Just turned sixty six in October of 2015. Pamela and I have six children and eight grandchildren.
2015 was one of the most difficult years in my life. Pam my wife and best friend passed on October 14. She was a true gem. Pam was diagnosed in 2009 with early onset Alzheimer's, a dreadful disease.
She was only 49 when diagnosed. Although she is sorely missed, Pam is in a better place now.
Have been a Ham for about forty years and have held an Extra class license for about thirty five years. After completing education I went to work in the medical and industrial radiation field. Along with four others started a company in Omaha serving the medical communities radiation equipment needs. In the late 80’s we divested interest in that business and procured an interest in a business in Lincoln subsequently relocating to Lincoln. Over the years since have owned parts or all of seven different businesses and served on over ten boards for both profit and nonprofit entities. We divested the last major business in 2013. This, along with changes in my personal life, has allowed the time needed to become active once again in Amateur Radio.
This year, 2016, I have the privilege of serving our club, Lincoln Amateur Radio Club, as its President. The club currently has about 350 members and is very active in all aspects of the hobby.
I am also a pilot with about 1600 hours. Flown everything from Cessna 152's through Citation Jets. Over the years owned a Dakota, Saratoga, Mooney 252, Cessna 414, and a Malibu. The Malibu was the favorite.
Early in 2014, I sold the home in Lincoln Nebraska. That home was located in a golf course development with a restrictive HOA. (Support the ARRL in its pursuit of HR1301-S1685!). Purchased a home on an a 4 acre plot just outside of Firth, NE about 15 miles south of the prior home. A smaller ranch style home with a 30' x 40' out building - man cave. The homes walk out basement was unfinished - perfect! Below is an abbreviated recount of the Tower installation and shack construction.
Everything you see here is in a state of entry and update, non of it is complete. This is not a "Do it yourself" guide. Rather a documentation of some aspects or portions of the experience.
Of course the beginning is a lot more than you see here:
You will need:
1. Very strong desire
3. Government approval, usually Planning Commission and City Council, Building Permit.
4. A lot of your own planning and research. Where will it be installed? Existing issues like underground power lines. Lightning, what if the tower takes a hit? In this installation there is 500 feet of buried 2 gauge wire and more than 35 - 8 foot ground rods cadwelded to the 2 gauge wire.
5. A lot of help
6. Have I mentioned strong desire and commitment?
October of 2014, the tower base parts finally arrive. Construction starts with the "Big Dig". This small excavator in the hands of a proficient operator seems ideal for the dig. Yes it really is that deep!
At the end of the day the re-bar cage is suspended from a hanger of multiple 2x4's. We constructed 2x6/plywood walkways over the pit. This allowed us to work over the middle of the pit, carefully work...
Before the pour. Yes, here I am wondering what I have gotten myself into......
Now I am beginning to REALLY wonder what I have started. There are two loaded cement trucks sitting in the driveway. One has 10 yards the other 8 yards of concrete on board. They have been sitting there for 45 minutes. Waiting on the pump. Original plan was to pump concrete over the house, straight down the middle of the rebar cage. Pump is late....very late...Then he tries to cross a drainage ditch at a sharp angle. Yes he is "high centered". Plan B (You did have a plan B, right). Drive the trucks around the home through the alfalfa field. (Photo: K0GND)
Finally an hour after concrete trucks arrived, we are dropping concrete in the hole. Notice where the concrete is being placed. That is me with the tape measure on my right pocket. Makes me look professional, right? (Photo: K0GND)
These projects just cannot be completed without the help of many. Here are two of the "prime movers". Larry- KD0RTK (left) and David N0VMT. Many, many thanks!
Almost disaster! The cage is supported by 2x4's on end. Remember the picture above and where the pour was going? Even though we tried to move the chute around the cage shifted. Yes we were all hustling. The guy in red is one of the truck drivers. He actually jumped up and down on the cage which re-settled it in the pour. The guys got the 2x4's vertical again and we added yet more 2x4 supports. You did get extra wood right? That is Gene KD0OVK behind the driver, yet another project asset. (Photo: K0GND)
Looking closely, a bow can be seen in the 2x4's. Six 2x4's are in now and we are thinking we might need more. The weight on the cage was quite high at this point. Yes it was level again and as it turned out within about an inch of its original planned location. Drama, more drama... (Photo: K0GND)
Finally the last of the second truck. The cage is going no where now. Notice Dave-N0VMT holding his hand on the vibrator. The vibrator was rented. Had an issue, of course, The drive cable would not stay in the unit unless the retainer pin was forced down. Dave held it through the entire pour! Of course you planned for this right? That is me and Dave in the foreground and Larry-KD0RTK and Gene-KD0OVK in the back. All of these gentlemen worked tirelessly through out the project. The project would not have succeeded without their assistance. (Photo-K0GND)
The final stages of the pour. I am passing the vibrator to Gene. The concrete is really starting to get stiff and we wanted to make sure we got all the air out. Shortly after that we place the walkways over the pour and removed the nuts holding the upper alignment triangle. This allowed us to remove the 2x4 supports. Screed the surface and clean up. (Photo: K0GND)
End of the second day. The base is in! -All 17 1/2 yards. Yes that is over 60,000 lbs of concrete!
Base sections are erected. This is done horizontally...
If there was much traffic out here this would probably stop it. Tower is going back up after some initial work. (N0VMT photo)
Now here is a beautiful site 70' (21 M) up now. Four more sections ready for next spring to about 100' (30 M).
Latest addition in 2015 a Step IR DB-36, replaced the Force 12 C3. Although the Force 12 was a great antenna it was only 20-15-10M. The DB-36 is 80M-6M and is a real crowd pleaser, performs very well. Huge antenna that tower is 70'. Quite happy!
The shack begins...The home had an unfinished basement when purchased early this year (2014). Great! We could finish it off the way we wanted. Here the walls are studded and the drywall in place for the walls and ceiling. That un-enclosed 2x6 wall will be the equipment wall of the shack. The wall is about 30" from the foundation wall behind.
The shack in initial stages of completion. That is Anne she with her sister watch over the shack.
A better image of the business area. SDR is on the middle screen. Upper screens are clusters. Bottom right is logging. Of course these configurations can all be changed/swapped.
Again more to come...
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