40 feet vs 20 feet

With a bit of luck and another inquiry to the NCCC e-mail reflector I will be purchasing a Rohn H50 telescoping mast today. While I have no problem spending money on a good, solid push up mast, the shipping for this mast from nearly any vendor ranged from $150-$200! This on a mast that could be purchased for about $130. I could just not bring myself to spend more on the shipping than the actual product. At 10′ long and 44 lbs. it’s understandable, but still too expensive in my opinion to have shipped to a commercial location or private residence. None of the limited distributors in Northern California allowed for pick up, which made the decision even more costly, but thankfully I held off until now.

Thankfully Walt, N6XG e-mailed me off the reflector and said he would sell one of the two Rohn masts he had. All I had to do was make the drive from Oakley to Los Altos Hills to pick it up. I will be making that drive TODAY after work, should only be about an hour from downtown Oakland.

Tomorrow I will look at pulling the hex beam off the temporary mast over the garage and mounting it on a tripod to restring the spreaders and tighten up the nuts and bolts. Also looking at the hex in the air now it does not seem to sit perpendicular to the ground. So either the mast is not strong enough or the bolts holding the support post in the hub of not even. Either way, it’s another year for the hex and off season for contesting.

With any luck I will use Monday afternoon to drop the hex and Tuesday to accomplish the tear down and rebuild of the DX Engineering hex beam. The remaining issue will be where to raise the new mast. I have considered keeping in the same location, as it allows me access to the garage roof, making repairs or modifications simple to do without having to drop the hex beam. I also erected an 8′ high post in my backyard I had planned on using to help support the hex beam. This post might come back into play as I will be able to drop the the mast to just over 10′ high and allow access using a ladder. Not as simple as the roof, but I feel it’s a better location.  Just need to make sure the XYL buys off on this plan first.

At any rate by next weekend I should be ready for the upcoming contest season. Looking over the data produced by Steve, G3TXQ, “lifting the antenna from 20ft to 40ft increases the signal strength by 6.4dB – over an ‘S’ Point.” This is exciting news for me, now that I will have the ability to get the antenna 40′ high! What makes this report even better is, “If our antenna is presently at the 20ft mark, the effort and expense required to lift it to around 40ft looks well worthwhile; we will see improvements ranging from 1dB to 5dB, depending on the path and the band.” I feel this IS money well spent that should make a significant difference in my operating and hopefully that will be reflected in higher scores this upcoming contest season.

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