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more tower falling tales

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Subject: more tower falling tales
From: (ralph h young)
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 1997 15:57:27 -0500
For those of you who have access to the Wall Street Journal: the Feb 3 paper
had a article on the front page about how what they claim was the tallest
tower in the world (2120 feet 8 inches) and how it FELL DOWN due to guy wire
failure.  They say that it was tallest structure ever built by man.  I
belive the tower was in Poland.         

Now for a "second hand" scary tale about some ham associates of mine and how
they managed to dump a tower into a three phase residential 12.47 KV line. 

A while back, on a drive though an older "upscale" neighborhood across town,
I noticed a 30 foot or so aluminum tower with a 3 el tribander in a fello'ws
side yard.  It was near enough to an over head line that from some
directions it looked like the antenna might be over the line. I'd guess that
the line was installed after the antenna.  At that time we had a loose
association of helpful hams in the area that spent a lot of time helping
other hams with various rig and antenna problems.  These folks called me one
week and asked if I could help take down an older ham's antenna.  I said
sure and told them that I'd meet them at a certain place on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning it was wet, rainy and windy so I stayed home figuring
the others would too.  Not true.  They went over and proceeded to take the
antenna down.  After surveying the scene, they decided to attach a few ropes
to the tower, break the old rusty bolts in the pins in the concrete that
served as the tower base pins and just pull the whole thing over in the
yard.  Remember - its raining while they are doing this so everything is
wet.  A number of them pull on the ropes while a man with a cold chisel
prepares to knock off the bolt heads on the bolts that go through the tower
base and the steel pins that go down into the concrete.  As I understand it,
when he hit the first one (on the power line side) that pin just falls apart
in a rusty haze and the tower starts moving towards the power line.  When
they realized what was going to happen someone yelled "let go" and away she
went.  Luckily no one still had a hold on a rope as the tower fell into the
energized line.  It rested on the line in a shower of sparks and off went
the power for the entire area as the recloser tripped.  THEN they called the
power company.  I heard that they got a good tongue lashing from the lineman
whoe showed up.  He got them to wait while he locked out the recloser and
them helped them get the tower off of the line.  Luckily for their
pocketbooks, no damage was caused to the line.  I later called my contact at
the power company (I am electrical power PE for a local chemical company)
who told me that they would have been required to pay for any repairs to the
line.  He also stated that they would have been happy to send someone out to
de-energize the line during the tower lowering!

Ralph   N4TG

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