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Freezing rain on the antennas

December 26, 2009

Today we have had freezing rain.  The temperature has been just a few degrees below freezing and as the rain hits the ground or other structures it freezes.  This ice can build up producing thick layers.  It sticks to the cars, trees and antennas.  So today I have been watching the antennas and checking they have not come down under the weight of the ice.  The photo below shows the Par end-fed antenna that I have as a back-up antenna.  You can see the ice encasing the antenna wire, cable and support line.

Ice on Par end-fed antennas

So far none of the antennas have come down.

Besides the treacherous road conditions this freezing rain produces, there is a risk to power lines.  For locals here in Ottawa this causes them to remember the devastating ice storm of 1998.  The damage and havoc caused by that storm is shown in the CBC archive footage below.  So far, thankfully,  this current round freezing rain has not been as severe as 1998.

CBC Archives: 1998 Ice Storm

UPDATE: 27th Dec. 2009.

Well, we did loose power today.  From 2:30 am to 11:30 am we had no electric and since we are on a well that meant there was no water either. So we woke and switched into ’emergency preparedness’ mode.  Thankfully we have natural gas for cooking so we could boil water for a cup of tea (my English origins still show through).

Temperatures were good for the time of year, about 0ºC, and so the house did not get cold. Later in the day temperatures went a little positive and so much of the ice melted.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2009 2:21 pm

    Great story… I was too busy getting the ice off the antennas and forgot to take pictures…

    Hope the kids enjoyed Christmas..


    • va3stl permalink*
      December 27, 2009 10:20 pm

      Thanks for the comment Bob! Hope you had a great Christmas too.

      The kids had a nice time and my mum flew in on Christmas Eve, so it was a good family Christmas.

      Took a while to get the ice off the cars today and there was quite a lot of scraping of the driveway.
      We had no power here from around 2:30am to 11:30am. As we are not on mains water, but use a well, so we were without water too.

      Did you loose power today?


  2. December 28, 2009 5:53 pm

    We had a power “Blip” but did not even reset the clock on the microwave… I had topped up all the battery packs… One booster pack per floor of house powering 12 volt light. One marine battery in living room powering small inverter for TV/Radio for local news….
    Two battery packs in the shack powering rigs and a small light but none was needed… But you know if I was not prepared then the power would of gone out…

    No Natural Gas here but I do have a propane heater along with a propane camping stove which has worked well in the past if things really get bad. I set the stove up on a camping table in front of the kitchen door and leave the door open for ventillation when we need to boil the water for a “cuppa”… We then turn off the stove and close the door to retain heat..

    Its good to have the toys but its even better to have them and NOT have to use them…


  3. Kieran VA3KS permalink
    December 29, 2009 2:03 pm

    I was wondering how the PAR antenna can handle some ice on it !….looks like it can take it just fine. Hope to get one on the air very soon….

    • va3stl permalink*
      December 29, 2009 6:44 pm


      Thanks for dropping by the blog.
      The Par stood up well to the ice build up, especially given it was a temporary set-up done at the last Field Day. It worked so well for that event that I left it up.

      One observation I did notice was that it went a little deaf on 40m during the ice storm. Don’t know exactly why that was, because when I went to knock off the ice, the wire was still physically connected to the transformer box. I removed all the ice and retightened things. Seems to be working FB now.

      I have been pleased with the antenna. It is high point is lower than my doublet but still provides good signal levels. I have it arranged in a sloping configuration with the feedpoint at the low end.

      Bob, VE3MPG, (who lives near Metcalfe) has written about these antennas on his blog check-out his posts which mention the end-fedz, including an interview with Dale Parfitt the maker of these antennas. Bob is very pleased with these antennas.

      Hope to catch you on D-Star soon, or perhaps even HF.


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