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

To: Jim Lux <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] ballpark costs for a tower (installed)
From: Bill Coleman <>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 23:46:13 -0400
List-post: <>

On Aug 23, 2004, at 8:48 PM, Jim Lux wrote:

What's a good ballpark number to use for the cost of buying and installing a typical medium height tower (i.e. say, 50-75 ft, crankup, etc) with a multiband 3 element beam.

That depends. How good of a scrounger are you?

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

Yeesh! I installed my tower and antenna for less than $1000.

Let's see, it broke down something like this:

4 sections plus top section & shelf = 5 x $30 (used) = $150.
2 HD25B brackets = $240. (new)
Ham-M rotator = $50 (broken) + $10 parts = $60
Hardware = $30. (new)
Rebar & Concrete = $150 (new)
Concrete mixer rental = $45
Labor = $0 (me!)
Mast = $0 (thank you K9AY!)
Tribander = $400 (purchased years before)
Cables / Coax = $110
Connectors, wx-proof boxes = $25
Permits = $45

Result - A3S at 15m, on a 44 feet of tower with nearly 6 feet of mast.

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 money, so I wanted to figure what it would cost if you just paid to have the work done.

But, but, but, doing all the work was fun! (well, digging the hole wasn't so fun....)

Heck, the re-build of the tribander probably cost me $1000, if I charged by the hour...

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. A fixed tower w/guys would be substantially cheaper, purchase wise, but might cost just as much by the time you figure in guys, anchors, additional installation time, etc.

Bracketed tower is a good compromise. All the advantages of guying without the expense and massive concrete footings of a crank-up.

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 the hearing)

If you write an article saying that even a modest tower will cost $3-7 large ones, there's a lot of would-be tower builders out there who may likely give up the hobby.

Bill Coleman, AA4LR, PP-ASEL        Mail:
Quote: "Not within a thousand years will man ever fly!"
            -- Wilbur Wright, 1901


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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