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[TowerTalk] Phillystran vs EHS Summary

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Phillystran vs EHS Summary
From: (Richard L. King)
Date: Wed, 04 Jun 1997 16:28:46
This summary is very long. Stop now if your aren't interested in tower
guying using Phillystran, fiberglass, aircraft cable, or strategies about
breaking up metal guywire.

I got many good suggestions and some agreement about the outrageous price
of the Phillystran. Here is  the original question followed by an edited
summary of the responses:


I have started the process of rebuilding my station here at the new QTH in
Texas and I did some investigating that other Towertalkans might be
interested in. 

One of the changes to my new station that I wanted to make was to use
Phillystran instead of EHS Steel Guywire. I have always heard that a
Phillystran system would cost a little more, but not a lot more than the
EHS guywire because of the cost of breaking the EHS up with insulators.
That the ease of using Phillystran made the extra cost worthwhile. So I did
the math and was surprised at my findings.

The Phillystran was much, much more expensive per tower. I calculated the
lengths necessary for a single 197 foot tower. The tower will be guyed at 6
places. The first guyanchor will be at 75 feet from the base for the first
three guys and the second guyanchor for the top three guys will be 150 feet
from the base.

For prices, I went to the last issue that Texas Towers had listed tower
hardware. That issue was the February, 1997 issue and I noticed that the
prices had a healthy increase from the January, 1997 issue. I priced 1/4
inch EHS, 1/4 inch big grips, 502 insulators, 6700# Phillystran, big grips
for the 6700# Phillystran. I DID NOT price guy anchors, distribution
plates, turnbuckles, tower, and other stuff that would be common to either
an EHS or Phillystran guywire installation. Here are the numbers.

For an ALL EHS guy sustem with insulators broken up every 75 feet.

EHS Cable = 3000 feet X $.19 = $570.00
Big grips = 96 total X $4.95 = $475.20
502 Insulators = 48 total X $5.50 = $264.00
TOTAL for EHS guyed 197 foot tower = $1309.20

For a Phillystran guy system (with some EHS at each end)
Phillystran Cable = 2400 feet X $1.15 = $2760.00
Big grips for Philly = 36 total X $10.95 = $394.20
EHS cable = 540 feet X $.19 = $102.60
EHS big grips = 36 total X $4.95 = $178.20
502 Insulators = 36 total X $5.50 = $198.00
TOTAL for Phillystran guyed 197 foot tower = $3633.00

So the guying for this one tower would be $2323.80 MORE, per tower, than
the EHS plan. I decided to do one more calculation to see what the cost
would be for EHS guying, but breaking up the guy sections every 25 feet
instead of 75 feet. Here are those numbers:

For an ALL EHS guy system with insulators broken up every 25 feet.

EHS cable = 3000 feet X $.19 = $570.00
EHS big grips = 240 total X $4.95 = $1188.00
502 insulators = 120 total X $5.50 = $660.00
TOTAL for an ALL EHS tower broken up at 25 feet = $2418.00

The Phillystran guyed tower is still $1215 MORE than this tower. Since I
planned to do about four of these towers plus some Phillstran guyed
tower/verticals, I would spend over $10,000 EXTRA for the privilege to use
Phillystran. I think not. It is too expensive for me.

Comments? Anyone want to tell me why I should spend so much more money on
Phillystran? I am open to arguments for and against.

73, Richard


WE9V said:

If you haven't already, you should check out the article Lew, K4VX, wrote
about NOT breaking up the guys at all.  It was in QST, early 90's.
Maybe '91 or '92.

He showed that the degredation was negligible or an acceptable comprimise.

Also, I think Brian Beezley has a AO type program called GUY.  Haven't
used it, but it could be useful and save some money.  I see that's it's
included with AO and says:

>               The GUY.EXE utility makes it easy to investigate the
>       effect of guy wires on antenna systems with the AO Antenna
>       Optimizer or NEC/Wires.
>               GUY lets you specify guy-wire geometry in simple terms
>       like attachment height, anchor distance, insulated-section
>       length, etc.  It then generates a file containing AO wire lines
>       for all guy-wire sections.

No insulators can turn this:

>EHS Cable = 3000 feet X $.19 = $570.00
>Big grips = 96 total X $4.95 = $475.20
>502 Insulators = 48 total X $5.50 = $264.00
>TOTAL for EHS guyed 197 foot tower = $1309.20

Into $748.20     MUCH better!


N4OO said:

The guys who wrote" Economic Analysis Of Alternatives" would be proud of
you. I did the same analysis for my more modest 70 ft towers and came to the
same conclusions. In my case, I could certainly afford the Philly, but
danged if I am going to pay that much extra.


W0UN said:

Check with Paul, KS9K (now W9JA).  He is using fiberglass rod (as is
W3LPL) (and I am, in some places as well as Phillystran).  Prices work out

KS9K Paul Hellenberg <>

His new address may be


ZL1ANJ said:

I have some friends in Finland who have rotating towers of
similar height.  I understand they use steel cable without
any insulators and get good results- this would be a big
saving if it is feasible.

I have forwarded your message for comment to OH5TB and OH5BM,
and will advise you if they have any comments.

     ** K5NA's note - I haven't heard from these gentlemen yet, but their
                      observations could be very interesting. **


W7GG said:

ehs or aircraft cable (acc better im my opinion cuz its much easier to wk
definitly cheaper.   i just did a phillstran tower and sure enjoyed the
ease of
wking with the stuff and the electrical transparency of it but i don't
think it
is a markedly better guy material...always used aircraft cable which agn in
opinion is a lot easier to wk with than ehs........installing  all  those
eggs is very time
sonsuming and hard on the hands but very doable........ but they do provide
failure points in ur guy system.......guy wires will pull thru the eggs and
the cable
clamps if caught by a vehicle like a delivery truck.....seen it happen.
the way arn that 
is to use nicopress fittings but of course they drive the costs up!!

u cud argue that philly not as good in that it will burn/melt and can be
cut with 
a shorty knife ....u shud use wire near the ground or over any structures
cud catch fire.

73 w7gg


NO9Z said:

I came to the same conclusion pretty quickly as well.  Since I had the ehs
already, it came to about $800 difference on a smaller tower.  Who is putting
out the rumor that its just a little more expensive??   Must be Texas Towers
since they are the only distributer !!


KL7RA said:

Just a note to offer a third option. I also found the cost of
Philly to far exceed steel. However a mix might be the answer.

For example I drew my 150 footer on paper and placed the second
antenna at 77 feet. I drew in the guys. Then I erased a large area
above and below the bottom antenna.  This I made philly. As it
turns out I used philly for the top guys until is passes the bottom
antenna's view for a distance then switch to steel broken with guy
grips and Johnny balls. The second guy down also does the same
thing. The third and forth are all steel (broken into 27 foot
lengths as they are below the low antenna.

I did the same thing for the 190 footers and 10 and 15 stacks on
125 footers.

I had to use all Philly on a tower with 4/4/4/4 for obvious
reasons. I also used all Philly on a 135 foot Rohn 25 used as a
vertical for 160.

All my Philly switches to steel before it hits the ground and a lot
of it has been up for 11 winters at 60 below zero. I have all
versions and sizes using potted, guy grip, or clamps ends.

I used guy grips with the steel even though the cost per 27 foot
section was higher as U clamps are a pain.

I ran some tests in the 80's using solid steel guy runs after
hearing it didn't matter and found the swr would shift as I moved
the antenna. Also I think today its agreed it does matter. I'm not
sure anyone but the RF god could say how much. The way I look at it
you take a perfect Yagi at 100 feet and ruin it by having to attach
it to a tower let alone guys running everywhere.

One last note: I ordered Philly from Texas Tower and they sent me
one size down from what I ordered and paid for. I had bought all of
the sizes through the years and had samples to prove their error.
The problem is Philly robe co. keep changing the design of the
outer covering and it was a problem to straighten out. 


AA1K said:

Phillystran was a great choice when I bought it in 1978, putting up my first
tower in Connecticut. It was 27/cents a foot, sold only factory direct. Then
they added the middlemen and the price skyrocketed. Now just one middleman
(Texas Towers) and it's a seller's market.

I'd stick with steel too!


N4ZR said:

For whatever it's worth,  I partially emulated K4VX in my 100-foot "baby"
tower installation.  The top guys have fiberglass power pole insulators as
the first 21 feet (out from the tower), but are continuous the rest of the
way and grounded at their outer ends.  The middle and bottom guys are
insulated from the tower right at the tower, and then are continuous and
grounded at their outer ends.  I was urged to do this insulation bit to
preserve the ability to shunt-feed the tower

My modeling shows only a little current on the guys from the 10-40 meter
radiators on top of the tower, and an acceptably low amount from my
80-meter K3LR lazy-vee array, which is quite close to and fairly parallel
with the guys. Note, however, that they are not resonant lengths on 80. The
real-world antennas confirm the model, as far as I can tell.  But here's
the bad news -- when I model a 2-high stack with the lower yagi inside the
top guys, the pattern goes almost omnidirectional, and the guy-wire
currents are pretty high.  The modeling suggests that I better plan on
Phillystran for the top guys and probably move the power-pole insulators
down to the second set.

I think the moral is that K4VX's data, while persuasive for his single test
case, are risky to generalize.  Modeling is certainly a good idea, with
your particular combination of tower, antennas and guys!

PS  It's quite easy, with EZNEC, to place guys accurately by rotating
carefully in the horizontal and vertical planes, then "trimming" to length.
 The GUY utility would have made life easier, though.


K4UU said:

Hi Richard, you might want to look at using a combination of EHS and
I have seen several installations that use Phylly from the tower down
about half
and then connect it to EHS going to the anchors.  This makes lots of
sense to me
because Phylly is very easy to nick and break, or cut or burn.  Having
the EHS down
on the ground level gives you alittle added security.  Only a thought,
but worth thinking about.  


W0AW said:

It has been a while since I priced the Phillystran and am surprised at the
increase in cost.  I don't have a tower anywhere near your height.  I put
up 100 feet of 25G with the Rohn torque arm arrangement at the top (6
guys).   The top six guys were made up of Phillystran (4000 lb) with 1/4
inch EHS for the lower 13-15 feet.  The lower two guy sets 33 & 66 foot
level were 1/4 EHS, broken up at 13 foot intervals.  The reason for the 13
foot intervals was to eliminate resonance anywhere in the Ham bands.  This
data is available in any of the ARRL antenna handbooks.  When I priced the
guys figuring 13 foot intervals, 502 insulators, 3 cable clamps either side
of the insulators, thimbles at the ends, etc., the Phillystran (with 1/4
inch EHS trailers at the guy anchor points, big end grips, etc.) was going
to run about $200 more than an EHS installation.  As I already had a supply
of EHS & insulators I chose to use Phillystran on the upper suy sets and
EHS on the lower two sets.  After building the 13 foot length sections of
1/4 EHS for the lower two guy sets I was looking forward to seeing if the
"stran" was worth the difference.  The time saving alone and ease of
installation was enough to convince me!  Serving the ends of the EHS is a
pain in the %^^#@*!!!  The stran was a piece of cake to install.  After
three years in service I am satisfied that it is a solid product that I can
depend on.  It has survived the howling Minnesota winter winds, ice & snow
that mother nature deal those of us who live in the "North Country".  If I
had it to do over again I would have gone Phillystran for the entire tower.
I plan to add a 15M monobander just above the 2nd guy set at 68 feet and
hope that I don't have any problems with guy wire interaction.  I doubt
that I will as they are broken up into such short sections.  Regardless of
the outcome, I plan to replace the lower tow guy sets next year with
Phillystran.  The choice is yours and given that your are installing four
of those monster towers cost would certainly be a big factor.  If you plan
to install antennas at various heights on the towers, I would give serious
consideration to breaking up the EHS guys into shorter intervals to
eliminate any resonances within the Ham bands.  In the end it becomes a
tradeoff, cost vs ease of installation.  If you go the EHS route, better
have an army of friends to help build the 13 foot sections.  Good luck in
your installation!


K9SD said:

I also thought the price of Phillystran was rather high so I elected to
make the first 50 foot of each guy wire Phillystran.  This should
have no effect on any antennas which are side mounted.

I got the idea from this reflector...

Still the price of guying a couple of 120 footers is very high.  I bought
a box 505 of insulators from Porcelan products for $3.70 each.  They are
sold in boxes of 50.

I bought a box of 100 3/16 ehs guy grips from Preformed Line Products for
something like $3 each.  I bought the guy wire at Dayton and the tower
is both new and used.

I used 6 inch pipe 13 foot long and buried it 7 feet with the top of the
hole 3x3 and the remaining 4 foot was a hole 16 inches wide and filled it with

I bought some turnbuckles at Dayton for $5 each and the rest from
Mc Master Carr for 18.50 each.

I bought guy equalizers from Hill Radio in Bloomington Il.

I bought the new Rohn bolts from Hill radio for $2 a set...which is
six bolts.

I bought (3) used KT34xa for $200 each with another $40 for the
up-grade kit.

The chrome molly masts 24 foot long were bought in STL. and galvinized
for a total cost of $250 per mast.

This is a run down of what I have been doing for the last year.  I hope
this helps someone. In the mean time I finished off the basement poured
a driveway and had a back operation...

The towers are just barely started and hope to be on for the HF Championships
in July...

This doesn't include rotators/side mounts ....I must say this is a large
outlay for a modest station...


WB4HYP said:

I tried to get some conversation going on using ferrite beads to break up 
guys RF wise  but  no one 
was interested I guess.  Seems  to me to be a much less costly and 
mechanically  simpler 
if  it  would work.


N4TZ/9 said:

Dave Hand, WB4HYP, has asked about using ferrite beads to break up
guys for RF and whether it would be a) much less costly and b) mechanically

It seems to me that it would not be either a or b.  The cost of beads that
fit over 1/4 EHS would be about a $1 per bead and a number of beads would
be required at each location to give adequate loss.  (Think of a W2DU balun
in place of each insulator!)..  Also, keeping the beads in place may be
a problem over time....


WB4HYP replied:

>From the numbers I have seen posted here  the cost of grips and 
insulators  seems to  be about  $15  per  segment .  So, I am  still not 
convinced that beads bought in bulk  might not be cost effective,
I can think of  several  ways to hold them in place ....
A little dab of  silicon goop would I am sure hold 'em.

The  real question is would it be effective????


K6NA said:

I am happy you published the comparison on guy methods, I think the general
rush to Phyllistran frankly is way overrated.

You will get lots of responses ..... 
but here is my direct empirical experience.  If you are
going to stack antennas on any of the three high bands on that big tower you
describe, you absolutely do need to break up the guys in smaller pieces.
However, far out from the tower-- say, beyond 60 ft or so-- you probably
need fewer insulators, if any.

In close, I would put an insulator every 9 ft, otherwise there will be
significant current on the longer wires from the 10m radiators.  I
originally had 28 ft sections like the book (and even W2PV ) said, and my
lower 20 absolutely did not work or stack correctly. Those 28 ft pieces were
like inefficient directors.  I added insulators every 9 ft, on the first 40
or 50 ft of wire, and then it all worked correctly.  K6STI was inspired to
write his guy modelling program after I related my anectdote to him many
years ago.  Beyond about 50 ft or so my guess is you don't need any
insulators at all, unless you have low-band vertical arrays in the vicinity
where the wires come close to the ground. Then you should probably break
them up, but much longer lengths (thus less insulators) would be acceptable
in that area because of the low frequencies involved.

Regarding cost and convenience factors, if you have time you should
investigate another method.  That is, galvanized aircraft cable (not EHS),
insulators, and Nicopress sleeves.  Check in Galveston at a marine rigging
supply place for the cable and sleeves.  You may find a combination that is
really cost effective.  In boxes of 100, I would guess quarter-inch Nico
sleeves are way under a dollar each.  With only two at each insulator, this
seems much, much cheaper than using wrap-on grips.  With as much work as you
have to do, the cost of a Nico tool is easily justified.  My entire system
is Nicopressed.  I do not use EHS or wrap-ons at all.


W3LPL said:

I'm forwarding ur queries **(about fiberglass rod)** to K3MM who made our
bulk purchase.
We used 3/8" material and its strength is about 12,000 pounds.
It is shipped in spools of aprox 8 foot diameter (not reels, but just
fiberglas rod wound into a spool.
Preform Line Products makes grips, and they are aprox $10 each
For aprox 13,000 ft the price was 1/2 the price of Phillystran
Yes, two people can handle it comfortably
It is much lighter than steel, and probably heavier than Phillystran.


K3MM said:

  ** questions about using fiberblass rod **

> What is the strength of the it?

approx. 13,000 lbs tensile strength for...

> What is its physical size?

3/8" diameter

> Is it shipped on large spools?

No, it's shipped as a "loose"  coil of 6 to 8 feet in diameter and
weight is about 1 lb per 10 feet.

> What is the price?

I have no idea what they are getting for it... it depends on quantity,
etc.  We bought over 25,000  feet a couple years ago and got it for
about 34 cents a foot plus a few cents a foot shipping by truck.

I've been selling off the little I have leftover for 50 cents a foot.
I'm down to my last 2000' and I think it's all more than spoken for...

> Where do you get it?

Polygon Corp in Walkerton, IN.
The general model number is PGP504, but that's just for the particular
material.  They can make it any color and many sizes.

I dont have the number handy, but send me email at
and I'll dig it up if you need it.

> How about the special big grips that are used on it?

Preformed Line Product makes a GLAS-GRIP just for fiberglass.  They 
are about $10 each for 3/8"

> Can one person and a tough lady unroll it safely?

Yes, I'd say so...  make sure you wear gloves and long sleeves as this
stuff does have splinters, and glass splinters are no fun!

> What is its weight compared to Phillystran?
Probably somewhat heavier, but not sure.

Frank forwarded this to me, so I'm sending you the answers...


KB1H said:

What I have done to keep costs lower was to use phillystrand on the guys
for about the first 50' from the tower. This keeps the plane below all
antennas on the tower to be free of ehs wire.  I felt if I could keep the
vertical plane below the largest antennas on the tower free of EHS I would
be doing some good. I think a figure of about 35 -40% of the total length
can accomplish this depending on total lenght.. 

 My guys are only 90' out of a 120' tower so I can get by with
approximately 40-50 feet of phillystrand. I did not break the remaining
guys up so they are 40-65 feet long.

I have visited a few of the local stations like K1KI, K1EA, etc., What I
determined was of course if money is not an object then only the best
should be done, et al K1EA. But if you have your limits there are
compromises. Though carefully engineered systems work like a charm, I
see systems that are against the policies of stacking like antennas,
feedline matching, etc. and these stations still make big scores. K1DW
who will soon be leaving here for Louisanna has put it best.."put your
money in the air". I will be stacking unlike beams this year because
that is what I have on-hand right now. Plans are to change to like beams
but this has been an expensive year with raising my Rohn 45 another 30'
and then putting up a third tower which is 90' of 45. The new tower was
given to me but it has cost me over $1000 for the accessories such as
bolts, torsion assemblies, anchors, EHS, on and on and on...


W9RE said:

Hi Richard,

I am doing some changes here and kinda of came up with the same idea.
PHillystran is just too, too expensive.  Is it because Texas Towers is the
lone distributor? 

If you use steel guys, I recommend you use "Alumoweld" guy wire and grips.
I have some EHS guys that are in bad shape rust wise.  The 'alumowled' is
aluminum coated steel.  It is used by utility companies and just lasts a lot
longer.  I have some that has been up over 20 years and it looks like new.

Did you catch the thread on semi-rigid fiberglass guying like W3LPL is
using?  I am getting a 1000' roll here in a couple weeks.  At the 5000'
level it is about $.50 per foot for #13,000 stuff.  Less than half of
Phillystran.  The manufacture is located in northern Indiana.


That's all the responses I have gotten to date. Thanks to all who took the
time to share their experiences and opinions.

73, Richard

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