I wanted to take advantage of this topic being raised to
plug my favorite tower safety topic - permanently installed
fall protection systems.
You can see an example of such a system at
but that implementation is just one way to go.
The key concept here is the installation of a permanent
safety cable that is fastened securely to the top of
your tower. The cable, typically a 3/8" galvanized
steel cable, then runs down the side of the tower and
is left there as a fixture of the tower.
To climb, you simply clip a so called 'rope grab'
(also called a 'cable grab' or 'slider') onto the
cable at the bottom, attach your OSHA approved
impact absorbing fall arrest lanyard using a
locking carabiner, and climb. From the time you
leave the ground until you return, you are always
secured to your fall protection. No more Y lanyards,
no more clipping and unclipping at height. When
you get back to the ground, you unclip from the cable,
remove your cable grab (and take it with you), and
walk away - leaving the cable on the tower.
Yes, it costs some money. For a typical 100' tower,
you are looking at something like $500 for the cable
kit and 'slider'. But in the context of your typical
ham tower project, that is less than the cost of the
concrete for the base. To me, it is an investment
that makes a ton of sense. Unfortunatly, most
hams aren't aware of these systems, and I see very
few ham towers that have them installed. I hope
this email will raise the awareness a small bit,
and thus help raise our community's safety as well.