Notes from a Tower Climber Newbie

After guidance at the last JSCARC meeting from Ken, K5RG, and reading on-line comments, I successfully completed my first climb of Mount Gilruth (aka the 80’ W5RRR tower). Actually, I only climbed up a bit beyond the rotator, so the actual summit measure was more like 70’.

A few comments posted here, which may aid future, ham trekkers. Some comments are reinforcing messages from Ken, and some are my own lesson’s learned.

Here goes:

  1. My forearms were straining as time wore on. Why? Because, as Ken advised, get a very short positioning lanyard as possible. The positioning lanyard, which comes in a variety of lengths, ties your body to the tower and allows one to lean back a small amount, and redistributing your upper boday weight from your forearms to the lanyard cord. My mistake: I bought a medium length positioning lanyard- I thought it was good enough, but for it to work effectively, I would have to really lean uncomfortably backwards for the cord became stretched out enough to share my weight. Yes, I could have used it but as a newbie, there was no way I was going to lean waaay back from the tower to exploit it’s weight distribution property. I elected instead to completely not use it (even though still clipped in) and instead relied on my forearms to assume the bear hug position to keep me safe. Buy as short a positioning lanyard as you can.

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80′ tower climb

a smooth 1 hour duration climb up the ladder on June 31 5PM.

Weather was perfect and breeze was comfortable.

More photos to follow, but the biggest surprise was to find that the pulley holding up the Windom endwise was jammed.

The cord had slipped off the roller and was jammed in-between the roller and the inside shell.  Previously, we thought the pulley was intentionally disabled and tied down permanently.

A couple death defying yanks

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AB5SS Observation of UAS photo

, AB5SS, has already keenly spotted some significant items after examine the recent  UAS drone photography.

“… the brackets are clamped to the vertical legs instead of resting on the horizontal braces.  See pic below of how they “should” be installed.  As you might guess, the problem with the way they are installed is they can crimp the legs (although they are thick wall steel tubing), but worse

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Final Hex Tower Work

KJ4QJW, N9RCS, KG5HOK, W5OC spent Saturday May 27, from 9AM-4PM finishing work making coax and control line connections and the guying down of the crank up tower. Using the in-place coax and rotor control wiring which runs from the tower base to inside the shack, Stu, KJ4QJW, terminated the connections at both end and discovered the “missing” connection lines behind the W5RRR service panel.  

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Updated status of Hex Beam build

Mike Vandewalle, N8MTV, offered a helpful hand to put the finishing touches onto the hexbeam project last nite 5/23.

The missing 15m directive and reflective wire element had finally arrived from KIO Technologies and it was carefully installed on the spiderweb-like antenna after the whole antenna was unmounted from the tower and brought back to ground level. 

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Hex beam @ W5RRR

Hex beam project getting real.

Mother’s Day was spent getting up a used K4KIO hex.

The good news:  it unexpected included a 6m capability.

The bad news:  it didn’t come with 15m wires.

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A confessional

Gary, KE5AMW, is a CW guy.  He’s gotten me interested to sharpen my CW skills that have rusted over the years.

I confess– he’s also inspired me to finally learn how to use a CW mechanical Bug, something I’ve put off for years.  I bought this off of eBay a long time ago, but never learned how to key it.

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