Antenna Support Failure (Updated)

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!


It appears that the limb may have been compromised prior to the failure.  There appeared to be some moisture and rot where the break probably originated.  There is no way to know for sure but the added weight and stress from the antenna definitely contributed the failure as well.  Regardless, that limb is down and is now awaiting the burn pile.
Antenna wise, I was very surprised to find little to no damage.  It was obvious that the limb struck the apex and the connecting wires.  Pictures of the impact area are on my website.  The only damage I could find to the antenna was a small abrasion on the insulation of one of the wires at the point of impact.  I couldn’t even find where any of the wire was exposed.  I can’t say enough about the Alpha-Delta antenna.
So after I got home this morning, I cleaned up the debris and assessed the current situation.  About 20 feet above where the supporting limb used to be is a smaller limb.  It took one shot to shoot a line over that one and replace it with a piece of paracord.  The limb is apx 65-70 feet above the ground.  I simply tied the paracord back to the center support of the antenna and hoisted it up in the air.  Given the amount of coax that I remembered being on the ground prior to the limb falling, I may be a little above the previous location but no where near as high as it could be.
That being said, the antenna is back in the air for the time being.  I do want to get a little bit more height on it as well as incorporate some sort of shock absorption for the apex.  With more height, there will have to be more lines shot over branches on both sides.  Who knows how bad of a job that will be.  In any event, I’ll enjoy what I have in the air now and, of course, post an update when any changes are made!

One thought on “Antenna Support Failure (Updated)”

  1. Well Nathan that’s some interesting stuff. Operator manners seem to go out the window on DX pile ups. Even on some special event stations these days. I am located in a pretty popular state Delaware so I get pile ups from time to time,=. I usually let then holler and make a short list of stations to respond to that operate the most corrcect. OH by the way thanks for the BPSK31 contact from Jamia man. 73 de WA3X

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