Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Repairs to the Mast

The autumn gales have now arrived and after a good summer you sometimes forget how bad the winds can blow round the Cotswold’s. When these gales appear I regularly lower the mast, the cobweb can easily be damaged in the strong wind, so I don’t take the risk and besides it’s fairly easy to drop the mast height and tie everything down.  

Last week we had a really big storm with wind speeds up to 80mph. Thankfully there was no real damage but when lowering the mast in preparation for the storm I noticed one of the collars looked a bit suspect and unfortunately when raising it back up the collar gave way and screw lever broke off. You can see in the pictures where it broke, the rust is a bit of a giveaway!

The broken collar

This particular mast is from a company called Radioizing, it’s 40ft in length and fully retractable, with an all metal design it’s quite sturdy and for the price was a good deal when I bought it some years ago. 

Wear and tear is beginning to take its toll and there looks to be a design weakness in the collars. To replace the broken collar all accessories have to be taken off so I have brought the mast down and obviously removed the cobweb at the same time.

The next collar up (as it should be) but look at the rust!

I’ve ordered a new collar so will have to wait for the replacement before rebuilding and then erecting it back up. But this will also give me a chance to do a quick service of the cobweb. 

The mast laid full stretch but collarless!

The other possibility is to switch cobwebs, by taking the G3TXQ from the attic and see how it performs, it’s also a much lighter antenna so it would be easier to place on top of the mast. I'm not sure how much power the G3TXQ can take compared to the G3TWP, I've easily had 400 watts out, which is useful for the DX, I've got a feeling the G3TXQ is limited to about 200 watts but I'll do some checks. 

 The G3TWP looking a bit lost!

The G3TWP could then be placed back in the attic which might prove an interesting experiment. But until I get the replacement collar there is little I can do, so for the moment I just have to wait.