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Re: [TowerTalk] Class 2 and Class 7 Poles

To: "towertalk reflector" <>,"Alan AB2OS" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Class 2 and Class 7 Poles
Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 16:35:49 -0400
List-post: <>
It's completely practical.  Comparative cost depends on your ready 
availability of cheap or free poles versus cheap or free tower sections, and 
cheap or free installation.

First, telephones poles are completely acceptable, in that height range, or 
any height range that you can acquire sound poles (available taller on the 
West Coast U.S. than on the East Coast) and used to be much more common for 
hams than they are today -- back in the days when commercial towers were not 
so widely available but poles were.

Telrex used to sell, for $175 apiece the last I knew, a "telephone pole 
lash-up," of which I have several, "bought new" from them, that are steel 
angle formed into L-shapes, then with "all-thread," threaded rod, with 
washers and nuts, to hold the assembly together, bolted through a pole and a 
couple steel plates to form a rotator shelf and thrust bearing "shelf." 
These can be quite strong, I believe.  Old Telrex literature should give 
their opinion on what they can hold.  But, I recall their brochures showed a 
drawing of that setup holding a "Christmas tree" of 20/15/10 3-element 
yagis, something like that.  So, telephone poles will definitely work and 
are pretty (very?) sturdy.  I've never heard of one snapping off in high 
winds from all the antenna load on top.  Intuitively, I think when the winds 
are really strong it's more likely the mast will bend than that the pole 
will break.

So, one advantage:  High antenna/windload capacity.  I've never heard it 
stated as square feet allowable at the top, as our towers commonly are, but 
maybe someone has done that sort of study or one of our towertalk readers 
has info on it.

Another advantage:  It's a "self supporter," so the footprint on your 
property is less than a guyed tower.

And another advantage:  A lot of people might be used to seeing telephone 
poles around, holding your backyard or barnyard security light, etc. and may 
hardly think of it as a "tower," and may find it less noticeable and less 
objectionable than a "real" tower.

Practicality speaking...I have started chatting with telephone pole crews 
when they're working in my vicinity and volunteering to take poles when they 
have "pulls" to get rid of, etc. -- and they always ask what size I need or 
want.  I say, "Any size," because, I tell them, I can use them for a pole 
barn, a bridge across a small stream, or if I have a long enough one, for an 
antenna support.  The point is, if you can scrounge successfully, you might 
be able to get a free pole or two.  And, I've heard it said that sometimes, 
"for a case of beer" the pole guys will drill the hole and install a pole 
for you.  Or not.  Maybe it'll take $100.  Whatever, you may find it's a lot 
cheaper than putting up a tower.

But, the tower option is the flip side.  If you have friends with extra 
tower that they'll give you, that can be comparably cheap, and something 
like Rohn 25 is relatively easy for us non-professionals to put up, you 
don't have to fabricate some Telrex-type "telephone pole lashup," to 
transition from pole to mast, etc.  The towers are already designed for 
these, have rotator shelves available, etc.  Most of us probably would want 
the telephone pole crew and truck to put up the pole for us, but could do a 
40-50' Rohn 25 ourselves or could find a ham buddy with experience doing it 
who could supervise the tower installation.

For the telephone pole, you'd also want to get pole steps for it.  I 
question the wisdom of us amateurs trying to learn how to use spikes to go 
up and down to work on antennas.  Aside from the safety issue of really 
being able to learn how to use them right, it'd just be a hassle compared to 
climbing a tower.  But real pole steps would be acceptable, though I doubt 
most hams would consider them as convenient as a tower, to climb.  The 
telephone pole guys should be able to get you steps too.  I don't know.  Way 
back in the past when I wanted some I had trouble finding any but did 
finally get a bunch, at the invitation of W3GRF (now SK), that were out in 
his woods under about a foot of leaves and debris.  And, the labor of 
putting steps in a tree or pole is significant -- another reason to consider 
tower instead.  And, climbing and working on pole steps for a while can be 
more uncomfortable than on a tower, where changing position and level, etc. 
is easier -- more options on a tower.  On a pole with steps you tend to be 
limited on where you can stand, what position you're in, etc.  If it's a 
simple antenna, installed with reliability and low maintenance in mind, etc. 
you shouldn't have to go up very often.


So, in my opinion, poles are excellent, heavy duty, relatively short, 
antenna supports.  They can also be lower profile, small ground footprint, 
and may be readily available for the gregarious ham, or the ham who has 
friends in the telephone pole installation and removal business.  If you 
have a buddy who says he has a pole or two or three and will come over and 
put 'em up for a case of beer, that's a good offer.  The pole installer 
should be able to drill the hole as part of his work.

Towers can go higher, hams are more likely to be able to install them 
themselves with a couple buddies, and have convenience advantages in some 
ways, though are going to tend to be more noticeable and have that 
triangular footprint on your property.  If you have a buddy who has a 40 or 
50 or 60' tower he wants to give you and will help you put it up, that's a 
good offer.  You'll have some expense for concrete, you'll have to dig the 
hole yourself or have a buddy with a backhoe do it, or pay to have it dug.

Not an expert, just a ham who's tried to keep his ears open, yaknow?  73 - 
Rich, KE3Q

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alan AB2OS" <>
To: "towertalk reflector" <>
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2004 2:28 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Class 2 and Class 7 Poles

> How practical is it to use a 50' (or 60', if available)
> utility/telephone pole as a support for something like a 3-el. SteppIR?
> And how would the installed cost compare with a typical steel tower of
> the same height?
> Alan AB2OS
> On 05/17/04 02:10 pm Doug Faunt N6TQS +1-510-655-8604 put fingers to
> keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:
> > According to -The American Elecricians' Handbook-, the standards are
> > from ANSI, and the 10 classes are classified by the circumference at
> > the top and at a point 6 feet from the butt.
> >
> > Class 2 is 25 inches minimum top circumference, and the figure for 6
> > feet from the butt is dependent on the type of wood and the overall 
> > length.
> > Class 7 is 15 inches at the top, and 29.5 toward the butt for
> > Creosoted Southern Pine, 50 feet long.
> _______________________________________________
> See:  for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless 
> Weather Stations", and lot's more.  Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with 
> any questions and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.
> _______________________________________________
> TowerTalk mailing list

See:  for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless Weather 
Stations", and lot's more.  Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any questions 
and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.

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