I just found this post on another website and thought i would pass it along to the Zed's so dont shoot the messenger. by Fred Race, W8FRThese days many Hams are seeking ways to improve their reception and up their signal strength, while limited, or being modest in their antennas and antenna-related structures. An easy way to get some short-boom UHF/VHF antennas "up" is by constructing and using a Ladder Tower. Figure 1 illustrates an installation, with three antennas at nearly 30 feet. Figure 1 Ladder TowerThe Ladder Tower isn't a new idea by any means as it is one of the several Wooden Tower structures of early Ham Radio days, when even rotary-beam antennas were mounted on wooden frameworks using stand-off insulators. When you don't want/need, or just can't invest in a conventional structure (25G, etc.), look to your hardware store for an inexpensive aluminum extension ladder. A convenient length is 12 feet, with extension to 20 feet plus, depending on your load. The ladder used in Figure 1 supports 225 pounds, is lightweight, and of sturdy construction. The method of fixing the Ladder Tower to the house is simple and somewhat unique. The overhang attachment uses two mounted, 6-inch, heavy barrel bolts that can be positioned to hold the Ladder Tower in-place, and locked on either side of the ladder. Simple 3/8th-inch holes were drilled in each side of the ladder, and the bolts slid through to hold it in place. Six, 3-inch drywall screws hold each barrel bolt in place. Using U-bolts to attach the Ladder Tower to the base is very simple: two 1-3/4-inch steel post pipes at 16-inches each were set in the ground, while one bag of quikcrete mixed to a slurry was poured and dried for 3 days. Figures 2 and 3 illustrate these attachment points for the Ladder Tower. Figure 2 Right-side Barrel Bolt Fixture (in-place) Figure 3 Base Pipe Attachment Scheme Let's start with the overhang and base preparation. The overhang is prepared with one 36-inch treated 2-by-4 to span 3 roof-rafter ends. Three-inch dry-wall screws are used to attach the 2-by-4 through the flashing, and it provides the mounting surface for the two upper Ladder Tower barrel bolt mechanisms (right and left sides of the ladder to hold it to the house. A hole is dug down to around 12 inches in a rectangular shape extending about 4 inches beyond the ladder width, and a front/back depth of 6-8 inches to accommodate the base attachment scheme. Positioning and "plumbing" the ladder is simple, but done in a prescribed manner. First, the ladder is set into the hole (hole dug/centered beneath overhang attachment point) to enable driving the two pipes in on either side of the ladder to a depth of 8 inches, while holding the ladder plumb (a two-man job, of course; three might even be better). Once one is driven in, shift to the other side while maintaining plumb, and drive in the other base pipe. Work stops at this point in construction to allow the concrete to set (3 days). After the base concrete sets, re-position the ladder to plumb, and with it setting on the concrete, mark each side for U-bolt holes; one is sufficient. This is accomplished by placing the U-bolt over the pipe, and against the ladder side at a point on the pipe, and draw around the threaded shanks on either side of the pipe. When ready for drilling the holes, use a centerpunch to mark in the center of the drawing circles. All the holes in the ladder, including the rotor base pipe holes, are marked and drilled later. Maintaining plumb and held against the overhang, center the barrel bolts on the 2-by-4 mounting surface and mark the point at which they are aligned and the point on the ladder sides the bolt must pass through. This completes the preliminary alignment and enables the drilling. Of course, all the holes are drilled into the stationary 12-foot ladder, not the extension, which slides and rests on the stationary section. When finished drilling the marked holes for base and overhang attachment, mark and drill the four holes to accommodate the two U-bolts associated with the rotor pipe. This pipe is 1-3/4 inch gas pipe (extremely robust) and serves as the rotor mount. It must be aligned along one side of the ladder at the top of the extension section. You place the ladder on its side (using two saw horses as the table) and center the pipe in the flange wells of the ladder side. Plumb the pipe to the ladder side by aligning through equal distance measurements from one flange or the other, and hold the U-bolts over the pipe, which is also being held in-place, and mark the shank ends as in the Ladder Tower base u-bolt alignment procedure. Use a center punch to determine the center of the markings and drill through the side, afix the U-bolts and pipe, and mount the rotor on the pipe (use standard rotor alignment procedures). Figure 4 illustrates the rotor in final placement. Figure 4 Final Stand Pipe and Rotor Configuration The Ladder Tower is now ready for final installation against the overhang. It is an option to install the antenna(s) and mast into the rotor prior to attaching the Ladder Tower to the overhang. The most important part of the procedure follows: Place the Ladder Tower (in the nearly down position) between the base stand pipes and against the overhang. Align at the base, and between barrel bolts. Install U-bolts at base; close barrel bolts; tighten all fixtures. Follow rotor alignment procedures (set to North; install antenna(s); mast) Tie-wrap cabling to ladder extention as desired; raise extention. The installation illustrated in Figure 1 depicts three antennas: A 3-element six-meter lightweight yagi. An 11-element 432 MHz short boom Yagi. A 10-element 144 MHZ short boom yagi. Other antennas might include: A Dou-band UHF/VHF Yagi in place of the two discrete 144/432 MHz Yagi's, or mount it vertically below the other antennas, or by itself for FM use. A vertical base antenna for 146/440 MHz atop the mast. An offset mast attached to the other ladder side top to accommodate a non-rotatable short ground plane, or a Wi-Fi Yagi antenna. In any use, this Ladder Tower should prove to be an inexpensive way to improve your lot in VHF/UHF operating without creating what some may consider an "eyesore" of "too busy an installation" for the neighborhood. No guys, no incredible height-getter; just a modest, practical effort to expand operation. Isn't that what we all want; to operate? and dont forget to GROUND the tower to Ground I hope you will benefit from this presentation.