Dish-Antenna Ice-Break Installation

2016-10-13 23:18:13.000 – Pete Gagne, IT Specialist


Internet and phone service for the Observatory is accomplished with the use of a pair of microwave dishes – one on the summit tower and the other mounted at the Weather Discovery Center in North Conway. Last winter, during a significant icing event, a large chunk of ice broke free from a neighboring post and smashed into the top of our dish. Luckily, it didn’t completely knock us off-line, but it did momentarily hinder service and caused us to rethink how to better protect the dish from future damages.

Damaged microwave dish

Earlier this summer, I went up to complete repairs to the dish, pounding and pulling the dent out in preparation of the mounting of an ice-break over the top of the dish.

Pete repairing the dent in the dish

Over the course of the last week, several additional steps were accomplished to get the new summit dish-antenna ice-break installed on the tower. The many steps and hands that assisted in making this final process come together are as follows:
1. Greg Fitch (KB1EZJ), mechanic at Frechette Tire and President of both the White Mountain Amateur Radio Club (W1MWV) and Mt Washington Observatory Amateur Radio Club (KB1KSJ), and his son Dane (KB1RSU) performed all the labor in building the steel welded assembly.
2. John Mitchell (MWO Facilities Coordinator) gathered all of the materials and did all the painting.
3. Last Tuesday Keith (IT Manager) & myself moved an antenna over 2 posts and removed the pipe-extension that was accumulating the ice that was the cause of the dish damage last winter. They also installed a mounting pipe for the ice-break.
4. Last Thursday, John and myself installed the ice-break mounting bracket.
5. On Saturday, John, Greg, Mark Badger (W1QB), and myself installed the ice-break. Additional assistance was provided by intern Ben Brownell and volunteer Steve Leighton (self-employed carpenter by trade who was more than willing to take the bull by the horns and “git er done”!)…
6. However, on Saturday, the winds increased to upwards of 50-60 mph so the final piece of the puzzle, the actual steel grate, was not installed…
7. So on Tuesday this week, with the weather allowing t-shirt and shorts on summit, I returned and installed the grate with the able help of Ben Brownell once again. Ben, a climber, knows his knots!

Finishing up installing the ice-break above the radio dish

Many thanks to Greg, Mark, Dane, and Frechette Tire for allowing Greg to do the welding and fabrication in their garage, as well as John, Ben, Steve, and Keith.


Pete Gagne, IT Specialist

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