My Washington Island QTH’s ZeroFive Flagpole antenna is ON THE AIR! Yeah!!
This has been a silly long project, with the antenna waiting for a year to be put up, then two seasons where the conduit wasn’t getting installed, the lost “virus season” and finally this season being put on the air.
Hitting bedrock and the flagpole base:
Putting in the radials: https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2021/07/18/k9zw-north-radials-for-the-flagpole-antenna/
Correcting the antenna end of the conduits: https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2021/08/09/working-outside-when-the-sunshines-island-conduits/
The conduit has been a troublesome part with the route being different than originally sketched, the electrician involved being taken away due to an extended family emergency, and my foot dragging to boot.
I needed some help on this project – my friends at Backus Electric at my home QTH sorted out all the parts to terminate the Flagpole end and to resolve the mislocation situation at the house end. They kitted me up with everything needed, including the right hole saws and glue.
While I have hardline originally designated for this project, two Louisiana based friends let me have some surplus LMR-400-DB factory spools at a very nominal price. Given the gyrations and the near hardline performance of LMR-400 I decided to pull this instead. For reference this LMR-400-DB run at 20m has a calculated loss including connectors works out to 0.9 dB.
Tom K0TCC was instrumental in getting the coax pulled, and putting on the ends. Tom has his summer home on the Island and is another FlexRadio user.
Only had to make one trip to the Island Hardware store, as my 1/4in drill bit failed, I lost some of the 8-32 hardware for the lightning arrestor in the grass, and a 18 inch drill bit to put in pilot holes to make sure everything inside and out was kept clear seemed a good idea.
On the inside the particular access area is congested with in-floor heating boxes, other electrical and truss conflicts. Two spots were sorted out and the use of flexible conduits eliminated a lot of elbows to make things work out.
The quick failure of a Electrician’s Fish that though highly rated at Amazon was a POS that broke in first use complicated things slightly, but we still got the pull tape in with the fish. Now I have a bit mess of spring steel to get rid of, as there is now way the fish will go back together.
I was quite impressed with Tom K0TCC’s tools, a setup he bought from DX Engineering, as for a first for me we used Crimp with center soldered connectors. Perfect in mere moments.
The ZeroFive Flagpole is a Heavy-Duty version of their 30ft model, with tilt-over base. I have less radials on this Island install compared to the one at my home QTH.
I was able to achieve a great match on 80-10m meters, but couldn’t match automatically on 160m or 6m. I have to do both manually at the home QTH, so perhaps I will get a match with some effort. Strangely 160m showed a match on the FlexRadio Tuner Genius TGXL, but my stand alone metering didn’t agree.
First QSOs were made in moments, and banged out a large number of FT8 contacts as I could keep working on clean up in the shack, reaching over to tap the keyboard as needed.
Very pleased with the antenna now that it is on the air. Budget wise this one seemed a bit expensive to install and get wired up. The armored conduit is pricey, and the conduit with burial was more than expected.
But we fly our flags while on the island to aestetic enjoyment and now I’ll be on the air at the same time!
Some small final cleanup loose ends, the radial connections have to be painted to slow down corrosion, and the hole back filled. The one exposed connector needs to be waterproofed.
At the shack end the the feedline needs to be routed up in the trusses to drop down at the radio rack, and a want to put in some extra insulation where I displaced things during installation.
I also need to pull the 110v wire so an actual electrician can hook it up for me later.