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Insulated Guys

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Subject: Insulated Guys
From: (Stan Griffiths)
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 1996 16:35:08 -0700 (PDT)
>Does anyone out there have any experience with compression fittings
>for making up guys? I know the tool is about $250 but the fittings
>are much cheaper than either clamps or preforms. Seems like a good
>investment for a club that does a lot of tower work. Perhaps the
>tool could be rented even. I think one of the trade names is Nicopress.
>The fittings come in several different materials depending on usage.
>73, Roger, AD1G

Hi Roger,

Yes, I have had some experience with "Nicopress" fittings.  I like them.  I
bought one of the crimping tools several years ago.  Here are a few things I
learned about Nicropress fittings:

1.  They are smaller and more streamlined than conventional U and saddle
cable clamps.  This means that when you are installing an antenna and the
elements are scraping across your guy wires, they do not have nearly the
tendency to get "hung up" on egg insulators etc.

2.  Seems to me the cost of one Nicopress fitting is about equal to the cost
of two cable clamps.

3.  I used these fittings on 3/16 inch wire rope and each one was crimped
four times with the tool.  The place that sold them to me assured me that
EACH CRIMP was as strong as one wire rope clip (cable clamp).

4.  I noted that the fittings were made of copper which I know to be a soft
metal compared to steel so I questioned their strength.  I was told the
crimping process was "cold working" the copper and it becomes much harder
after the crimp.  More important was the fact that these very fittings are
often used when rigging large cranes and cables used in the logging
industry.  That fact told me a lot, right there.  Take a look at the next
big industrial crane you see and look at what they fastened the cables with.

5.  The tool was kind of expensive.  About $150 10 years ago.  Probably $250
now which means I haven't lost a dime on mine yet, since, even used, it is
probably still worth $150.  Yes, I could probably make money on it if I was
willing to rent it out.

6.  My crimping tool looks like a large bolt cutter and will handle
Nicopress fittings for 4 different sizes of cable: 3/16" and smaller.  I
wish it handled 1/4 inch cable too, but it doesn't.  That is a different
crimping tool.  Darn.

7.  Unlike conventional cable clamps, Nicopress fittings do not have to be
periodically tightened.  Once installed, they are permanent and never come
loose.  This also means they are not re-usable.  (Hey, you are never
supposed to re-use regular cable clamps either, but who ever pays any
attention to THAT rule!!)

By the way, did you know that conventional cable clamps tend to form around
the cable they are clamping after a couple of years and need to be
retightened?  I found this out when a large truck backed down my driveway
one day when I wasn't home and quite easily pulled a guy wire right through
two clamps and off my tower.  I would have expected the tower to come down
first.  Well, this initiated a large cable clamp tightening project since
that tower is 115 feet high, has guys three ways at four levels and they are
all broken up with insulators every 20 feet.  That means SEVERAL HUNDRED
clamps to retighten and each guy has to be done by taking it loose at the
anchor and bringing it into the tower so I could reach every clamp.  You
never have to do this with Nicopress fittings.

So there you have my two cents worth.


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