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[TowerTalk] HS Guy Wire

Subject: [TowerTalk] HS Guy Wire
From: "Donald Chester" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 21:47:00 +0000
List-post: <>
Does anyone know where one can obtain the old fashioned HS steel guy wire?

When I worked at a broadcast station back in the 60's, I  recall that you 
had a choice of guy cable:

HS = Hardened Steel,  AKA  High Strength

EHS = Extruded Hardened Steel, AKA Extra High Strength

Whatever you choose to call it, EHS is a pain to work with.  It can even be 
dangerous.  I almost lost an eye once when I bent a strand of EHS on a cold 
day, and a piece about two inches long broke off in a sliver, with a 
needle-sharp point.  It hit me in the eye, but luckily the side of the wire 
hit my eyeball, not the sharp end.  It actually left a visible dent in the 
cornea.  I could imagine what would have happened if it had hit sharp end 
first.  The stuff is more difficult to work with than copperweld.

On the other hand, HS cable is softer and less springy.  If you bend it, it  
stays in the shape you bent it.  It is very difficult to break a strand by 
simply bending it; you have to repeatedly flex it back and forth until it 
finally fatigues.  All told, it is much easier to work with than EHS.

HS has only about 60% of the rated breaking strength of EHS, but if a tower 
is subjected to  enough wind to break a HS guy wire, the tower and 
transmitter building probably wouldn't survive the storm regardless.

The only problem is that I can't find anybody who sells it.  It used to be 
listed in the Rohn catalogue circa 1964.  You had a choice of HS or EHS, and 
HS was substantially less costly.

I recall an AM broadcast station where over 100 guy wire insulators were 
attached simply by serving the cables - no clamps or anything else.  The NAB 
Radio Engineers handbook says that serving is more secure than three cable 
clamps without serving.  A friend of mine who once worked for a utility 
company in Germany said that the guy wires on their utility poles were 
always attached simply by serving and nothing more.

It is impossible to properly serve a cable made of EHS.  As soon as you wrap 
the strands tightly, and remove the serving tool, they spring back and 
partially unwind, leaving a very loose wrap.  My near mishap occurred when I 
was trying to serve strands of EHS following 3 cable clamps.

Of course, Big Grips are much easier and well worth the extra cost.  But if 
you could still get HS cable, there would be no need for clamps or 

Don k4kyv


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