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OM3BD 2013 and the Flying Antenna

Have you ever seen an entire HF yagi antenna and mast go flying in the air like a rocket? For OM3BD 2013, I decided to focus on HF for a change. I brought a used Cushcraft A4S tri-band yagi from the USA, and my friend Filip OM1AI loaned me a Magirus telescopic mast. The Magirus is a Russian military mast, it comes in several different sizes and types. This one is 35' tall and is raised and lowered pneumatically. That means you raise it by pumping air into it, either by hand with a bicycle pump or by use of an electric compressor. Here is how it looked after we first put it up:

The yagi was very effective, much better results than last year, when I just used an SP7GXP GP-8 vertical for HF. But there was one issue. It does not show well on the photo, but the top section of the Magirus would not fully extend and lock into place, thus the antenna would spin freely when the wind breezed. So Filip and his team came to my house to try to fix this problem. One very brave guy climbed up the mast while the compressor was pumping air into the Magirus. By jumping and pulling, he was able to get the top section locked into place, and for a moment it appeared that my problem was solved. But apparently a tremendous amount of air pressure had built up while he was on the mast, because as soon as he jumped off, there was a loud explosion and the Magirus and yagi flew into the air like a rocket. This is how it looked afterwards:

Fortunately, there were no injuries and only minor damage. The guy wires held and prevented the antenna from going too far. In hindsight, we should have paid more attention to safety. We all laughed about the incident after it occurred, but we were lucky, someone could have gotten seriously hurt.

And here's how it looked after Filip (with orange shirt) and his team put it back up, with full extension of all sections, after a few small repairs to the antenna and mast:

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