Yesterday, I rented a man lift and the people to use it. Today my antennas
are on the tower ready to go.
I had found two firefighters from Blackfoot, Idaho [within 25 miles of me]
who had been trained for tower rescues by their department by sending them
to tower climbing safety and rescue school. They also happen to be amateur
radio operators. For a modest consideration paid in the form of technical
support, radio components from my 'no longer used' stores and a small amount
of cash they agreed to put a XM240 and a Force 12 C-31XR on my telescoping
The maximum height required was 34 feet. The lift was one that used electric
motors that switch on and off to provide the pressure for changes in the
hydraulic ram positions. It had outriggers which were lowered and then self
leveled the lift. The total rental cost for one day for the lift was $145
including special insurance and taxes.
The maximum height involved was quite low when compared to the heights
others have mentioned during the development of this thread. Clearly, one
can suffer injury even at 24 feet when maneuvering 50 to 85 pound antennas
that have very large dimensions and correspondingly large amounts of inertia
when moved. The use of the man lift to hoist the antennas and maneuver them
into position made the task much less physically demanding for the persons
on the tower. That in turn reduced the risk of injury to people or damage to
the tower and antennas.
The persons doing the work for me wore full body harnesses and clipped to
the lift or the tower at all times. The moves that they made used the same
safety principles that would be used had they been working at 100 feet.
This is the first time that I have had someone else do the placement of
antennas on my tower. This time I felt that the job was being done by people
who were well trained and who did such activities on a regular basis. My
stress was considerably reduced from that which I recall I when I was up on
the tower -- perhaps with a friend --- doing similar things without nearly
the same training and experience.
In my opinion, for the right heights, using a man lift -- and particularly
using a man lift with persons who are experienced in its use and are
experienced working on towers and handling antennas -- makes a great deal of
sense. Bill Tibbals, K4XT, is the person who suggested that I give this a
hard look as a way to get my antennas on the tower and I am certainly glad
that he did.
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