[Top] [All Lists]

[TowerTalk] Crank-up Horror Stories...

To: <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] Crank-up Horror Stories...
From: (Stan Griffiths)
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 00:40:40 -0700 (PDT)
>Hi Tower Talkers,
>*** Please help if you can, this could make a difference at my antenna
>hearing ***
>I am going before the full planning commission in my town at the end of
>July and would like to get stories about misfortunes and failures of
>telescopic crank-up towers.
>My little town let me submit plans and computations for two guyed rohn
>towers. On the day of the first administrative hearing, they imposed a
>condition on my permit where only crank-up towers could be used.
>So I next applied for a minor modification for the use of fixed
>structures which was denied.
>So now I am trying to build a stronger case for the use of fixed guyed
>towers. They do not seem to understand the concept of leverage, so maybe
>some horror stories could sway them.
>As usual, I will summarize the responses.
>Kindest Regards,
>-Mike Meehan, W6MM <>

Hi Mike,

N6ZZ and KL7RA have two real horror stories involving crankups.  I won't
relay them to you, however, since those kind of stories tend to embarrass
the person it happened to.  You know, they could have avoided the problem if
they had only . . .  You can email each of them and ask them yourself for
the details.  The problem, of course, is that there is a never-ending string
of different things that can "get you" on a crankup.  You just can't
anticipate the next cause of a terrible accident.  You are certainly right
about one thing . . . it is very unwise of a town to require you to put up a
crankup.  Could they be liable in the event of an accident involving a
crankup that they REQUIRED you to use?  You may want to get some legal
advice on this one.

I would be careful about how you approach this situation.  What would stop
the town from prohibiting you from putting up ANY tower if you successfully
prove crankups are unsafe?  Don't count on PRB-1 to save you.  Our Board of
Commissioners here in Washington County, Oregon, had no problem at all
simply ignoring PRB-1.  Sure, they would probably lose in court, but who can
afford to take them to court?

If I were faced with the situation you are, I would tend to suggest that all
towers (including crankups) are safe.  It's just that some are safer than
others.  There are a few accidents that can happen involving a crankup that
are impossible on a guyed, permanent tower.  All you want to do is be as
safe as possible.  Certainly, that is what the city wants, isn't it?  Some
examples of unique dangers on a crankup:

1.  Runaway crank handle.  Happens when your hand slips off the crank while
raising or lowering the tower and the brake does not catch it.  Crank handle
spins wildly and the inexperienced will try to grab it to stop it.  Wham!
Instant broken arm or wrist.

No crank on a guyed permanent tower.

2.  Crank up cable can snap and cause tower to retract very fast and come to
a very sudden stop at the bottom.  The antenna can disintegrate and falling
parts can injure people on the ground.  Worse yet, if you have an arm inside
the tower when this happens, goodby arm . . .  Yes, it HAS happened.

No winch or cable to break on guyed permanent tower.  (Guy cables don't
count since they are on BOTH towers.)

3.  A "fully retracted" crankup may not actually be fully retracted.  People
often climb what they think is a fully retracted crankup to work on the
antennas (against firm advice from the tower manufacturers who ALWAYS say
NEVER CLIMB A CRANKUP).  They tower can slip an inch or two with someone on
it and sever fingers, arms, toes, feet, etc.  There are many cases of this
happening and almost nobody who will admit it has happened to them.  Too
embarrassed . . .  They knew better.  They were stupid.  They will almost
never admit it.

This simply cannot happen on a fixed tower that does not retract.

* * * * * * * * *

Several years ago, Rohn was in the crankup business.  They had an
interesting warning poster in their catalogs showing a guy with a very
shocked look on his face as he stared at his hand dripping with blood and
missing a couple of fingers.  A copy of this poster might help convince your
town not to require you to put up a crankup.

How about this:  It is possible for you to transmit with the tower cranked
down.  It would be much safer for your neighbors with regard to RF exposure
if you could not lower the antenna . . . ie: no crankup.  Use this with
caution since they can use it against you to prevent you from putting up ANY
antenna or transmitting at all.  I know it is not within their jurisdiction
to regulate whether or not you transmit, but it will be sheer HELL if you
have to prove that in court and they have seized your equipment as evidence.
It would be cheaper for you to move to a more friendly town.

So you have a tough situation there.  I hope you can succeed in your quest
for a permanent guyed tower rather than a crankup.


FAQ on WWW:     
Administrative requests:

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>