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[TowerTalk] US Towers MA-550 Tubular Tower

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Subject: [TowerTalk] US Towers MA-550 Tubular Tower
From: Dick Green" < (Dick Green)
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 03:48:15 -0500

I would advise you not to erect a tower in a place where they are expressly
forbidden by ordinance or covenant. Even if no one can see it from the
street or neighboring houses, all it takes is one person to see it in your
yard for the word to get out. Could be a repairman, a kid passing through, a
guest, etc. Best case, you will have to take it down. Worst case, you will
get fined a lot of money (and have to take it down, too.)

Also, I'm a little skeptical about your being able to effectively hide the
tower and beam. I've got a little experience with hiding a tubular tower.
Mine is legal and so far away from the neighbors that they could never see
it (1/4 mile of dense talls trees between us and the nearest neighbor), but
the XYL can see it and her zoning laws are the toughest in the area!

I put my MA-770MDP behind several layers of thin straight trees which are
about 60' high. In the summer, when the vegetation is lush, the beam and
most of the tower are completely hidden by leaves and underbrush (as long as
the tower is below 60'). If you look really close, and know what to look
for, you can see some lower parts of the tower through the tree trunks. If
you do see the tower, it really doesn't look much like a tree, especially if
the sun happens to hit it at the right angle to make the metal shine. The
tower is downhill from the house, so when I lower it to 22 feet it pretty
much disappears behind some evergreens, but sometimes you can catch sight of
the shiny beam through the vegetation. Sounds pretty good so far...

But miscalculated the density of the trees -- in the autumn, when the leaves
fall off and the underbrush dies back, the tower and beam become quite
visible. The beam is really the most visible part, and can be very shiny
when the sun hits it just right. This is from over 250 feet away. The XYL
was kinda peeved at first, but she's gotten used to it. She likes it better
when it's all the way down at 22 feet, but seems to have acquiesced to my
keeping it at about 50 feet. Sometimes the tower and beam fade into the
trees and other times they come popping right out. It just depends on the
angle of the sun. Most visitors, however, don't notice it unless we point it
out to them. They'll be looking out the window at our nice view, practically
staring right at the tower, and say, "What a nice view!" Then my wife will
say, "Yeah, except for the tower." The guest usually says, "What tower?" But
I wouldn't want to rely on that kind of protection if my tower was illegal!

In my particular case, I figure that some gray or brown paint on the beam
would probably take care of the shine. You would need to do that, too.
Painting the tower, of course, would be rather difficult -- you'd probably
need a cherry picker to do that (even if you get the tiltover model, you
can't fully extend the tower when it's tilted over.)

As for plastic stuff, I think the beam could be affected whether or not it
has metal wires in it (remember the discussion about electrical tape on trap
caps?) Also, plastic stuff sitting on the beam would likely wreak havoc with
the pattern and SWR it when it got wet, icy or full of snow, not to mention
the possibility of water/ice/snow retention bending elements or overloading
the tower. Your windload will be affected, too, especially when the stuff is
wet/icy/snowy. Putting plastic stuff on the tower itself will be tricky
because it will have to be arranged not to interfere with raising and
lowering the tower, and has to be kept from getting stuck in between the
nested sections.

Maybe I'm being too negative, but it just doesn't sound like a good idea to
put this tower up. Is there any hope of a PRB-1 exception?

73, Dick, WC1M

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