Now that the tilt over mount is in place, it’s time to attach the pole. I eyeballed the tube lining up with the bracket. The clamps attach to the support slightly offset to one side. Staring at the picture, you have to remember this misleads about where the tube is centered. The image below shows the mast is sitting where it needs to be. And the ever-present paper towels and an alcohol spray bottle to strip the anti-seize off my skin.
Inserting the pole into the clamps on the bracket worked out to be much easier than I thought this process would be. I gently lifted the tube and the bracket and slid the two parts into each other. There’s just enough space to have room to fit between the clamp halves with the bolt length I had chosen. I left the clamps at their maximum extension and applied anti-seize to the hardware. Before twisting the nuts onto the bolts, I had covered the very tip with anti-seize as well. This approach turned out to be much better than connecting hardware with all these parts in the horizontal. Otherwise, I would’ve needed many more hands and used much more anti-seize to coat my fingertips even more evenly.
At this point, I ran out of decent daylight, and I decided it would be smart to wait until the next day to align the clamps and tighten the bolts up as this was bound to require patience anyway. The 20-foot pipe will be a long lever, and I need to get this right.
Rain delay. And now I am back to it. First, to make sure the two parts of the clamp go together correctly, I tightened the nuts evenly. Once finger-tight and aligned (top half of the clamp precisely in a plane with the bottom), I turned the nuts each 1/2 a turn at a time and then repeated until tight. There’s a lot of tension on this part, and I hope these stainless clamps will bite into the aluminum tube just slightly. All the loads will be reaching this point. I may add some bolts to hold the closed bracket together later to take the load off the hinges in the even I get very paranoid about this.
And now I went to walk this pole up for the first time. I am very excited to have more than a pile of parts for the first time.
Super easy. The 2″ x 1/4″ aluminum tube weighs about 20 lbs by itself and is supported on one end already. This worked out really well. When it’s done, there’ll be several times that weight, but it should be very manageable without needing a winch.
I wiggled the tube back and forth a bit to see how the whole setup behaves so far. I might need a couple of guy lines in a bad storm to dampen the motion and relieve some stress from the mount, but the motion was pretty controlled. I did notice that the Chromoly tube flexed ever so slightly, and that reaffirmed my decision to order this Chromoly tube from DX Engineering instead of substituting 2″ water pipe. The added strength inspires confidence, and I need that.
Before I wrap this, let’s take a quick look at the actual joint that slots at the top of the OMNI-TILT mount.
When you move the slider back and forth, look at the outer bracket of the mount. You can see a washer on both sides rather than just outside as it comes from DX Engineering. I liked this modification as it completely removes all remaining space around the nut in between the brackets. I don’t want to allow these parts to move under stress either while tightening or at the vertical position.
I had been concerned that the washer may interfere once I walked the pole up and set the upper connection into the slot. This concern ended up being a non-issue. With the optional knobs and the nut behind them backed off to more clearance than needed to clear the plate with the slot, it went into together just fine.
Oh. Last but not least. SWMBO approval was unsolicited: “Looks very nice!” Damn, that felt good to hear! But I’m not getting ahead of myself here; the clothes-rack-in-the-sky isn’t up yet!
Next up? Preparing the hexlock, rotator, and building the actual antenna.