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[TowerTalk] Climbing alone ?

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Climbing alone ?
From: \"Dick Green\"."< ("Dick Green".)
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 20:00:59 -0500
>> I've always been curious, how does one put a tower up by themselves. I'm
>> genuily curiouse as its difficult to get help with my projects.
>1.  You get in very good shape.
>2.  You go up and down the tower A LOT.

Bill, W4AN, brings up an interesting subject: the physical fitness aspect of
tower and antenna work.

I never would have imagined the sheer physical effort that would be required
to build my antenna farm this year. All I did was put in a motorized
rotating tubular crankup with a TH7 (1000 lb combined weight), an 80M
inverted vee 60 feet up, relocated a GAP Titan multiband vertical, and did
about 2/3 of the work for a 40M 4-square. I had professional contractors
clear an acre of land, dig and pour the tower base, unload/transport/erect
the tower, dig a 250' long 4' deep trench, and install three runs of PVC
conduit (1", 2", and 4"). Four buddies from the local club helped me attach
the TH7 to the tower.

Even with all that help, I ended up losing the last of my excess weight and
getting into the best shape I've been in for six years (uh, since I got
married, come to think of it...) OK, I was already on a low-fat diet to lose
some weight, but the tower work got so intense that I overshot my weight
goal by seven pounds (after having lost about 35). I actually had to start
eating significantly more to compensate for the additional energy

The tower site is 250' from the house, down a steep hill that drops about
35' in elevation. I probably ran up and down that hill several hundred times
this summer (sort of the equivalent of having to climb up and down the tower
a lot.) I spent days raking debris after the land was cleared, lugged a lot
of heavy parts and equipment up and down that hill, loosened and tightened
heavy nylon aircraft nuts dozens and dozens of times while troubleshoooting
rotation problems with the tower, horsed around the massive steel rotor
plate (with T2X rotor attached), installed and removed the 75 lb tower winch
mechanism (after carrying it up/down the hill) numerous times, winched the
tower up and down and up and down and up and down..., pulled a dozen cables
through the conduit, fabricating two steel termination boxes with massive
lightning protection, pounded in a dozen 8' ground rods and cadwelded them
to long runs of 1/0 wire (which comes on a big heavy spool), dug four 3-foot
deep holes with a post-hole digger (come experience the rocky soil of NH if
you think that's easy), etc., etc., etc. And I'm only touching on the high

I should mention that part of the intensity was the race against time to get
it all done before the snow flew (meaning no more antenna work for six
months), and before the big fall contests.

I know a lot of you have done much more than this on your projects (like
digging your own base holes and trenches with a teaspoon and mixing sacrete
in a measuring cup), and I didn't even have to climb the tower. However, I
really felt the physical demands and stress of the job, and I'm probably in
better-than-average condition (I like to climb steep mountains, not towers,
for fun.) Even a tubular crankup can be dangerous to work on, and several
times I was acutely aware of how the danger increased after a full day of
heavy physical work. Remember that the mind gets tired along with the body.

One unexpected consequence was that my hands and arms, especially on the
right (dominant) side, were unbelievably sore for weeks after the project
was over. For a while, I couldn't close my right fist even lightly without
wincing. Most of that was just from gripping tool handles tightly.

My advice is to think through *all* of the many steps required for your
installation well in advance and make sure that you are physically capable
and leave plenty of time to do them. If you have any doubts, get out there
and recruit some help.

73, Dick, WC1M

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