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[TowerTalk] Re: Tram

To: <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] Re: Tram
From: (Fred Hopengarten)
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 14:43:05 EDT
Fred Hopengarten  K1VR               781/259-0088
Six Willarch Road
Lincoln, MA 01773-5105
permanent e-mail address:

I haven't had the chance to edit the following collection of stuff on how
to tram, but here it is, unedited.

On Sun, 26 Apr 1998 09:26:17 -0500 Larry Burke <> writes:
>On a tower-related topic (I have to vindicate myself!)... sure have
>appreciated the info (particularly the archives) on such things as how 
>to tram,


>Does anyone know of any articles on using a trolley-cable
system to put up a beam? We're thinking of using it for a 3-el 40 meter

Hi, Zack --

     You've got the right idea but the wrong technique.  The
"trolley" or "railroad track" is where you have two ropes or cables and
antenna sits on top of them.  There's a lot of friction in this type of
system as well as antennas bouncing around, etc.

      I use a tramming system for about 95% of my antenna installs. 
work with guyed towers, trees, etc.  In a nutshell, you have a tram wire
attached to the top of the tower and the antenna is slung UNDER the tram
wire on an upsidedown pulley.  The haul rope goes through a snatch block
the bottom of the tower, up through a pulley at the point of tram wire
attachment and down to the load.  When you pull the haul line, the load
the pulley goes up the tramline.  It takes about 1-2 hours to rig it but
only about 10 minutes to run the antenna up.

      Another advantage is that you can run the antenna
partially up the wire and test it in the air.  It only takes a couple of
minutes to drop it down and retune it and run it up again to verify your

There are a couple of subtleties such as tag line management and two-step
lifts that are also involved.

    BTW, I have a copy of an article I wrote on antenna
erection that includes diagrams of the tram rigging system.  If you're
interested in a copy, send me an SASE or your postal address.

73,  Steve   K7LXC
To: <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 1996
Subject: Re: Antenna Erection

In a message dated 96-06-19 16:21:40 EDT, you write:
>  Sounds like just what I need to put up a 4 EL DX Eng. 20M monobander
(40' boom).  I  had planned to use a tram type line attached to the mast
about 5 feet above where the beam will be bolted to the mast.  This
compensate for the distance between the tram line and the boom (lifting
sling and pulley distance).  The mast is only 2" x .250 wall so I had
planned to back guy the mast at the same point that the tram line is
attached thus preventing bending the mast from the weight of the antenna.
What material do you use for the tram line?  I was thinking of 3/16" guy
line, but would you trust 1/8"?

Hi, Gary --

    Be sure to backguy that thing!  Actually I would be hesitant about
going that high up the mast in the first place.  My suggestion is to tram
this big antenna up right at the top of the tower; hang it by the bridle
the tower or lower mast; remove the tram apparatus; NOW re-rig the haul
pulley and haul line up the mast (3 or 4 wraps of a nylon sling choker
a great job); now pull it up into place.  The second lift is dead
and puts no sidepull on the mast.  It only takes a  little bit longer
just tramming it but it's a lot safer for your mast.

    As far as the size of the tramline wire, I suggest using 1/8 inch
galvanized wire rope or aircraft stainless steel.  Anything smaller is
to get cable clamps for and the safe working load of it (200 pounds for
galvanized) makes it reasonable for ham antenna tram loads.  It's also
easy to work with unlike stiff EHS.

73 and good luck,  Steve   K7LXC

A small refinement, with credit to W9LT (or at least he showed it to me).

Rig a short "tiller" of fairly strong aluminum tubing about 3 feet long,
with one end attached to the boom, perpendicular to it and directly under
the tram wire.  Attach another pulley to the "tiller", also riding on the
tram line.  That way, the beam being raised can't rotate in the
plane, nor can it rotate around the axis of the boom.  Takes all the
excitement out of getting the ends of the elements past the guy wires.

73, Pete Smith N4ZR

I put a heavy eyebolt through the top of the mast, and also hung a pulley
at the same level... the top of the mast is 5' above the tower and the
clamps to the mast 1' above the the tower...I ran 3/16 EHS as a tram
from the front anchor point at ground level (a BIG tree in my case)  270'
from the base of the tower, up to the top of the mast, then through the
eyebolt and back down to the back anchor at ground level, 90' the
side of the tower base... do not clamp the tram line to the eyebolt,
it to creep back and forth through the eye under load to minimize the
forces applied to the mast... DO NOT use rope for the tram line, as it
too much stretch, and the tensile load involved when the beam is at the
point is greater than you think ( assume that it is 10 times the weight
do not make the tram line too steep, the flatter the better... 1.5 times
the height of the tower is a minimum distance for the front anchor... the
back anchor can be closer...  anchor points can be trees, ground augers,
trailer hitches on a car/truck, etc...

Then a pulley is installed to roll along the tram line, to act as the
and a pull rope is tied to the car and run to the top of the tower,
the pulley hanging from the eyebolt, and back down to ground level to a
snatch point (about 60' from the tower base in my case) then through
another pulley at this snatch point so that you are pulling horizontally,
when raising the beam... do not tie the pull rope to the beam, you are
pulling the car, and the beam is a passenger only, and hangs straight
from the car... I used my tractor to do the pulling... watch out for
getting snagged so you don't snap the pull line or damage the tower...
pull rope is braided dacron, not twisted nylon...

The beam is suspended from the car with a rope fall (block and tackle),
is adjusted so that the beam is hanging down the same distance that the
upper pulley is above the tower... The rope fall travels with the beam
the end of the rope fall has to be in reach of the tower crew when the
is at the top, so they can raise or lower the beam during the
installation... (I am raising beams too heavy to be grabbed by hand and
muscled into position)...

You need 4 tag lines on the beam... one at each end of the boom to
pitching and yawing motions, and one to each side of one (center)
about 4' out from the boom,  to control rolling motion... run each of
lines into the center of the boom to tie them off, so the tower crew can
untie and remove these lines after the beam is mounted... where the tag
lines bend/pass over the boom/element they are secured with a single wrap
of black tape, so the tape can be broken with a sharp tug, when removing
the lines...practice this with the beam at head height to get it perfect
before the tower crew has a problem at altitude...

Previsualize, previsualize, previsualize.... picture each step in your
mind, and try to figure out how it can go wrong and what you can do to
prevent that...

Have fun... mine went up smooth as glass in 30 knot winds... looked like
747 lifting off..


To: <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 96 12:47 EST
From: David & Barbara Leeson <>
To: Towertalk <>
Subject: Re: Tramming

There's a diagram of how to do this on page 10-21 of my book.  You should
have removable trailing lines on each end of the beam, so it won't rotate
as it goes up and foul the guys.  Also, you should be sure that the
center of gravity is below the boom, so it won't tend to turn over as it
goes up.

There's a great pulley you can get at REI, which is about 4" diameter. 
has two independent side plates that are held together with a caribiner
when installed, so you can get it over the tram catenary.

I also build the antenna hanging from the tram, as it gets it up out of
walking way.  And it is easy to pull it part way up to check everything,
and you can also bring it near the tower so you can reach the element
to tune the match (I tune the rest of the elements with a hacksaw at
assembly, now that the modelling software has come good, with good
and tapering models, etc.).

Yeah, I use my own taper and element mount models :)

I don't like to use a power winch or truck to pull up anything, as you
pull the whole mess apart if anything hangs up.  Also, I don't like using
hand pulling, because you can drop the works if someone lets go.  So we
hand-cranked ratchet winches (I haven't found a worm-drive winch yet)
great sensitivity to hangups.  When you get the antenna to the mast, it's
easier to release the far end of the tram so the antenna drops down right
next to the mast.  Be sure you get the tram and pulling cable on the
side of the boom for removing or installing!

I use a sailing snatch block at the base of the tower so the winch is
located at the same point as the ground end of the catenary cable, which
tensioned with a come-along (be sure you know how to release it, so you
don't get caught with too much load at the middle).

Good luck, happy and safe climbing!  I go up after the antenna has
at the top, but sometimes you need to guide it.

73 de Dave, W6QHS

From:     Gary Nieborsky[]
Sent:     Thursday, June 20, 1996 3:34 PM
Subject:  tramming etc.

I have a video of one of my antennas tramming its way to the top.  I'll
dig it out if anyone has interest in seeing a bunch of old coots and one
young buck (me) put up a tower and tram a KT34XA to the top.

Reply direct please.

73 Gary K7FR, Antenna Farms

"I don't live in the middle of nowhere, but I can see it from the top of
A short length of pipe with its own pulley acting as an anti-roll device,
PERFECT! We use the rope over the ends of the boom for leveling the beam
it goes up, but the rolling of the boom and element/guy headaches that
has always been a hassle.

This is the only problem we have always had with the trolleys...the
invariably "rolls" a little and the leading tips of the beam invariably
the guys. Otherwise this is the only way to go. As previously mentioned
others the ability to hang a feed line on the antenna and give it a quick
testing, and then easily lowering it to change things is a super plus,
the joy is only having to attach the beam to the mast when it gets to the

When the forty one foot boom 20 meter beam went up last Fall, as always
element tip hit a guy

To: <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jun 96 04:54:23 PDT
Subject: RE: Antenna Trolly System

Stan, the system I use, which I was taught by others here in the ATL area
and which I have modified is like this.

I connect a STEEL cable about 2' above the antenna to be lowered or
IF the antenna is more than a foot above the top of the tower, I lower it
to that level. The cable is of course secured to the mast. To bring the
antenna down, I
have a length of HEAVY chain which I secure about 3 feet out from the
center of the antenna. ( I usually when I build the antenna put heavy
eye bolts in these positions. The chain has safety belt clamps which
clip onto the eye
bolts. The center of the chain has a heavy duty ( rated at 480 lbs---
destruct level over 2000 pounds---made by Deuel Manf. ) pully which is
treaded onto the cable and the normal mount of the pully connects to the
center of the chain.

I mount another pully ( using muffler clamps above the 2' point, and have
one directly at the base of the tower. I use medium duty ( > 500 pounds
breaking point ) nylon line, run it through the tower base pully to the
tower mast pully,
and connect to center of chain. Next I tension the far end of the cable
with my pickup truck, or to a BIG tree. Use a "come-along" but don't get
carried away.  The base pully rope goes to my Toyota Tractor....Dismount
the antenna and the weight and all are transferred to the cable. Down the
tower and either pull on the the rope ( if the antenna is on the ground )
or start out about 150' away and drive toward the antenna. Rope goes
through pully, gravity starts antenna
down and hopefully, you will have the antenna at ground level before you
hit the tower with the tractor. Incidentally, somewhere on the cable at
about the 20'
point above ground...I put a couple of cable clamps to form a stop. After
the antenna is down, I loosen the cable and the antenna comes gently to

I do this by myself, and it usually takes about an hour....up or down. BE
SURE the cable pulls against a guy OR install a temp guy opposite the
pully. ( except
for light antennas...say up to 75 pounds. )

I'm sure some of the other guys can comment or add to this. Good
luck...Also works out fine for testing the antenna and tuning it before
permanently install it...

73, Ed
Name: ed sleight
To: <>
Date: 06/23/96

From: (Rattmann)
Subject: Tramming

Hi Jim,
Enjoyed your info on the tram line experiences.  As I watched this thread
the past few days, most of the fine points have been covered by others,
although this subject is best covered in a magazine article where photos
drawings can tell a thousand words... but I did want to add one thing
I haven't seen covered.  N6ND and I  together have trammed up perhaps 150
antennas for ourselves and others over the past 25 years, so we've had a
knocks!  As you suggested, one of the biggest problems is 'rolling' of
boom, which causes the element tips to go 'high or 'low' relative to the
slope of the guy wires you are trying to avoid near the tower top. 
is the tendency of the boom to wander in the horizontal plane, so that
reflector (or last director) element tip may arrive at the mast area
the boom-to-mast plate gets there (this can be minimized by use of
lightweight tag lines controlled by ground people but is not always

The fix for both problems is the following.  Use a bridle to hang the
about three feet below the upside-down traveling pulley.  Of course, the
boom should be normal to the direction of the tram wire, with the element
tips pointing at the target tower and elements parallel to the earth.

Adjust the bridle position carefully over the c.g. for best boom balance
keep it level.  At this point, most people tie their haul-line either to
the boom itself, or to the traveling pulley. Either method causes the
The solution is to use a 'torque arm' on the lower end of the haul line.
The arm is made of a piece of angle iron, 1/8-inch by 1-inch by about 28
inches long.  Drill one end to accept a shackle for the haul line. Drill
the other end to accept a single HD muffler clamp for the boom in use.
the antenna hanging on the bridle a few feet off the ground, and the boom
balanced end-to-end, put the muffler clamp and torque arm onto the boom,
next to one or the other edge of the boom-to-mast plate, which keeps it
the c.g. point.

The torque arm points at the target tower.  You will find that you can
the 'angle of attack' of the elements by swiveling the arm and tightening
the muffler clamp wherever you want it.  In general, with a tram system
want the leading tips of the elements to be perhaps 10-15 degrees above
angle of the tram wire itself.  This keeps them out of the upper guy
as the beam approaches the tower top, but not angled so high that they
collide with another beam which might already be up ten feet on the mast.
most cases I have found that putting the torque arm in approximately the
same plane as the elements is about right (sometimes a bit below their
plane is best).  KLM antennas in particular need the torque arm, because
they are so top-heavy and want to roll over, backward, without it. In any
case, try a few short test lifts part way up the tram and keep adjusting
the torque arm until you get the angle-of-attack right.

With a rigid torque arm at the base of the haul-line you will find that
boom cannot roll over, nor will it wander in the horizontal plane even
a bit of wind blowing. The rigid arm keeps the boom perpendicular to the
tram (and thus the elements remain parallel to the tram, which means they
won't try to cross over the tram and get hung up). These features make
taglines unnecessary, and one-man installations are possible.   I hang a
come-along from a mast clamp about five feet above the target location.

When the upper end of the torque arm arrives at the mast, I reach out and
attach the come-along lower hook to the boom bridle and pick up the load.
Then the lower end of the tram can be slackened and removed, and walked
toward the tower.  Then the upper tram area is dismantled and the boom
plate fastened to the mast, positioned by the come-along.

BTW, if you do a few of these you should make a permanent wire rope
which terminates on short angle-irons with a muffler clamp in each to fit
the boom. You can move the boom back and forth through the clamps to
quickly find your balance point and then tighten them.  Nicopress a big
thimble in the middle for shackling, etc.

This has gotten a bit long but hope the torque arm description will be
useful to some of the gang who use tramming systems.... 73!

Glenn K6NA

Hello, tramline fans --

      The "tiller" pipe is a new one on me but a clever (and automatic)
solution to a typical antenna's propensity to turtle (roll over) and to
it over the top set of guy wires. Here's a couple of related thoughts.

     One method is to use a tag line that was described in excellent
by K8DO.  I use this technique to tip the elements to near vertical as
antenna approaches the top set of guys and even branches for tree
installations.  You don't have to remove the top set of guys to get the
antenna up.  Use of tag lines gives you more control of the beam

     The other thing that may help is to mount the elements BELOW the
instead of on top.  Why are the mounted on the top anyway (KLM, homebrew,
etc)?  You're fighting gravity and the darn thing can turtle, or
on you.  Force 12 antennas mount the elements below the boom and it sure
makes sense to me.

73,  Steve   K7LXC

when using a tram line here i clamp a short (3' or so) pipe to either the
boom or boom-mast plate depending on where there is room.  this is set so
it points up and has a rope tied to the top of it.  this way while the
lines can be used to control side to side motion this line can be used to
tip the elements as the antenna approaches the tower to clear guy wires.
this has worked great for raising
a 6 ele 20m telrex to 150' and an 8 ele 15m telrex to 120' here. 
available on my web page of antennas, but not tram setup yet)

73, dave
--   or

To: <>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 14:34:11 -0600
Subject: Summary/Cookbook-Raising Antennas

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I ask for a "cookbook" method raising large antennas several weeks ago.
This is a summary of my cookbook with some notes, options, opinions and
addendums.  Credit is given where credit is due, even if it is not
but experiential.  This might not be exhaustive or even clear, but it
helped me envision how I am going to put up the TH6DXX this spring.

E-mail your comments to, but don't include all this
information in the reply.  Don't take up the bandwidth.

                Raising a Beam to the Top of the Tower

1.  Place a rope or steel cable (see notes) from the top of the mast to a
solid connecting point away from the tower. This is called a tram line. 
you use a tree, make sure it is healthy.  Don't tie on branches, but onto
the trunk.  In Kansas, make sure it isn't a Cottwood because it will fall
over.  You can also use a pickup truck bumper. (Make sure you untie the
before you leave.)  I have also used steel posts (any farm store has
and cut them in half with a torch.  Pound two in the ground, one behind
other and attach the line to the first and backstay the front to the back
with appropriate rope or cable.  Tensioning the tram line is important,
many people have diferent opinions. (See the notes.)  Caveate Emptor (Or
something like that)

Note 1-A

        What may have been missing from your description, Lee, was that
tram line which supports the antenna on the way up should NOT be very
Dave Robbins, K1TTT (ex KY1H) wrote an article for the YCCC Scuttlebutt a
few years back which analyzed the physics of this arrangement. Among
things, he found that the lateral force at the top support (tower/mast)
GREATLY increases when the tramline gets taught and straight. It is MUCH
less stressful on the whole affair to let the tramline have a bunch of
in it.
        If there is any question about the strength of the top support,
recommend using a temporary back guy, from the top support to a solid
attachment on the ground, running 180 degrees around the tower from the
tramline bottom.
     I can personally attest to these affects. I was using a schedule 80
pipe as a mast, and put a slight bend in it while raising a KT-34XA with
tight a tramline and no backguy.
     Tramlines are cool. It takes all day to set them up properly and
another to
take them down. But when they work right, I've been able to install large
antennas with no more ground crew than the XYL.
     Think through your arrangement carefully, visualizing each step in
process. This will help you remember details like 'the lifting line goes
OVER the boom' etc...

                         -Tony, K1KP,
Note 1-B

     Lee, Depending on the height of your mast above the tower  you may
to attach the rope to it, lest you bend  or break it. If you think about
it,you put an enormous sideways force on the mast when trying to raise a
heavy beam with the supporting (tram-line) rope reasonably taut.   One
option is to attach the tram-line to the top of the tower (always
it can handle the sideways strain) and use a come-along and/or a gin-pole
get the beam to  the right height on the mast. Alternatively, you can use
second rope in the opposite direction to the first (suitably secured of
course) to serve as a back-stay to relieve the sideways strain imposed on
the mast by the tram-line rope.  In my experience, it is best if you can
attach the tram-line to a point a good bit higher than where you need to
attach  the antenna. You can then operate without the tram-line rope
too taut, and once you have raised the antenna almost all of the way up
tram line, slacken it to allow the antenna to come in to the right place.
While pulling the antenna up the tram line with a tractor has much to
commend it, you need to have a person on the tower to watch that the pull
rope, where it is tied to the load, does not reach the pulley through
it is being pulled! My tractor could not sense the increased strain when
this happened, and the rope broke allowing a 6-element 20-meter beam (60
boom) to slide back down the tram-line and,on reaching the ground, turn
itself into a prettzle!

                                   -John N3HBX.
Note 1-C

        The tram line needs to be somewhat tighter as the beam approaches
the tower, other wise you'll get fouled up with the last set of guys. My
approach is to tighten the tram reasonably tight to start with so by the
time the beam gets halfway up the stretch makes it quite loose. That's if
I'm using 1/2 inch rope. On bigger stuff 5/16 ehs is used, stretch isn't
issue then. Regardless, too much tension when the beam is in the middle
2/3rds certainly does cause a lot of side pull on the mast. A back guy is
always a good plan, a bent mast is a real hassle.  We use those 4000 lb
rated cable pullers to tension the tram, and once the beam gets near the
tower we just tighten the tram, the beam is lifted away and you
can the tram the beam right to its' resting place.  On bigger beams (like
el 40 fullsize 400 lbers) the tram is usually attached the tower, not the
mast. Once the beam is trammed up next to the tower, a chain fall type of
hoist is used to pull the antenna vertically up into place.

          -Don  VE6JY is Don Moman  email:

Note 1-D

        I think you've got the basics down pat.  It's really a lot
than it sounds. Just a few small points.
        I recommend wire for the tram line instead of rope.  3/16" guy
works great for me. Also lets me use old guy grips for attaching to mast,
etc.  Use a come-along to tighten tram line (of course, not TOO tight).
Make sure the tram line ground attachment point is beyond the radius of
guy wires.

                              -James / k1sd  (ex KD1NG)

Note 1-E
     An elegant alternative to a separate backguy is to use one
that passes through a pulley/sheave at the mast.  That way, the forces
roughly equalized at the mast and you only have to deal with one cable.
Either method does work and is highly recommended for medium sized
and up. Two other nifty facets are 1) you can raise the antenna part way
the tramline while dangling a temporary feedline to it for initial
And 2) the antenna can be lowered quickly for tuning adjustments or
installation problems and raised again in a matter of minutes.  This
include having a tag line hung up on the antenna, etc.  You can lower it
raise it back up again in 5-10 minutes. Like any similar job, it's the
rigging that takes most of the time.
     Again, if anyone is interested in an illustrated article on
yagis including tram systems, an SASE to TOWER TECH, Box 572,
WA, 98072, will get you a free copy.  BTW, Tom Schiller, N6BT and Force
has written a book called "Array Of Light" and he has a chapter on
installingyagis.  His methods are sell suited for limited space projects
where you may not have room for a tram line (sneaking the beam around guy
wires, etc.).  It's $10.00 from Force 12 and an interesting read of Tom's
extensive tower and antenna knowledge.

                                        -Steve  K7LXC
Note 1-F

     I think you've got it down just fine!  I prefer to use a piece of
steel guy
wire (3/16-inch or 1/4-inch) or wire  rope (only because I have oodles of
it, 1/4-inch) as a catenary in place of the supporting rope. This can be
tightened more than rope (but you may need a back-stay in the opposite
direction if you attach it to the mast on the tower) if you need the get
yagis up higher (such as over a house, tree, etc.) Use a turnbuckle if
want to get it real tight (but don't make it tighter than you would a guy
wire). Using this method I have single-handedly raised and lowered beams
big as a 204BA (and recently I lowered a Cushcraft 5-el. 20m) without any
problems. If you must do it single-handedly (not preferred but sometimes
necessary!), here's my method to raise a beam:
     Install the supporting catenary as you describe and raise the beam
it is
just a foot or two below the mounting point. Tie off your pullling rope
the bottom of the tower. Then loosen the catenary at the ground end and
it toward the tower and leave it there. The beam will now be laying
the tower or mast instead of hanging out away from it on the catenary.
the tower and use a small block-and-tackle or come-a-long to pull the
into final position. Reverse the procedure if you're removing a beam.

                                        -Jon AA1K

Note 1- G

     Lee, your method as described says:  "rope" and "string".  That will
work!  It requires Steel-rope for the tram/pulley arrangement and "rope"
use 1/2 inch poly) to pull the antenna up the tram cable.
     The steel tram cable needs to be significantly tensioned to support
even a
medium size beam to a reasonable height.  I tensioned my tram cable (3/16
stainless steel rope) to 1000 Lbs tension (as measured with a LOOS
gague) to haul up my 40-2CD to 67 ft.  Tensioning to anything less sagged
too much to pull the antenna up!!
     So, you see, that's why I say you can't (shouldn't) use a
for the tram in you description.  And the forces on the pull line are
significant.  I use the 1/2 inch poly and pull it with a tractor!
     All this is on tape, and, as I have offered, I will send you (and
who requests it) a copy of my tapes, for the cost of the tape and
shipping/duplicating expenses.
     I have already received many many requests for the tapes.  I am in
process of buying blank tapes, determining the shipping costs, and the
duplicating costs.  I plan to incorporate all three videos on one tape
all of you.  Once I have this done, I'll send all who responded to my
an email with the cost.
     If you haven't sent me an email requesting copies of the tape,
so.  Once I tell you the cost, and I'll ship you a copy once I get your

                                        -Bill, N3RR

Note 1-H

     I used 1/4 EHS for the tram line to pull my 402CD up to 83 feet. I
tram "way" out from the tower and ran it around a 6 inch wooden fence
I pulled like blazes on the "dead end" (the end coming back around the
and then performed some gymnastics while I clamped the dead end to the
end with 2 cable clamps all the whilst attempting to maintain as much
tension on the cable as possible.
     I ran 1/2" rope through a pulley at the bottom of the tower up to a
muffler clamped to the 4130 2" mast and down to the antenna. I pulled it
by hand, reclimbed the tower and bolted the antenna on the mast. I'm more
brawn than brains, but it worked quite nicely.
     I did pull it up and down several times snagging the elements in the
guys before I remembered a concept called "tag lines." I wrapped some
closeline rope loosely around the forward most element end (one end only)
and loosley taped it to the element. It worked perfectly allowing me to
steer the element out of the way of the guys. I held the antenna haul
with one hand and the tag with the other. Just as I got it in perfect
position and started to ponder how hard it was going to be to get the tag
line freed, the tag line fell off. Perfect!
     I live out in the boonies and did this solo. It would be a lot
some help, but I was surprised at how well it worked. I used a HY-GAIN
to mast clamp and other QHS (NL) mods have been done to my 402, but it
only ways around 65-75 lbs.


Note 1-H

     I've used both steel wire-rope and good regular rope for the tram
line.  I
tend to favor the regular rope for the following reasons:  1) Easier to
with.  2) Non-metallic; SWR check can be done on the antenna while
from the tram line.
     A good 1/2" braided rope like Yale Double Esterlon has very little
and a tensile strength of 10,000 lbs.  Highly recommended for all tower
     Yes, keeping the antenna above the top guy can be a problem. The
I've settled on, in most cases, is to run the tram  line directly above
top guy in one direction, tension it, and then drop that top guy (letting
hang straight down the tower).  The tram line takes the place of the guy
     As soon as the beam reaches the tower, the guy wire is reattached,
line is removed, and the beam is raised the rest of the way.

                                   -Steve Maki K8LX

2.  Install two pullies on the rope.  The pullies will be used to harness
the beam to the tram line.

3.  Move the antenna under the rope and secure it to the lower pully on
rope.  The boom should be perpendicular to the rope.  Make sure that the
boom to mast clamp is facing the right direction.   The antenna should be
tied to the balance point.  You should use a harness that can "balance"
antenna on the rope.  By doing so, you will not need to use tag lines.
sure once the antenna is in place you can remove the harness ropes from

4.  Attach and 3 to 4 foot arm on the boom parallel to the rope using a
U-Bold.  At the outer reach or the arm attach the second pully.  You now
supported by two pullies.  The reason to put the arm on the boom to act
lever and keep the antenna from rolling over or flipping while raising
antenna.  It cannot flip over with this arraingment.   (See the Option
below)  I like Pete's method.  Remember, I have not done this yet, but I
think it would work better of the "tiller" is away from the tower so you
don't have to take it off before you attach the beam to the mast.

Option 4-A

     The arm should be down-wire from the boom, not up-wire, so it won't
get in
the way when the antenna arrives at the mast.  Not only does the "tiller"
keep it from flipping, it enables you to pre-position the antenna with
element tips high, so that when it arrives at the tower they won't get
fouled in the top guys. Preferable way is to use a two-point harness tied
the boom at equal distances on either side of the balance point, as far
apart as you can reach to untie while at the top of the tower.  That way,
the harness tends to keep the boom horizontal. If you secure the tram
at the right height (far enough) above the point on the mast where you
the boom to wind up, you can use the play in the
2-point harness to push/pull the boom over against the mast.

                                   -Pete Smith N4ZR

5.  OPTIONAL:  Tag lines.  A tag line can be place on each end of the
to keep the antenna horitontal during lifting.  Tag lines are very long
loops of rope which can be taken off after the antenna is in place.
rope or cord could be used for the Tag Lines  I think most people hate
lines.  I have not riggedthis before, but I think making a harness which
balances the antenna correctly, along with the tiller concept would allow
for smooth raising of the antenna with a minimum of ground crew.

6.  Place a pully at the top of the tower and place a pull line through
pulling and attach it to the arm on the boom of the antenna.  The pull
rope then goes to the ground.

7.  Slow pull the antenna up the rope until it comes to a place where you
want to attach it to the mast.  A person on the ground might have to
the tram line to allow the placement of the antenna on the mast.  I
that a "hay-knot" be used at the lower end of the tram line to insure
the rope doesn't get out of hand.

Note 7-A

     Another  trick is to use a  pulley/snatch block at the bottom of the
so that the haul rope goes horizontal for easier pulling as  opposed to
pulling down.  A down pull is all arm strength whereas with a snatch
you can put the rope around your waist and just back up.

                                   -Steve  K7LXC

Option 7-A

     I envision that one could have a gin pole set on the tower with the
line tied to the tower and not to the mast.  If your mast and rotor could
take the sideways pull with a back-stay that would be fine.  You would
have a the tram attached above the point at which you were going to
the antenna.  All you would have to do is to swing the antenna over to
mast and bolt it on.
     But, one could attach the tram line to the top of the tower or below
attachment point, pull the antenna to that point, attach the gin pole
to the antenna, loosen the tram harness and drop the tram, and then raise
the antenna in place on the mast.  A little more complicated, a little
rope, but would not place burden on the mast and rotor and would be less
rigging time.

                                        -Lee K0WA

Addendum 1  (Not exactly what most people have - at least not the guys I

Lee,  Here is the antenna lifting arrangement we use at NK7U to lift
beams. This arrangement has been used to lift 20M6's (60ft booms),
40M4's, etc.  2 towers are needed to do this however.

1. A large pulleys is needed at the top and bottom of both towers.

2. One rope is run from the ground, through the bottom pulley, up 
the tower, to the top pulley and then back down to the    ground at a
between the 2 towers

3. The same is done with second rope on the other tower.  The ropes will
then form a "M"

4. The top of our boom to mast plates have 2 holes drilled into  the
to accept a yoke.  The yoke is attached to the    plate with 2 snap
The top side of the yoke is attached  to the ends of the 2 ropes.  A
of this setup can be found  on our home page at:

5. A tag line may be used to keep the antenna from rotating.

6. At this point you are ready to lift.  Actually it is more of a pull
you are pulling horizontally against the bottom of    the tower.  We use
4-wheeler on  the side that the antenna is    going to.  And the other
has 2 people on it.  The antenna  can be lifted straight into the air,
the guys and then swung into the tower at the appropriate spot.  Multiple
beams can be  installed up and down the tower without ever having to move
the  pulleys.

A benefit of this arrangement is that the antenna can be lifted quite a
off the ground and swr measurements can be taken.  Getting the antenna
onto the ground is only a matter of releasing the ropes (carefully).  You
can also pull the antenna up 50 ft or so and use a  tag line on the
reflector to point the antenna straight up for more accurate (?) swr

Other photos of the antenna installations can be found on our home page

                              -Jim  K7MK

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