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Re: [TowerTalk] Which type of cable for a crank-up tower?

To: "Grant Saviers" <>, <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Which type of cable for a crank-up tower?
From: "VE6WZ_Steve" <>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2011 13:10:41 -0700
List-post: <">>
Thanks for that info Grant:

I think I understand your explanation.
Cycling stress on the wire rope is understood. That is always a factor with 
rope rolling over a sheave I suppose.
Differential stress around the sheave causing a "set" as the strands maybe 
migrate in the bundle makes sense, and I now see how that could cause a 
I suppose my problem was that my tower is going up and down twice a day 
about 5 days a week ( I always leave my tower nested) so the wire rope is 
rolling over the sheaves all the time, and its was not obvious what the 
difference is if it stops on a sheave.

My desire is not to be "nit-picky" here, but I own one of these and I don't 
want a failure.
The practicality of stopping the tower up, and down, in a different spot all 
the time is a bit challenging to say the least for me (twice a day, 5 days a 
I suppose I'm also somewhat confounded about why, if this were a problem, US 
tower would build these units with limit switches on the winches that force 
a stop in the same place all the time.

The fact is, I have had this tower for 15 years, (HDX-589mdpl) it has always 
been stopped both up and down at the same spot, and I have had no problem.
I have re-cabled the tower twice and replaced a few of the sheaves which 
showed wear. The removed cables always looked in very good shape, but I 
replaced as per US tower schedule.
Maybe I'm almost out of time and a failure is imminent, but I inspect my 
tower weekly and see no obvious problem with the cables. Maybe I cant see 
the problem?

Since taking measure to prevent a this potential problem is not minor, I 
just want to be sure the "issue" about a "cable set" is not just tower-talk 
folklore base on a "gut feeling" from someone.

de steve ve6wz

From: "Grant Saviers" <>
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 12:24 PM
To: "VE6WZ_Steve" <>
Cc: <>; <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Which type of cable for a crank-up tower?

> One problem is metal fatigue.  There will be small movement of the cable
> around the sheave which will stress cycle the steel strands.  Over time
> the strands can reach their fatigue limit and break.
> There is also significant differential stress in a cable strands around
> a sheave.  The fact that the cable gets a small wave set in at that
> point shows the stretch or slippage of some strands vs others in the 
> bundle.
> Any bend or clamp on a cable or knot in a rope significantly reduces the
> breaking strength.
> How much depends on clamping technique, knot type, radius of bends,
> etc.  YMMV.
> Every cable/rope has elasticity so if the force varies there is movement
> over the sheave.  Halyards (wire or rope) in sailboats do fail at the
> top sheave if the wear is not spread out.  Of course the cyclical load
> variation is significantly higher in this situation.
> Grant  KZ1W
> On 12/2/2011 8:24 AM, VE6WZ_Steve wrote:
>> Steve:
>> What is a "Fixed flaw" ????
>> I really do not mean to be difficult Steve, but exactly what is the 
>> science
>> behind this??
>> Do you have a reference?
>> Where did you get this information exactly?
>> In my documentation, US tower has no reference about not stopping the 
>> tower
>> in the same place.
>> Are cables not meant to bend?
>> It seems to me the cable is permanently "set" on the drum when its down 
>> and
>> I don't see this as a problem.
>> Steve.
>> --------------------------------------------------
>> From:<>
>> Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 9:12 AM
>> To:<>;<>
>> Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Which type of cable for a crank-up tower?
>>>>   I do not wish to hi-jack this thread, but over the years  I have seen
>>> this
>>> same comment repeated about a cable "retaining a set" if  left in the 
>>> same
>>> position.
>>>>   Why is this a  problem???
>>>     Because it puts a fixed flaw in the cable.  It won't take many 
>>> moving
>>> cable cycles for it to break so I'd say it's a  potentially fatal 
>>> problem.
>>>>   I have had my US tower for 12 years, it rests in the  same place when
>>> down,
>>> and stops in the same place when up.....have not  noticed any problems.
>>> Does it matter if the cable stops in the same place  all the time?
>>>     Umm, yes. I don't recommend it because of the set  that the cable 
>>> takes
>>> - see above. I highly recommend NOT having it  stop at the same spot 
>>> every
>>> time. Vary the resting spot (up and down) and  you'll spread the wear 
>>> over
>>> a
>>> bigger area, thus decreasing the wear and  increasing the reliability of
>>> the installation.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Steve    K7LXC
>>> Professional tower services for  hams
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> TowerTalk mailing list
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