December 31st, 2013 by K2DSL

I had limited time in the month of December to operate and just dabbled in a couple of contests when I had some time. In the 10M RTTY contest I made 109 contacts and during the ARRL 10m contest I worked 89 SSB contacts.

One of the gifts I requested this year was the DARC produced Radio Amateurs World Atlas. I saw this 23 page reference in it’s previous version and really wanted my own copy. It just happens that the latest edition was just released so if you are interested, you want the August 2013 printing that has a purple cover with a multi-color world image on it.  The older version is a yellow cover with black text . My copy, for $13, was purchased from Universal Radio at

Inside, the Radio Amateurs World Atlas contains full color maps of the world showing Continental boundaries, DX Zone boundaries and Prefix boundaries. As an example of prefix boundaries, for Japan, it shows what area represents JA0, JA1, …, JA9 prefix calls. For anyone, myself included, that doesn’t have every DXCC’s “zones” memorized and likes to look at maps, this reference is a good one. Maybe there are similar maps online, but I haven’t run into them.

Here’s an image of one of the pages of the map (click to see larger view):

Radio Amateur World Atlas

Happy New Year everyone!


November 26th, 2013 by K2DSL

I wasn’t planning on operating much this past weekend on the CQ WW CW contest. I didn’t get on Fri evening and first got on Sat morning for a bit before running some errands. The bands, specifically 10m was good, and there was a lot of activity. I was able to quickly work many DXCC entities in a short amount of time.

Saturday afternoon I got back on and things were still hot so I worked 10m trying to get new DXCC entities I hadn’t worked or new ones on 10m. I was running assisted so I could see what was showing up without having to tune and then listen for each call. There were some pretty good pileups going for many of the rarer stations but if you could get there quickly before the crowd showed up, you had a shot. Otherwise, you needed to use your brain and time things right. As a last resort, tune to a different station and come back later or tomorrow. Most stations were operating the entire weekend and if conditions remained the same, they should be around on Sunday too.

As Saturday wore on, I started to really accumulate entities on 10m. As the day/evening wore on, I also worked 15m and 20m. As it got darked I worked some stations on 40m and 80m. I was just looking for entities I hadn’t worked yet vs logging too many for the same entities. On Saturday evening I was hoping to see/hear Alaska on 80m as that is the last state I need for 5BWAS but I didn’t see them spotted. On Sunday morning I saw some spots for KL7′s but it was well past I was asleep.

Sunday came and I was only able to work until about 1pm ET (1800z) in between getting ready to go out for the day. 10m was still open so I continued to pick and choose new entities. As the time passed, it seemed like it might be possible to log 100 entities for just 10m and I was able to just sneak that in with 102 entities logged on 10m.

Some of the notable stations logged:

3D2R – RotumaIsland (15m) – New band 3DA0ET – Swaziland (10m & 20m) – New band
4U1ITU – ITU HQ (10m & 15m) – New bands 5H3EE – Tanzania (15m)
5R8IC – Madagascar (10m) – New band 9J3A – Zambia (10m)
9L1A – Sierra Leone (15m) 9X0NH – Rwanda (15m) – New DXCC
D3AA – Angola (15m) – New band DX1J – Philippines (20m)
NH2DX – Guam (15m) OY1CT – FaroeIsland (10m) – New band
TC0A – Turkey (10m) UP2L – Kazakhstan (40m) – New band
XT2FCJ – Burkina (10m, 15m & 20m) – New DXCC Z81R/Z81X – South Sudan (10m & 15m) – New DXCC
ZM4T – New Zealand (10m & 15m)  

It looks like I ended up logging 3 new DXCC entities, none of which took much effort during the contest. I worked 114 different entities during the contest and 102 on just 10m. 34 zones out of 40 total zones were worked across all the bands.

Here’s the score summary from N1MM:


Here’s a map of the contacts made using ADIF2MAP (click for a larger image):



Great fun over a few hours on a weekend. Logs uploaded to LoTW, eQSL, ClubLog and to the contest robot.


November 11th, 2013 by K2DSL

I knew going into this weekend that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to operate in the WAE RTTY contest.

WAE is a fun set of contests with the RTTY contest my favorite. You get to exchange QTCs with ops on other continents. QTCs are a playback of up to 10 previous QSOs you made during the contest showing time, call and exchange. The software, at least with N1MM, makes this very easy, and it pumps up your score.

I didn’t operate Fri, Saturday night or most of the day on Sunday as I already had other plans. That left the morning and day on Saturday, a little of the morning on Sunday and a couple hours at the end on Sunday. Conditions on Saturday morning were good with DX open on 10m & 15m to EU. It wasn’t as great as the CQ WW weekend but it was good. My second contact on Sat morning was to Saudi Arabia on 10m. Before I even had 10 contacts logged where I could send a batch of QTCs, stations were sending me there QTCs and I started out almost immediately with more QTCs then QSOs made by me. Just under 1 hour after starting, I heard 4Z5UN in Israel on 10m and I was able to work him for my 1st 10m contact with Israel. About 2 hours after that I worked the same Israeli op on 15m.

Since 10m and 15m weren’t super good, I did spend time on 20m with a bunch of stations worked there. I called it quits on Saturday about 6:30pm local time / 2330z and was gone for the rest of the evening. I came home late and made 9 quick contacts on 40m and 80m.

Sunday morning I could only spend 3 hours on the air before leaving for a football game for the remainder of the day. 15m had stations on early, but 10m was pretty quiet with just a couple worked. Other than sporadic checks on 10m for a single new station or two, 10m was quiet. 15m was active as was 20m. It was good to find and work GU0SUP on 20m in Guernsey. I stopped mid morning and was gone until 2 hours before the contest ended where it was already dark out. There was still activity on 20m but not so much on the higher bands. I finished the 2 hours and the contest working 40m and 80m contacts, mostly local in the US and Canada with only a little DX.

Stats show 51 different DXCC entities worked. 4 stations worked on 4 bands and 10 additional stations worked on 3 bands. 227 different call signs were logged out of the 309 QSOs logged.

Here’s a map of the stations I logged over this past weekend produced by ADIF2MAP (click for a larger map):


Here’s a snapshot of the score summary for N1MM. The 2nd column indicates QSO for contacts I made, RQTC for QTCs I received from other stations & SQTC for QTCs I sent other stations.


I have family coming into town so I probably won’t operate much this weekend.

73 & good DX!

November 2nd, 2013 by K2DSL

It’s taken me almost a week to get to posting about this years CQ WW SSB contest. The conditions for me were terrific with 10m & 15m seemingly open throughout the contest. This was my most productive effort in this contest and I’m sure the conditions were the main reason I stayed at the radio for as long as I did. In this contest, other than a couple of quick multipliers, all the contacts need to be with stations outside the mainland US.

Friday night I had a little time and got on and made some contacts working just 45 Qs all on 20m before calling it a  night.

Saturday morning I woke up late and got on working 8 stations on 40m, which was the only time I got on 40m the entire weekend. I went back to 20m for about 1 hour picking up a bunch of EU stations. With the hex beam still pointed to EU I went up to 15m and the band was hopping where for another 90 mins I tuned up the band and worked station after station, which isn’t always easy for me on 15m in the morning.

After logging  TF3CW in Iceland I switched to 10m where I spend the next 3 hours! I started at 28.300 at the bottom of the phone portion of the band and worked my way up with station after station calling CQ up until 28.985. It was a blast and on 10m, it’s not a lot of effort to work the station – if you can hear them they can usually hear you. Since I was S&P and not using the DX Cluster, any station I worked was found by tuning. It’s always great to come up on a station that hasn’t yet been spotted and is just calling CQ waiting for someone like 9K2HN in Kuwait who I found on 10m and then later on 15m (both for new bands worked and confirmed already on LoTW). It was just so much fun and I had 300 Qs at 2pm ET / 1900z when I took a little break. I got back on for a bit later on Sat afternoon and worked VK4KW in Australia on 10m. I worked more stations on 15m before I had to call it a day at 7:30pm ET / 2330z in order to head out to a Halloween party with my wife and friends.  I wrapped up Saturday with 394 contacts logged.

Sunday morning got me back on the radio again hoping the conditions were still good and I wasn’t disappointed. I started out on 10m and there were plenty of stations to work. I worked 100 new stations on 10m with my first pass up and down the band.  I even worked 2 Qatar stations on 10m which for a new band. With the antenna still pointed at Europe I worked some more stations on 15m and 20m. I’d move the antenna south from time to time to work the Caribbean & South American stations that were active.  Late in the day the antenna moves to the northwest and you can start to work Alaska, Hawaii and Asia. Activity for me started to slow down the last 90-60 mins of the contest late on Sunday.

I ended up working Guam easily on 10m again, Dodecanese on 10m (still need a confirmation for DXCC on any band which I just did via OQRS) as well as many other new entities worked on new bands, some of which were already quickly confirmed via LoTW. In the end it seems I worked 94 different DXCC entities and 27 of the 40 CQ zones. I worked 40 stations on all 3 bands I operated and 538 different stations in total.

Here’s a map using ADIF2MAP of all the contacts over the weekend (click to enlarge):




Here’s N1MM’s score summary for the effort:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Zone DXCC
    7       8      10    5    4
   14     164     464   21   64
   21     196     555   20   65
   28     331     961   22   75
Total     699    1990   68  208

Score : 549,240


Great weekend and thanks for all the contacts.


October 21st, 2013 by K2DSL

I didn’t get started until noon (ET) / 1600z on Saturday as I had plans on Friday night and went to help a local ham lower his tower on Saturday morning. When I got on the air, the bands were hopping and it wasn’t hard to stay busy.

I configured N1MM to enable Spot all S&P calls since everyone can run assisted and use the DX cluster. That means any call I log that wasn’t already in the bandmap gets spotted. Not sure if there’s something online that tells me how many spots I sent to the cluster (DXWatch seems to max out at showing 50) but I’d say there were a lot. Even near the end of the contest I had a few ops that sent me a message as we worked on another band thanking me for the spots.

I had the NA4RR hexbeam pointed at Europe until late in the afternoon and turned it around to point to the NW to start having the JAs come in, which they did. The JAs were mostly on 15m as usual but I started to hear them on 10m. Once some were spotted, more showed up and I worked 11 JAs in a row on 10m and 15 JAs worked on 10m in the span of 1 hour.

Later in the day on Saturday I saw a spot for N2YBB who is Mike L the ARRL Hudson Division Director operating in the NY QSO Party that was going on so I worked him. I ended up working a total of 39 NY stations on 40m and 80m SSB whenever I wanted to take a short break from hearing diddle.

Once it was good and dark, I worked stations on 40m and 80m until I headed off to bed with 341 Qs after Satuday’s effort.

Sunday morning I got up, got on (7:30am ET / 1130z) and the bands were still as good as they were on Saturday. Was able to work TA7I in Turkey on 10m (new band already confirmed via LoTW) as well as 15m. I also worked KG4HF in Guantanamo Bay on a 5th band in the contest. KG4HF happened to be the only station I worked on all 5 bands. I previously worked KG4HF last weekend on 17m.

My club was having their fall foxhunt and I was going to participate, but the bands were too good and I was having too much fun so I just drove over and gave someone the club’s debit card to pay for pizza after the event. There was a good turnout at the foxhunt but I don’t have info on it yet. So I headed back home after a short break and got back into the contest. I spent the rest of the contest bouncing around between the bands and calling CQ at times with some success. The higher bands were good enough that even near the end of the contest there seemed to be more activity on 20 than on 40m and certainly than on 80m.

Some other notables worked in the contest – Turkey (TA7I) on 10m & 15m & TA1BM on 15m, 2 different United Arab Emirates stations on 15m, Guam (KH2F) on 15m, New Zealand (ZL1BYZ) on 10m & 15m and South Africa (ZS6A) on 10m.

I wrapped up with 663 Qs in the log over the course of about 21.5 hours according to N1MM with a break being > 30 mins. Looking back over , this would be the highest QSO/Points I’ve logged for this particular contest with over 100k points greater than last year, but I missed most of Sunday last year. I worked 58 different DXCCs with the US being the most logged followed by Japan with 42 contacts.

This contest uses Age as the exchange, so excluding 00′s for the ladies and 99′s for clubs and eliminating multiple contacts with the same operator, the average age of what was sent was 59.2 years and the median was 60. The youngest age was 27 and the oldest age was 84. The age most logged was 64.

Here’s a map of the contacts using ADIF2MAP (click to enlarge):



Here’s the N1MM score summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  DXCC  Areas
  3.5      34      68    3    8
    7      84     176    9   14
   14     156     396   36   15
   21     245     650   44   21
   28     144     414   39   13
Total     663    1704  131   71

Score : 344,208

Thanks for all the contacts & 73,


October 13th, 2013 by K2DSL

A real busy weekend so I had minimal time to get on the air but for 90 mins I was able to work the fun Makrothen RTTY contest where the exchange and points are based on grid squares and distance. A few contacts = a lot of points! Friday night I had things to do when the contest first started and made just a few contacts later in the evening on 40m & 80m .

Saturday morning I was up at 4am ET (0900z) for our club’s hamfest. Weather was great and I brought 11 cards with me for out local DXCC Card Checker to validate them. All went well with checking the cards. Our local checked W2IRT had a bunch of folks stop by to get their cards checked. I then needed to leave the hamfest for a wedding so I came home, get ready and while waiting for my wife I worked some more stations in the contest before heading out for the day.

We stayed overnight at a hotel so by the time we got home from the wedding early Sunday afternoon, the 3rd session for the contest had just ended. Ended up with 63 contacts with maybe 90 mins of time on the air.

 Band    QSOs    Pts
  3.5       6   11490
    7      10   44690
   14      12   83668
   21      27  147270
   28       8   50930
Total      63  338048

Score : 338,048



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October 2nd, 2013 by K2DSL

This years CQ WW RTTY contest was my first real contest after getting back on the air with a shiny new NA4RR hex beam to replace my wire dipoles taken down from Hurricane Sandy. I operated low power (100 watts) and non-assisted (no DX cluster).

Friday night some friends came over and other than showing how it worked, I didn’t operate the first 3 hours of the contest and got started at 11pm ET (0300z). I operated until 1:30am (0530z) on 40m and 80m and ended up with 95 Qs before heading to bed for 5 hours.

Saturday morning I took a quick spin through 80m and then 40m. I heard a couple JAs on 40m but they couldn’t hear me. I switched to 20m for 1 hour mainly work EU stations. I popped into the shower and then back in the chair on 10m. I was ecstatic to see 10m open and there was a lot of activity – 90 mins worth! I worked two Saudi Arabia stations on 10m including HZ1PS who sent a real nice personal message. I later worked HZ1PS again on 20m on Sunday and he sent another nice personal message. Thanks Peter!!

I also worked Oman on 10m and with 200 Qs logged in the contest, I stopped operating for 2 hours and went over to our clubs Portable Day at a county park about 20 mins away.  They had 7 different stations setup within walking distance using portable power with wire antennas strung on poles and trees. One station was running just 3 watts into a wire antenna in a tree and on 10m had a nice QSO with Sardinia like they were standing next to us. Another station was running a KX3 connected to a netbook making some CW WW RTTY contacts on 10m with a wire running between a pole and a tree branch. The weather was gorgeous and everyone was having a blast.

I got back on the air about 2.25 hours later, made some contacts on 10m and then switched to 15m which was hopping. 90 mins later of S&Ping EU and SA stations I took a quick look on 10m and logged some new stations.  I switched over to 20m and spent over 1 hour there spinning up and down the dial logging anything I could hear. Around 4:30pm ET (2030z) I switched back again to 10m and came up a New Zealand station. I headed back to 15m and pointed Northwest as it was time for the JAs to start coming in and within 30 mins they were coming in as I tuned the dial. I’d sneak back to 10m from time to time and see if anyone knew was calling CQ before heading back to 15m. On one switch back to 15, I went up to the top of the band to work my way down and there was a Korean station coming in just calling CQ. I listened twice to make sure I printed it correctly, and when it came back HL2WP again I sent my call and he came back to me. I sent my exchange, he asked for a repeat on the state which I sent, and then I got his QSL. I just logged my first Korea contact! I stayed on the frequency  seeing if anyone else would show up as he kept calling CQ but after 1 minute with no one else coming back to him I tuned away.

I spent the remainder of Saturday on 20m before heading to 40m and 80m, popping back to 20m from time to time. One of the contacts on 80m sent a nice message about my blog – thanks N1QD (Joe)! I called it a night about 11:30p ET (0330z) with 511 Qs in the log.

Woke up a bit later and got on about 7am (1100z) and spun through 80m and 40m logging over 30 stations, mostly in the US, but necessary state multipliers. I then switched to 15m and spent 2 hours working the band logging new multipliers such as Georgia, Iceland, Surinam (‘ol reliable PZ5RA). I switched to 10m for a short while, back to 20m and then back to 10m. Around 11:50am ET (1550z) , 10m got very quiet. The activity dropped considerably. I spent the rest of the day on 15m and 20m popping back to 10m from time to time. Though there were some new stations on 10m, it was much less after than on Sat and Sun morning until just before noon. Good thing 15m was hopping as the band was full from below 21080 up to 21150. As quick as you could nudge the dial there was another station to log.

On 1 band switch from 20m back to 15m, I entered 21125 into N1MM to tune to that frequency so I could see how far up the band stations still were. I could just hear a station calling CQ. I sent my call and I got an immediate reply. I sent my report and received a TU so 5W1SA on Samoa was in the log. At the time I thought that was another all time new one for me (like Korea) but I had previously logged another station a couple of years ago. Still, I was thrilled and I stayed on frequency to see if anyone else came along. After a few more CQs, N2QT came on frequency, sent out his call and exchange and I went on my way.

As it got dark out, I hopped on 40m and 80m, worked stations, ran a bit, worked some more stations, ran a bit more, and then the contest ended. I wrapped up with 895 Qs and 847k points which is a bit down from the previous year. But it was a fantastic contest and I took some time out for friends, visit club members at the park, and to keep an eye on the NY Giants play horrible football for 4 games in a row. It was great to be back on the air and making contacts with so many familiar calls again.

Here’s my N1MM score summary:

  Band    QSOs    Pts   ZN  DXCC  State 
   3.5      90    123    9    12    32
     7     161    260   14    30    37
    14     240    600   19    54    31
    21     284    742   21    61    22
    28     120    326   16    50     5
 Total     895   2051   79   207   127

Score : 847,063

Here’s a map of the contacts made using ADIF2MAP
(click for a larger picture):


Here are some stats:

DXCCs worked: 82
DXCCs worked with just 1 contact: 22

Mainland US states worked: 43

Unique stations worked: 631
Stations worked on 5 bands: 6
Stations worked on 4 bands: 14
Stations worked on 3 bands: 40
Stations worked on 2 bands: 98

Top 5 entities worked – name / # Qs / % total:
United States – 273 – 30%
Germany – 57 – 6%
Canada – 54 – 6%
Italy – 43 – 5%
Spain – 30 – 3%


Thanks again to everyone for participating and I can’t wait for the next contest!

September 22nd, 2013 by K2DSL

Today was a short 4 hour BARTG contest that uses 75 baud RTTY. The difference between the standard 45.45 baud and 75 baud is 66 wpm vs 100 wpm so the transmission speed is faster. This morning before the contest I was on the air and 10m was open so I was hopeful there would be some 10m activity during the BARTG contest but I didn’t hear any and I called CQ for about 5 mins without any activity.

Most of the activity was on 20m and I called CQ on all bands. Not a huge amount of activity but there were short bursts followed by auto-repeat of CQ and me watching the NY Giants play one of their worst football games in their history. I also pointed the NA4RR hex beam to Asia but didn’t hear any JA stations participating on 15m or 20m.

Here’s my score summary:

  Band    QSOs     Pts  DXC  Area Cont
     7       7       7    0    1    0
    14      90      90   18    5    1
    21      34      34   12    4    3
 Total     131     131   30   10    4

Score : 20,960

Here’s a map of the contacts using ADIF2MAP (click to enlarge):


Next weekend is the CQ WW RTTY contest so I’ll hopefully be on the air as much as possible. Maybe 10m will be active next weekend.


September 15th, 2013 by K2DSL

It’s that time year when summer winds down and contest season and American football start up. This weekend had all that with cool evening temperatures dropping into the 40s, a VHF contest, WAE SSB contest and a Giants home football game.

Friday night after work, I made a dozen WAE SSB contacts with 10 contacts on 20m and 2 contacts on 40m in a short time on the radio.  I needed to then gather up things to head out the next morning.

Saturday morning I woke up early and got ready to head to where we keep our club’s equipment (towers, generator, antennas, coax, tents, tables, etc) to help load up the equipment for a trip to the top of a mountain not far from the Tappan Zee Bridge and Hudson River. A group of us met there and pulled out what we needed and loaded it onto a 24 ft rented truck for transporting to the contest site. The weather was gorgeous and a little cool when we started out, but all that lifting gets you warm pretty quick.

Around 9:30am we were at the location and unloading the equipment. We had small teams of people working on the 6m antenna, the 2m/220/440 antennas, the generator, the food area, etc. Everyone was helping out doing something. We had a 6m antenna on a nice 2 section crank up aluminum tower that worked well and the 3 other bands stacked and on another 1 section tower we raised up. We also had a station setup to handle 2m/220/440 FM and a vertical antenna for each. Here are some pictures of the setup and start of operations. Click any picture for a larger view.





We were on the air right at the start of the contest with one tent housing the 6m station and the other larger tent with the 2m/220/440 stations. I operated the 6m station for a while and though I was able to consistently make contacts, there were no openings out west or south. I stayed around until 9pm and set out for home.

Sunday morning I woke up and made some more contacts on 15m and 20m in the WAE contest. I also exchange QTCs with the EU stations. Sending QTCs is me providing the EU station with a list of (up to) 10 previous contacts not yet given out by me with the time of the contact, the callsign and the serial number the EU station gave me. In the CW and SSB versions of the WAE, we give EU stations the info while in the RTTY contest it can go either way. It’s a good twist and N1MM makes it simple to do. I ended up sending all my QSOs as QTCs which essentially doubles my # of contacts. In the end I ended up with 73 actual Qs logged and 72 QTCs for a total of 145 QSOs as counted in WAE contests.

  Band   Q/QTC  QSOs    Pts  Mlt
     7    QSO     2       2    6
    14    QSO    24      24   30
    21    QSO    47      47   42
    21   SQTC    72      72    0  <-- QTCs sent to the EU stations
 Total    All   145     145   78

Score : 11,310

I wrapped up the ham activities and headed to get my daughter going to college in NYC to join me at the home opener for the NY Giants. It was great spending time with her, but the Giants played poorly and it wasn’t a good football game if you are a Giant fan. It could be a long season ahead! :-(

The contest season is getting ready to get into full swing and hopefully I’ll be able to spend a good amount of time participating and trying out the new NA4RR hex beam.


September 9th, 2013 by K2DSL

Thanks to both Rob KC2RDW and Niko AA2NI, I am really back on the air now. This weekend they both spent a good part of their Saturday helping me get the NA4RR hex beam mounted up in the air on a Radio Shack rotor I had picked up at a local hamfest a year or so ago. Together they figured out the best plan to get the pole made up of two 1.25″ steel pipes securely mounted on the back of my garage and then get the rotor and antenna on top of it all. We hit a bit of a snag with the mounting brackets I had not well suited for the 1.25″ pipe (though it states it can accept up to a 1.25″ pipe) but they improvised and it worked out fine.

I did measure the height but based on the poles and the rotor I’d guess the bottom of the hex beam is about 18 feet (5.5 meters) or so off the ground and it is working fine. In some tests on Saturday and Sunday after it was up I was able to easily work Namibia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, a dozen Japan stations in the All Asia contest and even snagged a new DXCC working ZD7DC on St Helena Island in the South Atlantic.

After we got the NA4RR hex beam up, Niko shot a line perfectly placed into one of my trees and we pulled up a line attached to a spare G5RV I had that will allow me to work 40m and 80m in addition to the bands covered by the hex beam.  This replaces the G5RV that was taken down, along with my triband fan dipole when a huge tree fell across my property taken down the wire antennas (and my gutters along with other things) during Superstorm Sandy the end of last October.

Thanks so much Rob & Niko – you made a very happy ham again!

Below are some pictures taken while getting things set up.  Click any picture to see a larger version.


NA4RR beam getting ready to mount into the rotor. I spray painted the beam (fiberglass polls, center post and center hub) with Rustoleum Painter’s Touch flat black. Makes it less noticeable in my environment as black vs the brighter grey/silver.



Mounting brackets on the side of the garage



Niko (AA2NI) and Rob (KC2RDW) getting ready to mount the beam onto the end of the rotor



Rob (KC2RDW) on the garage roof



Picture of the setup from our deck



Close up of the beam with rotor



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