PDA

View Full Version : Tower suggestions...



AI4IJ
10-28-2005, 09:41 PM
I will soon be moving to a home where I can finally have a tower! #The elevation at the site is 1027 feet above sea level; and, the surrounding area is generally lower than that (between 650ft. and 1000ft., with the exception of a ridge about a mile away that is at about 1106 ft. above sea level.

I would like to get my VHF/UHF antennas above that ridge. #If I can, my range will be dramatically improved in that direction.

I also need to get my new HF antenna (hopefully, a Fluid Motion 3 element Steppir beam) above the trees - otherwise, I don't think I have the clearance to rotate it.

So, I would like it to be 80ft. to 100ft. high. #I would also like it to be easily serviced; so, a crank up or tilt over might be in order. #I really don't have a clue of the best route to go, having never had a tower, before now. #I just know that I would like very much to have a tower that is high enough to clear the trees. #It also needs to be self-supporting, as I won't have much real estate to accomodate guy wires; although, the tower could potentially be anchored to the house at the eaves or use hard guys on the base.

I have initially decided to budget as much as $2000.00 for the tower. #If I can accomplish the goals for less, great! #If I can't, then I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So, what might you guys suggest? #What have you used? #What works? #What doesn't? #What's involved in erecting a tower? #How much time is it likely to take? #How many people does it take to raise a tower like I am suggesting that I need?

Any feedback would be welcome!

Thanks, and 73
Richard
AI4IJ

KL7AJ
10-28-2005, 09:43 PM
I prefer the vertical type
http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

eric

KC0W
10-28-2005, 10:01 PM
Quote[/b] (ai4ij @ Oct. 28 2005,21:41)]So, I would like it to be 80ft. to 100ft. high. #I would also like it to be easily serviced; so, a crank up or tilt over might be in order. # to #It also needs to be self-supporting, as I won't have much real

I have initially decided to budget as much as $2000.00 for the tower. #
You will be in for a shock if $2000 is your budget for a crankup tower 80'-100' high.

The US Tower 89' model is just under $10,000 (not including shipping) and their 100' + model is over $20,000

How about going for a smaller tower or a guyed tower?


Tom kcw

N5KRC
10-28-2005, 10:31 PM
How about not buying a brand spanking new one?

From the local SwapNet here in Austin this week:


Quote[/b] ] Hope KA9NRW area 618 Two T-100 NR 100' crankup Aluma Towers in W. Austin
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 I Would like to sell them to a local Austin Ham
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 Health & gas price precludes me from picking up
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 One nds lower crossmember heliarc welded- $850
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 The other has a bend at the top section- $475

Keep your eyes open Richard. With a little bit of work on your end, you can get some very good deals. I knew a guy who used to spend his weekends driving through the country looking for old towers. Nine times out of ten, the towers were on widow's properties, and they were gladly willing to give them up. Some he got absolutely free, just a day or two's work and some beer for his friends.

Scott, N5KRC

WB2WIK
10-28-2005, 10:44 PM
The U.S. Tower model TX-472 and the Tri-Ex/Tashjian model LM-470 are both heavy duty, self-supporting, retractable (four section) 70' tall towers that will easily support what you need with a 20' long mast extending from the tower; thus, a rotating antenna can be installed 90' above ground using either of these, quite safely.

The $2000 budget isn't going to work unless you can find one used for a very good deal.

I've installed a lot of towers over the past 35 years or so, including dozens for myself, and dozens more for others. Every home I've ever bought and moved into is a place I've installed at least one tower, and I've moved 15 times as a ham.

Points to ponder:

1. Permit. Wherever you are, unless you're so far out in the boonies that there's no zoning, you'll likely need a permit. Fees can range from almost free to a few hundred dollars. If you need a CUP or Variance (Conditional Use Permit) because your plans exceed normal use of the zoned property, that costs more and might involve a hearing. Here in tower-friendly Los Angeles (and it really is), a CUP for a bigger-than-normal-zoning tower can cost about $2000.

2. Construction: For such a tower (70' extendable) you'll need about a 3 cubic yard foundation. The excavation can range from "free" if you do it yourself, to a few hundred dollars if you have somebody do it for you. The concrete pour must be monolithic, which means you can't use Sakrete or bags of cement to make your own mix. Just too much cement involved, it will be curing while you're still pouring and that's a very bad idea. It must be poured all at once. For 3 cubic yards, that's 1/3 of a cement mixer worth, and you'll almost undoubtedly have to call in a mixer to pour it. Not expensive, though, probably a couple of hundred bucks will do it. Tell them you need construction grade aggregate, and it's for a tower foundation. Remember the curing cycle is 28 days minimum, so don't plan your tower erection party for the day after the foundation's poured.

3. These towers, if purchased "new" from their manufacturers, come with bases. If purchased "used," they won't, because the original base will be embedded in concrete underground someplace and cannot be re-used. Keep that in mind.

4. In addition to the tower itself, you might want to wisely opt for a motor drive and cable standoff arms. A motor drive costs about $1000 and is worth its weight in gold, as you'll find out if you have to hand-crank either of these towers. They're very heavy and it takes hundreds of crank rotations. Builds strong bodies in more ways than Wonder Bread, but very tiring and time consuming.

5. Remember towers like this weigh about a ton, and there's no way you're going to move it around by yourself, or with a friend. Not even with three friends. It will need to be delivered using a fork lift truck or equivalent. A sign crane to lift the tower up onto its base once the concrete is cured is very helpful. If you go that route, plan on about $250 or so for the crane and operator.

6. Because of the weight of the tower and whatever will carry it to your foundation, it's wise to install towers where the ground is very firm and compacted, lest the vehicle used to move it to the site sink into the ground and disappear.

7. Remember that besides the tower, you'll need a mast, rotator, rotator cable and coax for the antennas. Budget another $600-$750 for that stuff. A good new rotor will cost $400-$500 by itself, and a regulation HD mast can cost $250.

The best part: Boy, will you be impressed how well antennas up high really work!

WB2WIK/6

WB2WIK
10-28-2005, 10:52 PM
Quote[/b] (N5KRC @ Oct. 28 2005,15:31)]How about not buying a brand spanking new one?

From the local SwapNet here in Austin this week:


Quote[/b] ] Hope KA9NRW area 618 Two T-100 NR 100' crankup Aluma Towers in W. Austin
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 I Would like to sell them to a local Austin Ham
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 Health & gas price precludes me from picking up
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 One nds lower crossmember heliarc welded- $850
Hope KA9NRW 664-1134 The other has a bend at the top section- $475
Something's wrong with that picture.

First, there ain't no T-100. The "T" family is very light duty and won't support amateur HF beams, and only goes to 75 feet maximum. The smallest 100 footer Aluma makes is the T-100H, which is sorta medium-duty at best. I'll call it "light duty" compared with the Tri-Ex and U.S. Tower equivalents.

Second, I'd be really careful about a used aluminum tower, especially ones that evidently (per the ad quoted) are already damaged.

Used towers can be good deals if you can get the original paperwork and certifications with them, in support of a building permit to erect them. The documents with a P.E.'s stamp and signature on them make them viable towers that a building inspector will likely accept. An "undocumented" tower may never be permitted, and if it's installed without permit, may be a candidate for removal as soon as somebody official finds out about it.

WB2WIK/6