My Antennas

By Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP

 

JULY  2007                                             VOL.  80 , NO. 7                                        CIR 120

 
Before I talk about my dipole antennas, I have to explain some recent before and after work in my back yard.  My back yard is and was a terminal place for not only utilities which serve me, but for diagonal lines that serve my neighbors.  This has always posed a problem for the instalation of antennas.  There are wires cutting across my back yard for power, cable TV/ISP, and telephone.  The telephone lines were underground when I moved to Commack in 1969, but they were installed through the trees when AT&T seperated from the local telephone companies. In addition to the power lines there were two giant trees that took up much of my back yard space although they offered possibilities for hanging dipole antennas.  As time passed the trees grew larger and their branches grew into the 40 meter dipole I had strung through them.  A 40 meter dipole end was secured to my house and the other end to the furthest tree.   The center balun was pulled high by a rope going high on the center tree.  The base of the center tree was showing some signs of rotting, although the tree seemed in good health otherwise.  My XYL was worried that the tree might fall upoon our house.  To make a long story short, we agreed to have the 80 foot tall tree removed.  It is often a struggle to get my XYL to agree on any project, but this time we were in mutual agreement.  We thus had the tree removed and it was an immense job; very efficiently coordinated by four Latino workers who arrived on time, driving four specialized vehicles.   In addition to removing the tree, I had arranged for the instalation of two pullies with ropes, high on the remaining tree; one for my 40 meter dipole and another a 75-80 meter trap dipole, which I had bought many years ago, but never managed to install.  I connected the end of my 40 Meter dipole to a rope which was looped through one of the pullies, but unfortunately I did this after the tree workers had left.  As my XYL and I pulled up the dipole we had to fight branches of the remaining tree that obstructed the dipole wire.  As we tugged on the rope the rope aparently came off the pully wheel and got jammed.  It did so when the dipole insulator was close to the pully, so this was no big problem and a pully on the house end made it easy to get the dipole up straight enough, but touching some branch of the tree. The rope for the 75 Meter antenna is still hanging and it will get installed as soon as I have the time to put another pully on a far corner of my house.  You must understand that this will be a big project as I must run another coax feeder through my attic.  I do have enough good coax for the job, but it will have to wait until the pains in my neck and lower back subside, without using the medication that says I must avoid working with machines.

 

 

I want to warn you that you should never buy the big metal pullies that are in Home Depot.  I have gotten pullies in the past from marine supply stores and they are best for any outside use, as they are mechanically superior and designed for all weather use, even in salt spray conditions.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find my good pullies and bought the ones from Home Depot in a rush to get them, as well as eye screws and links, before the tree workers arrived.

Now for some history.  When I first moved to Commack I bought a used tri-band Mosley beam, a rotator, and a tower.  I was a very avid ham at that time.  I quickly set about putting it all up in my back yard. This was the first opportunity to own my own property.  I had only managed to put up a 20 Meter verticle on a flat roof in The Bronx before moving, and had become a member of the Certificate Hunter’s Club and an Associate Member of the Flying Ham’s Club.  I dug a gigantic hole in my yard myself and filled it with concrete reinforcing rods.  I poured cement into it in three pourings , waiting each time for it to harden.  I got the Rohn tower base installed in the final cement pouring and it all hardened well.  I had to erect the tower in the only part of my yard that was not near to the trees and the main power line, so I had picked a spot on one side that seemed in the clear.  I had the 60 foot tower supported by a step ladder on one end, so that I could mount both the rotator and the beam before erecting the entire assembly.  I then arranged for an antenna party which included a lot of my friends from work  (this was before I worked for Grumman), and a few of my relatives.  One of my friends (now a sk) had experience erecting lamp posts. I had a cousin who was an electrician, who took over the task of organizing the crew while I pulled on a guy wire from a prone position in the attic.  None of these amateur tower installers were hams…but all were enjoying the XYL’s hambergers as well as 24 packs of cold beer.  About five of the antenna party installers began to push up the beam end of the tower assembly and others pulled steel guy wires but at some time the moment arm of mass got too great and they couldn’t pull or push the tower up any more than about 20 degrees.  The next store neighbor was wathching the struggles with great amusement.  He decided to help because he didn’t want to see anybody get ruptured.  I don’t know why he did so, but he did.  He got out a large winch and attached its cable to the antenna tower and he secured the winch to the base of my well anchored chain link fense.   Then with “heave hos” from my electrician cousin (now sk) and clicks from the winch racket, the tower was finally brought to a perpendicular position, its base then firmly bolted to the pedestal and its guy wires made taught by turnbuckles.  The spreading beam was now a sight to behold, which any ham would admire…BUT I realized that the elements of the beam extended well over the property of the neighbor, who had extended his help by winching up the tower.   Surely he might not complain…or so I hoped, because he himself had made the tower’s erection possible…But alas he did when my frequent use of 10, 15 or 20 Meter SSB (at up to a kw PEP input) caused TVI and prevented him from watching sports.  Commack is in a fringe area as far as TV reception with an antenna goes, and this was before there was cable or satallite TV, so you can well understand his complaint was justified…BUT…he was not the type of guy to complain to the town or hire a lawyer.  I hoped that he would not because although my township (Smithtown) permits ham towers, it requires registration fees for towers and tower inspection, which I never applied for.  The town did not enforce their regulations unless complaints were made at that time.  They seemed to be more interested in seeing that there were fences around swimming pools, so I just kept my fingers crossed that none of my neighbors would complain.  My immediate neighbor never complained directly to me verbally or to the town.  Instead he planted a poplar tree close to the area where my tower was mounted.  Meanwhile I managed to work lots of DX with the beam (I have the QSL cards to prove it, though I never had the time to finish geting DXCC verified)   After about four years the poplar grew tall enough to reach my beam elements.  When I rotated the beam it at first only swayed the top of the poplar but as the poplar grew it became increasingly impossible to rotate and finally the beam elements got bent and in a storm one of them broke off.                                                                                                       

This finally reached a point where I asked myself if keeping the tower meant more than being a good neighbor.  What is the use of making friends in in other states or foreign nations when you may make enemies in your own neighborhood?  So I had my younger son take down  the tower, because he is not afraid of heights.  I took pictures of him on top of the tower removing what was left of the beam as well as the rotator.   Without the weight of the antenna and rotator it was easy to guide down the tower, using a winch that I had bought by this time.  It is all documented.  My oldest son, who lives on Long Island, is as afraid of heights as I am…but my younger son had no fear of climbing on the roof of my colonial house or painting the eaves.  Unfortunately at this time my climbing son now resides in American Samoa, so he is not readily available.  I kid you not.   Hmmm…I’ll have to ask him if he now climbs trees to get coconuts. 

I don’t think any mechanical advantage short of a WMD could remove the pedestal.  I once considered building a brick barbeque oven over it to prevent it from denting lawn mower blades..

The week after my son took down my tower.. my neighbor chopped down his poplar tree.  My XYL had complained to his XYL that the cloud reaching poplar, which was growing higher than Jack’s beanstalk, might fall on our house in a storm.   The poplar arbolist neighbor has since moved to Florida.  The man who bought his house was a Suffolk County policeman..  I didn’t want to test him by again putting up a tower that would extend an antenna over his property, as I want to avoid a legal battle, as I am unarmed.  Aside from which, another neighbor who lives several blocks away from me, confided that all of the neighbors were ready to complain to the town if I put up a tower of the same height again, purely on an aesthetic basis, as they thought that such a tower was ugly enough to reduce the real estate value of their homes and the entire development, even when not radiating and depoplarized.

I now have the driven element of a Mosley tri-band beam in my atic and feed it from my IC-706.  I have managed to make DX QSOs using digital modes with it.  Surprisingly I have made QSOs with stations in Europe and California, off the end of my attic antenna, which just fits into 25 feet of the atick and favors north-south.  I think that roofing nails might have reduced the Q of  the antenna and even Maxwell himself might not have been able to predict what they have done to distort the antenna pattern.  I also have a vertical 2 Meter antenna hidden in my attic, and manage to work the repeaters with it.   All antenna cables, as well as my self installed Cablevision ISP cable all come through the same hole in the ceiling..

  Obviously I can’t rotate my house. I am not very active on HF now, except for trying to work the 40 Meter WAG net with my east-west favoring  40 meter straight diopole when the tree leaves are dry, and experimenting with digital modes.  I don’t know if the center tree removal will be of much help but I will try if I can wake up early enough on Sunday mornings for the 40 Meter Wag net..   Until then you can work me at w2ilp@optonline.net .  As reported priviously, I have worked India to get my PC debugged.  My best DX  (on line) is Sri Lanka….Its in the tea zone.  Internet access without an antenna has proven to be unidirectional, as well as free of Part 97 restrictions…BUT once a ham …always a ham…and I long for the old times when I could rotate my beam antenna, as well as my head ears, in order to copy R3 phone signals in the noise and  send  QSL cards directly by snail and sea mail for only 5 cents postage per card….when the poplar tree was just a sapling

GARC FIELD DAY 2007

I was at the FD site early Saturday and Sunday. The site was the old picnic area of what is left of McKay Field.  This area was more than adequete and better than the site used dureing the last three years.  I was expecting a good turn out because the weather was excellent.  Perhaps that is why some folks found better ways to enjoy the good weather elsewhere.  I suspect that this FD we scored lower than any other I had attended.   A list of those hams who signed the sign-in board included: KE2LJ, W2DKM, N2NTD, WB2PUE, WA2PYK, N2SFT, K2IFB, KC2OPX, N2XOB, AB2EF, W2ZZE, KADZR and W2ILP.  I learned that KB2UB and AB2NT, who helped set up on Friday, missed signing in.  If I missed anyone else let me know.  We were visited by our ARRL EC, Tom Carrubba Ka2D and his assistant, KA2DZR.   I’ll let Pat say more about FD 2007:                           

 

PRESIDENT’S PAGE

BY

KE2LJ

 

We have three things to discuss this month; Field Day, the 146.745 situation, and my trials/tribulations in Florida. Let’s start with FD. We were at a “new” site this time, over by McKay Field where we operated about 10 years ago. Our plan was to set up 2 poles and 3 antennas. My Son (N2NTD) came by with his trailer, and we got our antenna gear over to the site. But, there were only 4 other people there to help us. And six is the absolute minimum needed to set up a pole, because you need three on the guy lines, and three at the ladder erecting the pole. We barley got it done. Saturday had a few different people, but only four or five operators. We were on the air at 2 PM, but not making too many contacts. A couple of people agreed to stay operating into the wee hours, and they ran a station till about 1 AM. But, Sunday morning was a big problem. W2ILP was on site at 8:30 and nobody else came until I arrived at 10:30. By 11:15, it was still just us 2, and we didn’t even start the generator and computers because we didn’t know if there would be anybody coming to help. I don’t go to all this trouble to operate FD myself. If it was just for me, I would do it at home. Bill (N2SFT) and Karen (KC2OPX) arrived a little later, but with there were only a few hours left to operate. The cleanup with 4 or 5 people is very difficult, so we started then. A couple of other folks arrived after 1, and we were off the field by 2:30, and putting the stuff away. I think we were done by 4. It was way too much work for such a poor turnout by Club members. Even if I was going to be here next year, I would not be doing a Field Day operation again.  All that work for three or four ops to run the stations for about 10 hours in not a good situation. The people who were there all had a good time, but it was a big effort spread out over just a few people. We won’t be doing this anymore, unfortunately.

 As for the repeater, we have it all set up in our trailer by plant 14. The small antenna is mounted on the roof. We have coax running up to it, and connected. The repeater operates, but the signal is very low. We’re discussing a plan to put the amplifier back online. We also seem to have some interference from another repeater on that frequency. I have sent an email to the Coordinating body, MetroCor, but they haven’t responded yet. I have tried to notify the owner to vacate that frequency, but his posted email address is not valid. I’m trying to get his real home address. If this doesn’t work, we notify the FCC. Meanwhile, let’s try to hold our Thursday night net on there at 8:30 like we have done for decades.

 

My house closing is roughly scheduled for 7/18. On 7/1 we took another truckload of stuff to our Florida house. My NY house is almost empty now. Just a few beds for us, TVs, and a chair. These are things I need to live in the place till we get out for good. But, my Florida garage is still not completed. The roof is now done, but it still needs some doors and windows. The problem is, that I intended to store my household goods there till I unpacked all my boxes, and rearranged all the furniture. There isn’t enough room for all my stuff yet, so I had to rent a storage locker and put the non-essential things in it for now. This required us to load, and unload the truck three times more than we should have needed to. It was very difficult work for a guy my age to be doing in the Florida summer heat. My two young nephews work for a moving company. They drove the truck down, and did most of the physical work. It all took a few days to get this done. The house is almost all laid out now, with just one more bedroom to finish off. After I get the XYL all settled in, I can begin to work on towers and antennas. Looks like I’ll be real busy this Fall.

 Hope to see you at the meeting on 7/18 if I can make it.-pat KE2LJ

           

      

GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB

MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING -6/20/07

 

Secretary, Karen KC2OPX

 

The meeting was called to order by Pat at 5:30 PM.

 

TREASURERS REPORT – Ed, WB2EAV          REPEATER REPORT – Gordon, KB2UB                        

Finances continue to be in good shape.                     The Bethpage repeater antenna is on the roof.

Four more members paid dues.                                  We’re waiting for safety people, an electrician,

                                                                                    and facilities group.  We have to move the duplexer

                                                                                    and then the repeater will be ready.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP                                  NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE

6 applicants applied.  3 passed General exam,          Propagation was so poor on Sunday morning that

1 passed the Technician exam, 2 failed.                    stations were doubling and NY stations couldn’t .

4 VEs were present: KC2OPX, AB2EF, AB2NT,     hear Florida.

and W2ILP.. .

                                                                                                            

OLD BUSINESS:

Discussing the continuation of this Newsletter when Pat retires and we can no longer get newsletters reproduced at Grumman.  We will either need to find a company to reproduce the newsletter or use a web site to send it to members who have internet access, or both.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

Discussing preparations for Field Day, which is on the following weekend.

 

PROGRAM

Plans for Field Day were the topic of this meeting.  A two tent, two station set up was planned.  This required the installation of two poles on Friday night. at 3:00 to 4:00 PM.  Saturday it was planned to set up tents at 9:00 AM or so and get two stations on the air.  Three people planned to stay overnight.   

 

The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 PM.

 

GARC NETS:

40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.

2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz  (-.600)at 8:30 PM EST Thursdays.

                                           145.330 MHz (- .600) at 9:00 PM EST Thursdays.

[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz]         (ARES/RACES) Mondays

                                                                                                    

MEETINGS

General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 5:30 PM.   The meetings will be held at the Allen Ellsworth Park in Farmingdale.  Check the GARC web site to be certain of meeting location, which may change after this newsletter, is distributed. Board meetings are held seven days before the General Meeting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

GARC WEB SITE

 

 The web site of the GARC can be found at http://www.qsl.net/wa2lqo/     Webmaster is Pat Masterson KE2LJ.  Pictures of GARC activities, archives of newsletters, roster of members, and other information about the GARC may be found there including Field Day pictures.                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

INTERNET LINK OF THE MONTH FOR INTERNERDS

 

It is a small world for people who are hams.  I want to introduce you to a web site that is loaded with streaming videos of interest to hams.  It has lots of stuff that could be used as presentations at our club at meetings when we have no live speakers.  Included in downloadable videos is a trip to a digitally run multiple broadcasting station.  There are photography tips and ham project tips.  There is also video coverage of the Dayton HamVention and a HamVention in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, that was run by the same club that I had visited when I contacted Long Island from VK3 land.  There are some interviews with amateurs who are also pros and a ham who calls himself a hackers.  It can all be found at:  http://www.amateurlogic.com/blog/ .

There is a lot of footage (in the form of episodes) at this site, so get out your popcorn and enjoy!

 

PUZZLE

Here is another cryptogram.  This should be easy.

 

 AIW   AOJJC   KNAIW   KRQF   QFI   FNUI   QFIC   KRSS   WIPIJ   VFOWBI.   KNAIW   AOJJC   AIW

 

  KRQF   QFI   FNUI   QFIC   KRSS   VFOWBI .   RWPOJROMSC   QFIC   OJI   MNQF 

 

 YRGOUUNRWQIY.   ---OSMIJQ   IRWGQIRW---

 

 

 

Solution to the June Cryptogram:-

THE EMBARRASSING THING IS THAT MY SALAD DRESSING IS OUTSELLING MY FILMS.

--PAUL NEWMAN-- 

The embarrassing thing is that two extra letters crept into Newman.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                     


GARC VE SESSIONS

 

We are continuing to proctor exams for all classes of ham licenses on the second Tuesday of each month starting at 5:00 PM.

The present exams are:

Element 2: Technician

Element 3: General   

Element 4: Amateur Extra Class.

 

The fee for 2007 is $14 for all exams taken at one sitting. 

 

Applicants for upgrades should bring a photocopy of their license and any CSCE and their FRN number.

 

New, first time applicants should be aware that their Social Security number will be required on their application form.  All applicants should bring driver’s license or other picture ID.

 

Until further notice, VE exams will be at Briarcliffe College

1055 Stewart Avenue

Room: Long Beach #5

Bethpage, NY

Briarcliffe in Bethpage is located in a building that was formerly part of the Grumman complex.

 

All applicants should contact W2ILP to preregister so as to confirm location.  If no applicants apply, exam sessions may be cancelled.

 

For any information e-mail: -

w2ilp@optonline.net or phone: -

(631) 499-2214

 

Study material information is available at the http://www.arrl.org or the http://www.w5yi.org web site.

All VECs use the same Q & A pools.

Since the beginning of the VE program the GARC has provided opportunities to take ham exams monthly, during all twelve months of every year.

 

Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP

and the Grumman VE team.                                   

 

CQ de WA2LQO

VOL.  80, NO. 7

 

EDITOR

Bob Wexelbaum  W2ILP

(631) 499-2214

w2ilp@optonline.net

 

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

PAT MASTERSON, KE2LJ

And all the members of GARC (we hope!)

 

CQ de WA2LQO is published monthly by the Grumman Amateur Radio Club for its members and friends. Send articles and amateur equipment advertisements to:

KE2LJ or W2ILP

 

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS

If you want to submit articles or amateur equipment ads via e-mail do the following:

1. For submission direct to editor call him at above number to set up a transfer.

2. For e-mail transfer:

Internet Address

bat@grumman.com

 

 
EDITORIAL

 

On the first page of “Newsday”, July 6, 2007, a headline reads:- “SHREADED FLEET –Defunct F-14s to be destroyed”..

A two page article on this subject is headed by:- “NOTHING IS FOREVER- Navy’s pride for three decades, Grumman F-14s being shredded for security”.

 

 Although I didn’t work on the F-14s (I spent most of my time on the EA-6Bs)  I did see them being built in the hangers, and even sat in an F-14 cockpit once (after removing all foreign objects from my pockets).  The F-14 was more than just a “Top Gun” jet fighter to all of us Grummies…and so I write about it here with sadness… almost as I would about a human silent key.  I can only agree with the quote by Dan Polofsky 74, who worked for Grumman for 40 years, writing software for the F-14.  “Nothing is forever, including me”, said Polofsky, “Someday they’ll shred me”. 

 

 I am also 74 years old, so I know how he feels.  Yes… Nothing is forever…but some things may fade away slower than others.

 

73,

Bob w2ilp (I Like Philosophers)

 

GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB OFFICERS FOR 2007

 

President               Pat Masterson              KE2LJ              V01-01    516-346-7125

Vice President       Gordon Sammis             KB2UB            Retiree     631-666-7463

Secretary               Karen Cefalo                  KC2OPX                        631-754-0974
Treasurer               Ed Gellender                   WB2EAV         X02-14   516-575-0013

2Yr Board Member    Zack Zilavy               WB2PUE         Retiree    631-667-4628
2YrBoard Member     Dave Ledo                AB2EF

2Yr Board Member    Bob Christen          W2FPF             

1Yr Board Member    Bob Wexelbaum    W2ILP          Retiree     631-499-2214

1Yr Board Member    Jack Cottrell          WA2PYK           Retiree     516-249-0979

Trustee WA2LQO       Ray Schubnel        W2DKM       Retiree

 

STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN

 

Meeting Programs       Contact a Board Member

FCC Exam Coord.         Bob Wexelbaum       W2ILP                           631-499-2214

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



                        

20 Years Ago- “CQ DE WA2LQO” – July & Aug 1987 Vol. 59 N0.1&2 CIRC 407

The July meeting was a recap of Field Day. The August meeting was set to be at the Pink Panther picnic, which was one week earlier than usual. Members of the Sperry Amateur Radio Club were also invited to the picnic.

Ken Fitch, KC2DH told how the GARC did a good job on FD, which was better than the previous year.  Hank W2ZZE had found the power cables just in time for FD, when it was believed that they had been lost.  Ray, W2DKM tallied up the result:.  Over 800 CW contacts and 650 phone contacts, plus bonus points for the FD message, QSO with an Armed Forces station, publicity, etc.   There was a Novice station operated by Glenn, WB2QDS and Jim, WB2QDT.  It used a generator provided by John, W2MFN and racked up additional points.  Bert, K2DOD supplied two tube type rigs.  It was then believed that tube rigs were best for FD because they didn’t overload from nearby stations.  Abe, W2BLH provided a Ten-Tech rig. Fred, N2GCW was FD coordinator.  Jack, WA2PYK and Virginia Stone ran the culinary area.  It was reported sadly that Bill Leiber, W2EFL became a silent key in June.  Jack, AD4N provided an updated net schedule page.  An article from WorldRadio, Dec. 1966 showed how to make several Quickie antennas and supports..  Included were a 2 meter “Tape-tenna”, a drooping ground plane antenna, and a low cost mobile mast. There was a list of all those who were at FDs in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987.  The list was made from the sign in boards at each FD and might not have included everyone.  I’ll include it in the next newsletter.   Because of vacation schedules the July and August 1987 newsletter was a combined issue.