Frozen Ham Steaks….

An anonymous contributor sent us these photos, taken from a repeater site in Western Idaho. This is a classic example of how some hams just don’t know how to work with radio equipment. This co-located site donated some of it’s space to the local ham club to put up a 70cm repeater…. this repeater operated fine until a windstorm hit. The only casualties was the club’s UHF folded dipoles (the remaining one seen dangling on top of the VHF dipole) and what’s left of the solar panel array. Unfortunatley, a combination of ice loading and poor mounting quickly took the ham repeater (and probably some of the other customers on the site) off of the air. Click on the photos to see them in their frosty fullness.





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22 Responses to Frozen Ham Steaks….

  1. spareparts says:

    three little characters: R56
    Otherwise it’s just just amatuer radio!

  2. VE3HBD says:

    Ty-wraps and duct tape GIT ER DONE!

  3. VE3HBD says:

    Oh, and I’m partial to the term ENTHUSIAST RADIO

  4. JohnnyGalaga says:

    What is “R56” ?

  5. spareparts says:

    Standards and Guidelines for Communications Sites.
    Motorola Publication # 68P81089E50-A. Every little mind-numbing detail you need to know on setting a TX/RX site.   Includes NFPA 70, NFPA 101, and a bunch of OSHA stuff by reference.

    The Anti-HamSexy Installation Guide

  6. k8mhz says:

    “Oh, and I’m partial to the term ENTHUSIAST RADIO”

    Half of us can’t spell amateur correctly. Now you want to go and have us add a syllable?

    What is so bad about amateur? Is it due to the suggestion that we are unskilled?

    We are called amateurs due to the fact that we are unpaid, not unskilled. How about dropping a syllable?

    Unpaid Radio. “I’m an Unpaid Radio Operator” vs. “I’m an Enthusiast Radio Operator”.

    I think Unpaid rolls off the tongue a little easier and would get us better deals at estate sales.

    As for R 56, I would not mind having a copy. Other than paying for it (I’m an Unpaid Radio Operator) how would I get a recent one?

  7. X9F says:

    I think it’s a little extreme to fault amateurs (and I hate ham radio very much) for that site failure. That’s a lot of weight on those towers. Add a little wind and something was bound to happen.

    I wonder how they fixed the solar panel array? Very delicate…you can’t just smash the ice off with a hammer.

  8. grog says:

    it took years for our repeater crew to get some respect among site owners. if we hadn’t all come from the commercial 2-way and commercial wireless fields, we may never have gotten away from looking hamsexy.

    i’ve seen things on mountain tops over the years, done by hams, that have made me cringe. them doing things the “wrong” way isn’t just due to lack of experience, but many times it’s due to pure cheapness.

    hamsexy: when the HF rig costs more than the 30 foot 1979 motorhome it’s installed in.


  9. VE3HBD says:

    I think it’s a little extreme to fault amateurs (and I hate ham radio very much) for that site failure. That’s a lot of weight on those towers. Add a little wind and something was bound to happen.

    According to our source, only the ham-installed equipment failed.

  10. spareparts says:

    Was the PV array ground-mounted or did it tear off the roof & land on the ground? Either way, several thousand dollrs of PV cells mounted with inferior hardware…

  11. wb0qqk says:

    “Amateur” is not necessarily a negative term.
    As a LEO, I’ve been “enforcing” the law for many
    years while it’s said that doctors and lawyers
    “practice” at their professions.

  12. wb0qqk says:

    The UHF antenna looks like a DB408. Here are the

  13. detectorout says:

    I think it’s a little extreme to fault amateurs (and I hate ham radio very much) for that site failure. That’s a lot of weight on those towers. Add a little wind and something was bound to happen.

    According to our source, only the ham-installed equipment failed.

    I’ve seen many similar failures of commercial customer’s equipment at sites where ham stuff survived just fine. Without seeing how things were mounted when not covered in ice it’s hard to judge.

  14. va3igd says:

    I can certainly see why so many “Hams” get a frosty reception!

  15. VE3HBD says:



  16. detectorout says:

    What happens when you let hams on your tower.
    Yes there was at least one ham repeater on there. From insight gained from this post I’m guessing the ham repeater was likely the cause.

  17. KB9ZDD says:

    “KMAB TV Chief Engineer Oscar Lamumbabumba says the 500 foot tower and its guy wires were caked with several inches of ice that possibly led to the collapse at 7:43 p.m.”

    Now I know that I am “just a ham” but does that strike anyone else as a DUH comment?

    I mean come on, only SEVERAL INCHES of ice, that could not be the cause.

    This calls for a “KMAB Inside Investigation”. We can get the FCC, FBI, CIA, NSA, FAA, NSTB, OHSA, ARES, ARRL, REACT, SKYWARN, and our crack investigative reporter Ima Beatenoff on the case.

    Just my two cents.

    The above story is fictional, any resemblance to any person, TV station, goverment agency and/or Wackergroup is purely coincidental. all rights reserved. ect ect, blah blah blah.

  18. cyclops111670 says:

    I don’t know…I’ve seen “commercial two-way” companies put up some cheesy stuff, so it cuts both ways. Especially when the client is of the “open pocketbook, throw money at the problem, never come to the site” type.

    There’s only one tech around here that I trust with my radios and he works for the railroad. If he screws up, he’s fired. If the local-yokel commercial two-way tech screws up, he just gets more billable hours…

  19. ve7ltd says:

    The problem here was the fact that the UHF dipoles were top-mounted on that tower. Note that none of the other, larger windload vhf antennas are/were top mounted.

    Also why the heck are they using such a high-gain antenna on the top of a hill like that? Up there you dont want antennas that cut so hard into the horizon, or you will get a nice dead spot below the repeater, where 90% of your users are. A nice 2 dipole array would have worked better, and would not have failed.

    The solar panels, I have no idea about as I can not see how they were mounted.

  20. rushfan says:

    The club who is at that site is in financial trouble.
    Just ask how much is left in the clubs budget after spending thousands on batteries at that site and other foolish decisions. The site is shared with the National Guard. A long time ago, the club volunteered to build the repeater building. IMHO, that club is at fault. That club used to be financially fit and careful on what was spent on which projects. By-laws were changed so that club directors could make decisions without approval from the general club membership. Since then, they have had so many hands in the cookie jar taking funds for dumb projects. For example, This club paid someone to remove an old telephone pole used as a tower. The person who was paid to remove the pole, took the money and ran.
    Now each net they hold, and club meeting is just like a Public Television telethon. It’s a shame that once a great club has been reduced to that.



  22. VE3HBD says:

    Way to be on the ball, LOWBANDRADIOMAN…. only a year too late in jumping into the conversation….

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