January, 2011


The holidays and general cold or wet (or cold AND wet) weather has slowed down our work at the airport.  Although we haven’t been able to work out at the airport as much as I’d hoped for, it hasn’t slowed down my search for acquisitions for our property.


One thing that I’d kept on the back of my mind was the need for a tower (rohn-type) of some sort.  Because we’re out in the country, the only options for internet service are satellite or microwave service.  I’d already had my experience with Hughes DirectNet Satellite service from years ago and I knew that it wasn’t going to work for us when I moved my business out there.  It’s not a bad service and is actually a decent option - if you’re just looking for a home service.  My business needs would quickly swamp the slow uplink speeds, however.


Thankfully, there is an internet service provider that has microwave service in the area.  The service requires a tower or having a dish attached to a tall pole on your home, however.  I really didn’t want to have an unsightly pole attached to my home.  A tower seemed like a better solution - and we could make use of it for other functions such as a weather station and (sometime in the future) a rotating beacon.  I could also attach the antenna for my base station to it.


Perusing through Craigslist one day, I did a search and turned up three towers in the general area that were for sale.  I called one fellow up and drove out to Sulphur Springs to take a look at it.  Although it was only 20 ft. tall, I quickly determined that it would easily fit our needs.


Instead of a commercial lightweight tower, this was a homemade steel tower that had been locally manufactured by a very talented HAM operator.  The man was a good welder, because he’d built one heck of a solid unit!  I never went back to look at any of the other towers.  This one was just what we needed.  I paid the man and made arrangements to pick it up later on in the month - weather permitting.


It had also become apparent that we’d need another storage container.  The first one had been quickly filled - and we had still not brought any of our belongings from our Rockwall home!


The weather kept us away from the land for most of the month, but on the last week of January, the temperatures climbed up to the low 70’s and things dried up enough for us to have a great weekend of working conditions.  I bought another storage container and arranged for it to be delivered the last week of January.


When the container was delivered, we had it set up about 9 feet from the first one.  I had the idea of building a roof between the two containers and tripling our storage space.  Bright and early on Saturday morning, Jan. 29th, Walt L. and I hooked up the big gooseneck trailer and drove up to Sulphur Springs to take down the tower and bring it back to Taylor.


Although we had a few “Huh?” moments, we were able to quickly bring it down and load it on the trailer.  On the way back to Quinlan, we stopped at the local Lowes and bought a supply of 2x4’s and some heavy-duty tarps.  Then, we drove back to the airport and offloaded the tower to a corner where it’d be out of the way until we were ready to raise it.  Then, we set to work building a framework for the roof.


The warm weather apparently brought out a lot of pilots that weekend.  We were blessed to have people coming and going all day.  Many airplanes just did low passes and flew on their way.  A few of our friends stopped by to say “Hi”, though, and look over what we’d done.


On Saturday afternoon, Rachael’s son and two of our grandchildren showed up to spend the day with us.   After Walt L. and I finished building the framework for the roof between the two containers, we knocked off and spent the rest of the afternoon either at the pistol range or with the new skeet thrower that Daniel had brought and left with us (thank you VERY much, Daniel.  It’s a much nicer thrower).


I didn’t get there until almost noon on Sunday as other duties kept me away.  When we made it out, however, we finished the framework and then covered the whole thing with the tarps.  Hopefully, these will hold up for a while until we can do something more permanent later on.


After we finished roofing up our little project, we went to work on the water pump.  The hard freeze a couple weeks prior had burst one of the pvc pipes.  We re-ran some of the pipes and then rerouted the wiring leading into the pump house.  When we’re out there next, I’ll run an electrical outlet out to the panel so that we can connect a small ceramic heater for future freeze conditions.


That pretty much ended January!  The next day brought in winter weather again and the temperatures dropped to the point where it was not really feasible to work outside anymore (at least not to this old man).