Putting together data for possible crank up tower install - need some feedback

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KN4DQE, Feb 10, 2020.

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  1. KN4DQE

    KN4DQE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regarding the Aluminum - why would this be an issue if it can support the weight and has no issue meeting wind speed requirement? Remember - this state is surrounded by saltwater, meaning corrosion is an issue. Most home standby generators here use aluminum vs steel for their enclosures due to this (mine does).
  2. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Lifetime Member 279 Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    For the antenna you are thinking about and the tower height, I think you will be fine but aluminum has never been high on my list of strong metals to support big antennas. Bear in mind I have a SteppIR DB-36, which is a significant sized antenna and weight load. Each time I see those Alum towers at Orlando, I think of yard ornaments. If you were to compare those to better-made steel towers, you will quickly see the difference. BUT, for your purposes, the aluminum should do just fine.

    I'm about 6 miles or so as the crow flies from the beach. My US Tower (steel) has been in place since 2008. I did replace part of the crank-up cable about a year ago that had some worrisome rust on it, but the rest of the tower is just fine. As far inland as you are, I can't imagine that much problem with salt water.

    With all that said, I would go with the Tashijan over the Alum any day of the week. It's not even close. Just my opinion.

    KN4DQE likes this.
  3. KN4DQE

    KN4DQE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for your honest opinion! Based on what I see, this may have to be a tiered roll-out - IF I can get the HOA approval. I saw the US Tower tubular tower (MA-40) - which would be much easier to get approval for - yet it doesn't appear it would support the wind loading figures for the antenna and rotator...
  4. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recently helped another HOA resident install that same tubular ‘tower’ (mast) on which we installed a Hexbeam. It either needs to by guyed or attached to the house (which his is). There is nothing he can’t hear and work that anyone else in this area with bigger/higher antennas can/does.

    His HOA would never approve a tower but they did approve this.
  5. K1LKP

    K1LKP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  6. KN4DQE

    KN4DQE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah - with a Yaesu G800, and this antenna I exceed the wind loading....shoot. The Alumatower would work, but may be a tougher sell. I have to measure the pool enclosure height, since I was thinking of using that as the attachment point. The shortest height when retracted is about 12', which may put the antenna just above my pool enclosure, maybe making this an easier sell to the powers that be.

    I checked the pricing of the other towers and they are by far much more than the Alumatower. I'm still going to research things - but from what I've calculated the basic cost of everything not including coax is going to be around $7500. Not something I can swallow at one time.
  7. WA2LLN

    WA2LLN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I bought the Tashjian WT-51 which is listed at $3,550. I added a rotor plate, top bearing, heavy duty mast, tilt-over fixture and coax stand-offs. Crating all that and shipping to Florida cost over $2,000. They used UPS Freight which provides LTL services. It took a week to get to me. I didn't try super hard, but I wasn't able to find an alternative that cost significantly less.

    Yes, its more expensive than a fixed, guyed tower. But with the tilt-over fixture, after cranking down the tower I can tilt it over and the entire tower is horizontal at about 8 feet off the ground. Perfect for a yagi with a 16-foot boom like my 3-element SteppIR. If I ever want a larger antenna I'll get one of the NN4ZZ tilt plates.
    KN4DQE likes this.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The MA-40 would probably work for you. Remember using the MARB base, the rotator goes at the bottom of the tower and not the top, and the whole tower rotates.

    It's not cheap. $4,350 for the MA-40 and MARB, plus of course you add your own rotator and antenna(s). Advantages: Doesn't look much like a tower, it looks more like a "mast." It only weighs 245 lbs, which is much lighter than a WT-51 (although still heavier than aluminum). It handles 4.8 square foot antenna load at 85 mph (TIA-222-F). Disadvantages: Cost; and the 4.8 s.f. wind load rating may not be enough, depending what you want to install. A typical 5-band Hexbeam is right about that area.

    You won't find any amateur radio tower or antenna products rated at 120+ mph wind speed. However the telescoping towers all retract and are far stronger when retracted, so as Bob W4PG wrote earlier, pointing that out when going for a permit (if a permit is even needed for a 40' tower -- it may not be) can often help.
    KN4DQE likes this.
  9. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Lifetime Member 279 Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Like I said and Steve noted, if you need a permit you shall argue that we have plenty of time to lower the tower in the event of a hurricane. I also had my professional engineer certify that when my tower was lowered, it would meet all the required wind loads. Tornadoes are not much of a problem here but do occasionally happen. I frankly told the building permit fellow that if a tornado hit and knocked my tower over, we would have a whole lot more to worry about than my tower. He said, "you're right." With that said, I do crank my tower down during the summer month to "summer height," which is about 55 feet or so, right about the tops of surrounding trees . . the tower is actually 89 feet.

    A quick review of Winter Garden online ordinances says "The term "communication tower" shall not include amateur radio operators' equipment licensed by the Federal Communications Commission." There is a lot of regulation of commercial towers like cell towers, but that does not apply to ham towers. The same language is also in Orange Country ordinances.

    Not yet sure if Winter Garden requires a permit. They may, but haven't seen it yet but need to look some more. Keep in mind that your tower will become an attached structure to your home and may come under your homeowner's policy. If something does happen where the tower is destroyed or results in damage, the insurance company may require proof that the tower was constructed properly. That is where a building permit and PE signing off can come in handy.

    N0TZU and KN4DQE like this.
  10. KN4DQE

    KN4DQE Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's interesting! I'll have to contact the city to see what they say about that!

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