At the end of July, I happened to glance up at my aerial and noticed the 15m element hanging down. It was broken. It didn’t look serious though and I was sure that it was just that the connector on the end of the element had snapped off.
Around the same time, I was offered a second hand G3TXQ hexbeam, less than a year old which came with the 40m section. Since I took down my delta loop back towards the end of 2011, I’ve struggled to get a decent 40m aerial here so I jumped at the chance.
I took my hexbeam down on the 26th August and I was correct, all it needed was a new connector crimping on so I did that and sold it locally.
Today, Martello Tower Group members, Paul 2E1PAW, Colin M1EAK and Terry G4GHU all descended on my QTH and between us we put the replacement hexbeam up. I did a few hours work yesterday getting things prepared and so today we were all done within three hours.
The first job was to assemble the aerial and we managed it without stepping on too many elements or tripping over them. Anyone who has built a hexbeam will appreciate how tricky this can be and the 40m section adds a new level of awkwardness.
Once the aerial was assembled, we decided that we’d need to use scaffolding to get the aerial fixed onto the stub mast. Fortunately Paul was already prepared for this and had brought some with him so we unloaded it from his van and assembled it. I had considered using a different, longer stub but decided against it because I knew what I had worked and was loathe to change it. It’s been through a lot of bad weather and survived well.
Here you see Paul on the scaffold tower getting things in place for lifting the aerial.
We managed to lift the aerial onto a 10ft aluminium pole and offer it up to Paul. Colin climbed another ladder and helped Paul turn and mount the aerial onto the stub mast on the top of the rotator. This was the ‘hairiest’ moment of the entire procedure and it went relatively well with no major drama.
With that done, it was a simple matter to finish everything off, attach the coaxial cables, feed them down the mast (making sure to leave a loop for the rotator) and finally raise the mast back to vertical.
I’ve not put the analyser on the aerial yet but the radio SWR meter isn’t reporting problems on any bands. As expected, I need to use the built in ATU at the bottom end of 40m but it copes admirably.
For quite some time, I’ve been chasing DXCC on individual bands and have been stuck on 99 entities worked and confirmed on 40m. I was hoping to be able to get myself to 100 quite quickly, especially with a couple of large contests coming next month.
This evening, I had a tune around the SSB section of 40m and it’s absolutely heaving with stations working a contest but I didn’t hear any new countries. I fired up FT8 and within a few minutes had worked Mauritania for the first time on 40m. He’s already confirmed on LoTW so I’ve now completed my 40m DXCC. I didn’t expect it to happen that quickly.