I spent a few weeks assembling the PRO-96, taking my time and making sure that I had all the parts in the right place according to the instructions supplied by Mosley. On the ground, the antenna is LARGE. I put it together at the base of my tower to make it easier to get onto the tower.
Basically, I had three antennas that needed to go up onto the tower and two older antennas to come down. I had already removed (and sold) the SteppIR DB-36 that was on the tower and all that was left was a Comet GP-3 vertical at the very top of the mast and a 2 meter, ten element beam, a few feet below it.
We had to remove the mast from the rotator and the thrust bearing and bring it down to the ground to remove the antennas. My U.S. Tower HDX-572 was lowered to its collapsed position puts the height at about 25 feet which was much safer to work at.
On the ground we installed a new Comet GP-9, 2 meter, 440 Mhz, dual band vertical. Just below that we installed the Mosley AM-56, 6 meter beam and reinstalled the mast in the rotator and thrust bearing. We realigned the mast and antennas so that they were pointing at true north and locked everything into place.
The last phase was the installation of the PRO-96. I thought it might be the hardest to install but surprisingly it was the easiest. We hoisted the antenna up the side of the tower and it bolted right onto the mast just above the thrust bearing. After aligning it to true north we bolted everything down and finalized a few more items, such as replacing the coax cable standoff arms on the tower.
I originally bought coax cable standoff arms with the arched tops where you had to cable-tie the coax to it. This turned out to be tricky and often when I lowered the tower the cables would sometimes twist and want to bind on the support arms. I replaced them with “pass through” arms that contain the coax yet let them pass through and drop to the base of the tower. When the tower is extended the cables are supported by the top, arched support.
The picture above shows the final results and it looks great up there after all the time I spent to get to this point. Performance wise, this beam is fabulous! My first 40 meter contact was 8J1RL, a Japanese Research Expedition in Antarctica. From my QTH that’s a little over ten thousand miles away. Granted, the contact was an FT-8 contact but my signal report was a +2, and I was running 45 watts! Needless to say, I am very happy with the performance of this beam. All the bands have an SWR of less than 1.5:1 across each band with the exception of 40. On 40 the SWR moves slightly higher at the band limits to about 1.8:1. I don’t even need to run the antenna tuner if I don’t want to.
I am looking forward to some really fantastic operating despite the poor propagation conditions we are experiencing now. I can imagine how much better things will be as the sunspot cycle improves.