The Wireless DSL Antenna Project

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Pirod 96' Self-Supporting antenna on way home from auction.  It weighs1380lbs, has a 42" base and is made of solid steel bars.

Here the sections are separated and prepared for painting.  Notice the antenna guard dog, Shadow. Were not quite sure of her pedigree. Somewhere between coonhound, hounddog & mutt

Painted the tower with 'Lost Trail Pass' to blend in with trees and sky.  Where did the tower go?  The 5' anchor bolts on the left weigh 13lbs a piece.  These are special hardened steel rods that you won't find at your local lowes or home depot. They will be cut down to 4' later on when the anchor bolt cage is constructed.  A 10' schedule 40 steel pipe mast is now on the top section.

Okay, how much dirt is in a 5'6"x5'6"x4'3" deep hole?  Lots of digging in clay.  Fortunately, there were few rocks & roots.

The Polaris Ranger made moving dirt much easier than hauling with a pull cart.  This pvc measuring stick is graduated in 1 foot increments.  The top black line is 4'3".  The orange dots were used to indicate where to bell the bottom out to provide superior holding power when we pour 20,000lbs of concrete in the hole.

The antenna is going to be 70' away from the house...but see that stump?  The tree was killed by a lightning strike in 2001.  Hopefully, lightning never strikes twice???

Rebar cage built out of 100' of #4(1/2") 60 grade rebar & 40' of #6(3/4") 60 grade rebar all wire tied and sitting 3" above the floor on homemade concrete blocks.

The bolt cage was made by cutting out a template in 3/4" particle board and welding the bottom of the 4' long bolts together with #4 rebar.  The concrete will be poured up to the bottom of the threads on the bolts.

The bolts have a flat plate of steel welded to provide additional strength and are floating 10" off the bottom of the hole. The cage was an additional insurance policy to keep the concrete intact.

  Dumping 5.65 cubic yards of concrete could take all day if you did it by took this gentleman about 5 minutes to put 22,882 lbs of concrete into the form.  Everything went smoothly until...see that big tree behind him???  Luckily, the bumper hit first and only small limbs plummeted on top of the mixer.

How hot does concrete get?  Good question.  Click on the picture below and zoom in on the thermometer and you'll see that it could keep you nice and warm during the fall.  I think there is a tad bit of chemistry going on in there.

What do you do with .35 cubic yard or 9 cubic feet of concrete?  Make concrete park benches of course...isn't it obvious?

Forms removed, handprints in place, crowned top should keep water from pooling on the top.

Brick is a lot like rock, except much harder.  The 2" PVC pipe goes into the basement where the wireless DSL box and router will reside.  I hope someone put a string in the pipe so we can pull the antenna cable?

A laser line was used to mark the conduit ditch.  The conduit will continue towards the tower where it will connect to an access box.

3 eight foot grounding rods will be tied to each leg and to each other.  There is much debate about whether grounding antennas make them more likely  to be struck by lightning.  Hence in a day or so, you'll see my 'whisker' for the antenna mast.  Lighting protection is apparently a fine art or black art. I'm hedging my bet.

It looks so much bigger that it did in the package!  After a bit of wrestling with the bottom 2 sections, the tower went together smoothly.  The only mishap is that I put too much torque on the grade 8 bolts and snapped one of the 5/16" bolts in two.

Who is going up to unhook the strap?  If you are going to have a large crane in a grassy area with any inclines...make sure it is 4 wheel drive.  The two wheel version seen here took lots of coaxing with chains and large tractors. Or in this case a big 4 wheel drive John Deere tractor.

Up it goes.  The crane couldn't make it up the side of the hill, so it had to pick up the tower 60' away from the base.  The lifting of the tower and bolting it down took less than 15 minutes...Most of the time was spent getting the crane in position and towed in and out of the pasture.

The finished freestanding antenna tower.  You can see the 1200+ strands of wire comprising the lightning whisker on top. On a clear day, I bet I could get HDTV signals from around the state or if I put up a giant yagi, maybe shortwave from remote parts of the planet?

Wireless DSL is installed!!!  Woo Hoo!

After nearly 3 months from time of antenna purchase to wireless broadband install, the next and hopefully final step is to enjoy Thanksgiving while surfin' the web at speeds up to 1.5Mbits down/512Kbits up.  I'm hitting a repeater about 3.5 miles as the crow flies. My Wireless DSL is provided by the awesome Forepoint Network Guys (acquired by Omnicity)