Sunday, May 07, 2017

So, how hard can it be to put up one little mast? (Putting up a 6m/2m/70cm beam antenna, Part 2)

Well...

Since the original post, where things went swimmingly, it seems the Fates have been conspiring against me to some extent.

First we've been contending with Weather Control, who have apparently gotten into my calendar and planned high winds, rain, high winds and rain, tornadoes and other fun manifestations of unpleasant weather for most of the days where I was planning on working on this little project.

Second, there was an unplanned but very pleasant trip to the beach. Third, it seems that the NuNeurologist and I may need to get together and compare notes--the damn migraine attacks are starting to increase in frequency again. And fourth there are all the other duties of living--the guns don't clean themselves, you know.

Click to embiggenate
However, in between all those things, there has been some progress. Knowing that that end of the Freehold had both the cable TV line (which no longer carries cable TV but does carry the all-important Intertubz connection) and the power lines buried along it, I decided that discretion was in order and put in a locate order with our local "before you dig" folks. That took a week, but I got some pretty painted lines and flags to show for it, along with knowing for sure I'm not going to hit a 240v, 200 amp service line by accident.

If you look carefully, you'll see my white "flags" that define my digging box, the yellow flag that is approximately where the bottom of the mast will be and the pretty orange and red flags/lines that denote the location of the cable and power lines. This picture is from nearly 3 weeks ago, and fortunately unseasonably cool weather has kept those bushes from growing much in the meantime.

Also click to embiggenate
While this was going on, as I noted earlier I needed a 1" pipe threading die. I was able to find a refurbed one, and since I haven't threaded pipe in 40+ years, a handy YouTube video to refresh my memory on the process. Obviously, I don't have the nice new tools the dude in the video has. I have a old Rigid 00-R threader, an old Nye 2N pip cutter and an old Reed pipe vise. Outside of the 1" die, which is probably old, this was all inherited from my Dad, who had plumbed several houses with it over the years. I also have all the various size pipe wrenches to go with it.

Mrs. Freeholder continues to ask why I keep this old "junk". Well, dear, because I can't thread pipe with your Precious Moments figurine collection.

Interestingly enough, although it's pretty frustrating at the moment, after threading the ends on the first pipe, we (Son is playing assistant pipe fitter) ran into a problem that I'm hoping I have the solution for. We started to thread the second piece and around halfway through the operation part of the newly threaded section broke off. We cut it off and tried again, and again, and again with the same result. Googling has provided me with what I hope is the solution, information that pipe threading dies must be "set" and another YouTube video that demonstrates the procedure to properly set the dies. I'm betting my refurbed 1" die wasn't properly set, as the problems ascribed to an incorrectly set die sound remarkably like what's happening to us.

Being that it's a Sunday, I'm not much on heavy work, but I may try the setting procedure and then make another try at threading tomorrow. If that works, then it's put the entire mast together, get the hole dug, place the mast and pour cement. After that will be drilling the penetration in the wall, which I have already found out will be far more entertaining than I at first expected. Not sure when ll this will get done, as there are other things that I need to accomplish as well while the outdoor weather is still Spring-like.

The joys of retirement. You have more work than ever to accomplish, and it feels like less time to get it done.

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