Both 65 Foot Masts Go Down In Storm

Both the north and the south 65′ aluminum masts went down in the snow storm Sunday.  They both failed in almost the same place about two-thirds of the way up.  What a mess.  First the south mast, then the north.



Plans for what to do next are not worked out.  KC0RF has made several suggestions:  slopers from the tower, a 43 foot vertical, a HyGain Hytower, and replacing the masts with 65′ Telrex tubular crankup masts.   We’ll use EZNEC to help us evaluate these suggestions and maybe come up with some of our own.  One of my ideas would be to replace the .058 tubing with .12 inch.

A Plan Emerges Finally

Consider this: they both failed at about the two thirds point and the highest level of guys had been moved up to the top of the mast against the DX Engineering instructions.  The top would not have been supported per the instructions and surely would have failed with  antenna ropes pulling horizontally.  That’s why the guys were moved up.  Unfortunately it left too large a section unguyed.  Armed with this analysis the next attempt will be to guy exactly per the instructions and then add a fifth set of guy ropes to the very top.  Replacements for the bent sections will be ordered.  Only one mast will be done this way as a test.

January 27, we salvaged the north mast and re-purposed the tubing that wasn’t damaged.  Taking one of John’s suggestions we made it into a 43 foot vertical.  The North mast now:


So far performance has been excellent, working quite a bit of dx.  Next upgrade will have to be a higher power tuner (MFJ 998RT) so we can run a few more watts to make up for the inefficiencies.  Frankly, I’m surprised at how well this antenna performs.

South mast:  A week later we cut off the bent top sections.    South mast now:


A road grader in the background is building an access road in the easement next to our property.  Progress I’d be happy to forego.

With John’s help we tried to raise the repaired 65 foot south mast complete with 5 guy levels.  Unfortunately it collapsed when it was just a few feet from being all the way up.  This makes the fourth time one of these aluminum masts has collapsed.  You know what they say.  Four strikes and you’re out.  This isn’t baseball.  No more 65′ masts at W0QL.  Next we’ll look for some suitable solutions closer to the ground.

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