Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cushcraft R8 assembly

I've started assembly of a Cushcraft R8 multiband HF antenna.

This will (hopefully) grace the top of the tower once assembled and raised. To begin with though I have the fun of playing with the giant 'Meccano' set that is the kit of parts for constructing the antenna.

The R8 is nicely and neatly delivered packed in an approx. 2m long box. The metal work for radiating elements and radials is more or less loose in the box, with the pre-manufactured matching network box secured in bubble-wrap at one end of the box, and the other small components (nuts and bolts, plates, brackets, etc.) all nicely organised by construction stage and double bagged to survive transport. This latter precaution is just as well as one of the outer bags containing small pieces of hardware was indeed chaffed and holed, presumably through contact with some sharp edges on the radiating element tubes. Otherwise, all these small parts seem to have arrived as they should.

So far, the assembly instructions seem to be very clear, with extra sidebars for cautions (such as "take care not to use the X nut here instead of the Y nut"). The instructions seem to have been carefully considered in light of how people will actually go about practically assembling the antenna - perhaps they had some 'guinea pigs' try it all out and observed the common mistakes along the way.

The only oddity discovered so far is that one radiating element section appears to have a different length to that suggested in the parts manifest and assembly instructions. Otherwise, this element seems to have the correct diameter and pre-drilled hole placement as that expected. Perhaps the antenna design was modified, without an update to the instructions?

Anyway, more assembly of the R8 tomorrow, but so far so good.

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