Saturday, December 28, 2013

Emergency disentanglement required after storm!

Jim EI2HJB uses binoculars to see how
badly entangled the rope was.
You might not be able to see properly in this image, but the storm of St. Stephen's Day which lasted through the night into December 27th caused a strange situation to emerge with my antenna system. A rope from the hexbeam became dislodged from its position and somehow managed to get entangled with one of the legs of my inverted v dipole system. When I woke yesterday morning the first thing I did was to check the antennas because the storm was really ferocious. A large number of trees were blown down in my region, in Louth and Meath. In Ireland over 50,000 homes were without power for a time after electricity lines were blown down. We have had a number of storms this winter, but this latest one certainly was the worst.

Anyway, I called my friends into action and they duly obliged by making themselves available at 10am this morning (Saturday, 28th), to help retrieve the situation. Thankfully, none of the antennas was actually broken, but I was unable to turn the hexbeam without causing something to break, and I was anxious to get it sorted out.

Jim EI2HJB, Fintan EI7CEB and Pat EI2HX all arrived to help. It was a delicate operation. While we could lower the inverted v system, which is on a rope and pulley, the problem was that the rope from the hexbeam was very much tangled up in the 80m inverted v and wouldn't let us lower it down. Using binoculars, we could see that the entanglement was severe. The rope somehow got knotted up quite well by the wind!

The eventual solution was to lower the hexbeam slightly and to rotate it so that Fintan EI7CEB could get into a position on a ladder to reach the knotted rope. This sounds simple, but it involved taking the stay wires off the hexbeam's supporting pole, and also loosening the pole from its brackers. After about an hour or so, we finally had the knot opened and I had to get up onto the shack roof to reattach the rope to its correct spreader on the hexbeam. Then we had to right the pole again and re-attach all the stays, plus the 80m inverted v had to be reattached to its support. All in all, a tough job but we got there in the end!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Things have been busy - a quick update

I've been very busy lately, launching my new book, 'Land of the Ever-Living Ones'. I've only really had time to work the VU7AG dxpedition (country #302 for me), but little else. I am glad to report that I have nine slots so far with them, including 80m CW and 40m RTTY, two slots I am very proud of. The dxpedition is working from Lakshadweep Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Tonight, there are great conditions on 40 metres CW. In the past few minutes, I've worked VA7OO in Vancouver and also W6OAR in California, both using my Butternut vertical. Fantastic. Right, time for bed!

Update: Got WO7R in Arizona before switching off the equipment!