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Re: Topband: tool for install radials

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Subject: Re: Topband: tool for install radials
From: "Mike & Coreen Smith VE9AA" <>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 13:11:23 -0400
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The VE9 (NB) way of doing in-ground (and other) radials:


I made a tool for installing radials in my VERY rocky soil and it likely
took me less than an hour to get it up and running.

I had my lawn tractor as the main machine and power source.

I removed one of the roller wheels the mower deck rides on that touches the

I replaced this one wheel, which was actually on the right side of the deck
(doesn?t matter which side, so long as you can monitor progress)

I replaced it with a large bolt, to which I welded a small ?blade?.  I don?t
recall the exact dimensions of the blade right now

but something along the lines of 2 inch wide, 6? long and perhaps close to
¼? thick.  It was just a pc of scrap steel I had laying around.

The sharp edge of the blade was facing forward.


So now, when I drive along, mower deck in the down position,  the ?blade?
cuts a slot in the lawn. 

In my case, using the work ?LAWN? is a bit strong, as we are using old cow
fields over rocky soil.  I have an inch or two of soil and gravel/rocks
under that.

This would be a walk in the park on a real lawn.  Anyways?..I am getting off


On the back edge of the blade I taped a small diameter piece of scrap water
pipe I had.  I didn?t quite put it down as ?deep? as the blade as I found it
was getting torn off.  I think Probably 4? down, then the blade extended
down a bit below that.  I think it was 3/8? diameter pipe.  Any rugged
tubing or pipe Should work.

The tape you use to attach the tube/pipe to the blade will eventually wear
out from hitting the soil , so you should replace it every hour or so.


I simply placed a rugged cardboard box, with a 5,000? spool of #22 enameled
copper motor wire on the top of my mower deck and fed the wire down through
the tube/pipe on the back of the blade.  IIRC the spool was suspended with a
very large screwdriver jammed into the box.  Strictly low-tech.


When I started out, I was at the tower, and tied off the wire and also
pinned down the first few feet of the radial just because the lay of the
land did not allow cutting the slot all the way to the tower.  Your
installation may be different.


I then drove slowly along and the wire pulled itself off from the spool,
through the cardboard box, through the tube and left itself down in the slot
the blade was making.  When I finished laying out a radial, I cut the wire,
then pushed the soil back into the 130? long slot with my foot and then did
the next one. 


I found thinner wire easier to get down in and stay in the slot.  Larger or
springy wire would not work. Go too small and it would break.  I did try
galvanized fencing wire too but it does not like to stay put !


Once I got ?used to? this method I would be able to do a radial in probably
in 10 minutes depending on how many large rocks I encountered. It was messy
but this method did work well, however it was unnecessary.


The following year I just laid the wire on the ground (tightly), pinned it
down here and there with small homemade staples and in a couple months, the
grass ate them up and they were virtually gone.  I did lose a few of the ?on
the ground? radials to the nasty mower blade, but rolling out a spool of
wire using a home made handle was pretty darn quick. I could probably do 20
or more an hour compare to 5 or 6 an hour using the mower.

I will not cut slots again.


In fact, all radials here are now ?raised radials? (in the woods) but that
was not your question, hi !


GL with your cutting.


Mike VE9AA


Mike, Coreen & Corey

Keswick Ridge, NB


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