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Re: [TowerTalk] ballpark costs for a tower (installed)

To: "Jim Idelson" <>,"TowerTalk Post" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] ballpark costs for a tower (installed)
From: "Don Bozarth" <>
Reply-to: Don Bozarth <>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 19:57:45 -0700
List-post: <>
Having just gone through the process of erecting a 55' crankup, I offer the

    1. Here in CA each county has different regulations for towers.  In my
area, the tower had to withstand 75mph wind and C exposure.  Which in this
case translated to no go for the US Towers TX-455.. I had to go to the
HDX-555.  TX-455 = $1,789 to HDX-555 =$2,679. Ouch!  Shipping was $380.

    2. I hired a concrete contractor to dig the hole, build the rebar cage,
and pour the concrete. This was a $2,800 bill.  The digging alone was $800.
And the best $800 I ever spent... they hit hardpan at 3' down.  This footing
is a 5' square, 7' deep.  That translates to 7 1/4 yards of concrete.

    3. Found a local ham with the US Towers erecting fixture... saved $489
that the fixture would have cost.  Two of us installed the rotor and mast
and erected the tower.  Easiest part of the project.

    4. There are two antennas up there (Force 12 XR-5 [20 thru 10, incl.
WARC] and an inverted V for 80/40), plus the rotor.  Cabling (150' coax x 2,
and 150' of 8 conductor rotor cable) ran about $200.  The rotor was $550.
The XR-5 was $1000 when I bought it.  The V (Spi-Ro D-56) was $120.

    5. Throw in 3 ground rods (5/8 x 8'), lightning protection for 2 coax
and one rotor cable plus some miscelaneous copper bar and some Kopr-Shield
(This stuff is expensive!) added another $200.

    6. Tools:  an often forgotten item... 2 - 1 1/8" open end/box wrenches,
an 1 11/16 socket, extension, and drive bar, and a BIG 2" crescent wrench
ran up another $150.

    7. I hired an expert to install the constructed antenna... at my age
getting up on top of a tower just isn't in the cards anymore.  He did
excellent work.... for another $300.

    8. The cost for the building permit was $294.

So:    $2,679    for the tower itself
            $380    shipping
         $2,800    the 'hole' and concrete
            $200    cabling
            $550    Rotor
         $1000     Yagi
           $120     Vee
           $200     Grounding
           $150     Tools
           $300     Antenna Installation
           $294     Building permit

At the beginning, I had assumed that I'd spend the better part of 10K on
this project... didn't miss that by much.  I figure it cost 9K... there
seemed always to be one more bolt, nut, clevis, or a whatchamacallit that
was needed at the last minute.

Don Bozarth

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Idelson" <>
To: "TowerTalk Post" <>
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2004 6:40 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] ballpark costs for a tower (installed)

> IMHO, the assumption of a crankup puts you in a well-above-average cost
> bracket. The low-end costs you suggest for the tower and installation are
> probably too low for a crankup. If you are trying to show the upper end of
> cost for a tower of a given height, I think you've made an excellent
> You should probably also show the example of a lower cost guyed or light
> free-standing tower and make the point that many bucks can be saved if the
> searches for good used hardware and does a lot of the work him/herself.
> 73,
> Jim K1IR
> >I'm writing a short article with some tradeoffs between various
approaches to
> building a station. What's a good ballpark number to use for the cost of
> and installing a typical medium height tower (i.e. say, 50-75 ft, crankup,
> with a multiband 3 element beam. A quick check of the catalog from HRO and
> various websites, for instance, shows numbers like:
> raw tower+mast+bracketry is going to set you back about $1500-3000 (don't
> forget you've got shipping, too)
> (+ another 1000 if you want a motor to raise and lower it)
> rotator at around $500-600
> antenna around $500-1000
> Cabling (rotator, controls, coax) $200
> Installation (digging the hole, buying the concrete, etc.) $500-2500
> (probably towards the high end, unless labor is really cheap)
> Totals $3200 - 7300
> I realize that one can greatly reduce many of these by clever shopping,
> scrounging, doing the work yourself (or having a bunch of friends come
over for
> a tower raising party), but, then, you're essentially trading time for
> so I wanted to figure what it would cost if you just paid to have the work
> done.
> I assumed a crankup, because I assumed that your local PRB-1 compliant
> community will probably impose a "crank up only when in use" requirement.
> fixed tower w/guys would be substantially cheaper, purchase wise, but
> cost just as much by the time you figure in guys, anchors, additional
> installation time, etc.
> Likewise, regulatory compliance could set you back a substantial chunk of
> change, depending on where you live (Thousand Oaks, CA had a $1000 antenna
> permit fee at one time, and may still do, plus the cost of dealing with
> hearing)
> Comments?
> Jim, W6RMK
> Jim Idelson K1IR
> email    k1ir at
> web
> _______________________________________________
> 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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