What a winter. The weather office says that since November 20th, when the first big storm hit, there have only been six days when we didn't get any snow. We've had more snow in November and December than in any previous winter since they started keeping records. Saturday morning I helped Ron, the hangar owner, clear the snow between the hangar doors and the taxiway. That was a tiring job.

Saturday I revisited the wires going from the fuselage through the left wing. I had successfully run the pitot heat, landing light and nav light wires during my last work session, but the strobe power cable had been giving me fits. I could pull it part way through the conduit, then it would get hung up on something. I tried three times, and it stopped at the same place every time. I got so frustrated that I put that job aside for another day. Saturday I took a fresh look at things, and quickly found the problem - somehow the nylon cord that I was using to pull wires through the wings had gotten wrapped around the landing light wire. I sorted that out, and then it was a quick job to pull the strobe power cable and COM 2 antenna coax through.

I'll have a Bob Archer antenna in each wing tip - the COM 2 antenna is in the left wing tip, and the NAV antenna is in the right wing tip. Many people are using the Archer wing tip NAV antenna, and report that it works extremely well (see Sam Buchanan's report). You would naturally expect that there would be a dead zone in the antenna reception on the side of the aircraft opposite the antenna, but users report that they can't find a blind spot. I'm looking forward to seeing for myself. The GPS in the GNS 430 will be my primary navigation source, so even if there is a small dead zone, it won't be critical.

The wing tip COM antenna gets more mixed reports. Some people report very good performance, and some are not happy. The wing tip is a more difficult place to mount a COM antenna, as COM signals are vertically polarized, and the antenna needs some vertical development. There are only about 8 inches of vertical room inside the wing tip, which is pretty marginal. If need be, I'll mount a second COM antenna on the belly.

There will be periodic blasts of high voltage energy going down the strobe power cables. It is a shielded cable, and the antenna coax is also shielded, so in theory there shouldn't be a problem of strobe noise making it into the COM and NAV antenna signals. But, just in case there are some imperfections in the strobe cable, antenna coax, or the theory, I ran the strobe cable and antenna coax in separate conduit about 12" apart.

Here you see the root of the left wing, on the left side of the picture, and its reflection on the fuselage side skin on the right side of the picture.

I secured the bunch strobe cable and the wires going to the upper conduit to the fuselage side with an Adel clamp, to ensure that they couldn't foul the aileron pushrod.

When mounting the wings, I discovered that there was a wiring bundle just aft of the lower wing bolts on each side, and that the wing bolts fouled these bundles when trying to put them in the holes. I had to remove the Adel clamp that secured each bundle to the fuselage side below the aileron pushrod so I could move the bundles out of the way to allow the lower wing bolts to be inserted. The access to the outside of the fuselage was extremely poor in this area, as there was very little room between the wing root and fuselage side, and the lower fuselage skin extended outboard to the wing surface, preventing access from the bottom. I was afraid that getting those Adel clamps back in place would be an impossible task.

Saturday I decided to have a go at resecuring those Adel clamps. I got very lucky, and managed to get the nuts on the screws by taping an 11/32" wrench to a long wrench so I could reach the screw hole from the upper wing surface, taping the nut in place in the wrench, fitting the nut over the end of the screw, then taping the wrench in place on the fuselage side to hold the nut in position, and finally climbing in the fuselage to turn the screw. I couldn't believe my luck when each screw quickly threaded into the nut.'

The five wires and cables for the left wing are all in place, and two of the four for the right wing are done. The next trip to the hangar I'll work on the remaining two on the right wing, and secure the bunch of them to the fuselage. Then I'll work on connecting them to their services in the wing or wing tips.