Just after we finished the main building of my greenhouse, my husband said that the former president of the Fort Smith Amateur Ham Radio Club had emailed him, saying that one of the members was selling a Rohn antenna. My husband said that if we tried to buy a used control box alone for one, we would pay what the man was asking for the control box, the “scaffolding” the rotor, and the stuff at the top.
I could see his mouth was watering, and he’s worked hard on his ham stuff – passing all three tests available and getting the main radio, and several different, much smaller antennas, none of which he could make work they way they should. People he had talked to in the club said, “It should be working,” but it wasn’t, in each case. He can reach the people for the weekly meeting, but he wants to really be able to USE it.
My husband had much the same look in his eyes that our new puppy, Amber, has when she wants a cookie really badly. So I caved, we called the man, got his address, programmed the GPS and drove to Alma, AR, about an hour or so away.
The 10 foot section parts (5 of them) had been on the ground in the back yard for quite awhile. The control box was in the man’s garage, and that was the main thing that needed protection. We bought the whole group of things, which my husband says is a Rohn antenna, put all the pieces in the back of the truck, tied them down securely and brought them home.
We spent awhile getting all the sections out near the place where the antenna will go. They’re heavy! We’ll need to measure to be sure the antenna is 45 feet away from the commercial power pole to the east of the house. It will be out somewhere around my greenhouse.
The first big thing – before I caved to the purchase – was that he would get REAL help – not just me – to get this thing up securely. We’ll need to hire the man who dug our water well 30 years ago – or whoever is handling that business now – to come drill a hole at least 6 feet deep. My husband says he’ll put a big, heavy pipe in the hole as the base for the antenna. We’ll mix Sac-Crete to put in the hole and around it for a pad on which the antenna will sit.
I insisted my husband call the head of the club back and ask if he knew people we could hire to put the antenna up. (This means someone skinny, strong, and agile enough to climb the antenna with another section in hand, hoist it up and add it to the one he’s standing on, and then do the same until the whole thing, including the rotor and the cable, plus the thingie that turns at the top, are together.) Then we need to install guy wires all around to be sure it’s secure. Happily, Mike knew two guys he called “The Johnson Twins,” who can do just that for us once we have the pad done.
My husband is like a kid at Christmas. There are a couple of places in the metal scaffolding that seem to have burst when water froze inside them. He’ll need to repair those, get enough of the proper 8-wire cable to go from the rotor on the antenna across the field to the house and into the house, attached to his radio and control hub. He’s happy. When we went for groceries this morning, the first thing he said was, “I’m happy we got the antenna.” :0)