Homebrew projects for radio & electronics enthusiasts

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The Force-12 C-3E trapless tribander comes neatly packed in one box. The segments for each element are telescoped inside each other, pre-drilled for rivets, and each bundle is marked to identify the element. The segmented boom already has mounting flanges for each element pre-installed. I chose the all-stainless optional upgrade for reduced maintenance. After a few hours in the heat of August '99 (98 degrees!) with a pop riveter, I had a nice looking yagi antenna. The boom is 18 feet long, and the longest element is approximately 36 feet across. Surprisingly, the whole antenna only weighs 37 pounds.

Using a prusik knot, I attached a carabiner and a pulley on the mast to hold a tram line. The antenna rides up the tram line like a cable car from a point 120 feet away from the tower. Here, I have it hauled up half-way with a long coaxial pigtail to ground level to check the tuning before setting the final rivets.

Here it is, all tuned and riveted, on a beautiful, windless evening in August, ready to go up. I have tilted the leading elements up ahead of time to help clear the upper guy cables.

Handy helper ham friends (ground squirrels) for the big day: (L-R) Gordo, AE4RB; Newtz, KU4BB; Mick, KU4KW; and me. No rabbit ears seen in this take! Thanks again, guys!

Here's a better view where you can see the RG-213 coaxial pigtail that I have pre-installed. I formed a coaxial choke balun (black ring hanging under the boom on the left) in the pigtail, using 6 turns at 8" diameter. The white, PVC assembly taped to the boom is a 'tiller' with a light, nylon tag line hanging from it. As the antenna is hauled up, light tension on this line keeps the antenna from spinning, and allows some steerage in skilled hands. Thanks again to the 'ground crew'!

At the working point of the antenna tram. The overhead line is pulled taught from the mast on the tower, over my house, to a distant tree in the front yard. Over it rides a pulley. A single carabiner through the pulley cinches the two nylon choker slings that suspend the antenna and the haul line. The haul line, under the tram line, also goes up to the mast, then through a pulley, and back down to ground in the back yard. I used 3/8" twisted polypropylene for both lines. The choker knots in the slings face in opposite directions to help stabilize the boom.

Thar she goes! It's halfway up, directly above my home, as I await it at 110'. In the still air, the beam seems to just levitate right up magically, without spinning. This picture was taken from a spot right next to the tree that the tram line was tied off to.

Once the leading element tips cleared the top guy cables, I twisted the boom in the slings to level the elements before raising the final few feet. My guess on the pulley height was right-on, accounting for the sling height, as I mated the boom and mast mounting plates. Hurry up and get them bolts in, boy! I had already trammed up the Cushcraft 13B2 2-meter beam seen here above me.

This is as far as I go! I'm standing on the top plate of the tower, making the final alignment on the 2-meter beam at the 116' level. I have sent the slings and tiller back down to ground on the tram line.

Here's most of my antenna arsenal. From bottom to top: Diamond discone scanner antenna @ 85', Hustler dual-band VHF/UHF vertical @ 90', Force-12 C-3E triband HF beam @ 112', Cushcraft 13B2 VHF beam @ 116', and lightning rod (126' at top). Lightning rod? You bet! Gotta give it a preferred path to ground, preferably NOT through one of my antennas!

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Good luck and have fun with your tower project!


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