Wind Damage 3/29/2011
On March 29, 2011 at around 7 PM, a strong thunderstorm producing winds clocked at over 100 MPH (see NWS Report here) hit my neighborhood in Harvey, Louisiana. We were expecting bad weather so I had disconnected everything in the shack. The weather was coming from the west so I decided to turn the antennas to the north. The worst wind blew for about 15-20 minutes although it seemed longer and much to my surprise, it was coming from the North! All the while, marble sized hail was pelting the house relentlessly and it sounded like someone was shooting a machine gun continuously at the house.
During the height of the wind, I was able to see the 35' tower with the KT34M2 at 40' through the kitchen window on the lee side of the house and it was rocking and rolling pretty good. I thought it was either going to break or pull the 2300 lbs of concrete out of the ground. Luckily, neither happened. I just put this tower up a few months ago and had not gotten around to guying it yet. I thought I had 'til hurricane season to get the guys up. Guess not. I could only see the fiberglass tubes of the SteppIR during the storm and they were bowed quite a bit. The elements were HOME so I wasn't too worried about it. I was more worried about the tower. When it finally slacked off I went out to check for damage. The guy lines on the 60' tower were slacked. I found the guy anchor on the northeast side had been pulled about nine inches out of the ground and was bent. The tower was still standing and I couldn't see the SteppIR too well because it was dark but I could tell that one of the trombone elements was twisted a bit. The antenna azimuth was off by 70 degrees.
The only thing I could do that night was to install a new anchor to secure the tower (picture below).
Northeast guy anchor pulled out of the ground and bent (on left). New 5' anchor installed that night )on right) to secure tower.
The next morning I was able to get a better look at the SteppIR.
The loop dipole on one side twisted a bit but I was able to twist it back with no problem. The antenna did survive with no permanent damage. I also tested the KT34M2 and it also tests good. Actually the SWR on the KT34M2 is better than it was before.
The rest of my property is fine except the back fence which it bowed pretty good. Looks like I'll be busy this weekend (I fixed the fence the next weekend. It was NOT an easy job).