How To Level Your Tripods In The Field
I have two MFJ-1918 tripods that I use regularly while set up with my mobile out in the field, whether its just for the day, or while camping or on field day for supporting antennas, my weather station sensor array, etc.
I found that although I like the MFJ-1918 tripods, I also discovered that there was a glaring problem with the MFJ-1918, MFJ-1919 tripods and any other tripod built the way the MFJ tripods are built.
There are actually two problems that I decided to remedy, one being the fact that unless the ground is perfectly level, there is no way of making adjustments to the individual legs for un-even ground.
I fixed this problem by removing the rubber feet that are installed on the bottom of the tripod legs and discarded them.
I then purchased a 48" length of 3/4" tubing that I found at Home Depot that fits perfectly in the tripod legs.
I then sawed it up in 6 equal 8" lengths, one for each leg of my two tripods.
I drilled a series of holes 1" apart the length of each 8" section of tubing.
While at Home Depot I purchased six hitch-pins, and six 10-24 eyebolts with nylocker nuts.
The idea was to drill a hole in the bottom of each tripod leg, but this was not required, as there already were holes in the legs that were covered by the rubber feet.
Now with these leg extensions installed in the bottom of the tripod legs through the use of the hitch-pins, it is a simple matter of making a quick adjustment to the legs with the hitch pins, allowing the tripod to stand straight on un-even ground.
The second problem that needed fixing, was the fact that if the wind starts to blow while the tripod is set up with a top-heavy antenna up top, there is a good chance that the tripod and antenna will be blown over by the wind with disastrous consequence's.
All that was required to take care of this problem was to install the 10-24 eyebolts with nylocker nuts through the bottom hole in each leg extension.
While at Home Depot I purchased six large 12" spikes that are used to anchor the tripod legs in place to the ground, by inserting the spikes through the eyebolts, and taking a mallet and pounding the spikes into the ground.
Even without the spikes the extensions on the legs make for a far more stable tripod with the larger footprint the tripod now commands.
As far as the rubber feet that were discarded, and if you wish to replace the rubber feet, you can easily source replacements that fit the new extension tubes as I did.
A claw hammer works well in place of a mallet for pounding the 12" spikes in to the ground, as it makes removing the spikes easy with the nail puller part of the hammer head.
All that's required to upgrade your tripod once you have purchased the required parts from your local hardware store, is a tape-measure, a hacksaw, and your cordless drill with the correct size drill bit.
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