The portable beam
So far my experiments with a portable, rotatable hex beam are working well. Even
though the "expedition" version of the hexbeam I bought is meant for temporary use,
fitted with storm cords it has survived the recent high winds we've experienced these
last few weeks. I just couldn't keep the darned thing from spinning in the wind until
Taking at least three different peoples' advice, I have done the following:
Used hose clamps to "sister" an extra leg section to each of two legs to keep
the mast vertical on uneven ground. I used a small piece of 3/4" EMT to keep the legs
from twisting or turning around each other
Drilled and tapped three holes in the aluminum tripod adapter and used three
stainless steel 1/4" x 20 x 2" eyebolts with nuts to keep the mast from rotating and to
provide a place to anchor the tripod to the ground (more later)
Used three turns of electrical tape at each section mating point to keep each
section from rotating. The combination of the eyebolts and tape seems to work well!
Used a 12" ground screw-in ground anchor, paracord, and a Nite-Ize CamJam
carabiner to keep the tripod from lifting up when shoving mast sections up. This is
especially handy when raising the mast by myself.
The el-cheapo RCA rotator works well enough for extended temporary use in my back
yard. I can see the mast from my shack window so while the rotator doesn't have
positional feedback (except at 0 and 360 degree limits), I can just look outside and see
if it's in the right ball park.
For strictly portable use during an event, I can use the "strong arm" method of
rotating the hexbeam using a rope and foregoing the rotator, cabling, controller, etc.
This is especially useful if only operating on battery/solar power in the field.