Meriden ARC Web Site | Castle Craig Chapter 10-10

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Getting Ready For My SteppIR Rebuild And Upgrades

Well I am starting to get prepared for the rebuild of my SteppIR beam and also to improve the VHF/UHF antennas while the tower is over.

I've got the parts for the maintenance of the beam and some of the replacement parts ordered. That is I've ordered 6 new fiberglass rods, the new heat shrink tubes to seal the joints and also new rubber boots that attach the rods to the boom. I figure that since being up there since 2007 they could be UVed out or cracked so why not replace them. Also there is a new way of terminating the control cable at the antenna. They sell a sealed terminal box to replace the open "pipe bomb" a PVC pipe with screw on caps on the ends that is open on the bottom for drainage.

I've also ordered 130" of new 12 wire control cable. I'll replace the cable as far as the house, (which goes underground from the antenna to the house), break the cable at the house, (leaving some slack of course on both ends), and terminate both ends in a sealed junction box mounted to the house. I believe that the cable from the house into the room is good so there is no need to open any holes in the house to pull new cable in.

When the tower comes down, I'll send the director motor back for repair along with the control box. I'm going to have the control box upgraded with the ALP board, (Automatic Lightning Protecting). The prevents damage from lightning and dead short on the cable or motor as long as the box is not engaged. This option was not available when I purchased the box new last year. (I suggest that they do something like this after the first time I had problems and they may have designed this after I suggested it). Also they will upload the latest firmware for the controller. (NC on that thankfully).

I also think that I've found two antennas to upgrade my VHF and UHF status. The Cushcraft A148S-10 is 10 element 2 meter antenna with a 12 foot boom. A little longer than I wanted up there but I think the tower will handle it. I'm also going to replace the 2/432 vertical on the top with a Cushcraft A 430-11S. It is a 4'8" antenna for UHF contesting, (lower portion of the band rather than repeaters), with 11 elements.

I had looked at other companies antennas but they were super expense and had 15 and 20 foot booms. Also they took "N" type connectors where I already have PL259s up there. If I was on top of a mountain or possibly putting up a new VHF/UHF tower I would probably have gone with the super antennas but at 100" above sea level and surrounded by high hills and mountains on 3 sides and a power tower on the other I think that this what I've chosen will give me better performance on both bands. Guess I don't need to be king of the hill but in the mix. I do pretty good on 2 meters with 5 elements 10 should be quite an improvement. My 4 elements on the same antenna on 432 does almost nothing. I'm lucky to work the locals, furthest I've worked is Hartford, so the 11 elements should be a good step up.

I should have the SteppIR parts by Tuesday and I'll do a little more reading and order the 2/432 stuff next week. Then I'll take a day or so to get over the "sticker shock". Confused

Al - N1API

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