On our way from Fletcher NC, site of the great 2014 Region 3 Rally, two weeks ago we stopped to torque our wheel nuts. Torqued the trailer’s four wheels and happened to look up. And said, “Oh crap!”
The tall roof-top amateur radio antenna was no longer tall. In fact, over six feet of antenna was missing. Hmm, nine feet from ground to top of trailer, then almost four feet of antenna motorized base column, then 6′ of antenna whip, that’s almost twenty feet total height. So we ALWAYS lower it before towing the engine.
Except the last time. 421 times in the past seven years we lowered the antenna to horizontal position before towing days. This puts the antenna at lower height than the air conditioner, which is only 12.5 feet above ground level. But the last time, the antenna was waving around at over 20′ until the first bridge on I-26 southbound.
Somewhere out there is our 6′ whip, a very nicely machined quick-connect and solid brass mounting disc. This rendered the antenna, normally perfect for worldwide two-way radio communications, completely useless.
There’s a bright side to this though. The whip and hardware, when ripped out by some stupid bridge, cleared the trailer and didn’t strike the trailer or the solar panels. No collateral damage is good. I have a spare whip, the manufacturer (High Sierra, Heath Tech) shipped a spare brass disc to our friends house in Dayton OH, and I was able to reassemble the antenna in a couple of hours.
Today the antenna is back on the roof (in travel position unless I’m using it). And we’ll not soon forget to look UP before hitching up the trailer to the truck on towing days.
See you down the road!
Jim and Debbie
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