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The KD8LCD Blog:


Fall is almost here, which brings us some cooler weather this also presents a good time to do some shack and outdoor maintenance. After all this also means winter is not far off and fighting with frozen cables, ground radials and the like don’t make the hobby much fun or that matter safe.


Take some time during the cooler days and evenings to check on all your outdoor cabling such as fed lines, rotor, relay switching and both grounding cables and ground rods. Look for nicked, corroded, weathered and loose connections. It’s much easier to replace or repair any item needing attention during the fall months than during a freezing spell.


Check your antennas; will that wire antenna you strung up in the summer be able to withstand possible ice loading? Kept in mind ice on any antenna creates extra weight, will what is used to support your antenna(s) physically be able to handle not only the extra weight of possible ice loading but winter winds along with it.


Replace any fraying, dry rotting, and questionable support lines with new one using quality lines that can withstand the suns effects and are made for outdoor use. That cotton wash line you used to temporarily test an antenna which you have now left up since summer, most likely won’t be up once loaded with ice and winter winds. Replacing it now is much easier than with frozen fingers and feet while trying to get it through the supports or trees in 20 below temperatures.


Keep in mind an antenna that comes down during the winter can be an extra hazard with power lines which may also have fallen. Take extra care and look around your entire antenna site for any fallen lines which could be carrying any power on them before proceeding to repair or remove any antenna. Call your local power company if any lines appear to be down or even questionable of coming in contact with any antenna or cabling being off the air for a day or even during the winter is better than being off the air because you became a SK from not respecting a power line.


The fall and winter months also present a time for you to try out a new band, if you haven’t operated 80 or 160 meters before because you thought they were very noisy, give them a shot during the fall and winter months they can be filled with good signals and lower noise floors.


Take time during the winter months to clean up the shack, re-arrange things to make operating more convenient.  Remember to check all you’re cabling inside as well and replace or redo any that are questionable, go over your station grounding and do some preventive maintenance. Check where you’re fed lines and any cabling enters from the outside, does it appear to be sealed well and capable of keeping out winters chills and freezing winds?


This is also a good time for Techs and General class operators to pick up some books or go online and study for the extra class license.


There are plenty of good rag chews during the winter months as well as DX. So take some time now to check over all your equipment, cabling and antennas so you won’t miss out on the fun.


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