Category Archives: K9ZW Shack

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.

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Running a Comprehensively FlexRadio System – September 2021

It has taken quite a while to assemble an all-FlexRadio setup.

FlexRadio took longer than expected to introduce the Amplifier (PGXL) and Tuner (TGXL) components. To FlexRadio’s credit the general releases were held until the units were sorted out to some pretty exacting standards, and just like the radios the PGXL & TGXL continue to be worked on for improvements.

Here is my basic system at the Home-QTH:

Flex-6700 — PGXL Amp — TGXL Tuner — Antennas

At the Home-QTH Antenna 1 is a Zero-Five Flagpole Vertical and Antenna 2 is a T-12 12 element Log Periodic

Here is my basic system at the Island-QTH:

Flex-6700 — PGXL Amp — TGXL Tuner — PowerMaster SWR Meter — Antennas

At the Island-QTH Antenna 1 is a Zero-Five Flagpole Vertical

For reference the Work-QTH setup is:

Flex-6600M — Vertical Antenna

In all cases an Array Solutions AS302 arrestor is in-line before the antenna.

Main software is SmartSDR (Windows) either by LAN or WAN using SmartLink.  I do have SmartSDR (iOS) and SmartSDR (Maestro) to fall back on, but mostly am using the Windows version.  (Also have DogparkSDR available on my MacOS machines.)

For a while I am going to run everything in this simple configuration.  Actually rather frustrated with myself in the implementation of antenna switches and various additional sensor/software packages.

The Home-QTH and Work-QTH are able to be kept on standby 24/7, but island infrastructure being unreliable leaves the Island-QTH able to be up only when someone is in attendance.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Assembling Log Periodic Antennas – Part 2

Another big lift in the process of getting the HF log periodic antennas up. With much help from Vern K9EME, the T-12 is up and initial testing shows it’s performing very well.

There are a lot of steps to do in any antenna project, and this one was no exception.

I’m completing this post Sunday afternoon, as I have had enough feeding the mosquitos for a weekend.  Pictures with brief comments (and yes, the project is not done yet):

The Skyneedle has an offset rotator drive.

 

At the Skyneedle’s lowest elevation it is obvious a few more trees need to be cut back.

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Assembling Log Periodic Antennas – Part 1

Time to (finally) build the Log Periodic Antennas for the home QTH.

The big one is a Tennadyne T12.30-10HD – a twelve element 30 to 10 meter version.

Here is photo borrowed from the manufacturer’s website of a T12 on a tower (mine is going on a Skyneedle):

T12 from Tennadyne Website

Assembling has taken several after work sessions.  Here are some photos:

Boom parts as unboxed

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Second ZeroFive Flagpole Antenna Commissioned

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:

https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/feeling-out-antennas-for-k9zw-island-qth-part-3/

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.

Conduit Ends as Left for My Work

Hmm, how to figure out where to run them inside?

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Working outside when the sunshines – Island Conduits

At my Washington Island, Wisconsin QTH (US Island WI-001L) is my second ZeroFive Flagpole Antenna. On the Island we fly our flags often while in residence, but the antenna part has languished unfinished.  It has become a continued request from the XYL every visit to “please fill in the flagpole base’s hole, and fix our lawn.”

Early in virus lockdown I got someone to bury the conduits, which had sat on the lawn for at least a year. Though the main expanse was buried, neither end was done.

 

ZeroFive Flagpole antenna at Washington Island (from house)

 

The radials were dug in a few weeks ago (see my previous post at: https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2021/07/18/k9zw-north-radials-for-the-flagpole-antenna/) but were left tied-off to the pole, conduit or something else in the hole.

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