K1WHS Station Suffers Serious Storm Damage

K1WHS Antenna Farm
K1WHS antenna farm. Photo courtesy QRZ.com

From yccc.org:

Well-known contester and VHF/UHF/microwave enthusiast Dave Olean, K1WHS, Lebanon, Maine, suffered serious damage to his towers and antennas on June 30 as a result of dangerous storms that moved across New England overnight.

“My place was hit on 6/30 with an apparent microburst that did tremendous damage. Many trees are down and one large white pine came down right across the west guy anchor of my  130 ft Rohn 45 144 MHz tower. This was a tree that I had identified to remove as soon as I had a chance. When it fell, it snapped off the top of the rock anchor. They have a rated working strength of 14,000 pounds, but I am sure the falling tree force was much greater than that. With no guy attached the tower just toppled over and laid out all 130 ft across the tops of trees. The equalizing plate and part of the anchor is up in a tree. It is a total wreck. The H frame on top has been ripped apart along with the four 17B2 144 MHz yagis. The famous LVA, an array of 16 x 5 element yagis spaced along one tower leg, was also on the tower and has been destroyed. I was in the process of re aligning the LVA to aim towards ND0B in N. Dakota in an attempt to give him his last state on 144.  Now there is nothing left. As the yagis fell through the foliage canopy, the elements have been cleaned off or severely bent.  Many booms are ripped apart or bent. There is nothing salvageable from the quad array of 17B2s. They are all destroyed. The H frame is destroyed as well.

“I was not here when the storm came through, but witnesses said it was very frightening and the winds came from many directions.  My neighbor has about 40 uprooted trees.  I suspect a microburst from the direction that I see fallen trees. My wife arrived home just after the storm and called me. By the time, I arrived, it was just after 9 PM and getting quite dark. I knew something was wrong when I could not see towers on the hill while driving south along the lake. Normally the towers are very visible.  I could not sleep all night, and, at dawn, armed with a big chainsaw,  I drove the truck up to the VHF shack. The scene is sickening, with the entire tower laid over the trees and bent like a pretzel. It is being held up on one end by a guy wire from another tower that somehow managed to stay up! That guy is under tremendous pressure.  I am not sure how to fix all the damage, and save tower #2.”

Dave K1WHS