Bob's Radio Tower
The Story of:
How I Learned to Love Electric Cool Aid During the Construction of
The High Wattage Cottage
Like any good tower (of Power) installation, you need to establish a good, safe,
solid foundation. Here I'm attaching one of 41 aircraft cables to the crank-up
pulleys. Note that I'm putting all my strength into tensioning the cables. Also note
the liberal use of rivets...for safety. (I'm kind'a proud of my new Harrison Ford hat.)
Another part of the secure installation is to use plenty of hardware. Here I'm securing
the tip-over plate to the base pedestal. All hardware is high quality - nuts and bolts -
that I salvaged from my old 1958 Chevy station wagon when it fell apart last year. As
always, when climbing, it's "SAFETY FIRST" - note I'm wearing a Chinese Army
surplus hard hat and safety vest.
As we all know, good strong, tight, aircraft-grade guy wires are essential to
keeping the tower vertical. They also double as ground plane radials and make a
real nifty "hummming" sound when the wind blows.
These cables were a real deal, since I got them military surplus from a WW-I US
Army terminal just outside Paris France. They are all marked "1918" ... I think
that's the tensile strength, but I could be wrong.
Here I'm re-tieing a knot that came loose during erection - the rust keeps getting in
my eyes, but I'm pretty used to that after putting several mufflers on my wife's 1967
Oldsmobile. I prefer square knots and sheep shanks for safety, but sometimes just
keep making half-hitches until I use up all the dangling cable.
Look how high I am - you can clearly see the neighbor's house.
Each of the 41 guy wires uses turnbuckles for tensioning - I spared no expense. I got
the turnbuckles from an old shipyard in Neptune, NJ. They are marked "White Star
Lines." Although they were kind of rusty, they still seemed to be pretty heavy. So I
coated them with a lot of house paint. These must be a special kind of turnbuckle,
because they get looser no matter which way you turn them. See me waiving to the
cat who already climbed the tower? Cute, huh?
Those are members of my radio club in the background. What a coincidence, we all
forgot our safety harnesses that day. They are a great bunch of guys - most of them
are still alive ... well, except for "Spud", that's the guy leaning over the edge, who
stepped on a rotten 2-by-6 plank and fell to his death, impaled on a tomato stake in
my garden below.
Here I'm aligning the 9-element 160 meter beam - looks pretty sturdy, huh?
Since I strive for durability rather than light weight, I built the beam with cast iron
rather than aluminum (I consider aluminum as not being a very "manly" metal).
The beam is aligned to point North when the rotator indicates South - that's
because I prefer to always work long path.
Here is my friend, Charlie "Chuck" Wagon, hoisting the Gamma matching unit up to
me. Unfortunately I'm out of the frame, at the top of the tower, 1,500 feet above
If you look closely at the ascending pallet, you can see the box of sandwiches my wife
sent for our very pleasant aerial lunch of veal cutlets, provolone, vino-de-cellar, and
burbon. Also note all the secure knots I've tied in the guy cables.
Here are a couple perspectives on the finished tower. At left a shot from the roof of my home radio shack looking up. Note that the cumulus clouds obscure the 160 meter beam, but the
2 meter "J-pole" and 432 groundplane is clearly visible. The photo on the right shows the complete tower. In order to get this perspective, I had to stand on the bird bath in my neighbor's
yard. Here we are looking North and the beam is pointed West...consequently it pretty much isn't too visible.
Here's a shot of the tower
looking East from my QTH.
The camera is pointed out
from the woods of Shelton,
Connecticut, across the
Housatonic River into the
next little New England
town. If you zoom in you
can clearly see me at the
base of the tower soldering
some PL-259 connectors.
If you look closely, you can
see my favorite pub across
the river - it's the square,
So far, I'm pretty happy with
this installation. Last night I
worked a bycicle-mobile
station on 80 meters about
8 miles down the road, CW
of course, and then a
trucker on 11 meters
channel 19...all the way
down in town, about 5 miles
I can also do some AM
broadcast DX receiving,
which is a convenient thing,
since it's important to get
the traffic and weather
reports before leaving for
work in the morning - I
particularly like the ball
scores as well - I'm a
Yankee fan. Some day I
hope to actually get to New
York. I hear they have
some pretty tall towers
|A presentation of
"Morphemic Acquisition" and
"Somniatic Withdrawal" Productions,
in association with
Nod-Off Pharmaceuticals PTY/LTD.
I was trying out my new infrared camera. Here's a photo of my shack with all the lights
out. The only thing that showed up was this apparition (in ectoplasm) of some visiting
woman - I assure you, she's a stranger - I don't know her.
I really can't help it, but women seem to be attracted to me - this one is quite dead.
u r visitor #