Henry's East Ealing Site
Updated: 17 January 2006 17.22Z
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After our house move I persisted with wire antennas, but I'd seen what G4KG could do with a simple beam. This is my first one, a three element for ten meters only, going up in 1952, and that's me at the back - terrified!
What a nightmare! The mast was a 40' length of 2" steel water barrel, inside of which was another 1" tube to rotate the beam. It weighed a ton! There were 12 of us, and eight had to pull on ropes in the park behind my garden. Then it began to buckle ........ If you are interested I'll tell you the whole story - and there is a lot more.
Antenna party 1974 G8BOJ G4HKS G3GIQ
And YES, that is G4HKS alias Martin Lynch - Nowadays he looks younger!
Up until 1974, all my masts were water barrel. On one occasion in 1974 one of the guys loosened in a gale with the result above right.
Just who is that hairy, skinny lad at the left of the first picture above? (Clue: ML)
At last in July 1974, I listened to Roy - G3UGL, who persuaded me to put up a 60 ft crank-up tower. It was the best advice possible and has enabled me to modify, adjust and generally play with antennas ever since. It carried the Mustang at first, to be shortly replaced by a TH3.
By 1980 I had acquired the outstanding KLM KT34A. This in my opinion is the best triband antenna that existed at the time, and probably even today has few equals. If I'd had the courage I'd have got the 6 ele 32ft boom KT34XA, but I feared for my tower head unit. The boom is 3 inch diameter! The picture on the right demonstrates this well
Now look at this! This is the KT34A of my friend DJ8NK. He has cleverly grafted on to the boom, the two WARC band elements from a Fritzel beam like my present one below. He tells me that there almost no detuning, only a modest SWR on 18MHz. Definitely my project for next summer!
Walking down the road one day in January 1990, the wind was so severe I began to worry about my tower. I rushed home and looked for the familiar sight between the houses. There was nothing there!
I retrieved the remains of the antennas and the top section of the tower from my neighbour's garden, and ordered the spare parts for the KLM and the tower soon afterwards. There was a WARC band dipole above the beam, and I decided to get an antenna with all the bands on one boom, hence the Fritzel. In the meantime I cobbled together a mast from the top and bottom sections of the tower, the center section having been destroyed, and put up a dipole - I need not recount what I missed over the next few weeks!
This was my antenna until September 2002, 11 bands hanging on one tower There is a Fritzel 5 ele 6 band beam, below a Tonna 5 ele 6m antenna. Various other wires hang from the tower for LF. In picture 3, you can see my inverted L for 160m. Unbelievably, I consider that I am most competitive on that band - I can penetrate almost all the pile-ups with it!
During my visit to Dayton in May 2002, I discovered that M2inc who had taken over KLM, had redesigned the KT34. Importantly, all the old aluminium strips had gone, to be replaced with beautiful machined plates. These were intended to make the beam more robust and less liable to corrosion. Significantly for me, they had produced an upgrade kit. Jan DJ8NK had bought one, and I was suddenly converted to the idea of restoring my damaged KT34 in a new incarnation. I bought the kit! Below are a few pictures of the parts and the construction.
The construction took a long time. Firstly I had to clean and polish every item of the old beam, which had been lying in my garage for 12 years. That took two weeks! The the assembly was started, it is undoubtedly the most complex tri-bander, as the pictures show.
At last it was finished and I lifted it on to my tower. By now I had dis-assembled the Fritzel and had the two WARC band elements ready to go on. Unhappily, the team who were due to trim the tree next to my tower had not shown up. I could not put the WARC band driven element on the boom as the long 10MHz tips would have tangled with the tree branches, so I put it on the mast just below the boom. Below is a picture of it on the sloping tower.
Needless to say, the very next day the team turned up and cut back the tree branches. Down came the tower again, and in two days I had added the two WARC elements to the boom. Not as simple as you might think as it is a 3 inch boom, needing special hardware.
The best HF antenna I've ever had - and I've had a few
So, this is what I have to live with through the winter, effectively a 4 el for 10/15/20, a two el for 17/12 and a rotary dipole for 30 metres. The SWR is nearly perfect on 20, 15 and 12, acceptable on 10, and a bit disappointing on 17. The results in early use have been very encouraging. I have broken quite big pileups with 100 watts - I'm happy!
The colours in the second picture are genuine, I took it just before sunset
I still do not believe it! We had a strong wind warning - I looked at the twelve guys supporting my tower, and decided that they could withstand it. I knew that the top guy facing the prevailing south-west wind was crucial, but I trusted it. Well it could, and did, stand up to the enormous buffeting of the 90mph winds. The beam elements were almost in a U shape.
After about 10 hours of this, the treble thickness of steel fencing wire that connected the strainer to the ground post snapped like a piece of string. The tower lasted about 5 seconds. I was sitting in my car at the front of the house when I glimpsed something move across the skyline. I ran though to the back and saw the sight we all dread.......
See a Video Clip, just before it crashed down - here
So ...... I have gone from having the best antenna I ever had to nothing at all. The fun lasted two months. I have learned a lesson, and I am now researching suppliers of certified welded steel chain!!!! The last picture above was after a friend and I had sawed all the old sections in two. I felt quite nostalgic as I carried them out front to be dumped. They had given me nearly 30 years of service.