This year I am completely redoing all of my antennas; that includes re-cabling
I have re-cabled them before (while in the vertical position) without issue.
I have always used crank-ups – well, at least since 1967; prior to that I used
I always use lots of safety precautions: I always lower the tower almost all
the way and
then I use steel angle iron and/or a 2x4 at the base of the crank-up
I double check the cables to confirm that they are slack, meaning that the
section is being
supported by the blocking mechanism I installed. I always have a spotter, just
And, I remove my wedding ring before putting on my workman’s gloves.
Yesterday, I was working on the tower nearest to the house. My plan was to
cabling on the inner-most section (the others having been already replaced at
the end of
I lowered the tower, I “blocked” the bottom of the section, I lowered it a bit
confirmed slack on all the cables. I had already removed my ring; it was
sitting on the
kitchen window sill.
A couple weeks ago at work, I had slipped on a water spill and did a split on
My right leg and hip still are not feeling great, so I instead of just climbing
which is all zigzags at an angle, no horizontal rods to stand on, I used a
My wife was my spotter.
First, I removed the bolt holding the bottom of the cable from the tower. It
but came out surprisingly easily; I didn’t even use liquid wrench. And, the
cable was now
I went up the ladder. I noticed something weird. A little 99 cent carabineer
that was used
hold a pulley (for wire antennas) seemed to be in funny position. I tried to
move it, but it
was frozen in place and for no obvious reason. Gee, that’s weird, I thought.
to move it, but I couldn’t. That was bizarre. So I yanked on it (don’t ask me
why I was
so concerned with it, I don’t know). And then it happened.
The next thing I know, the inner section is telescoping down. I am watching
flash by as if illuminated by a strobe light. Then it stops. My left hand is
in a lot of pain.
I yell down, “I need help,” but I have no idea what is wrong yet or what can be
resolve it. I look around at the tower, trying to figure everything out. I
see my left hand
in-between sections. I notice that the pulley is now wedged in between
sections and realize
that it is holding the inner-most section “up.” I am not sure exactly what
but I think that I used my right hand to pull the inner section up enough to
left hand. I could never have normally done that with one hand.
Anyhow, my left hand is now free and I am leaning against the tower. My left
hand is in
lots of pain. A quick look confirms that my hand is still attached to my arm
and it appears
that all of my fingers are also still there. My wife is asking what she can
do. I know that
she can’t do anything to get me down, so I tell her to get lots of ice. She
says she will as
soon as I get down.
I don’t know how long I was on the tower after that, but I knew that I really
GET DOWN NOW. So I mentally make the decision to JUST GET DOWN and to ignore
any pain that might occur on the way down. I “test” my left hand and I see my
fingers move. Good enough.
I start the descent. When I reach the ground, I am soaking wet with sweat (air
around 60F). My face and head feel like I just got out of the shower. The
pouring off of me in streams. Then, instantly, I find my hand covered in ice,
strangely feels really good.
I go inside and sit for a while. I do some inspection. My right hand is “cut
up” a bit,
but not much. My left hand has no skin abrasions at all; but the entire hand
puffy and I have lots of pain at the base of my thumb and most of my index
but my entire hand feels “crushed.” I sit there and I notice that I am shaking
The ice is working well and the pain is quickly being masked. We rush off to
X-rays. Two hours later (it took 8 minutes to get there) and I am happy to
only one small bone (end of index finger) is broken (crushed). My left hand is
and I can see areas of internal hemorrhage through the skin. My wife drives me
and I contemplate, “How am I going to get these antennas up in time now?”
As I sit at home, looking at five (5) fully assembled antennas strew about the
I start thinking about everything. I get up and check the “house” tower. I
to “block” in the inner-most section. I was able to “confirm” that is was okay
work on because the cable was slack, but now it is clear that the 99 cent
was doing all of the holding.
I am very happy that I remembered to take my wedding ring off or I’d probably
at least one finger. I am very lucky that my hand is still attached. I am
lucky that the
pulley wedged where it did, when it did or things might be a lot worse. I am
that used a ladder (I HATE using a ladder) or I might not have feet or toes
now. I am l
ucky that I found the strength to lift up an entire steel section of tower with
I am lucky that only one tiny bone is broken. I am lucky to have been lucky.
Now, let’s see how much antenna work I can get today!
de Doug KR2Q
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