My Antenna, My Neighbor and the Police

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, Apr 30, 2001.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    WA2AEH writes "One day, surveying my little piece of the rock, I decided I was going to put up a 160 meter horizontal wire dipole. This decision came to me after operating 80 meters for a while with a wire dipole and hearing conversations on 160 but couldn’t tune up on that band.

    So, I decided to lengthen the wire to work on 160 meters. This task required the surveying of my property and finding out where I could put the thing. A quick review of my lot size said I didn’t have the room – at least not in a straight run. I looked at 2 trees cattycorner to each other and 2 other trees a right angles to these. This distance would be ideal and would provide an overall shape of a letter “Z” to the antenna when viewed from the top.

    I only needed someone to climb trees and install the insulators and stainless marine pulleys used in the lowering of the dipole if required. Well I found a young volunteer to climb the trees for me and attach the insulators. This was the fun part watching this young guy go fearlessly up these trees to perform the task. I have a lot of black bear in this area and with the leaves on the tree, and this guy in the tree, you could not see him from the ground but with all the leaves falling and the shaking of the tree gave an illusion of a bear in a tree however, bears don’t curse as loudly.

    In order to keep the antenna tight and to take out the droop factor, I needed to get the antenna as tight as possible but at the same time, if the trees swayed a lot from high winds, the antenna had to stay as is but not stretch or relax from tree movement. This was accomplished by running the insulated #12 antenna wire (actually rubber insulated motor wire), right through the stainless pulleys. So if the trees move, the wire will run through the pulleys and basically stay where it was. The system works real neat. I had a choice of placing large springs on the ends of the antenna insulators that would stretch or relax depending on the tree movement or hang a weight on one end that would rise or fall with the tree movement. I opted for the latter.

    Well let’s see, what can I use for that. I found an old control transformer that weighed about 20 lbs. That was just enough weight to keep the antenna tight and not so much weight as to do any harm. The transformer just rode up and down the tree trunk quite nicely. Cool.

    Later that night, looking out the back window of the house, I see flashlights in the woods. What the heck is going on? I put on my shoes and get my flashlight and go towards the light. Turns out, my neighbor called the cops about the transformer that mysteriously fell out of the sky, became twisted in ropes and wires and was still hanging in the tree at the 6 foot level. The cop with the flashlight wasn’t going to touch it and my neighbor wanted to know if I was responsible. She quite frankly told me she was about to call the FBI because she watched me putting up the wires and thought I was some foreign country spy. The cop wanted to call the utility to make sure everything was safe to touch and let them handle the matter. Me, I just wanted to explain everything.

    The first thing I did was explain the transformer was just a weight and nothing more. That it was needed to provide support for the antenna that runs to the next road. “The next road? How much wire do you have in the trees?” the cop asked. Me, “Yes, the next road” I replied. “What is it for?” OK here goes. Me, “Officer, I am a ham radio operator and this is my antenna.” “I am licensed by the federal government to transmit signals on certain frequencies using this antenna and I’m sorry but you do not have jurisdiction in this matter”. Hold my breath waiting for a reply. Officer, “Oh, I realize that but I do have jurisdiction on local safety issues of which this seems to be”. Me, “Officer, this is not a safety issue as the antenna runs from this tree, over my house to a tree on my property on the other road, all on my property”. The neighbor then says, “Oh, I thought this was my tree, on my property”. I say, “No, I checked the property line map and this tree is on my property”. I didn’t admit this was really just a guess. “However, If you want me to move the anchor point I will”. “No, you can leave it there, but can’t you dress it up a little, it’s so ugly”. Me, “What the transformer?”. Neighbor, “Yes”. Me, “How about if I replace the transformer with a hanging flower pot?” being a little sarcastic. Neighbor, “Oh that would be nice. What kind of flowers?” Officer, “Can I have your name and address”. Me, “Why do you need my name and address?” Officer, “I need to report something back at headquarters”. I give it to him. Neighbor, “You know my TV has been acting strange lately”. I moan and think this is not happening to me. Me, “When does this happen?”. Neighbor, “In the middle of the day”. Me, “Well it can’t be me because I work during the day”. Whew saved. Officer, “Well, I am going to be leaving now, I don’t want to get into a property line dispute”. Me, “There isn’t any dispute here and thanks for coming officer, see you later”. Like hell I will.

    So after the cop leaves, here I am at 11:00pm in the woods with flashlights, explaining to my neighbor and her 90 year old mother the good things about amateur radio and how nice the evening air is. The next day, I removed that transformer, removed the anchor from “Her” tree and moved it to one further on my property. Oh, and I did hang a flower pot and it does look quite nice there."
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