Ted’s essays


Once in a while my style pushes the envelope a bit. I get a lot done that is difficult, surprising or otherwise “better left to experts”. But occasionally it thrusts challenges at me that can inspire introspection regarding my view of following instructions.

I have a 2-meter ham radio that, while designed as a mobile, will be serving as my base station for a while. I have a very good antenna for my 2-meter base station. Yesterday afternoon I picked up a second section of 1 1/2″ conduit to serve as the lower 1/3rd of my mast. In the evening I picked up the coax cable to connect radio and mast.

Today the rain comes in. Tonight winter arrives with seriously cold temperatures for a while, at least.

I MUST get the antenna base pounded into the ground before it freezes solid for the winter. My back has been troublesome, but there just isn’t a good alternative to getting the ladder out and taking the post-pounder to the base. I got it 2 1/2 feet into the ground. Good. Did what I had to.2 meter mast joint The bottom section is solidly in the ground, probably on top of a major rock as it was quite adamant that it would go no deeper. The connector you can see in the picture to the right is ready to receive the upper section.

Gosh, though, I’m not that far from having the antenna UP on the mast. Then I’m really done outside. Read through the assembly instructions one more time. Ignore part.



Pish posh. That’s a bit inconvenient at this time. Thank you very much for your concern. Besides, what can two guys do that one can’t?

The top section of the support is a thirteen foot piece of inch-and-a-half galvanized steel conduit I had lying around. I can heft that by myself. No problem.

The antenna is a wire whip inside of a fiberglass weatherproof housing with some other stuff on it. Doesn’t weigh much at all.

So I assemble it inside at first, cuz it is starting to rain outside, ya’ see.

It’s a light rain, though. doesn’t mean a thing. I mean, I’m not stupid. If there was lightening, I’m done. But there is none of that.

I get the antenna assembled, coax cable attached and it all firmly a part of my 13-foot conduit… gee, what does that make, about 20 feet tall? (This particular thought didn’t arrive at that time, but seems rather obvious now).

I stand it next to my 8 foot ladder, climb the ladder to the point I have a good shot at screwing the securing brackets into the eve of the roof. Screwgun. Check. Screws. Check. Brackets. Check.

Lift the mast up 6 1/2 feet into the air to set the base in the lower-section socket. Hmmm…. a bit heavier than I anticipated.

Just another foot.2 meter mast installation
another few inches to reach the socket.
Dang. That’s quite a bit heavier than I thought.
Whoah. Don’t tip, darn you.
Dang – that’s a lotta weight way the heck up there.
Jeeze it is unwieldy.
That’s a lotta dang leverage from here at the bottom.
Get back straight up.
Comon’ straight up.

It’s about all I can do to hold it there.
Now who is going to put the brackets on?

Oh yeah. Mr. Smarty-pants.

Lean into it.
Wrap your arms around it.
Hold the screw with one hand, the bracket with the other, pick up the screw gun with the third and keep both hands on that 20 foot mast… while near the top of an 8-foot ladder.

I have no idea how it got done.

I took a real good breather once the brackets were in the eve. I also realized I need to upgrade them. There is some serious reinforcement needed there. That is one heckuva lotta leverage on that mast at that point. I KNOW.

I finished by punching the coax through the wall. I really am done outside now. I’m also done for the day. Luckily, my wire collection is at the upstream shop, so I really do have to quit now.