So last night, I am on 20 meters and made 3 DX contacts including European Russia, Norway and Israel. I’m getting through the pileups well and I’m still very happy with the antenna in the air.
As I am getting ready for work this morning, the YL advises me that a limb came down in the back yard. This isn’t too abnormal just due to the massive trees that we have on our property. They tend to self prune their selves. We did have some rain come through yesterday but it was far from any bad storms or high winds. So I told her that I’d look at it when I got home from work. She said, “No, it’s a BIG limb and I think it is on your antenna!” This is reason to take a look! This is what I saw.
(Please excuse the quality of the photos. It was taken on my iPhone and it was very foggy and early in the morning.)
At the largest part, this limb was 8-10 inches in diameter. It seemed healthy and didn’t appear to have any trauma to it such as a lightening strike or destructive critters. The concerning part is that it was being held up in the air… by my new antenna! The yellow arrow shows the apex of the antenna and where the limb is leaning on one of the legs of the dipole.
I walked around the limb and tried to see where it came from. It became quickly evident that this was the limb that supported the apex of the antenna. That being the case, the limb fell from apx 45 feet in the air and had nothing to break the fall on the way down. The line that was attached to the apex also went over another limb a little bit farther back. It was still in the air and now supporting the antenna and the limb. The anchor point for this was the top rail of my chain link fence. I would have expected it to be the weakest link and give way in such an event but it did not.
Just for mitigation this morning, I untied the anchor point of the leg that is not involved in the disaster. No weight was on it anyways so that was an easy task. I then untied the anchor point for the apex and was able to lower the limb and antenna down to where the limb was now being supported by the fence. Just in a quick evaluation of the antenna, it does not appear to be damaged. that surprises me just due to the force that was applied at the time of the fall and then the weight that it held overnight. I’ll obviously investigate this a little more tomorrow and post updates about my findings but it doesn’t look like a total disaster.
In any event, I am calling this an antenna support failure for right now. It doesn’t seem to be an antenna failure or by any means. At some point, I may want to reevaluate my installation to find what might have contributed to the failure but for an initial assessment, it is an antenna support failure. I see another cookout in the near future that may break out into an antenna raising party!