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[TowerTalk] Tower lighting

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Tower lighting
From: (
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 18:47:33 -0400 (EDT)
In a message dated 97-06-12 15:21:15 EDT, (Lee Buller)

> Why would there ever be a need to light a ham radio tower?  

    Actually the rules are pretty specific on lighting and painting and it
has to do with distance from an airport. It doesn't have anything to do with
who the owner is and this is for obvious safety reasons. After a couple of
plane-tower collisions several years ago, the FCC was instructed to put an
emphasis on tower safety. Fines were escalated and available manpower was put
on lighting and painting enforcement (now you know where those FCC field
engineers dissappeared to). 

>Lights on a
>  tower are very expensive.  If I remember right from my broadcast
>  days; a typical flashing beacon light is very large (larger than you would
>  think) and is composed of two 620 watt light bulbs.  I think the flashing
>  figures are so big that they really wouldn't fit well on 25G...but well on
>  55G.  The bulbs are expensive.  They don't make the 115 volt bulbs
>  so you have to run 220 volts up the tower.  Typical side lights are 115
>  watts with two bulbs too.  

      The situation with Joe, WL7E, I think is a matter of obstruction lights
(OB) and not flashing beacon lights. It's when you get over 200 feet that you
need a beacon light and painting. OB lighting hardware and wiring is pretty

     All the beacon and OB lights I've ever serviced have been 120 VAC.
That's all I see from the suppliers as well. 
>  I think the rules state that on commercial towers the voltage sag from the
>  bottom to the top has to under three percent.  That means a lot of heavy
>  wire going to the top of the tower.
    I'm not familiar with this rule; is it NEC or FAA or FCC or what? Of
course it is supposed to be NEC compliant.

>  Also, the rules state that anything under 200 feet doesn't have to use
>  lights or be painted in alternate International Orange and International
>  White.  Now that might be different if your tower is in the flight pattern
>  of some airport.  The FAA will have a lot to say about that.
     That's his problem.

>  If I was going to light my tower, and I cannot figure out why anyone
>  would want to except for vanity, I would use some 12 volt tail lights you
>  could get from any auto parts store.  Use a 555 timer to flash them...and
>  done with it.  

     These toy lights are only good for the 'vanity' of the owner (and
neighbors too, I guess) and do not satisfy the FAA rules. 
>  The whole project sounds like a waist of time to me.  I really don't want
>  the neighbors to notice the tower anyway.
     "The waist you save may be your own." If the FAA deems lighting
necessary, it is not a waste of time. Lighting and painting fines start
around $10,000.00.

73,  Steve  K7LXC

     TOWER TECH -- professional tower supplies for amateurs

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