During this time, Bonnie KB5YSE and I were living in a semi-rural location and I was able to install a nice 70 foot solid steel antenna tower. The tower, which was brand new, was salvaged from an AM commercial broadcast station. (KABE) How did I manage salvage a brand new tower? Well, that's an interesting story - and it wasn't done by the Midnight Salvage Company!
It's time for a pop quiz, folks! What happened to Radio Station KABE that has never happened to any other radio station as far as I know that would give me a nice new tower?
Give up?? Click here for the answer!
This picture was taken by my dad in the early 70's. It's a bit blurry, because it was just a quick snapshot. I don't have the negative, and I had to scan this picture from a slightly faded print. It shows the back of my house - it's the one on the right, with all the wires coming out of it! The hamshack is on the second floor, far left.
The tower is 70 feet tall, and was guyed by six 1/2 inch thick steel guy lines. The tower has a 6-meter beam on the very top. Below that, is a side mounted Radar antenna. To the left and a bit lower, is a large side mounted TV antenna, which has a G6-144 antenna fastened to it. That was the RX antenna for my 2-meter repeater, WR5AEH. (At that time, ham repeaters had separate call letters.)
Below the TV antenna and on the right side of the tower, you can see the top plate for a homebrew discone antenna. The cone splines are faintly visible in the picture. One set of tower guys attaches to the tower just below the point where the discone antenna bracket meets the tower. The other set of guys is attached about a foot or so below the top of the tower.
All the guy lines were insulated with large fiberglass insulators, and the upper set of guys were tied together and fed through a very large remote controlled tuner which was mounted on one of the guy line anchor poles, not visible in this picture. I used the guys as an RX antenna between 100 - 500 KHz.
You can see the black horizontal cable mounting block just to the lower left of the hamshack window. All the control lines and coax cables came from that point to the tower, except for the Radar feedline. The G-line (surface wave transmission line) can be seen coming through the left wall of the house and heading up towards the tower. The G-line launcher and catcher may be seen at the end of the RG-19/U coax cable used at both ends of the system.
This is a contrast enhanced section of the photo shown above. Here you can see the Radar antenna and the G-line leading down to the house. Note the catcher horn connecting the RG-19 coax to the G-line itself. The Radar antenna was mounted on a welded steel angle iron frame and raised into position with a block and tackle. Visible from the left and right outboard corners of the mounting frame at the base of the Radar antenna are the two sway brace guy lines which were used to prevent the tower from being twisted to failure in a storm. There is a semi-circular line faintly visible attached to the Radar reflector. That is a pair of chains which were used to lash the antenna to the tower in case of a hurricane. NOTE: Climb the tower to attach the chains BEFORE the storm hits, not DURING the storm!! (Ask me how I know.)
Here's a close up of the G-line entering the hamshack. It proved difficult to prevent rain water from getting into the launcher horn. I finally just gave up the effort and drilled a drain hole in it!