W5DEL Repeaters

We’ve long had a dream where we could have better coverage on our Amateur Radio repeaters.  With more than 100 users on our roster, we’ve often felt that we were unable to serve everyone with such limited coverage.  This month, we made some improvements that will hopefully make life easier for our users.  Last October, we got an incredible buy on some Rohn 55G tower on Craigslist. We managed to get 14 sections of it.  I only wanted five sections for my own ham radio tower to replace the one that I had to take down when we sold our house.  With 14 sections, I was able to get my five and have nine left over.  In this picture you can see all 14 of them.

New Tower 10/11/2015

With nine extra pieces, we were able to install them as the W5DEL repeaters new home.  There was a lot of work that had to be done over the months but as of this past week, the nine sections are now standing though we don’t have any antennas on it yet.  We are going to get new antennas and new hard line coax so that it is a fully new antenna system once complete. When this is done, both repeaters should have a significant improvement in signal.

90 feet assembled

In this picture you can see the entire tower fully assembled on the ground with W5QO standing beside it.  It took weeks in our limited time to get this assembled on these blocks.  We had to move some transmission lines, cable lines, guy wire anchors, etc so that we could lift the tower without hanging it up in anything.

Going up

This picture shows the crane raising the tower.  I have to admit that it was pretty scary at this point.  While the crane was lifting, W5QO and I had to drag the bottom North so that we could get it passed the power lines without being in the way.  This crane operator was clearly a professional as he was able to make the most minor adjustment during the lifting process without having it jerked around while trying to install the mounting bolts.

Steady for guy wire connection

Here is another view of the crane holding the tower upright while we attached the guy wires.  I can’t say enough about the professionalism of this crane operator.

Disconnecting the crane

This was a true test as to how out of shape I have become. I have climbed countless towers over the years and in this picture, I had to climb 65 feet to disconnect the crane but I felt like I had been beat up in a fight when I was done. I am so glad that I had a safety harness so that I could stop and rest my arms.

The tower crew

This picture shows our tower crew, from left to right, myself (K5GLH), My dad (W5QO) and my cousin Larry (KD5MAF). This was a tough job and we had a sense of satisfaction while completely wore out.  I know it sounds strange to say we were tired after a crane did all the lifting but there was much more to the job than that.  We had to strategically run the guy wires through many utility lines while maintaining safety.  The tower could not be lifted straight up because of the same thing.  It took some manual moving back and forth to get it up without hitting any obstacles in the limited space. My dad and I have installed several towers over the years and this was the first time we have ever used a crane.  In the past we used a gin pole but in this job, the tower was just too heavy as a 55G and we knew that a crane would make more sense over lifting section by section.

The day after 6/4/2016

Finally, this was taken the next day from the bottom looking up once the clouds cleared.  We are very proud of this project as it was only a dream not too long ago.  Even after we got the sections, I was still not that confident that we’d ever get it up because it is just an expensive project. There is much more involved than just getting some sections of tower.

The day after 6/4/2016

In this picture, you can see the guy wires were still drooping a bit. We waited until the next day to snug them up and cut them do size.  We had about 10 feet extra per side that we left to give us room to play.  The guy wires have high quality turn buckles and clamps that are much larger than what was required by the Rohn specification.  It will take a tornado to take this down.  The foundation, support structure were all exceeded by the Rohn spec.  The Del City Amateur Radio Society  (DCARS) has always been non profit, never collected dues from any of its members so we are very proud of what we have done with our own funds. Our trustee, W5QO has put thousands of dollars into this club over the years.  He has put countless hours into building repeaters, fixing old ones and keeping everything running. The two IRLP nodes require separate external IP addresses so he has maintained a super fast Internet service with multiple external IP addresses for many years.  We owe a lot to his contributions.  While I have put together a few computer projects, it is W5QO that has been the real driver to keeping this club going over the years.

I am very proud of my dad and all that he has done for this project and the club in general.  Larry, was also a huge help in the project and also took most of these pictures.  The install went pretty fast and we didn’t have a lot of time to stop and take pictures but Larry managed to get some good shots during the project.  While the project is not yet complete, such as antenna installations, we just wanted to share the progress so far. We hope that soon, all of the users will enjoy better coverage of the repeaters around the Oklahoma City metro area and beyond.

Vacation Pictures

Organ Mountains

 

It has taken me hours to apply exif tags to 700+ photos taken on our New Mexico and Arizona vacation.  Many of them are not very good quality or have any meaning to anyone but us so be patient with them.  I am currently uploading the first group to Windows Live.  Just click on this link to see them.  Since there are so many it will take a while for all of them to show up.  Later I will upload the high resolution photos to Flickr as well.  I must say that I am falling in love with Windows Live with all the tools they have.  I think many people have not given Microsoft their due on the ‘coolness’ of Windows Live and all they have.  I can say this as a Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, and virtually every other social networking site.  I have begun posting my blog posts at both my domain http://paulmccord.net and on my Windows Live page at http://k5glh.spaces.live.com/.  With this Windows Live Writer that I am using, it makes it real easy to post to more than one blog and I love it.

This morning I went to the doctor again about my second poison ivy outbreak.  This time we changed doctors.  This doctor is the son of a coworker and seems pretty nice.  I guess I will try to go back to work tomorrow for the first time since May 21st.  I sure wish this poison ivy would go away before I go back.  I know it was from my bed sheets because I slept with a T-shirt on every night for four weeks and the day I came home from vacation I did not and got poison ivy all over my chest.  We through the blankets and sheets in the garbage and bought new ones.  Sure, washing them MAY have worked but I have had this rash for four weeks and I m TIRED of it.

It sure seems strange now that we are back.  After spending a week in the desert, we come home and it just looks different.  Everything is so much greener here.  That is not to say the desert is not very pretty.  If you have never been to the desert Southwest then you need to go because it is so unique.  We love it very much and even lived in Tucson and Phoenix both for two years respectively.  My mom was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico and that has to be one of the prettiest places you will ever see.  I am in awe every time I go there.  We spent most of the time in Deming, about 60 miles West of Las Cruces.  We had a great time there visiting with family that I have not seen in 21 years.  What a great time we had even with the worst case of poison ivy man has ever known.  I may upload a couple photos of how bad it really was.  As bad as the pictures look, that was not as bad as it got.  You know it is bad if I went to the emergency room 60 miles away.

I hope you enjoy the photos.  They are not my best work by any means.  Like I said, many will mean nothing to anyone but us so you can ignore those. If you have trouble viewing them, the please let me know.

Vacationing in New Mexico

Hello everyone,

My family and I are vacationing in New Mexico for the last week.  After my graduation last Saturday we decided to go see some family in New Mexico this week.  I am currently in Deming, about 82 miles from the Arizona border on I-10 and about 60 miles West of Las Cruces.  We are going to go to Las Cruces tomorrow morning and possibly to see my brother in-law in El Paso if we get time.

IMG_3201

He is in training at Fort Bliss and that would be an extra treat though it is an hour drive farther.  We went to Tucson, Arizona yesterday and took some photos and went sight seeing.  When I first joined the Air Force it was Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson that was my first and favorite base.  In the above photo we were on the descent from the Organ Mountains in our approach to the great city of Las Cruces.  This was a very nice visit.

We really loved living there for two years until being moved to RAF Bentwaters in 1991 and then to Saudi Arabia.  We have been having a good time here and hope to have a safe trip home on Friday.  My oldest son is still at home watching the house while we are gone.

Arizona State Line

Below is a photo of the Texas Canyon in Wilcox, Arizona.  The very rocky surface of this mountain makes this a tourist spot along the Interstate 10 freeway on the road to Tucson.  I have been there many times with my parents and this time it was with my own family.  There are boulders here that are larger than houses but it is so amazing that they found themselves in this condition.

Texas Canyon in Wilcox, Arizona

I hope you enjoy my photos the way I enjoyed taking them.  I have taken 600 pictures though I have only uploaded a few.  As I get more time, I will upload more photos when I get back to Oklahoma City.  Thanks for stopping by.