Bumblebee #15

How far away can some random city in Wisconsin be? I live about nine air miles from the border. I saw this one on the Hansen Auction site- bit rusty. Bad generator- not news. Lobbed in a crazy lowball bid. Then decided to study the photos. The little toggle /clamp in the two inch ball hitch was literally missing. If it could be replaced with a universal spare we were good. If not, Plan B was ugly. The hitch/coupler assembly, usually bolted looked welded on. (It was). There is generally no extra steel square 3″ tube on these light towers to cut off to replace the hitch. You have extra on a boat trailer usually. One idea was to clamp the unusable ball socket in a tow vehicle pintle receiver.

I have no place to store a flatbed recovery trailer – with a ramp, winch, 2000# payload etc. My ancient tow vehicle maxes out at just over #4000. So the 7000# big Bobcat trailers are a no. We missed a rusty tandem flatbed recently at Hansen for $100. I do see forlorn parts light towers on auctions.

I also rolled my eyes at the electric hoist. Oops. My second trailer had one wired for 240V AC. N0NAS talked me through rewiring it for 120VAC on the phone during lockdown. Where do you find 240V AC if the onboard genset is broken.

To make a long story short, 233 miles is far away. And the marine universal coupler repair kit worked. And we met a potential new Ham. The engine runs, the genset windings are good. Best now guess is Pancake reflashing and or a bad diode. The bottom screw on the pancake cover is rusted on. With just a good 12V alternator, this is a semi useful asset as is. The tower winch is 12V- yaa. For garage storage this trailer is wide- 5′ vs about 4′ for many newer models. This one has 15 inch wheels vs 13 inches for many newer models.

Bumblebee is headed for our generator person, Randy to get an evaluation.

7/25/21: Randy worked his magic. A new 60 uf 430V Motor Run Cap was installed and we are back to 6KW/~240VAC. He says the generator main bearing looks OK. The diesel governor needs to be adjusted downward slightly- we are at 64 hz- so the engine is above 1800 RPM.

8/1/21: Bumblebee is on 20 minute standby in Ramsey Country to support MNVOAD and MNARES. The main generator is adjusted down to 60.5 Hz with 1.2 kw load @116VAC. We have mesh antennas and a basic 2M/440 and a sturdy pipe mount.

12/29/21: I discovered the error of my ways. Light towers, as construction support equipment, do not have to be licensed in Minnesota. My idea to try to license them as utility trailers was a nuisance. Bumblebee has a running genset, but the two remaining lights do not work- 330V AC vs 500V per spec on the light ballast outputs.

1997 Wacker LTP-4 in the Wisconsin scrap yard
@Hams in the Park 8/14/21

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