This afternoon a bad storm hauled ass over Belgium. Wind speeds up to 100km/h in central Belgium. I knew it was bad when I noticed our dog’s house moved half a meter. It’s a big heavy dog house and I put it against the fence only yesterday after heavy gusts on the evening of January 1st. Those pushed it forward about 20 cm. The dog house deplacement is my own benchmark: it never moved this far forward since putting it there in 2004. So I went upstairs to look through the shack’s window and inspect the tower and antennas. I was scared to see the yagi and 40m dipole had moved 90° to where I pointed the controller.
The dipole is still parallel to the 20m driver. So it isn’t that one antenna moved away from the other. And what are the odds of both antennas slipping over the mast exactly the same amount? It’s not that the rotator is broken: it still holds the antennas still when powered off and still moves the antennas when I move the controller to turn the antennas. Only: it’s 90° shifted. So it seems that the mast / tube turned inside the rotator clamps / flanges when twisted by the wind. But the clamps still hold the tube to turn the antennas. Strange.
No real damage but it’ll be a pain to fix this. I don’t think I can do this when the tower is tilted over. Not in a hurry either because a second similar storm is announced for tomorrow night / Thursday. Great! Real damage is reported on Twitter by ON7RU whose Hex Beam took a fatal beating. I hope all other amateurs in Belgium got away? But this storm must have taken out some more antennas, it’s hardly impossible that no one else has lost something. I knew this was bound to happen: we got away without a real storm for too long. And since this ‘winter’ is far too warm (+10° on average), all we get from over the Atlantic is rain and heavy winds and the occasional storm.