This all started innocently enough about 14 years ago.
I had a housekeeper that had seen an ad for a small piece of land, and wanted my opinion. I spoke to the landowner over the phone and although he had nothing
suitable for her double-wide, he did happen to mention some other land just going on the market. It was 68 acres, mostly open, and in the shape of a rectangle.
The fact that it was on high ground, sloping downward for miles in three directions, didn’t hurt either.
You know a good site when you see it, and they don’t pop up all too often, so I did the only thing I could; I started BEGGING! My wife gave in and we purchased
the property in March of 2000.
Of course, the first thing I did was to build a stand alone, LARGE garage complex (‘man village’.) On one end, I built the shack, which is 20 by 40 and has a 200
amp service. Being a ‘hands-on’ person, other than the main structure (walls, roof, slab), my buddies and I built the rest, over that summer.
Just about then, I got word that a nearby U. S. Government communications facility was being closed down due to the base closure and relocation act, AND there would
be tower available. I wound up getting many hundreds of feet of Rohn 45, 65 and AB-105, plus pallets full of turnbuckles and other hardware.
I also acquired 6 - 90 foot AB-105 towers, and 16 - 30 foot conical monopoles, from another security station, which was closing.
Now, that I had some hardware, it was time to build stuff.
Here in central VA, with the low population density, getting the permits to erect tall towers up was not an issue, as it is in so many locations. After a bit of
‘face time’ at the county seat, I walked out with permits for 7 towers, up to 190 feet in height.
The station is referred to as the ‘Goat Farm’, the origin of which is often mistaken.
At some group event such as our regular Christmas outing, or a cookout, someone mentioned something ‘being a real ‘GF”. (Any of us that have been associated with the
government, will recognize that term immediately.) One of the wives asked, innocently ‘What’s a GF?’ A fast thinking member of the group offered up, ‘Oh, it means
‘Goat Farm”, which seemed to satisfy the question.
It’s interesting to note, my neighbor raises goats, sheep and other critters. In the summer, I let him graze the goats and sheep on my property, so they’re often
thought to be my animals. He didn’t move here, with his goats, until after the Goat Farm had been named, but it all fits.
We also deal with something called ‘The curse of the Goat Farm’. It seems no matter what we have all experienced in the past, the new, weird, once-in-a-million
things happen here. The term ‘GF’ is most often appropriate.
68 acres and ONE ground hog will choose to dig a burrow in the exact same place I have some hardline buried! It’s amazing what they will chew thru.
Another time when ‘the curse’ appeared was when we used plastic boxes as weather resistant housing for our Beverage transformers. Everything was mounted using
SS screws and holes drilled directly thru the plastic. (After all, it was ‘plastic’, so no need for any sort of insulators, right?) Turned out that in a previous
life, the intended use of these boxes had been for storing static sensitive IC’s, and the plastic contained conductive ‘lamp black’ carbon.
Only took us 3 years to figure this one out and get Beverages that actually worked as they should. There are more examples of the curse, but they’re too embarrassing
to reveal. I suppose we all have those stories.
If the Goat Farm gang has a motto, it may be ‘Operate as well as you can, while still having a good time’. To that end, we surely eat and drink too much.
Burgers and Brats are a staple.
Basic station configuration is 6 stations, using 8 K3’s and Omni 6’s for spares. There is a mix of commercial amps and home brew amps, as I do like to build.
Band switching, receive filters, lock-out boxes and other similar things are the handiwork of Mike, K4GMH.
The nucleus of the crew that regularly operates from here would be K7SV, K4GMH, N2YO, K4EC, K4GM and K4ZW. Without the help and support of these, and others,
we would not be able to operate, as we do today.