delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 37 NUMBER 3

The End of My Rope  Part II

This probably wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve had in a while but I had to do something.  It’s kinda like that big fish and the Old Man and the Sea thing. You may recall from the edge-of-your-seat reading of my last month’s article regarding an antenna rope stuck high up in a tree.  The rope is this high-tech stuff I obtained from DX Engineering a few years back, holding up one leg of a dipole wire antenna.  When attempting to pull the antenna down for repairs, to my dismay, I couldn’t retrieve one of the ropes.  The outer covering frayed and prevented smooth passage through the crotch of a tree limb, way up there.  Short of cutting down the tree, which was healthy, I lost over 100’ of rope in plain sight. A recent unusually warm day for February, I was puttering out in the yard working off cabin fever when my attention was drawn to the stuck rope dangling in the woods.  I tugged and tugged hoping the antenna gods would take pity on me and release it from its binds.  Nope, still stuck.  I really need a quadcopter with a video camera and a razor blade to fly up and slice the line free.  Sadly I didn’t have one handy (Santa, are you listening?).  With nothing to lose, I pulled out the heavy artillery.   I figure the rope is lost anyway so maybe I can salvage a least some of it.  Using a continuous rope puller which I use around the property for tree maintenance, this tool should provide enough tension to break the line at it’s weakest point, up in the tree.  The rope puller is a great tool for rigging.  It’ll provide 1,500 pounds of tension and able to pull through the entire length of 5,000 pound rigging rope.  I tied the antenna line to the rope puller using a series of half- hitches.   Of course nothing good is going to happen when things let loose so I protected myself with a heavy pair of Carhartt bibs, jacket plus other safety gear.     Wincing on every click if the ratchet, I’m waiting for the inevitable whiplash of that cord flying directly back at me at the speed of sound.  After pulling about 15 feet, I started to hear limbs snapping, at least something is happening.  Another 5 more feet of tugging, I’m roughly guessing I’m applying at least 500 pounds of tension to the rigging (the antenna rope is rated at about 700 lbs, new), then I hear a big SNAP! To my surprise I’m not laying on the ground yelping in pain from the aftermath of the forces letting loose but rather watching a big limb break off the tree crashing to the ground.  I can’t believe it, the antenna rope didn’t fail – the tree did!   An 8 foot limb snapped off high in the canopy bringing with it to the ground the other end of the rope plus the long-lost insulator.  Totally flabbergasted.  This rope is strong!  The limb is about 3.5 inches in diameter where it was connected to the tree.  I’ve lifted out engine blocks on less. It turns out the tree grew around the antenna rope, it was never coming down.   This growth occurred after the rope frayed and I started monkeying with it.  My theory is in my attempts to pull the line down, sliding the cord back-n-forth, it slowly sawed down into the crotch.  Looking at the results, it appears it was about half way through before I gave up.  As it turns out, there was 180 feet of rope that was involved here, 99.9% of it salvaged! Come to think of it, there are a few other trees that need their limbs trimmed back, hmmmmm
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