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Re: [TowerTalk] US Tower TX-455 Crank Up

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] US Tower TX-455 Crank Up
From: "Brad Pioveson W9FX" <>
Reply-to: Brad Pioveson W9FX <>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 15:12:59 -0500
List-post: <">>
Guys, I own a TX-455, too.  Mine, as have all with whom I've corresponded, 
came from the factory equipped with a Fulton K-1550.  Mine has two.  One of 
'em is used to telescope the tower vertically, the other is attached to the 
'tilt-over fixture' to allow the tower to be lowered to the ground.  The 
problem with replacing the K-1550 mounted on the tower with a (relatively) 
inexpensive electric winch is that the tower is held in suspension by the 
winch brake.  In other words, the only thing that holds the tower in the 
extended position (fully or partially) is whatever brake mechanism the winch 
has.  I'm not that familiar with the several-hundred-dollar 12VDC winch 
units, but, the cheap ones I've seen I wouldn't trust to keep my tower in 
the air 'round-the-clock.  And, if the only other options are  the realm of 
the $800 truck/Jeep/4WD winches, it occurs to me that a guy would be as well 
or better off to spring for the other $200 and buy the real thing from US 

As for using a 1/2" electric drill to drive the tower's K-1550, I've tried 
it - and, it won't work, or, at least it won't work on mine.  My tower is 
not overloaded.  I have a 20' reinforced mast, a Ham IV, 2 ele quad, and, a 
17 ele 2M yagi hanging from it.  The winch does not supply enough mechanical 
advantage to allow the drill to do the job.  Shoot, as I grow older, my arms 
and shoulders are nearly inadequate for the job!  Incidentally, N6RK's 
excellent website, referred to in an earlier post, notes that his tower is 
equipped with a Fulton worm-gear drive winch, not the spur gear 
reduction/brake unit, a most important difference.

Folks have reported replacing the K-1550's on their TX-455's with Fulton 
K-2550's.  The additional mechanical advantage that unit delivers allows one 
to, then, cobble together and successfully utilize a drill-drive adaptor, 
I'm told.

Finally, Thern makes a fine line of industrial winches.  I recently 
purchased one of those, used.  It's a worm-gear drive unit with the gearing 
enclosed in an oil bath.  The winch came with a drill-drive adaptor.  It's 
construction is such that I'd guess that this winch will outlast me by a few 
dozens of decades.  The Thern will soon grace my TX-455 and will allow me to 
crank my TX-455 up and down with a 1/2", right angle drive, slow speed, 
electric drill.

Were I in the market for a replacement winch, new, however, my first stop 
would to pick up a Fulton K-2550.  Grainger has 'em as do several other 
industrial suppliers.  They aren't cheap at ~$240, but, are still less than 
25% the cost of the (new) $1K U.S. Tower electric winch.

73, Brad, W9FX


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