Restrung the loop

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  • Updated 4 weeks ago
I took today off as the weather has been really nice and decided to do some winter maintenance on my loop.

I purchased new 12ga flex weave wire, 350 feet of it.  I also purchased stainless steel cable for the corner supports and new plastic pulleys for each wire corner.

I started at 10:30am and got mostly done at 5pm and I am exhausted.

The problem with doing a loop restring yourself is you have to walk to all the corners multiple times.  In my case the two far corners are on difficult terrain.

I didn't have time to trim and tune and as it sits right now I know it is way too long.  I figure the loop right now is like 330 feet.  I'll need to somehow get that down closer to 280.   Right now the non-tuned SWR on 40m is like 12:1.  But surprisingly 20m is like 1.2:1.  Not sure why that is.

Anyway it is difficult for a 61 year old to do this crap.  I am literally fried after this small effort:

1 corner - reshoot line over tree for better position, pull new cable
2 corners - replace dacron with steel cable
2 corners - replace pulley with new pulley, string new 12ga wire
Saw down 1 limb that was causing problems
Carefully solder, wrap, and shrink tube all connections
Wrap all wire connections with 2x electrical tape and duct tape, heat shrink over duct tape

Like always I figured I'd be done by noon.  But when 4:30 rolled around and I had not even started trim and tune I decided to call it a day and see if my tuner would handle it.

So I''m hoping this work allows the antenna to do well this winter.

One tired ham:  ws7m
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Mark WS7M

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Posted 4 weeks ago

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Tim W

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Goodness me, you deserve a medal for that effort! I only strung 124ft for my 40m horizontal loop and that was effort enough singlehanded. Sure works well though. Almost 1:1 with a balun designs 2.5:1 balun
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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That's the type of joy I had when I strung my 250' loop.  I tore a rotator cuff in my throwing arm during the process but I finished up anyway.  It took almost two years to get over that.  I probably should devote some attention to mine, and I may, but I've completely emptied my basement (including the shack) and there's no possibility of getting on the air now anyway.  The new basement floor was completed while I was away last week so once everything is moved back and the XYL is happy with the furniture arrangement, I should be able to make some progress.  I never thought of taking vacation for this.  That's really a good idea.  The neighbors would be away at work and I won't draw as much attention during my comedy of errors :-)
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Mark WS7M

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Richard,

Sorry to hear about the Rot Cuff, I tore mine 99% exercising and had the surgery.  I would not recommend that to anyone as the recovery is hell.

Next time you need to put something up give me a call.  I have a air tennis ball launcher that does the job with little effort.  

When I first got the launcher I pumped it up to 80 PSI thinking I would need that much to get over my tall cottonwood tree.   I stood behind the tree and shot at about a 25 degree angle from vertical.  It not only made it over the tree but went completely over my house, the road and most of the way into the neighbors yard!

So now I shoot it with 40psi and most of the time just get over the tree.
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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I think my torn rotator cuff must have been less severe than yours, I pretty much ignored it for two years and it eventually came back.  I don't think I could lift my arm above my shoulder for the first year though.  One thing I learned from that experience, never try to throw a line over a limb with a rock and an attached line. 

My line launching method utilizes a golf ball with a small hole drilled through the center,  with a split pin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_pin) pushed through and some fishing line tied to the pin.  I used a sling shot to get the ball over the limbs.  I suspect your method is much better but that's what I came up with standing in the sporting goods section of a Wal-Mart.

My antenna supports are two willows, a maple and a cottonwood-I think.  My loop is roughly kite shaped and is about 30' above ground on average.  I have a sloping yard, so one end is probably closer to 40' while the front of the kite might be 25'.   I would like to extend the loop from 250' to 280' but that may be a bridge too far as that would entail using a cottonwood off of my property as additional support. 

As I mentioned earlier, I'm in a bit of a holding pattern as my XYL and I move furniture and other belongings back downstairs.  I have a small shack, with a Flex 1500, a RM Italy amp, an Elecraft KAT500 tuner and a couple of other gizmos such as a keyer and audio distribution amplifier.  I could not believe the amount of related stuff I had connecting all the pieces together.  I'm afraid it is such a jumbled mess that I may never get it re-assembled into a working shack again.   I would say that 40% of the total volume of that mess is the various ground wires.  Maybe in the coming weeks you could drop by and offer some advice about coming up with a better method of grounding than what I had before.  My email on QRZ redirects to a working account, if you're interested.

One last thing, I recall you mentioning wanting to find property outside of town for antennas.  Yesterday afternoon, I went to a dinner affair on a 40 acre property in the hills about 17 miles northwest of town.  The property is owned by my manager and her recently retired husband.  I told him that he really should get a ham license since he's retired and needs something to do.  It would be really fun to get him to put up a tower out there and load up on some Flex gear.  No self-interest at all was involved my suggestion :-)
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Mark WS7M

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Well Richard, we were gonna meet for lunch a number of years ago and never did.  We should rekindle that.

I have probably put more money into ham gear than I should have has it has been a tough family year and I needed some release.  I currently have:

Flex 6600
Flex 6300
Maestro (series 2)
SPE 2K FA amp
RM 350W amp
HF auto tuner

I severely under use my gear.  I bought the 6300 to take it mobile and maybe for field day but if your property idea works out perhaps it could get mounted there.

But we should at minimum meet for a lunch time time.  Ping me at ws7m@arrl.net when you get the time.
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WQ2H - Jim Poulette

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Good job Mark! I have two full wave loops, 80m & 160m - each at about 30-40 feet up. When I was tuning them, I put a huge bungee on one of the corners, so I could easily cut off a little and re-attach to re-check SWR at the feed point. Definitely worth the hassle as they are both superb for NVIS within New England, but the 80m seems to have really good ears. Fits in nicely with the diversity Rx if you are so inclined. I'll also shout out to Balun Designs - I have several, including the hybrid OCFD. Good luck !
73
Jim, WQ2H
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Mark WS7M

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Hi Jim,

The bungee is a great idea.  I think I could rig something like that up at one corner.

I do use Balun Designs 2.5:1 balun at the feed point.  Very nice balun indeed.

Mark