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Mystery Tower

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by W6ORV, Sep 17, 2020.

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  1. W6ORV

    W6ORV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I came across this tower at an estate sale, the deceased was a CB'r back in the day. Family didn't know anything about it, the price was super right so I bit. I am looking for information on a proper install, including foundation. I have tried to find like specs on tower manufacture sites but no love. It is telescoping with 4 x 20' sections and the bottom section has a 9.5" cross section. It has a 2" mast support and appears to have mount facilitates for a rotator. I does not appear to have attachments for guying but the 9.5" section width versus four 20' sections has me questioning that. Yea, the tip over play is ugly, I am planning a new one out of 1/4" plate in addition to a vertical tilt support that goes down into the foundation. Any help and or guidance, including cutting it up, is welcome. 20200916_172152.jpg


    Ryan / W6ORV
  2. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    First thought is with 9.5" across one side of the base section (I assume your meaning for "cross-section"), it has limited use for HF ham radio other than as support for a center fed wire antenna. Some towers with 21" sides are rated for maximum wind loading of 8 to 9 square feet. The construction seems to be for light duty. So, its important to assess what intended antenna(s) you want to install. VHF/ UHF obviously offer more possibilities than HF

    I've owned two used crank-up towers, one guyed and one free-standing. Manufacturer data was available for each. Without that data I'd have steered clear of them. One had been damaged in 100 mph wind, but was owned by someone with ready access to a professional welding shop. He had ALL welds professionally evaluated, broke the tower into sections, bought a replacement for the bent section, then reassembled, rewelded, and paid an engineer to inspect the finished product. That tower has been in use here since 1989 without regret.

    The winch appears to have no gearbox, so consider dead weight of the load you may install on top. You'd be raising considerably more weight than antenna, including drag from section-to-section friction. Do be careful. I've witnessed some incredibly scary things happen with towers.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Light duty TV antenna tower from the sixties. Tri-Ex made a lot of them like that. Almost zero documentation available as this was all 30 years before the internet and I've never found a good source which could only be available if someone scanned old paper documents and put them on line somewhere.

    With the tilt bracket, it's definitely designed and intended to be house bracketed and guyed. No way it could possibly self-support. The upper section isn't large enough to accommodate a rotator inside (which is how the "ham" towers are made). A rotator might be clamped above the tower, but I wouldn't install anything substantial above it. Typical "fringe area color TV antenna" from 1962 weighed ~3 lbs and had a wind load area of about 1 square foot.

    That winch needs replacement, ditto the cable(s). Before re-cabling, check the rollers (pulleys at the top of all sections except the upper one) to be sure they spin freely and have some lubrication.

    Good candidate for supporting a wire HF inverted vee, or a 2m beam on a rotator.:)
  4. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. WC5P

    WC5P Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Cheesey telescoping towers like that scare the hell out of me.
    KP4SX, W7UUU and WR2E like this.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, it's not any of those.:)

    Tristao didn't use the small cylindrical drum without gears or a brake as a winch for any of their least not any shown in that catalog. He used Fulton gear winches, as shown in all the drawings in that catalog.

    However, I recall some old Tri-Ex towers did, and I'd guess what's shown is one of them. Lou KG6VY ran both companies at different times; he once told me "Tri-Ex" actually stood for "Tristao Extendable," and I'd expect that's true.

    When Lou got old (SK now), Karl Tashjian took over that operation and "maybe" he has old documents, but I wouldn't count on it.:p

    In any case, even in the old Tristao catalog all the light duty towers shown are indeed guyed.
  7. W6ORV

    W6ORV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes on all points, including the direct drive winch.

    Thank you for your input.
  8. W6ORV

    W6ORV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I get it.
  9. W6ORV

    W6ORV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yea, 60's house supported aerial is starting to make sense. I was running an inverted V on a guyed Rohn telescoping mast at my last place. I am wanting for a non guyed installation at my new place.
  10. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Larry Schulman, K9IQ had a copy of the 1969 Tri-Ex catalog,
    BUT he has never posted it to the traditional repositories (BAMA, etc.).
    That is likely closer to the date of the mystery tower.
    That tower would need significant work (time, labor) to remove corrosion (rust)
    and replaced bad assembly hardware.
    W6ORV likes this.

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