My First Tower

ma-40Time to dust off the Ham Radio category, which hasn’t been used since February, 2013 just a few month after we had moved into our rental property. Since that time the SteppIR BigIR has been quiet with no operating activity since August, 2012. Currently there are not even control cables connected. Just a quiet shack and I vertical raised. Nearly 2 years have passed since that time with the hex beam mounted on a tripod in the backyard. That all could be changing shortly with the purchase of my first tower.

While I haven’t operated, amateur radio is a hobby you can walk away from and return to without missing much. I know conditions while off the air have been terrible, so I haven’t missed much. Sure there have been DXpeditions and contests nearly every weekend, but once I get the antenna situation sorted out, I will fire up the rig and be back on the air, providing I get the okay from the XYL and more importantly I have some time.

Last week I read an email that was forwarded from Vic, K2VCO was was selling a US Tower MA-40 Series Tubular Tower. This had been a tower I had wanted since it would work very well with the hex beam I built. Unfortunately at $1500 it wasn’t really something I could add to my Christmas wish list. I had seen this sort of tower offered a few times on the NCCC Reflector, but never could rustle up the money or time, but always inquired.

This time around, I emailed Vic, asked a few questions but told him I could not pay for a few days. He said there was someone else interested, but if they didn’t get him the money he would email and let me know. As luck had it, the other party seemed to back out and the offer was on the table. The price of this used tower, $200! How could I pass it up? Even if I don’t put it up now, at our rental this will still be perfect for the hex beam when I get around to making repairs and raising the tower. The MA-40 is a tilt-over, crank up tower that has a maximum of 40′ and is just 21′ when retracted.

So next week I am off to Fresno in a 24′ U-Haul truck to pick up my new tower. While it might inspire me to actually fix the broken fiberglass spreader arm, I will have check with local regulations on erecting this. I don’t know if the city requires any permits for a 40′ structure, but it’s something I will need to investigate. The second consideration is room in the backyard. With two 10’x10′ cages for my wife’s Bengal breeding, I am not sure I have the necessary room without rearranging the backyard and pouring more concrete to lengthen the patio.

Regardless, I am excited to be adding this piece of hardware to my station.