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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: (Jon Ogden)
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 16:27:39 -0500

A free tower is certainly better than buying a new one outright, but it ends
up being far from "free."

I just put up 50 feet of Rohn 25 plus a 3 foot top section.  The total cost
for all that was $75.00.  Close enough to free.

However, I needed the following:

Base plate - $65.00
Guy wire - $65.00
Guy Anchors - $60.00
Turnbuckles, misc hardware - $65.00 (scrounged from another ham)
Screws, nuts, cable clamps, etc. - Over $100 when all said and done.
Concrete - $100
Ground Rods - $25 so far (not close to having all that done).

Now, I have to add on additional coax, lightning arrestors, rotor cable,
climbing/safety gear, etc.

Putting up a tower will cost at least somewhere between $1000 and $2000.  I
didn't read your post in detail yet, but the type of tower really shouldn't

A free standing or crankup tower, won't need the guy wires and anchors, but
you'll need a bigger hole, more concrete, rebar, etc.  So it balances out.

Free towers are a great deal provided they are in good shape.  But you must
be prepared to pay all the miscellaneous costs you don't anticipate.  I
learned that after figuring how much I ended up spending on misc. stuff.



on 9/25/02 3:27 PM, Jeff Burns at wrote:

> 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
> questions.
> 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
> HDBX-40.
> 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
> AD9T
> _______________________________________________
> Self Supporting Towers, Wireless Weather Stations, see web site:
> Call 888-333-9041 to place your order, mention you saw this ad and take an
> additional 5 percent off any weather station price.
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Jon Ogden
NA9D (ex: KE9NA)

Life Member: ARRL, NRA
Member:  AMSAT, DXCC

"A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

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