200 pounds each so no problem with the 78- pound antenna. Then it was a simple matter of loosening the boom-to-mast bracket and lower the antenna.

LPY lowered to top of the tower

  

Had all this done by noon so I went about completing the outboard element parts for the OB4030 Yagi. This was just a dry run (literally). I still have to go back to each joint to apply Penetrox-A and Marine Grade Never-Seez where appropriate an absolute necessity in my coastal environment.  Note that in the following pictures all the coils are identical. The first picture below, left to right, shows the 30m reflector, 30m driver, 40m reflector and 40m driver next to the 22-foot chromoly mast. Big difference between 30m and 40m. Note that the boom skeleton already has 1.15m long element parts installed for each of these outboard sections.  

Monday, 3 April, 7 hours

Today was a long day but managed to strip the tower completely. First to go was the LPY. Sliding it down the ladder with the chain hoist took less than an hour. After banging into just about everything on the roof I set it down in the center. Next I used the chain hoist to lift the Mast Raising Fixture (MRF) into position so I could lower the mast to gain access to the Rotary Dipole at the top. But before I could to that I had to remove the rotator and ran into my first problem, a stuck thrust bearing collar. After quite a few trips up and down the ladder for tools I finally freed up the bearing collar and lifted the mast about two inches. That gave me enough room to remove the rotator and rotator mounting plate. Next I lowered the mast until the Rotary Dipole was at the top of the tower. Again using the chain hoist I slid it down the ladder as I did with the LPY and again banged into everything on the roof and tripped over the LPY once but maintained my balance. That 48-foot element is quite a handful but thankfully it only weighs about 30 pounds. I set it down at the far end of the roof, using my 80m folded counterpoise (FCP) poles as a support. The last part was to reinstall the rotator plate so the mast was again raised, plate reinstalled and the mast lowered again. The mast will be removed when the tower comes down on Saturday. Last job for the chain hoist was to remove the MRF.

The coastal environment sure did a number on the antennas. I'll have to examine the joints to see what I did right and what I did wrong so as to not repeat any mistakes with the new antenna build.  

Tomorrow I begin dismantling the antennas to get them off the roof. I need that space to do the final new antenna assembly after the concrete pour, scheduled for 18 April.

Chain hoist was used to bring up and install the MRF

Chain hoist removed and MRF used to lower mast into the tower

Tennadyne T10 LPY (foreground) and OptiBeam OB1-4030 (far end of roof) antennas removed

Stripped tower

Tuesday, 4 April

Took the day off to recuperate from yesterday. My legs and back are killing me! But by the end of the day I was well enough to climb back up on the roof and dismantle the outer element parts from the Log Yagi skeleton (boom + center element sections) and move them off the roof and into my back yard. Still have to move the Log skeleton and Rotary Dipole to the back yard. The aluminum looks terrible but seems to clean up nicely with Scotch-Bright pads leaving a sort of patina look. All the joints look new so the Permatex-A was doing its job.

Wednesday, 5 April

Today I attached the TRX-80 tower raising/lowering fixture to the base of the tower. I haven't used this since 1977 when I put up my first TX-455 tower. Skip (KJ6Y), Communications Service Company, erected the towers in 1981 and 2003 using his TRX-80 fixture. Steve (W6SKS), Pioneer Antenna & Towers, will be doing the heavy lifting this time. 

Thursday, 6 April

Today I dismantled the two antennas on the roof and put them in the back yard where they will undergo refurbishing before I find a new home for them. The picture below shows them sitting on top of the planter wall in my back yard.

Saturday, 8 April

Today was tower lowering day. Steve (W6SKS), Pioneer Antenna & Towers, arrived at the QTH at 8 AM. Our first task, and as it turned out the hardest/longest task, was to get the 250 pound 4' x 4' x 7' rebar cage up and over my 6' backyard gate/wall. With a mobile hoist, assortment of 2x4's and brute strength (his) we were successful in moving this monster to the rear patio adjacent to its new home.

  

 

Next was to lower the tower. Piece of cake! Took about five minutes to lay it over after removing the motor drive which will be installed on the new tower.

We muscled it onto a couple of dollys so I can move it around if necessary. It will remain here until the new tower is delivered on 18 May. Then Steve will transport it to its new owner.

Getting the old base off the concrete pad took two trips to a hardware store to get a 1½" socket and a ¾" wrench handle. My stuff didn't go that big and his big tool set was at his QTH. As it was we still had to slip a 4-foot pipe over the wrench handle to get enough torque to break two of the base nuts free.  Here the base is ready to be jack-hammered out starting next Tuesday followed by hole enlargement to 5' x 5' x 7'.

Below is a comparison of the old and new tower bases. The old 3/8" thick base was anchored to the base with 1" bolts and the tower was secured to the base with 9 bolts. The new 5/8" thick base uses 1-1/8" anchor bolts and 12 bolts to secure it to the new tower. 

Tuesday, 11 April

Pad demolition begins. Estimated completion is Thursday. First thing is to saw through the concrete patio, to outline the eventual 5' x 5' hole. Here the worker is following a chalk line that I laid down yesterday. Dusty job! The neighbors are going to hate me. angry

 

The saw hasn't reached dirt yet. Now going to the 90-pound jackhammer.

Going deeper.

End of Day One of demolition. About three feet of new hole dug and two feet of old base removed.

Wednesday, 12 April

Pad demolition continues. Now down to 4½ feet for both new dirt and the old base and beyond the three 1" support J-bolts for the old tower seen in yesterday's picture. The neighbor's kids are not getting that ball back until tomorrow when work resumes.

 

Thursday, 13 April

Pad demolition is now complete and the bottom of the hole is now 84" closer to Madagascar (actually a bit SE I believe). Tomorrow they will true up the walls of the hole and get rid of the dirt and concrete excavated from the hole. We are still on schedule for the cage setting and concrete pour next Tuesday.

Below is all the dirt from around the old 3' x 3' x 6' pad plus the extra to get to the 5' x 5' x 7' size needed. The concrete pile with the rebar pieces on top represents only the last foot or so of the demolished pad. The remainder is in a trailer in front of my house ready to be towed to the dump tomorrow.

 

Friday, 14 April

Oops! Thought we were finished digging but during a final depth check discovered that the hole was at 72 inches, not 7 feet so they had to dig one more foot or almost a square yard more dirt. All done now and the rest of the day was spent on getting rid of the concrete, dirt and rebar chunks. Ran out of time and have a few wheelbarrows full of dirt to go and then the final site cleanup on Monday.

Tuesday, 18 April

Today was new concrete pad pour day. Steve arrived at 7AM and the first thing we did was to move the rebar cage in position above the hole. We did this by placing 3-wheel casters under the four corners of the cage and rolling the cage over two 8-foot long 1x20 boards we placed over the hole edges.

 

Next two 10-foot stepladders were placed adjacent to the cage.

Next a 4x4 beam with rope winch was attached to the top of the two ladders and the cage lowered to the bottom of the hole. Steve had to climb down and add some spacer blocks to true everything up and get the rebar above the dirt. 

We spent some time assembling a form for the concrete base and installing two 2x4s to support the T-base with the anchor bolts. After centering the T-base we were ready to pour.

Base done except for the site clean-up.

 

To keep the California sun from drying out the concrete too quickly and to prevent carnage from the inevitable soccer ball coming over the wall from the kids next door, I erected a tent over the new pad with two sheets of plywood and a plastic tarp. I'll be misting the concrete every few hours during the daytime for the next few days to keep it from cracking.

For the next 30 days I'll be finishing up the two OptiBeam antennas that are now on my patio and will have the OB4030 ready for the new tower that is scheduled to be delivered and installed on 18 May. I'll have to do the final assembly on the roof because of the large size of the antenna and small yard space. When that's done I'll bring the OB9-5 up on the roof and repeat. A crane service will be pressed into service for these operations.

Wednesday, 26 April

Removed the wooden forms today and probably should have done it sooner. Looks like the concrete is still drying out where the wood was touching. All open to the sun and air now. However it looks like some cosmetic concrete work will be required to fill in the "canyons" left by the T-base supports. Apparently too much concrete was used between the two 2x4s supporting the T-base, creating a higher center than the two outer sections and the channels which are 7/8" deep at midpoint. The area immediately below the T-base needs to be filled with concrete after the tower is installed so I will probably wait until then to deal with the cosmetic concerns. But everything is now in place for the tower. Now back to antenna building.

 

Thursday, 4 May

Over the past few days I've been working on fabricating rear supports for the two baluns. Each are similar but required a slightly different approach due to physical size differences. The OB4030 balun is a 1:2 ratio (25Ω to 50Ω) in a metal box fitted to a 80mm square boom and the OB9-5 balun is a 1:1 ratio in a plastic box fitted to a 40mm square boom. Below are pictures of the bits and pieces used to make the supports. The black rods are made of Delrin and the ends have either 6mm or 10-24 Heli-Coil inserts, depending on use. The square U-bolts are from Tom, DF2BO, owner of OptiBeam. I'm contemplating on changing the OB4030 balun to a plastic box version and redo the mount to be similar to the OB9-5. Still have plenty of time before the tower arrives.

OB4030 Rear Balun Support (Antenna is upside down)

OB9-5 Rear Balun Support (Antenna is upside down)

Thursday, 11 May

Array Solutions sent me their new and improved balun for the OB4030. Outwardly it is identical to the one above for the OB9-5 and mounts similarly. I made a new bottom mount and by coincidence the Delrin spacers I made for the previous balun in the aluminum box fits the new balun except that the Heli-Coils need to be 10-24 on both ends, not 10-24 and 6mm. In the picture below I show the balun mounted but the top screws are just place-holders (10-24 stuffed into 6mm Heli-Coils) while the machine shop makes me new Delrin spacers with the correct Heli-Coil inserts.

Friday, 12 May

Disaster strikes! I received a telephone call yesterday from US Tower informing me that my new tower has left the factory in Kansas and will arrive on Tuesday. Just great! They were supposed to deliver on Wednesday when I'll have someone here with equipment to offload the flatbed truck. So I rescheduled to have the crew here on Tuesday instead. Today the truck driver in route called and said they would be here on Monday. I said "no good" and explained why so they said they would drag their feet a little and arrive on Tuesday and asked me what my business hours were. I explained this is a residence so I'm open 24-7 and told them I would have to check with the unloading crew for a time window. I arranged for the crew to be here between 9-10 AM on Tuesday and called the driver back. The driver then says they have an 18-wheeler and can't drive in residential neighborhoods without special permits. Then they checked my QTH on Google Maps and said my street was too narrow. So I went into panic mode and called around for suggestions where I could drop-ship the tower. I finally tried the crane company that is scheduled to  get the tower from the street to the mounting base in the back yard. They said the trucking company can deliver to their yard and that they would bring the tower with them on our original tower install date of Thursday, 18 May. So for now all is good again but I won't breathe a sigh of relief until I see that tower sitting in the crane company's lot, possibly as early as Monday, 15 May.  

Tuesday, 16 May

The tower has arrived yes.... sort of. It's about 15 miles from my QTH and was dropped off at the crane company's facility yesterday morning at 0730. I went to visit it this morning. Looks perfect but in their huge yard it looks SMALL. The crane company will bring it with them on Thursday for the install.

Thursday, 18 May

The new tower was installed today. In addition to Steve, W6SKS, (Pioneer Antenna & Towers), there were two trucks from T&T Truck & Crane Service, one with the new tower and the other was the crane. Steve was towing a custom-made tower trailer which will be used to take my old tower to K6FW, the new owner.

First thing was to remove the old tower from my patio and place it onto Steve's trailer.

 

We carried this one out in the horizontal position.

And onto Steve's rather cool trailer. The axel is from a 1929 Model-T. There is a battery-operated motorized winch built in at the trailer hitch end that can be operated from either end of the trailer and the battery box lid has a small solar cell array to keep the battery topped off.

Now the moment we have been patiently waiting for, the installation of the new tower. The first step was to get it off the flatbed transport truck. This part was done manually by tilting the bed up and easing it down to the street. 

Once it was in this position the crane moved it to the street and Steve inserted the 22-foot chromoly mast into the tower and locked down the thrust bearing. No pictures of this phase since I was helping Steve with the mast.

Now for the BIG moment. Lift the tower vertically, walk it around the side of the garage and plant it on the tower base.

The crane is up off the street using a built-in leveler system on outrigger arms.

The worker on the left in the following pictures gave hand commands to the crane operator to get the tower into position since the tower base is not visible to the crane operator. Steve ran the bolts into the base to secure the tower legs, four bolts ber leg. When I used the MRF (Mast Raising Fixture) to lower the old tower I had to disconnect the telephone line that runs to the peak of the house but that was not necessary with this method.

Steve had to climb the tower to disconnect the lifting harness.

The tower is now in place with the motor drive installed. We cranked it up a few feet just for a test.

The next phase is to get the OptiBeam OB4030 up on the roof so I can complete the assembly. A Safety Stand from KF7P is due to ship next Tuesday and when that arrives I'll have Steve and the crane company come back to lift the antenna into position at the top of the mast. Should be an easier lift since it will always be in the sight of the crane operator.

Tuesday, 23 May

Today Claudio, the landscape specialist who has done all my landscaping projects over the last few years, did the cosmetic cleanup of the tower base. First all the sharp edges were ground to a nice rounded edge and surface blemishes similarly smoothed. Next the underside of the T-base was filled with grout, angling the edges down 45° to the surrounding base. Finally those 2x4 "canyons" were filled in. After all this cures I will finish it off with a coat of gray concrete paint as a final sealer.

While we were at it I had all the nearby hairline cracks on the patio opened up to about ¼” so we can do a proper repair tomorrow. 

Friday, 26 May

The tower Safety Stand from KF7P Metal Werks arrived yesterday and was installed today. This will allow me to use a stock ladder instead of the modified ladder shown at the beginning of this project. Also I won't have to jamb my toes into the cross bracing to do antenna, rotator or mast work but instead do everything from the 1' x 3' platform. I'll find out soon enough when the first antenna goes up.

The stainless steel U-bolts that go around the tower leg at the bottom of the support are flattened in the U-area so there is no clearance problem with the sliding second section.

8121742 Last modified: 2017-05-27 19:21:22, 34882 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - K6ELQ
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dedateband mode grid Country op
KE7AOU 2014-01-29 40m CW DM51eo United States Johnathan D Van Wormer
KC5ILR 2014-01-26 40m CW EM31qo United States JOSEPH A DELGADO
K0FTC 2014-01-21 40M CW DN70lm United States John K Bredehoft
K0FTC 2014-01-10 30m CW DN70lm United States John K Bredehoft
K0FTC 2014-01-09 20m CW DN70lm United States John K Bredehoft
AH6AX 2014-01-09 10M CW FM19lj United States LAWRENCE P WANDEL
N2BR 2014-01-07 17m CW EM76ge United States BOBBY A RAYMER
AJ4GL 2014-01-05 20m CW EM97xf United States Gary E Yohe
N4HUS 2014-01-04 10m CW DM41um United States ARTHUR E FRANTZ
KN3A 2014-01-03 20M CW EN90wq United States SCOTT A LITHGOW
K0FTC 2013-12-08 15m CW DN70lm United States John K Bredehoft
KE9V 2013-12-08 30M CW EN70he United States Jeffrey L Davis
KE9V 2013-12-08 20M CW EN70he United States Jeffrey L Davis
KC8IIR 2013-12-06 30m SSB EM89or United States GREGORY A JOHNSON
KE6ORO 2013-12-06 30m CW CM88nc United States JAMES T FINCH

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