Beware the Winds – A Bit of Tower Mischief

A week or so back we had extraordinary winds. Steady 40 mph (65 kph) with 60+ mph gusts (100 kph) for a prolonged period. Local weather recording stations noted occasional gusts much stronger, though I cannot say if my QTH saw those mega-gusts.

Checking on the new log periodic it was still up there (yeah!) and all “looked okay.”

About a week later the beam’s SWR changed and then dropped off. I figured a feedline issue or perhaps a popped lightning arrestor given we had two periods of snowstorms with heaving lightning and thunder.

Yesterday the +4F (-16c) weather improved to a nicer +28F (-2c) and I walked some of our trails. One medium sized tree down that will have to be cleared with chainsaws, and everything looked pretty good.

Just one thing was working in the back of my mind. The log periodic wasn’t pointed in the direction I had left it. And it had moved since the previous day when I had looked at it from the workshop.

Feedlines are likely wrecked as the beam is drifting. My Skyneedle has an indirect rotator system where the rotator turns a jackshaft that is coupled to the mast with a heavy chain.

Expect that the chain either broke or jumped off the gears. Won’t exactly know until I bring the tower down and get up there. The movement appears too free to likely be a rotator issue baring something catastrophic.

Short term plan is to bring the tower down from the present antenna height of about 75ft (23m) to its retracted 25ft height (8m). Will get the beam direction stabilized with a tether and commence repairs.

Of course there is enough snow to require a skidsteer session to clear the access roads. I am thinking if I want to climb the ladder and do the work off the crow’s nest or bring in a lift. The lift could be a safer option and would allow for a full inspection, but besides being spendy would require a lot of additional snow removal from the access gate to the tower area. My guess is I will harness up and climb the ladder to the crow’s nest to have the looksee I need to determine if a lift is needed.

On the plus side the much bigger T-12 Log Periodic has held up under some impressive weather conditions. I am feeling a lot more confident about the T-12 Log Periodic on the Skyneedle.

As I have spare feedline drops, I will replace the one there with a fresh one. Anticipating that connectors may have been overstressed I’m thinking I may bring in the Timewave Crimp Connector gear I’ve wanted and a supply of crimp connectors, as trying to do a full solder connector at this time of year might be an unresolvable challenge.



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