Since I received requests from several people about details of the tower
winch I use, I will post this to the reflector. Hope it helps.
The particular winch I purchased for tower work about 16 years ago is a
Model DL2500 built by Dutton-Lainson Company, Hastings, Nebraska 68901. In
the '96 Grainger catalog the D.L. winches are on page 1947. Looks like the
DL2500 is now called a DL2500B, Grainger part# 2Z603, price class $100.
This is a two-speed ratchet-type hand winch with a 2500-pound load rating.
You just snap the handle on to one of two input shafts to select the gear
ratio you want (5.5:1, or 17:1). In my opinion, this is a very rugged,
well-made winch. Beware of cheap (a ham's favorite word?!), stamped-metal
boat winches built offshore and sold at the corner store. They are for boat
trailers, not serious tower work!
I notice they show a safety disclaimer that "ratchet-type winches are not to
be used for lifting". They recommend automatic-brake, or worm-type, for
that. I make no suggestion one way or the other.
Drum capacity is 140 feet of three-sixteenths inch wire rope. I use 1/8
inch galvanized aircraft cable (1 x 19 construction), with a rating of 2100
pounds. The drum holds about 325 feet of this size cable if you pay
attention to close, level-winding. I Nico-pressed a thimble on the end,
after first slipping a rated wire-rope sheave onto the cable. Thus the
sheave always stays with the system.
I mounted the winch on a 3/16 -inch thick steel plate about 8 inches high,
and wide enough to accomodate U-bolts for whatever tower face you plan to
attach it to. You must mount the winch on the plate near the right-hand
tower leg in order for the handle to just turn past the tower leg. You can
drill extra sets of holes along the left-hand edge of the plate to
accomodate different tower face-widths. That way you can get yourself
invited to all the antenna parties in your area, in case you are feeling
Using this winch, my 300-pound forty meter beam was easy to lift straight
up, while cranking with one hand. Also, with 325 feet of 1/8 -inch cable, it
is long enough to reach the sheave at the top of my 140-foot tower, and
reach back down to the launch-point for an antenna coming up a tramwire system.
When I visited W7KW 20 years ago, I saw that Bill had modified a hand-winch
to add a large capacity drum. He took the winch to a metal-fab shop where
they cut the flanges off the existing drum, and reattached them to a 12- or
16-inch wide cylindrical drum on a new frame. It wasn't pretty but it
looked like it would hold 300-400 feet of 3/16 or 1/4-inch cable. If you
prefer large cable, maybe that's an option for some people.
Naturally, I disclaim any warranty of suitability for any of these ideas
73, Glenn K6NA
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