17 December 2017

Antenna Work

Yesterday my local Amateur radio club, KK4GQ, did some extensive repair and replacement work on our antennas on our flagship tower in Fayetteville, Georgia. The club or its members own an extensive network of 2 meter and 70 centimeter-band Amateur radio repeaters around the south metro Atlanta area, and we support a wide variety of public events and emergency response activities with this network, including supporting the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, GA. So it's important to keep this radio infrastructure as healthy as possible.

About 10 years ago we got permission to put several repeaters on a public service tower in Fayetteville. We even got permission to take our antennas all the way to the top of the tower, to the 300 foot level. While this affords outstanding signal coverage, being the top guy on the totem pole also means you are the prime target for whatever Mother Nature throws at the tower. Over the years our antennas developed problems related to wind, rain and (we suspect) lightning damage. After almost a decade we decided it was time to put some money and effort into rehabbing the antennas and replacing what couldn't be fixed.

So we found a climbing crew that gave us a price break, bought a new Andrew DB420 antenna for the 70 cm repeater, gathered at the base of the tower, and got to work.

Five hours later we had the new antenna in place and the climbing crew performed maintenance on the still serviceable antennas on the tower. They straightened up the tower stand-off brackets, re-secured the mounts for many of the antennas, checked cable connections and wiring harness condition and generally got things back in good operating order.

Our primary 2 meter and 70 cm antennas are back up at the 300' level and we're getting great signal reports from around the metro Atlanta area. Hopefully we're good for another decade!

Tower crew at the 300' level taking down
the damaged 70 cm antenna

Andrew DB420 antenna being prepped

DB420 close-up

DB420 being hoisted to the 300' level

At the very top (300'), 70 cm (444.600 mHz) antenna on
the left, 2 meter (145.210 mHz) on the right.
Perfect targets for Mother Nature, but we made
sure everything was well bonded 

Tower crew working to straighten & tighten down the
stand-offs and re-tighten some of the antenna mounts.
The two antennas on this stand-off are part of the remote base
 system that supports the National Weather Service

W8BYH out

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