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Re: [TowerTalk] antenna height vs hassle

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] antenna height vs hassle
From: W0UN -- John Brosnahan <>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 08:10:06 -0500
List-post: <>
At 07:33 AM 8/23/2004, you wrote:
Wow.... after reading all this about the cost of
pumpers and backhoes etc... i have determined i need
to move.... when i had the hole for my tower base dug
which took the guy less than 20 mins it was $400.00...
when i checked on the price of a pumper truck it was
$900 just to show up , then there were additional
charges for the extra hose he was going to have to


Hi, Dan--

You don't need to move--you just need to be a more informed
consumer and that is what you are doing by participating in

When dealing with backhoes, and other heavy equipment, you
need to determine the hourly rate and the minimum charge and
how travel is charged.  Some things like cranes are portal-to-
portal.  You are charged from when the guy left his company yard
until he returns back to the company.   Some companies have
a minimum charge--such as a 2-hour minimum.   Ten minutes
or two hours--doesn't make a difference--same price.  And the
prices are a function of location.  Here in south-central Texas
the rates seem pretty cheap, a backhoe is $60 per hour, unless
you have to use their 2,000 pound jackhammer attachment.
Then the rate goes to $120 per hour because of the increased
maintenance required when using the jackhammer.  That pounding
from the jackhammer does as much damage to the rig as it
does to the rocks!   And this $60 rate is charged based on
ENGINE time on the backhoe.  So when he turns off the machine
to do something like greasing the attachments you are not being
charged.  In other locations they charge you in other ways--
from portal-to-portal or from when he unloads the backhoe from
the trailer until he gets it back onto the trailer, etc.  So this is
something that you need to clarify and even negotiate with the
OWNER (not with the OPERATOR unless he is the owner).

Here at the TX qth it is mostly limestone with a little soil on top and
the cost of five holes (one tower base and four guy anchor holes for a
Rohn 45 foldover) was $1400 and I still wish I had a couple of the holes
dug a little deeper.  At my CO QTH, where it is all Colorado blow sand,
they would have all been dug in less than an hour, and probably would
have cost between $100 and $200.

The secret here at my TX qth is an auger than uses carbide tipped blades.
It is what is used to dig (drill!) holes for utility poles and can handle up to a
36 inch diameter auger and drill as deep as 9-1/2 ft. The rig weighs 44,000
pounds and can provide a lot of down-force for the auger to bite in. And it is a
real bargain--there is one within about 20 miles who charges $85 per hour
with NO travel time added and only a TWO hour minimum. My next holes
will be drilled this way. It does take some recalculations on anchors
since they will now be concrete pillers rather than standard Rohn-style
deadman anchors. But they will be SOLID--locked into the limestone.

Good luck--John W0UN


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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