The story of the Mid Michigan Sky-Hook by Norm Keon (W8AWE - Ex WA8AEG)  appeared in a 1983 issue of QST magazine.

NOTE: A Skyhook had been a Generic term for an imaginary antenna support from the sky for many decades when the article was written almost 3 decades ago.

Now This is a Rotator!

Note the size of the rotator plate compared to the two men.  John (WD8RXP) upper right and Ken (WD8RZE) lower right.

The rotator plate set 20' down inside the 120' base with a thrust bearing at the 120' level.  You can see the pads on the rotator plate for the tower top section which was 3' on a side, legs were 3" OD structural steel tube, and took the tower on up to 160' with another 30' of mast extending to a total height of 190' 

The driving force shown above is a bit larger than the motor in a Ham-M.  BTW that base plate is one inch thick steel plate.

Ken WD8RZE working at 120' above me on the "base section" of what was called the "Mid Michigan Sky-Hook" in QST, written by Norm Keon EX WA8AEG who now has the call W8AWE. The above photo is from a series, one of which was on the cover of QST back in January 87. The article started on page 15.  IIRC those tower legs were 5" OD.

When finished there were three semi truck loads of steel in the tower.  John calculated the pull from welding so accurately that only one bolt hole in the entire tower had to be redrilled. 

On the left; The old stationwagon setting at the base of the tower gives some perspective as the the size.  On the right is the rotator, top section, and thrust bearing.

"The Stack" on top. Note, way up on top is a 2-meter quadature array of 44 elements..."If I counted correctly".  Joe, (W8DCQ) remarked "One weekend John worked me on 2 meter simplex; I was running 10 watts with a 5/8 mag mount on the car roof.  We worked each other all the way to Romeo, Michigan, probably 100 miles as the crow flies." (from Ithaca MI ED)

The "Skyhook" was quite imposing and could be seen from South M-57, or about 10 - 12 miles.

Norm (WA8AEG) and John (WD8RXP) operating as a special events station commemorating the new tower and story in QST.  Me? I'm behind the camera.  We had two hams fly over from Wisconsin just to see the installation.

John's regular operating position.

  The tower went into operation with stacked pairs on 20, 15, and I believe 10.  I've forgotten what he had for 40. 

Although the tower was a great success the story of the Mid-Michigan Sky-Hook has a sad ending.  A few years after the tower was fully operational John passed away after a relatively short illness.  The tower system was eventually put up for sale on e-bay, but there were no bids even with no reserve. Considering there were 3 semi truck loads of steel in the tower it would have been a bargain.  So all of John and Ken's effort not counting the cost of the steel, had a short life.  John did enjoy it while he was here.

Photos by Roger Halstead (K8RI) and Joe Vlk (W8DCQ)
"Mid-Michigan Skyhook" by Norm Keyon  (W8AWE) "QST" Jan 1987.

Copyright 2001

The says you are caller
Back to Tower Project
Back to Roger Halstead's Home page