Deploying our antenna tower & antennas

Our major project for the 2010-2011 school year will be installing our antenna tower on the WSU campus. This project will cover a wide range of skills, including Structural, Electrical, and Computer Engineering, Technical Writing, and Public Speaking. During the previous school year we were donated a 53.5 Ft telescoping tower, a 40m Antenna and a 10-15-20m Antenna. We have relocated the tower and antennas to a storage facility on the WSU campus and have begun work on finding a hill on which to install them. We now have FAA approval for one of our proposed sites and are actively working on the other.

Why is this project important?

Now that the W7YH ham radio club has a functional station, many have asked why we need more. Well, for one thing, our functional station is that just barely.  Here are two recordings of the Columbia Basin Net (3960Khz) on April 11 2010.

From the W7YH Shack.

From the hill behind the soil storage facility.

The first recording was taken from our shack with a modern radio connected to our Buckmaster OCF Dipole. The second recording was taken from near the soil storage facility with a random wire (a ~150ft piece of 30 gauge wire soldered to a connector) with an older radio. The recording from the club station should have significantly better audio, but due to the high noise levels in the building even a piece of wire and a old radio work better.

Overall Todo List

1) Site Selection (Done) (updated -- now by the horse track (Location))
2) Political Negotiations[PDF] (Done)
3) Structural Engineering required to safely install it (Donated engineering complete!)
4) RF/Electronic engineering to be able to use it (eg, remote control of equipment, RF links for that remote control, etc) (Ongoing project. Mesh network is scheduled to be deployed by May 2013)
5) Fund raising / donations to support installation and equipment we don't get donated

Latest updates:

(2/15/13) As of October 2012, the tower has been raised and antennas have been installed. Work is ongoing on remote connectivity and radio control protocols. HF is fully operational from the shack via a TS-480 and RemoteRig device. D-Star repeater has been installed at the tower site and is now fully operational.
-Andrew, KF7SIV

Last week, Lydig construction, Valley Electric, and a few other contractors yet to be confirmed have come together to complete our tower project! They will be donating all their labor and the small supplies needed (including concrete!)

All negiotiations are complete; we have a signed MoU in place. Now, we need to get funds to install and work with someone who can manage the project.

WSU Capital Planning suggested an alternative site that was not previously considered, a hill about 10ft higher than Observatory hill, and very close to Observatory hill. Its near the horse track and USDA soil storage bunker. This site will be ideal for us as its a much less used site a little more out of the main visual path, it has power right near by, its on a piece of land that is otherwise undeveloped and has no clear use to the current custodians.

We had a donor donate both cash to our cause and the engineering time to engineer our tower. Moreover, he is personally familiar with the antennas we're trying to install and had some good advise for us. The preliminary engineering site map is attached below.

After a few rounds with Capital Planning about what to do at the site, it became clear that a building is cost prohibitive, so our equipment enclosure has been "downgraded" to a free-standing rack with HVAC. I'm still working on getting that, but I may have a lead or two. At the worst case, I found some for sale for about $2,000.

RF Simulation381.01 KB
cbnhrc.ogg95.93 KB
cbnssf.ogg80.45 KB
Origional Tower Permit (both 11x17 pages)483.58 KB
Site Proposal Revision 2711.6 KB
Preliminary Site Map Engineering351.88 KB