Just for fun, but it works…

As an aside to the Mock Wall project, I threw this together quickly, both because I love having a whiteboard up, and because it was there.

I gave myself bonus points for:
1) Using scrap materials (wood pieces),
2) Not damaging the whiteboard in any way, and,
3) Not permanently fastening ANYTHING that needs to be repaired later.

On that last note, the wall the whiteboard blocks are affixed to is a temporary wall, put up due to a missing picture window in the space beyond. 🙂

The mock wall

I’ve been known for creative, sometimes interesting (read: Wild) solutions to everyday problems, but this particular project was a personal pleasure for me, and something I designed and built myself. I love building things, but this little wall made me very happy!

This is a mock wall, 8′ high, 12′ wide, built half of 2×4 framing, and half of 2×6 framing. It’s purpose is to give us a place to mock up the new water management system we’re using on the house we’re rebuilding, and let all the contractors collaborate on how exactly each material and layer fits with the others.

The background here is that i’m the Owners Rep in this project (one of several services I offer!) and i’m handling a wide variety of tasks with the intention of keeping this project on track.

Being an Owners Rep is similar to being a Project Manager, with the key difference being that i’m assisting the owner in handling/managing things, not working for the construction company. This means i’m specifically looking out for the owners best interest (something I always did as a General Contractor or Handyman) and handling the day-to-day tasks and decisions for the owner. Among the many benefits to the owner that I bring to the table are, my extensive background in construction, my high attention to detail, and my vast organizational skills.

Some days are more fun than others, but this wall has been a centerpiece of sorts for me in this project, and I like it. 🙂

The Garage

The garage can be many things to many people, a space to work, a space to play, a space to enjoy, or a space to stay away…
The garage, to me, is where your automobiles go to get a good nights rest, and keep the paint in good shape. It’s also where a lot of fixing things happens if you don’t have a separate shop space.

In this category we’ll be talking primarily about automobiles; cars, trucks, vans, SUV’s… which one is which, what’s the difference, why does it matter?
There’ll be lots of other fun and useful things in here too, so get in, put on your seat belt, and enjoy the ride! (yes, I know you like my puns….)

Tower Time

‘Twas a beautiful, sunny day in Georgia, and the sunshine found me around a hundred feet up in a tower. Some fellow Amateur Radio operators and I teamed up to resolve a weak transmit issue with a local repeater system, and while I freely admit that the rest of the team did all the technical work, I was the only who got high on this mission ;P.

All kidding aside, there were a couple of interesting parts to touch on. The first one, as my faithful readers will have guessed, is safety. I am aware that many thousands of people have climbed a tower in the past, perhaps many times, without all the standard safety gear, and it’s ‘been fine’. Whoopie. Rule #1 is safety, so I was there in full ‘battle rattle’; harness, with suspension seat, helmet, toolbag, and assorted doo-dads and gizmos to help me stay tied off to the tower. I recommend you always use all of the required safety gear, and a little more than when needed, because it’s not fun to get your radio system up to snuff on the tower, only to not be able to play with for a few weeks or months while you’re a body cast.

The second part i’ll touch on was the key issue here: Water. Water had gotten into the connector between the hardline and the jumper. I know, I know, ‘But what about the sticky tape stuff that seals up the connections???’ Yes, what about it? Well, it was on there, and it was sticky, but it still let water get inside. Fun fact: Water will always find a way in, eventually, so the best way to handle this is seal it up as best you can, but leave a way for water to drain out. In order to facilitate this, I set the connection up in a vertical fashion (see pictures below) and the sealed it up to the edge of some heat shrink tubing on the jumper, leaving the tiniest little path for water to drain out, should it ever find it’s way in there.

Lastly, i’ll touch on one of my favorites: Quality. Yes, it took more time for me to clean everything up before putting it all back together. Yes, it took more time for me to line everything up just right so the antenna is vertical, and is blocked the least amount by the tower footprint. Yes, it took more time for me to wrap the tape down and up, instead of just one pass. But you know what? It’s worth every minute spent on it, because that antenna will be up there for a long, long time, and the extra 20 minutes I spent on quality work is a big part of that longevity. In this vein I would urge you, too, to take the little bit of extra time needed to do a quality job, the first time, and every time.

The connection from hardline to jumper is veritical, with the hardline coming in from the top. This helps to prevent water from getting into the hardline.
The first of two layers of the ‘sticky stuff’, you can see I aimed to overlap it 50%, and got it right most of the time.
Keeping an eye on that bottom level, lining it up just right with the bottom edge of the existing heat-shrink tubing on the jumper.
The second layer went on nice and tight.
All wrapped up nice and tight!
I wrapped the vinyl tape around, first layer sticky side out, second layer sticky side in; this helps keep the sticky off the stretch tape beneath, and makes a better seal. It’s also well-secured to the tower so the chafing or banging don’t cause issues.
The antenna looks good out on that standoff, doesn’t it?
The view from up there is great, but not to die for. 100% tie off, stay safe, and enjoy many more days!