I found time to build the portable hole 2. Pretty simple little project and I think will work great. There is one glitch however, a few days after I had built it I was walking through Home Depot and walked past the concrete I had bought. I grabbed 2 60lb yellow bags of Quikrete concrete, at least I thought it was concrete. As I was walking past the bags I had purchased the other day I noticed they said "Mortar"!! Ugh, I didn't even think to read the bag since I had bought lots of quikrete concrete in the past and the bags were always yellow. So I went home and pulled out the empty bags from the trash to see if I did in fact by mortar and sure enough I did. The mortar is "N" and will end up giving 750lbs per square inch vs 4000lbs for concrete. Big difference but I think it should still work for what it's intended for. I contacted Walter, who designed the portable hole, over at magicchristmas.org . He thinks I should be OK but I will be giving it the "rope test" after it cures for a month to make sure. The pole test is wrapping a rope around the pole connected to the anchored portable hole 2 and then pulling like crazy. Worst case I end up building another portable hole, best case I am good to go.
Anyway, here are some pics of my portalable hole 2 (mortar style )
2016-05-26 11.25.33.jpg

2016-05-26 13.19.26.jpg

2016-05-26 14.58.03.jpg

2016-06-01 17.19.09.jpg

I've also completed all the wiring (controller, pigtails to controller and pigtails to strings). I have the "tree" setup on my basement floor and I'm able to control it with the "remote control". I have 9 sequences so far for testing. I'll post pics of all that soon! I am trying to figure out optimal spacing the strings. I am using 3" vertical pixel spacing which seems like it is going to work great for me. Now I'm trying to figure out optimal spacing between strings at the base. Right now I have them setup at 7" apart at the bottom. I am only able to get about 20 feet away from the lights (and that is at an angle) and the top half of the lights looks awesome as far as animations and text goes. The bottom half still looks good but a bit tougher to make out certain animations etc.. However, I imagine at 70-80 feet it will look better. So, I won't be going any more than 7" apart. I think I may decide to go 6" apart when all is said and done. Either way, I am going to setup the 1/2" EMT conduit half circle base in a way that will accommodate both spacings.

Firing up the lights for the first time and playing a sequence with all strings hooked up blew me away. It was the first time I saw such a thing in person and it made me feel like all the time/$/effort spent thus far was well worth it! My wife said she felt like she was in Disney World (but that might partly be because I was playing the Electrical Parade...but still!)