Saturday, August 27, 2016

Storms, You Say? Antenna, You Say?

     Yesterday morning, I was ready to get in the shower after storms had come thunering through, when Tam asked, "What about your ham radio antenna in the back yard?"

     "My antenna?"  I had a look.  It wasn't good news:

     A branch had fallen, got tangled in the wires, and was pulling the feedpoint (not shown) into dangerous proximity the power wiring to the house.  There are multiple support points that keep the two far apart, but they are predicated on the wire breaking under a large branch or or being able to support a smaller one.  This one was Just Right--
     Or Just Wrong.

     I had to cut the branch with a brush saw -- a simple frame with an aggressive blade -- and them wrestle it around to free the wire.  It's still stretched, possibly broken inside the insulation.  I already needed to do some antenna work and this has made it more urgent.

     And we have days of scattered storms and hot, humid weather predicted.  There's an old rule that ham antennas work better if you install them during a blizzard.  Perhaps it applies if you repair them during the most dogged of dog days, as well.


RandyGC said...

The rule of thumb I always heard was 1 dB of gain for every degree below freezing during the install. Maybe it works for every degree of heat index above 90?

Sorry to hear about the issue. I got lucky when my tree went down. It snapped the cheap rope I was using to secure my sloper to a tree at the back of the property. All I had to do was fish the wire out from the branches and tie a new length of rope at the low end.

dittybopper said...

I remember back when Hurricane Irene, or at least the remnants of it, hit New York State. I was on the NY RACES Net on 80 meters, and all of a sudden SWR goes wacky and I can't hear anything. I look out the window and find out nearly half of my 102' doublet is laying on the ground. Flexing finally broke the old rope hanging it up. So I had to go out in the rain and wind and tie the one end of it to the tree about 7 feet off the ground, high as my arms would reach. And of course, in the lore of hams everywhere, yes, it *DID* seem to work better than before after that.