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N8MDP's Tower Raising Project

The tower was raised on Saturday, September 13, 2008 on a rainy morning. Many thanks to my friends, N8OBJ John Gibbons and N8YQM Dave Sherman for their time to help raise the tower. Also thanks to my In-Laws Henry & Jeanne for their assistance and my wife Julie for taking the picture. Oh and thanks to the XYL for feeding us!

So let's tell the story:

Before taking a family trip to Hawaii, I marked the spot with a broomstick handle on June 29th, 2008

The broomstick marks the spot


After returning from Hawaii, I began digging 'the hole" on July 18th.


Results of the first dig


The digger at work on July 19th!!

Me in the hole


With the hole dug, I began to check out the base of the tower in the hole on July 29th.


Checking the tower base in the hole


To help in the alignement of the tower in the hole, I made a special frame. This frame would be very helpful when the concrete is poured. Note that I added some rocks in the bottom of the hole for drainage and rebar for concrete reinforcement. This was completed on August 3rd.


The hole wit the rbars and frame


I proceeded to insert the antenna base into the hole to test the alignment.


Testing the tower base in the hole.


On August 9th, the concrete was delivered.


The concrete is here!


On August 9th, we bagan pouring the concrete. I rented a simple concrete mixer to mix the 80 bags of Quickcrete. I did not have a cement company come out as they would have needed to driver over my leech bed, which is part of the septic system. Too much weight over a leech bed can destroy it. To protect the aluminum of the tower, I wrapped clear plastic wrap around the base of the tower. Conrete on aluminum is not good for each other!!


The first concrete pouring.


Here I am hard at work mixing and pouring the concrete. My XYL, Julie, manned the water hose while I worked the mixer.


N8MDP hard at work


After 2.5 hours of mixing and pouring, the tower base and concrete is completed and smoothed.


The tower base is in the concrete


On August 15th, I installed the three other sections of the 30 foot tower. The base is tiltable, so I was able to tilt down the antenna, as you will see in pictures below.


The tower sections are in place.


Between August 15th and September 13th, I spent time intalling the rotor system, a rubber boot for the mast, the 10 foot steel mast, the Cushcraft MA5B 10-15-20 Meter Beam, the Diamond X-200A Dual Band VHF-UHF antenna, as well as routing the coax.


The tower is ready for raising


On Saturday, September 13th, the effort began to raise the tower. Two of my friends, N8OBJ, John Gibbons and N8YQM, Dave Sherman, came over to help me raise the antenna, My In-Laws also came over to watch and provide encouragement. The XYL, Julie, gave the orders!!


Getting ready to raise the tower!


John, David and I gave the tower a final checkout to make sure everything was in place. We also made sure everying was clear from the area we needed top push the tower up.


Clearing the area to raise the tower


We're ready to go!


We're ready to go.


Here we go!


Here we go


Up it goes! Oh my is this heavy!!


Up it goes


Half way up. Julie continues to bark orders while she takes pictures.


Half way up.


Oh my is this heavy. Once we got to the half way point or past 45 degrees, you could really feel the weight. We had to keep pushing.


Keep pushing


Almost there. Keep pushing. My father-in-law, Henry, was ready to push the bolts into place.


Keep pushing. We are close.


The tower is in place. Henry is putting the bolts in place.


Tower in place.


With the tower in place, we now double checked the SWR on the VHF/UHF vertical and the MA5B HF beam. The last thing we needed was to pull the tower back down due to a bad SWR reading. Fortunately, the SWR pre-checking we did on both antennas prior to the raising paid off. No SWR problems.


Checking the SWR


After all of the hard work, the tower was up.


The tower is up.


We are done! It's Miller time. To bad I don't drink beer but we did open a bottle of Wine to celebrate. From left to right, that is me, Henry (Thanks for all the memories, RIP.), Jeanne, John, and Dave.


We're done!!

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