In November 1995, we moved again, and this time I was determined not to have to go through the process of hiring or borrowing ladders ever again. I decided to add the cost of a mast to the new house! As soon as we moved in I set about obtaining the necessary planning permission, which was duly granted, . . . .
. . . . and by March 1996, I had started digging the hole for the foundations and ordered the mast with an appropriate rotator cage. A week later, the carrier arrived and delivered the mast, or at least part of it, the cage, the ground post and the winch. The largest part, all 17 feet of it was missing and after a phone call to the carrier who was now wondering how he could loose something so big, it duly arrived two days later.
The recommended hole for the 10m Tennamast is 1m by 1m by 0.5m deep. I decided to go a bit further and make mine 2m by 2m by 0.5m deep, resulting in 2 cubic metres of concrete and according to the lorry driver who delivered it, that weighed not far short of 5 Tons! Since the garden is actually about 1m above the level of the road, all this concrete had to be barrowed, by myself up 3 steps, up a path (uphill!) then down 2 steps ... 48 loads in all! I had very long arms for a few days!
The plan was to use the Tennamast to support HF and VHF antennas. Initially it carried the CobWebb, an 8 element yagi for 2m and my 6m and 4m 3 element beams. Latterly I obtained a second-hand 2 element Mini-Quad for 10m, 15m, and 20m.
Sadly this was in poor condition. Most of the rods were broken and the nylon insulator running through the driven element had snapped. This was replaced with a piece taken from the diamond section on the rear element and new rods were made from brass rod from a model shop. Some people refer to this breed of antenna as a rotating dummy load, but I find it very effective, especially on 10m. In order to make space for the Mini-Quad I had to take down my 4m beam. In addition to these antennas, the Tennamast also supports my Fly-Trap for 160m through to 30m and a 70cm colinear at the very top. One amusing occurrence since I put up the colinear is that I’m forever getting ‘honked’ at by CBers who obviously think it is a 27MHz vertical! For guy-wires I use professional pvc-coated 4mm multi-strand steel wire. In November 1996, this array remained up during hurricane-force gales. The only effect was that the collar supporting the guys moved 2 inches down the mast! Generally the mast is dropped if high winds are forecast ... but sometimes we get caught out.
Nick - GM4OGI, inspecting the work
First of all, you dig a hole . . . . .
. . . . a big hole.