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[TowerTalk] Phillystran vs EHS Summary

To: <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] Phillystran vs EHS Summary
From: (Bob Wruble)
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 1997 17:20:16 -0700
Nice summary, rich....i will archive it for the future......i think the
reason philly is so expensive is that they have no competition and
i bet their liability insurance costs are outa sight......lots of philly 
in commercial installations....

last time i checked Texas Tower the only can buy
it direct from phillystran but that want to sell u a distributors quanity
on ur initial order $10-15k worth!!   neat stuff bur really hard to justify
at current pricing.....they need competition and then watch the pricing.

> From: Richard L. King <>
> To:
> Subject: [TowerTalk] Phillystran vs EHS Summary
To: <>
> Date: Wednesday, June 04, 1997 9:28 AM
> 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
> better.
> 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
> with)
> 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
> my 
> 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
> more
> 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
> that 
> 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
> Phylly.
> 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
> concrete.
> 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
> simpler.
> 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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