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[TowerTalk] W7IX--More Info

Subject: [TowerTalk] W7IX--More Info
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 19:35:44 +0000
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I obtained the following in a telephone conversation with K6SOJ whose 
property borders the site where W7IX was killed.  Dave was present when Ray 
Balch SK, the former owner, built his contest/DX station.  Dave also 
responded to the site shortly after the accident and has since spoken to the 
property owner who was there at the time. The property is now owned by a 
California Highway Patrol officer and it was from him that W7IX had 
arrainged to buy the antenna he was removing at the time of the accident.

The tower (per info given to me and based upon my recollection having 
visited there when Ray was still alive) ) was Rohn 45, nearly 200 ft tall 
and guyed at 4 levels.  The objective was to remove a long boom 4 element 40 
meter monobander from the top of the tower.  The gameplan was for W7IX 
(working alone) to loosen the boom clamps and rotate the boom so that the 
elements were vertical.  Then he was going to remove the elements he could 
reach from the tower and lower them to the ground.  Next he was going to 
rotate the boom clamp tp bring the director and then the reflector close 
enough to the tower to remove them and lower them to the ground.  Finally he 
would remove the boom and lower it.

Prior to climbing he checked the tension on all of the guys.  Each was 
nearly max on the gauge.  He climbed and was at the top.  Somehow as he was 
loosening the boom clamps and securing the boom to the tower with rope the 
entire entire antenna got away from him and dropped vertically.  When it hit 
one of the upper level guy wires (remember this is a big and HEAVY antenna) 
it snapped the guy.  With one of the guys now gone the tower folded over at 
the upper guy point.  As the top portion of the tower dropped it struck 
several of the lower guy points snapping guys which caused all but about 60 
feet of the tower to rapidly accordian into the ground with W7IX belted to 
what had been the top of the tower.  Killed instantly according to the CHP 
officer-property owner who was there.

This almost sounds like a boom to mast clamp failure or too many (or the 
wrong) U clamps were removed in the process of re-positioning the antenna 
for removal.  Tragedy no matter what.

Jerry Boyd


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