Hurricane Nate 3-element SteppIR preparation October 6, 2007
Having suffered considerable damage to my 2-year old 3-element SteppIR yagi in Category 1 Hurricane Isaac in August 2012, I decided not to take chances losing my antenna to Hurricane Nate in October 2017. Nate was forecast to be a Category 1 storm making landfall somewhere in Southeast Louisiana on October 7th.
I took the day off from work on Friday, October 6th, in order to remove the fiberglass poles from the antenna. I felt that removing the poles would not only protect them but it would also greatly reduce the wind load on the tower. I lost towers to Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Gustav (2008) and nearly lost this tower in Hurricane Issac (2012) so this was a big concern.
Removing the poles while the antenna is on the tower is not a difficult job since the boom is mounted on a PVRC mount. I started the job around 9:30 am and finished around noon. Normally it wouldn’t take this long but I took my time because at 60 years old and after triple bypass surgery, I certainly need to be careful!
My original plan was to remove the fiberglass poles from each EHU (element housing unit) and then wrap the entire EHU with plastic shrink wrap. I had a roll of shrink wrap but it proved difficult too work with on the tower. I did one EHU that way but scrapped that idea after I didn’t like the way it turned out. I then decided to take small plastic trash bags and fold them into quarter sheets, place them over the openings of the EHUs and use the rubber boots to hold the plastic in place. This was definitely an easier solution than the shrink wrap. I used scissors to trim the excess plastic away from the rubber boot because I didn’t want it flapping around in the wind.
Luckily Hurricane Nate only nipped the very tip of Louisiana at the mouth of the Mississippi River as a category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds before making a second landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi. This put my QTH (located in Harvey, Louisiana just south of New Orleans) on the west side of the storm which is sometimes referred to as the “good” side, if there is such a thing. I guess there is since we did not experience any big wind from Nate. Thank you Lord.
73, Don AA5AU