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Re: [TowerTalk] A couple of tower questions

To: Al Kozakiewicz <>,
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] A couple of tower questions
From: Grant Saviers <>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 20:34:36 -0800
List-post: <">>

I'm a regular annual traveler to Long Lake for 30+ years, a friend has a 
camp there and I have been "chief engineer" for many projects, however 
not a tower.

I'm wondering if you need to back up a bit as a "zoning variance" is 
usually a big deal, neighbors get to vote, public hearings, etc.  Have 
you discussed the process with a land use attorney in the area and maybe 
a civil engineer?  PRB-1 prevents "zoning out" amateur towers, so you 
might also talk to ARRL HQ for advice and see if they know a local 
attorney familiar with the issues.  I had to apply for a "use permit" 
for a tower in MA, which was much simpler than a "variance."  
Frequently, the town authorities will backtrack in the face of armed 
(legally so) and informed citizens as they certainly don't have money 
for legal battles which they will almost certainly lose.  You mention 
you are in the Adirondack preserve/park,  I know my friend has had the 
same issues, but successfully navigated them all.  Local 
engineering/contractor/legal/architect advice is essential.

One thing that worked in some MA towns was a education campaign re 
PRB-1, selling the benefits of ham radio, etc and getting a couple of 
the town selectmen or whatever they are called in your town to sponsor 
permissive legislation for amateur radio towers.  You might look around 
to see if other nearby communities have done so.  What we did in MA was 
set a template that got automatic approval for up to 80' towers, and 
this was adopted by several towns.  Much of the current municipal tower 
paranoia is driven by cell tower proliferation and you want to distance 
yourself as much as possible from that.  Read the codes carefully to 
make sure they really apply to you - "communications tower" is generally 
NOT read as "amateur radio tower."  Here in King County, WA, my new QTH, 
the codes specifically exempt amateur radio from the VERY long list of 
restrictions/to do's on cell stuff.  Try to find a helpful person in 
your planning and building dept's.  Be careful as I've seen them play 
power/agenda BS games with those not informed about the codes.  Outright 
lies/misinformation.  Your gumment at work!

Ok, so much for some of the hassles.  I'm putting up two HDX589's.  If 
you are forced to get every t crossed and i dotted for permits, you then 
need to know your local area wind load code.  This is available by 
county.  Then you can call UST (call and ask for Vicky) and get from 
them the design calcs document for your tower which will also show 
details of the foundation design.  Don't count on anything in the 
catalogs!  Then you will almost certainly need a PE with a NY license to 
"wet stamp"/sign off the UST design docs or replace it with one of his 
own.  Finding such an engineer can be a BIG problem since they are 
liability paranoid.  Then the building dep't will review and might 
require soil testing, concrete slump and cylinder tests.  $$$  ps - I 
bought via Texas Towers, saved a few bucks over HRO.  The shipping will 
not be cheap to upstate NY since they are FOB UST in So. Cal.  Try hard 
to find a good used tower on Craig's list or ebay or or!

Re antennas to consider, there are a few tribanders of note.  Nothing 
will need a 40' boom.  Get a copy of the tribander evaluation report by 
Steve K7LXC,  Not much has changed except for the 
SteppIR line appearing on the scene.  I decided on the C31XR for 
10/15/20 and a WARC 2/2 and M2  6m and 2m.  That exceeds 15 ft^2 by a 
little, which b.t.w. is a good budget number.  I have a CushCraft A4S at 
another QTH, it plays fine although there is recent grumbling about MFJ 
inferior parts.  Who knows?  At my MA two successive QTHs my two 
different TH7DX played fine through several hurricanes, but again what 
has MFJ done now that they own them?  M2, Force12, Bencher, and the 
Europeans aren't MFJ companies for what that is worth.  I avoided 
SteppIR for three reasons - strength, reliability and less gain/FB on 15 
and 10.  (the C31XR has 3L/20, 4L/15 and 7L/10 on a good sized boom).

For a 75' tower the HDX and 15 sq ft would be the best choice with the 
motorized up/down.  But, you can adapt a VS drill to drive the manual 
winch.  For $200 you can get a top line (Milwaukee) 1/2" VS + hi/lo + 
reversible drill and square drive socket adapter from McMaster.  UST 
seems to be ham friendly and reasonably well run as a company and the 
products do what they say they will do plus some, especially if you 
crank them down a bit.  Your inspector probably won't show up after the 
concrete is poured & backfilled.  Knowing your terrain a bit, good luck 
with the Adirondack granite!  We needed to hire a blaster for one Long 
Lake Camp project.

Good luck to you and to me as I don't have my permits yet!  Or, put your 
tower up and ask/pay for forgiveness, but follow/document/photograph 
implementation to the manufacturers specs/design.

Grant KZ1W

On 1/24/2011 5:10 PM, Al Kozakiewicz wrote:
> I've spent some time going through the archives, but most of my searches tend 
> to return 4 figures of results.  If anyone could help me narrow that down, it 
> would be appreciated.
> I'm preparing an application for a zoning variance to erect a tower at the 
> house we'll be moving to later this year.  It's in a rural, very small town 
> in the Adirondack mountains of NY.  There are no other hams with towers in 
> the town.  Things might get "interesting" as in addition to the town zoning 
> board there is a regional agency (the Adirondack Park Agency) that acts as a 
> land use overlord for the park.  In theory, their jurisdiction does not 
> extend to "residential radio and television" antennas, but details like 
> jurisdiction are mere curiousities to a New York bureaucrat.
> I want to be as big a gun as possible with a roughly 75' self supporting 
> tower on 20 meters and up.  Bands of greatest interest are 20, 17 and 15.
> My questions, as brief as possible:
> 1.  I've "budgeted" 15 sf of antenna wind load. The tower would be cranked 
> down when not in use.  For setback reasons, the boom can't be longer than 40' 
> to avoid overhanging the neighboring property.  I might also put 2m and 6m 
> antennas on the mast, but I'm not a major VHF operator.  I don't need 
> specific recommendations yet, I just need to know if that is a reasonable 
> budget for the antennas?  For obvious reasons, I don't want to get a variance 
> for a tower that won't safely support what I want to put on it.
> 2.  I've been thinking in terms of a US Tower TX-472 or HDX-572 with the 
> motorized crank up/down.  The HDX might be stretching the budget.  Are there 
> others I should look at?
> 3.  On the foundation plan for the US tower TX-472, the parts list shows you 
> need 10 #3 bars as ties, yet it looks like you need about 10x that amount 
> from the drawing.  What am I missing here?
> Many thanks,
> Al
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