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[Towertalk] Iis a "free" tower a good deal?

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Subject: [Towertalk] Iis a "free" tower a good deal?
From: (Jeff Burns)
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 15:27:12 -0500
I have been hoping to expand my antenna system beyond my simple random wire,
but had not thought I would be able to do anything at this time because of
the cost. Then I was offered a standing tower and associated antennas. I am
in the process of deciding if I can afford this "free" system. Someone
suggested that this group would be a good place to ask my questions.

Before I ask about the tower I have been offered; let me give you enough
information about me, and my QTH, to be able to intelligently answer my

I have been a Ham for 2+ year. My equipment consists of an Elecraft K2 with
the antenna tuner, Ten-Tek 6m transverter, VX-150 2m HT, and a 2m brick amp.
I only use the 2m stuff to keep in contact with my wife, and participate in
a few local Radio Club activities. I picked up the transverter at a ham fest
recently and have done little more than verify it works. Most of my time is
spent on HF. For the first year I worked SSB, but now I mostly concentrate
on CW. My goal is to improve my CW skills form the 10-12wpm into the
18-20wpm range. Later I expect to get into DXing using both phone and CW.

My QTH is a moderate sized suburban lot outside the city limits. No legal
restrictions on antennas, but I do wish to keep the neighbors happy. The
house is a single story ranch. The back of the house is 43-ft from the power
lines. A tower placed on the side of the house could be farther from the
main power line, but would be closer to the neighbors power feed, and trees
that would require yearly trimming to stay clear of the antennas. At this
QTH I know I cannot put up a super contesting station, but I would like
something better than my current wire.

If I had no concern for the cost of an antenna system, and was convinced I
would not move for many years I would put up something like this:
    - 40 ft self supporting tower
    - 3 Element SteppIR
    - 100' Doublet supported at the center by the tower. A tall tree in the
front yard would support one end. The other end would slope to the top of th
e fence in the back. This would be fed with ladder line.

Given the cost of such a system I have been thinking of using a lightweight
temporary mast instead of a tower, and using a rotatable dipole instead of
the yagi. The guide wires for a lightweight mast are a problem because the
house is in the way and my wife objects to them. A rotatable dipole 35-ft
long and feed with ladder line sounds like a good idea. It should be tunable
on all bands from 30 to 10m, and would not be objectionable to look at.

The wife of a Ham with Alzheimer's has offered me the following system free
if I take it down. It was probably put up in 1960.
    - BX-56 Tower in good shape
    - Trapped HF beam; three elements but two are close together at one end
so I am not sure exactly what it is.
    - 2 eleven element 2m beams phased together
    - 2m ringo
    - Rotor; mounted just above the third tower section from the bottom;
probably a ham IV but I am not sure.
If I put this up I would probably only use 40-ft of the tower making it an

Now my questions:
1. Is this system a good deal?

2. Is it well suited to my situation?

3. Are antennas this old worth messing with or should I sell them off and
use something newer? Maybe I should make a rotatable dipole and start saving
for the SteppIR.

4. I know of an HDBX-48 that is on the ground and freshly panted that I
could purchase for $200. Would this be a better deal?

5. Is putting up a used tower being penny wise and pound-foolish? Should I
just save for a couple for years and get new equipment?

Jeff Burns

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