Invisible airwaves crackle with life
GARC Antenna Party, March 20, 2004
The Usual Suspects met at the club station Saturday morning for another day of fun and mayhem on the roof of Shands. [ed. note - photos to follow once I've got them cropped,scaled and uploaded] Right off the bat,it was discovered why the HF rigs couldn't tune up with any kind of decent SWR - the G5RV had shed its feedline. The ladderline was laying in a heap on the roof. So,the first step was to climb up on the south penthouse,lower the G4RV,solder the feedline back onto the antenna,and raise it again. Once that was done,the balun and coax were moved a bit and tied down with guy lines to keep the ladderline somewhat clear of the metal edge of the roof.
Then it was on to the Main Event - pulling down the AR270B that had been struck by lightning,and erecting a Cushcraft Ringo Ranger in its place,for the APRS digipeater. Andrew (The Brave) Lilly got geared-up in full climbing regalia,scaled the heights of the no-longer-correctly-named 6 meter tower,and with the cheerfully irreverant guidance of his loyal ground crew (can anyone standing on a roof 120' in the air really be a ground crew?),proceeded to do the hard parts. He got the AR270B loose of the tower,and got the Ringo up and secure.
A fun sidelight was the birdwatching. First off a bald eagle was
spotted,catching a major thermal over campus. By the time I got the camera
pointed at him,he was several hundred feet up and climbing rapidly. I've
got a somewhat pixellated crop-and-zoom of the one frame that I managed to
get; you can just make out the white head and tail feathers.
Later on,we noticed that an osprey had perched on the HF beam and was
surveying the traffic on Archer Road as if trying to decide if any of it
were edible. I proceeded to sneak up the ladder and crawl across the
penthouse roof until I got right under the tower. Just after snapping this
shot,the bird noticed me and coasted off to the south.