January Ranch Visit
January Ranch Visit
by rdpecken on Feb.07, 2011, under Communications
Well, after 8 years, I can now say that I have visited the Ranch at least once in every month of the year. My good friend John and his son Dan were traveling to California, and we decided to all meet up at the Ranch for a weekend, as they passed through.
When I arrived on Friday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was that my wire Ham Radio antenna had broken. The rope holding one end to the pole had disintegrated from the sunlight. Note to self: do not use the blue/white rope for outdoor long term use. The plain white poly rope lasts much longer. The Blue/White rope lasted about 1-1/2 years. The White Poly rope looks like it will still be good for a couple more years.
So after getting settled in on Friday, we awoke on Saturday to fix the antenna. First, we lowered the pole from which the rope had broken.
We tied some new rope (clothes-line, I didn’t have any of the nice white poly rope handy) between the antenna insulator and the mast on the south end. Then we loosened the north end of the antenna and lowered the middle mast. I wanted to secure the feedline to the mast a little better, so it wouldn’t blow around in the wind. While it was down, John & I tightened some hardware and re-tied the guy ropes to help prevent fraying.
Dan made several trips down the lane to get cell phone service. I never thought to just let him use the phone in the house! Maybe next time. John’s Jeep looks a lot like ours…
Dan helped with some soldering duties to make a quick disconnect at the cabin, so I wouldn’t have to re-run the feedline every time I wanted to use the radio. You can’t see the details, but here he is using the propane torch to solder the feedline to some banana plugs.
Anyway, as you can see from the photos, the weather on Saturday was great, with the high in the mid-50’s. On Sunday morning, we felt that a storm might be moving in, so we listened to the weather radio and found out that was the case. So we ended up packing up and heading out on Sunday, rather than Monday. This let us all avoid the possibility of getting stuck on the mud road on the way out.
Later this year, I need to take up a plastic junction box to mount the banana plugs in for the quick disconnect. That should keep everything neat and tidy, and allow me to hook up the antenna to the radio in about 30 seconds instead of 10 – 15 minutes.
February 14th, 2011 on 4:01 am
Well, That was a nice trip and visit! Its strange to see the pictures and cant tell June from January!
February 14th, 2011 on 4:13 am
Oh must comment, No bugs!
May 9th, 2011 on 1:55 pm
You need black Dacron (available from wireman.com)- it is designed to hold up to UV light. I have a 525′ horizontal loop that works extremely well for 10-160 meters and use the Dacron line to stand the corners off from the towers. Your cell phone problem would probably be solved with a directional antenna and an amp from Wilson. Visit the 3G Store. (http://3gstore.com/category/443_antennas_amplifiers.html?gclid=COyQq5fg26gCFQI8gwodJ1j5AQ)
May 10th, 2011 on 5:13 pm
Yes, I would like to get some of the dacron rope. I need to check prices to see how expensive it is. The white poly stuff at Home Depot lasts a couple of years, so that will get me by for now.
As for the directional antenna and amp, I do have a directional antenna that I attached to our Sprint Phone and our Nextel Phone. We walked all over the “valley” between our hills on the north and south, and could not get a good signal anywhere with it. Upon looking back, it had some pretty cheap RG-58 (about 20 feet) which probably used up as much signal as the directional antenna gained!
Anyway, our current setup works pretty well, and we will stick with that and wait for substantial improvement from the carriers, maybe after they start utilizing some of that old analog TV spectrum.
Thanks for the comments & 73…