British Columbia Frequency Modulation Communications Association
The Big Move Part Deux
If you have been a member for more than 8 years, you may recall that back in 2007 we moved all of our equipment from inside Mt. Seymour's maintenance building, in to our own building. You can see more about that move here: The Big Move.
Fast forward 8 years, and we're almost in the same position once again. This time we have to move our whole building!
This time, MSRL wants to expand their maintenance building, and we're in the way.
After lengthy discussions, we agreed that moving our building up by the tower would be the most suitable option. Ironically, we had proposed to put our building there back in 2007, but were turned down at that time.
Even though moving the building up by the tower is the best option for a number of reasons, it is by far the most costly.
Moving will require:
As you can imagine from the above list... its gonna cost a LOT of money... and indeed, it was the MOST costly capital project in the BCFMCA's history. So costly, it wiped out all our cash reserves, and required us to solicit for donations from the membership (who were AMAZING and really stepped up to make it all happen).
After selecting a location in conjunction with MSRL, the first major step was to prepare the area to receive our building.
This included removing overburden, getting a dumptruck load of crushed rock delivered up the mountain, spreading it, leveling it, and packing it.
In conjunction with this, we also needed to get our underground electrical service installed.
We contracted MSRL's electricians to install the electrical service, as they were familiar with all the burried services in the area and had all the equipment on site to do the trenching from the washroom building nearby.
MSRL also cleared the area where the building would go of overburden (brush and top soil).
Next, we ordered a load of crushed rock to be delivered up the mountain, and VE7FET brought a Bobcat and operator (dad) to come spread it on the pad.
We had a whole crew there on August 22 working to get the pad ready:
The next task was getting the building ready to move. After consultation with the crane contractor, we determined we would lift the building and roof all as one. That would require cross bracing the roof structure, and ensuring that everything stays on the cribbing (base).
We also removed any loose items, as well as all the batteries, to prevent a fire should something shift during the lift/move.
Moving Day, August 28
After almost 3 months of virtually no rain (record breaking) in Vancouver, we picked the first day when the skies opened up. It was WET!
However, we had no choice but to proceed, as the forecast is rain for the next week... meaning the ground would turn to mush where the building needs to go.
Add a Hiab crane, trailer, and a few hours, and this is what you get:
Now, to get everything hooked back up...
Moving the building was only half the battle, now we needed to get everything back on the air.
We had no power (had to wait for the electricians for the re-connection), but we did have a generator.
After the building was placed, we started work on trying to get antennas connected to radios. We were able to salvage and reuse the connectors off the LDF5 that we disconnected inside the building. We also salvaged the DIN connectors, and the extra cable run down the back of the MSRL maintenance building from our previous re-location.
Because we were close to the tower, we were luck enough to be able to chop the coax at the base of the tower, and temporarily extend them to the building with the salvaged materials.
This allowed us to get nearly all the repeaters back on the air. Because we didn't have any spare LDF7 connectors, we couldn't restore the 1.2GHz machines. We also couldn't restore the MSPK99 digipeater, as its antenna was mounted on the bulding, and we ran out of time (daylight) to get it re-installed.
Now the wait was on to get our power hooked up.
Over the next week, volunteers drove fuel up the mountain to re-fuel the generator approximately every 12 hours. A big thanks to:
For their many trips up the hill over the week to keep everyhing on the air.
Our metered Hydro service was finally connected later in the week, and we finally had a chance to stop and breathe for a bit.
WOW, what a marathon few weeks!
But, the work didn't stop there... we still needed to replace all the coax with a permanent solution...
After our August marathon, everyone needed a break for a while. We also needed the time to re-group, re-schedule, source materials, and find a weather window to do the next major task.
Finally, on November 8th, we got back to site to do the big cabling job.
Over the break, Ian purchased and donated materials to build an ice bridge/cable support between the tower and the building. He and Carlos (VA7CFW) got it all installed and ready for the new cable runs.
Lee had been collecting surplus LDF5 for years, and donated about 1000' to the cause, that saved us a ton of cash. He as also able to get new connectors donated from a local tower contractor, saving about another $1k.
All the old cable was removed from the tower and sent for scrap, and the new cable installed, swept, and connected to the antennas.
Another VERY long day, but we got it done.
After a few further tweaks, everything was ready for winter. The biggest challenge in our Club's history was now pretty much complete!
A special thanks to all the people who put in hundreds of hours of their time, and thousands of dollars of their own cash to bring this project to completion. Without their dedication, we would have lost this prime RF site in the Lower Mainland.
Here is a breakdown of the major costs incurred to pull this project off:
NOTE: This does not include the many hundreds (thousands?) of dollars of donated materials that were provided to this project.