1987 Tower Installation, December 7th

      After 17 years as a ham, I got a chance for a "real" tower, left behind when I moved.



This is the last iteration of the tower, "fully loaded," before I stripped what I could easily remove, before moving to Amissville. All that was left behind was the KT-34XA and 40M yagi and the tower itself. It was still standing the last time I drove by, in 2016. Wayne did one heck of a great job putting it up in a single weekend, and all the trees that fell in the woods around it missed the guy wires, which was indeed a blessing. That's part of the reason I couldn't bring myself to cut the guys, let it fall, clean up the mess and sell the scrap metal. 


THERE WERE MANY INDIVIDUALS THAT HAD A PART IN MY FIRST SERIOUS TOWER. First, was N2FB, Wayne Hillenbrand. Wayne had a substantial station of his own, but had a side business of putting up towers for hams. He ran it as a business, but was generous with his company truck, as well as his tools and parts. He found the used tower, which was part of a 300-foot broadcast tower that had originally been purchased by W3IP. Mike put up 105 feet at his house, sold me 100 feet, and the bottom 100 feet of Rohn 55 was purchased by Mike, KC8C (see below). Wayne loaned me his truck to drive it (he'd already picked it up and loaded it) from his house to mine on June 4, 1987, the same weekend as the Manassas hamfest. Then he loaned me his Nycopress tool to make up the guy wires, and sold me HD insulators for less than the Rohn models. Finally, he charged me only $35/hour for his skilled, hard work. His rates went up shortly thereafter. :-)

While careful, Wayne was never visibly bothered by heights like most of us would be and seemed willing to do whatever gymnastics were necessary to fit tower sections together, set the mast or pull up the antennas. He worked from daylight to sundown over a cold, December weekend in 1987 to make this "dream come true" tower happen for me. Twenty-five years later, it's still there, and I had a ball with it for 24 years. When we moved in December 2011, it was left behind, as the labor to remove it would have exceeded its value.

There were other helpers too: a co-worker, Bob Cergol, who drove the lawn tractor to haul in the concrete (he was the best driver at backing the trailer full of concrete to the base), Gene Marden, AI4W (now SK--his call has been re-issued), who loaned me his more substantial cart for the tractor, then stood on the tongue of it to keep the wheels from spinning when it was filled with hundreds of pounds of concrete, and Mike Colesante, KC8C (now SK), who lent his hands and back to the effort, the day the antennas went up.

And, my wife Diane, who said, "if you can hide it, you can have it,"  who documented the event with our newborn son in a front carrier and took most of these pictures. She has endured this structure and its ramifications for so many years, when it and the hobby itself have often captured more of my attention than is appropriate or warranted. Thirty-nine years later, she's still God's greatest earthly gift to me.

The captions tell most of the story. This isn't a detailed construction blueprint, just some reminiscences of when I was given a chance to get more serious about chasing DX and contesting.