Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Life and Work On the House Continue.....

Typical mundane stuff now, like my wife deciding she needs a shelf here, or a picture there, along with more things she keeps stuffing in the Job Jar. Put up a(nother) shelf today in the downstairs/den bathroom, then wrestled with the furniture to put these plastic "glider" things under the feet. Makes it a snap for one person to move the sofa or loveseat. The new coffee table and side tables we got are on casters, so tomorrow when I go to hang a(nother) curtain rod in the den, I can just move the furniture out of the way, and snuggle my ladder right up against the wall to make accurate measurements, and then drill the holes in those places, tap in the plastic anchors, then mount the curtain rod after I feed it through the curtain.

The garage is staying remarkably clean and clutter free, provided my wife doesn't buy something big, which she does, and it comes packed in cardboard with styrofoam, plastic film, and sometimes other fiddly bits like plastic shipping plugs or spacers. All these things give the Fort Collins recycling facility a tummy ache, so you must separate them out from your recycling stream, and discard them with regular kitchen waste. I talked with a nice volunteer guy at the recycling center who told me that aluminum cans and corrugated cardboard are making enough money to carry the other things they're starting to accept. This puzzles me, as there's YUGE money to be made in recycling, or at least that's the impression I got back in Sunny SoCal. Of course, it might have been "The Economies of Scale" kicking in there, as the volume of trash generated by the 18 million people in the L.A. Basin has to be significantly greater than what the metro Fort Collins area generates. Oh, well.....I'm sure not going to say SoCal did it "better" because the huge difference in the volume of trash makes certain items become recyclable by virtue of the cost becoming acceptable. It's a Engineering trade-off, and I'm quite familiar with those......

Still haven't heard anything from the carrier I booked to transport the Supra here. If I don't hear anything by Thursday night I'll give them a call and talk to a live person....I hope!

And I'm down to specifying components for the radio tower and antenna project. The antennas and mast add up to right about 15sqsft of wind area, and the tower is rated at 25sqft at 100MPH wind speed. The tower is rated to 110, but the antennas are only rated to 100, so I'm a bit over half the rating of the tower, which is a comfortable safety margin for me. I'm debating whether to make the foundation a bit bigger. The tower people are recommending a 4'x4'x5' hole with no rebar, and I'm thinking a 5'x5'x6' hole with a rebar "cage" half way between the tower mounting legs and the outer surface of the concrete. My "General Contractor" in-law tells me it night be $75 more to dig and form the bigger hole, and it holds almost twice as much concrete, ~5.6 cubic yard vs 2.9 cubic yards, so figure double for the concrete. If the tower people laugh at me and say it'll twist off the recommended foundation long before the foundation fails, then I'll go with the smaller size.

The main HF antenna will be a JK Antennas "Navassa 5" antenna, fed with 1/2" hard line, and the 2M antenna will be an M2 2M9-SSB antenna, fed with 7/8" hardline. All connectors will be Type "N", and properly weatherproofed.

The tower will be a Universal Towers Model # 35-30, three sections, 30' tall, self supporting, painted a darkish, flat grey-green, possibly with a pattern of some sort.

The antennas will likewise be cleaned, given a coat of a good etching primer, and then painted a flat greyish blue color very similar to what a US Navy aircraft is painted. Since the very top of the mast will be 36', and most of the trees in this neighborhood are well over that height, painting the tower and antennas before I hoist them up will minimize the visual impact of it. I know some radio people get all excited about a brand new SHINY tower and antenna installation, I'm not one of them. I really don't want to get known as "Oh, that guy with The Tower....". I'll also have to fabricate some anti-climb panels, and those will be suitably painted as well.

I have a good Yaesu G-800 rotor that's like new, but I think it may be a bit "light" for these antennas and this wind environment. Whether I go with a bigger Yaesu rotor, one of the MFJ "Hy-Gain" rotors, or go completely rogue and get something like an Alfa-SPID or ProSisTel remains to be decided. The tower company says their factory-installed rotor shelf "Fits all popular rotors", but I'll check with them to make sure.

And it was three degrees last night, and the night before we got about 2" of dry, fluffy snow which has now turned granular. BUT.....Thursday and Friday will be in the 50's and 60's! Quite a change, but we're getting used to it. If it's 25* or less, we don't go out unless we have an appointment. Pretty easy to do when you're retired!


  1. A lot of your 'So-Cal' recycling was being loaded on ships and sent to (Communist)China for processing, but due to poor sort control stateside, lots of the recyclables were found to not be recyclable.

    In reality, recyclables are only profitable if one of two conditions exist.

    1. 'critical' material - something that has enough value after shipping it long distance that it's recycled value is lower than 'new' material. Examples would be aluminum, steel, copper, and so forth. Does not include paper or plastic.

    2. 'point processing and use' - this is for all other materials, such as paper and plastic. This stuff is only economically recyclable if the processing plant is reasonably close to the source of supply, and the end-product of the recycle-processing plant has customers reasonably close. Paper products, and re-used plastics fit this bill.

    If you remove subsidies, then the whole recycle system breaks down to "Is there a need for recycled materials?" and "Can I make money off the end-product?"

    Case in point, City of Miami collected lots and lots of glass, found no buyers for the glass, eventually ended up grinding it up and using the resulting 'glass sand' for beach renewal. Cheaper to grind it up and 'throw' it away than to pay someone to take it off their hands.

    In my own city, there was a 'paper recycler' who got all the waste paper from City Government. They eventually went out of business, leaving a warehouse full of paper, because the bottom fell out of the waste paper market and it wasn't economical to ship from our city to a processing plant (city where processing plant was located was economical to recycle due to no travel/shipping distances.)

    Look at reclaiming gold and silver from 'e-waste.' Only economical if you have either really expensive systems that process a huge amount under very strict environmental restrictions, or you send it to a third world nation where child and prison labor is used to break it all down by hand (and dying from poisons etc.)

    Oh, well, enough diatribe.

    Can't wait to hear how the antenna erection goes.

  2. Oh, I agree 100% with you. If your recycling program in one area gets a minimal amount of certain items that are difficult to handle, like Styrofoam, it winds up in the landfill. OTOH, if you have a large volume of these difficult materials, you'll find a better way to deal with it.

    The tower project will get coordinated with our in-law, as he has all the heavy equipment required to dig the hole, pour the concrete, and erect the tower/antenna. Tentative schedule is to dig the hole, frame the the fixture to position the tower legs, and then pour the concrete. Tower and antenna assembly will happen as the concrete is curing, then hoist it all into position.

  3. Hopefully the neighbors will appreciate you efforts to minimize the visual impact. If they thought things through, the would appreciate a means of communication exists independent of commercial services.

    1. I've seen a couple of vertical antennas here, along with several weather stations, so there is a precedent in the neighborhood.

      When my 24' vertical was on top of the 12' back in Long Beach, nobody ever mentioned it. It was painted a similar color to blend in, and it must have worked some.

      I REALLY don't want gleaming aluminum peeking through the trees and advertising itself.

  4. Sounds like you're well on the way to getting the home station on the air again. You should be there soon.

    I have been thinking about getting active again - there is a lot of amateur radio activity in the area. I actually applied for a vanity callsign so I can replace the "6" with a "7," appropriate for Arizona. I am in competition with about 30 other applicants for a W7 2x1 call, so maybe one of these days I will win the vanity call lottery and have a shiny new callsign with which to get back on the air.

  5. If I go through the vanity call program I can get the same call as I have now, but with a "0" instead of a "6". I'd like to do it, as I'm old-fashioned and believe your call should represent where you live. It bugged the daylights out of me to see a "1" callsign in SoCal because that's the only call available with the owner's initials in it. It also REALLY bugs the daylights out of me to see a Technician with a "W1XY" callsign. Especially if they've only been licensed 90 days, don't know doo-doo from Shinola, and their entire collection of Amateur Radio equipment is carried on their belt.

    Harsh? A bit perhaps, but then I also think a lot of the regulations that were done away with were done away for "Social Justice" reasons rather than solid technical reasons.

    The FCC used to be a lot like NIST; pretty independent, and run by Engineers. Every since the lawyers took over the FCC, the technical standards have gotten a bit too lax.....


Keep it civil, please....

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