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[TowerTalk] Re: How to raise mast? Now Climbing Safety

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Re: How to raise mast? Now Climbing Safety
From: (Bob Thacker)
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 10:05:24 -0400
Hi Pat,

Seems that youth brings stupidity, except I was that way until my daughter
Victoria was born at age 42! Guess that's youth? Naw, just stupidity!

> I have about 20' of 3" mast above the top of the tower.  I also have
> enough of IIX's Mast Steps to go the distance.  I'm curious about what
> sort of climbing gear I need to order.  And more importantly, how to use
> it.

I started with a straight Miller saftey belt with a fall arresting lanyard.
Forget the belt Pat, not safe enough. A hard fall could cause the belt to go
around your chest possibly suffocating you. Buy a full body harness, look in
QST for a picture of the ONV type. Not edorsing that one, but is a picture
of one.  Actually after many hours up top, I would buy the one with a seat.
A  friend gave me a full body harness that his gov't agency was tossing.
They get rid of them every 3-5 years regardless of condition. The one I got
was never used. However, you have to watch these types since they got rid of
them for a reason. The body harness' have 3 loops. One in the top of the
back is where you place the arresting harness.

> I'll order from Steve LXC, but I'm curious about the various options.  I
> understand the climbing rope is preferable because it is somewhat
> elastic.  Any thoughts?

Actuially Steve is the best authority here and have spoken with him on the
phone a cuple times. Wisdom comes from the consultation of many!

An arressting lanyard is meant to cushion the fall to a degree. It has an
elastic section to cushion the fall and is meant to be the saftey valve, or
second parachuhte. Attached it to the top loop in the back and will probably
keep your face away from the tower in a fall and keep you upright with shock
distributed to the harness contact points. Watch how you atttach it to the
crotch area!

I wouldnt be without the arresting lanyard. Mine is 6' long. At the top
while working on antennas, it is wrapped around the tower and through a
cross member. Shortens the fall. Remember to be attached AT ALL TIMES.

> I also note your comment about the 1' lanyard.  I didn't recall seeing
> that one, but wonder how you use it?   Sorry, although I worked on red
> iron, building bridges for about eight years, I've never done much tower
> climbing and harness's etc are new to me.  (there's nothing like walking
> steel without restraint or nets to teach the meaning of FOCUS)

The 3rd belt I tie on is the 1' one. It is used for attaching as a saftety
line for short excersions up and down the tower, but really, to wrap around
the mast. After you get used to the idea of being on a mast, the 1' lanyard
will hold you relatively close to it so work can be accomplished easily.
Takes a lot of courage though. Dont forget the lanyard has to be tied off
somewhere. Climb up and install a step above you  and tie the safety lanyard
there. Move the step up untill your as far as you need. Remember too that
the mast will sway as you climb and move. I refuse to climb it in any kind
of windy conditions.

> I assume one needs TWO lanyards, no?  Assume we're on the mast with
> steps.  I figure you need one 3' lanyard to 'flip' up as you climb (long
> to avoid snagging on the steps).  Then after you get to the point where
> you're working on the antenna, then you use the 1' lanyard to hold you
> close enough without having so much slack that you really have no
> support???

I use a 3' rope lanyard to tie around the tower and through a cross member
while on top. This way a fall is only minimal. Nonetheless, a fall will
hurt, but not kill necessarrily. I ALWAYS have 2 lanyards attaached while
working and at least 1 while climbing. The arresting one should alwas be on
while climbing since that is time one is most likely to slip and fall.

Another issue, the mast has to be sufficient to hold all your antennas and
your body weight. Never looked closely at your previous posts to see the
size. Actually I would consult on all of these issues with our tower expert,
other way!

Another good idea is to search the tower talk archives on, we
have discussed these issue in depth at least 3 or more times in the past.
Look over those and possibly start another thread on the subject  since we
cannot be too safe on this subject. We have previously lost hams, so
prevention is the best way to go. Forget the flames if they come!

Ok, what can I clarify?


Bob, K3GT
neophyte tower climber, no longer stupid (Well...not according to the XYL!)

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