After losing my former EME array in 2001's winter storms, I decided to rebuild a similar system, but fixing some known weaknesses of the older array and making it more robust. Years 2002/2003 were spent collecting all required parts and in spring 2004 I began seriusly to work in setting up the new antennas, job which took me till the month of october. Here follow some pictures taken during the process, together with some comments at the foot of each of them.
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Myself soldering the central part of the horizontal 18cm. wide support tower. You can notice the two 25cm tubes that will be used as a hinge to allow the elevation of the system, and also the 40cm long/1cm thick iron bar with the 3 holes that will be fixed to the end of the 36" satellite actuator used also to elevate the antennas.
Here again the central 3m long section of the tower attached to the main tower, about 1m height over the ground in order to allow to assemble easily the other 4 sections of the tower.
The 5 sections of the tower (14m long in total) already assembled. Now it was time to install the masts that will used to fix the supporting wires.
A closer look to the 7x7cm square tubes used to strengthen the tower, together with the 7mm stainless steel wires. There are 4 of these tubes, two 2m long for the vertical load (weight of the tower) and two 4m long for the horizontal load (wind)
Next step was to rise the supporting horizontal tower to a height of about 4m above ground in oder to be able to install later the vertical masts and the antennas. It was elevated with the help of a 800kg Tractel and a pulley on top of the main tower (see next picture).
A 3m long section of an old 18cm wide tower was installed on top of the main 15m high tower, with a pulley soldered to its top. In this way the whole structure of the antenna could be rised by using an 800kg Tractel installed at ground level.
A closer look to the central section, attached to the main tower at about 4m high. You can also see lower the Trackel used to elevate the structure.
7 of the 8 older M2 5WL antennas could be repaired. It was a long process of cleaning them, changing the broken elements, replacing the balun and support cables.
..and at last, it was time to start putting the antennas in place. The upper antennas were mounted like you can see in this picture and after the mast was rised. In this way I managed to do the job only with the help of a 5m high ladder. However I also learned that the upper end of the ladder must be firmly tied to its support. Learning that costed me 12 stitches in my left hand and having to put off the set up for several months.
...some months later...after replacing the rotator by a huge ProSistel PST71D (Big Boys rotators) with the help of Josep, EA6SA, and checking SWR of each antenna individually I connected all couplers and phasing cables, checked again that everything was working fine. So, it was finally THE DAY of rising the whole system and placing it on top of the tower. This job required the job of a group of people and some good friends offered to help. Here you can see Rafael, EA6WX (on the tower), Pedro, EA6BB (rightmost), Manolo, EA3CBH/6 (white shirt) and myself (fat guy with blue shorts)
Pedro, EA6BB, with the Tractel, beginning to elevate the whole system, with a weight of about 400kg. There were two other guys on top of the main tower and two more pulling the structure in order to separate it some cm. from the main tower.
Half way to the top! It took about 15 minutes to elevate the antennas till the top of the tower. Meanwhile Sebastian, EA6YD, and Rafael, EA6WX, waiting for the moment to fix it on top.
When antennas were on top they were placed in seat on the supporting platform and fixed to it with two huge clamps. The two 25cm tubes soldered to the horizontal tower (as a hinge) lie on two round pieces of nylon to allow the elevation movement. The supporting platform is soldered to the rotor mast, made with a pressure tube (7cm of diameter, 1cm width wall). Sebastian, EA6YD and Rafael, EA6WX, finishing the job and removing the tower section with the pulley, which was no longer required.
Now it was time to connect the 36" satellite dish actuator. Here testing it inside the shack.
The antennas ready to shoot the Moon !
And finally a closer look showing some details of the central supporting structure and the elevation system.
Carlos, LU3LB/EA6, made a tasty barbecue Argentinian style, that we all appreciated very much after a hard working day. From left to right, Pedro (EA6BB), EA6YD's son, Carlos (LU3LB/EA6), Sebastian (EA6YD), Manolo (EA3CBH/6) and Rafael (EA6WX)
Myself in the radio shack, satisfied with the initial tests and EME QSO.
Apart from the persons already mentioned in this page, that helped me on-site to setup the new array, I also have to thank many others that I have been in contact with by E-Mail and that have helped me in many ways with their advice or informations. The list would be too long to be shown here and I would possibly forget someone, so I won't list them individually. My sincere thanks to all of them!
Click here to watch a panoramic view from top fo the 15m tower