Well, it’s up. Two futuristic space-lasers on the roof of Bartlett have made their way into the Hudson Valley skyline. It took a lot of work, dedication, and coffee, but it’s well worth the effort.
View from Thayer walk
The West Point Amateur Radio Club, W2KGY, installed two new amateur radio antennas on the southwest roof of Bartlett Hall. Their project included 1.) a rotatable, mounted, 10m-high tri band HF antenna, and 2.) a VHF/UHF M.2 rotatable satellite array. In addition, W2KGY installed a security camera and multiple wire runs to be able to expand to their ever-growing projects.
Planning around Obstacles (Planned Obstacles)
Obviously the project wasn’t going to be easy. We went in knowing there was no direct elevator access to the roof, or that having the ham shack nowhere close to the installation would be a problem. However, we seemed to encounter setbacks along every step. From a leadership perspective, it was very interesting to see how these problems could be overcome. Primarily, the project took a lot longer than expected. Don K4ZA and Joe KI4TZ always pushed through, so it became good practice to rotate someone to help out - as to not get helpers too tired, I didn’t have anyone come in every day. I provided as much as I could in materials to keep the installers happy. Also, planning with weather in mind largely helped - there was no use standing outside in the rain when things could be done inside.
We ran heliax cable all the way down to our shack, and have a nifty auto-switcher for the two modes of the HF antenna. We’re using a Green Heron box to rotate the tower.
With our VHF/UHF setup, we’re using Ham Radio Deluxe to autocontrol/track satellites. It runs to a VHF Icom and the M2 rotator equipment. We already have at least one satellite QSO with it.
This part is brief mostly because I don’t understand some of the wizardry behind the towers and getting them to rotate.
My biggest lesson learned was to probably always plan on cold rain in West Point. Other than that, I learned the benefits of letting the experts “do their thing;” I didn’t know much about towers so I’m glad Don and Joe got it done. The project was a great investment, but hopefully the tower will remain even after all barracks get air conditioning (when hell freezes over)…
Huge thanks again to all cadets, Don and Joe, EECS, and ACI for making this happen!