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[TowerTalk] Tower Cable Lubrication

Subject: [TowerTalk] Tower Cable Lubrication
From: NormA <>
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2012 23:18:47 -0400 (EDT)
List-post: <">>
I would like to add my comments to this subject regarding cable lubrication.  I 
can agree that using a heavy grease, or some of the thick sticky compounds used 
on large diameter cables is not a good idea.  One it is very messy, and they do 
tend to collect sand and dirt which may add to the problem....However light 
weight lubricants that fully penetrate the cable, and saturate any inner core 
that may be there are clearly beneficial based on my experience.  I do live 
near Salt or brackish water now, which makes this imparative, but it was also 
important when inland..  How I would li like to point out another crank-up 
tower fault that in my case contributed more to cable failure then the cable 
itself.  That problem is Pulley bearingiings freezing do to rust, lack of 
lubrication.  They lock up, and but considerable stress on the cable and if 
weakened by rust and time will cause a failure.  

 So my recommendation is to regularly lube the cables, and rigorously grease 
the pulley bearings.  Because the pulley bearings are deep within a 'sheeve' I 
recommend drilling a small hole (1/8") next to the pulley mounting bolt so that 
a lubricant can be squirted directly into the bearing.

Norm W4QN


Message: 7
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2012 20:01:04 +0100
From: "Doug Turnbull" <>
To: "'VE6WZ_Steve'" <>,    <>
Cc: Thos Caffrey <>,     Kevin McCarthy
        <>,  Hugh Bradley EI9GZB
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] NOT lubricate your cables
        from US tower
Message-ID: <5824E202DA454525B49A4D137B7BE5F8@DOUG1>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="us-ascii"

     This is most interesting as I have a friend who is just now installing
a US Tower Crank up.    In EI land we tend to lubricate our cables with
heavy grease and keep them lubricated.   A friend who deals in towers here
(not US tower tells me that if people replaced cables every three years he
would be a rich man.    The typical period is more like thirty years.)   I
fall into this category but I try not to fully support my towers on the wire
ropes.    I have three crank up towers thirty to forty years old.   One of
them is designed to be stayed and its two forty foot long extending sections
rest on heavy steel bars when the tower is cranked up.

     I suspect that if one lived in the American South West then the sand
that would lodge on a greased cable would be problematic.   This is not the
problem in EI land.   We are more concerned with rain and yes we get some
soft bugs on a recently greased cable but they tend to wash off and do not
appear to cause difficulty.   I suspect that if one was next to the salt
water then grease would be even more beneficial but of course I do not know
this and I am outside my field of expertise.   So please just take this as
personal experience and comment and not advice.   

      Thank you for your post.

             73 Doug EI2CN

-----Original Message-----
From: TowerTalk [] On Behalf Of
Sent: 03 September 2012 16:44
Subject: [TowerTalk] NOT lubricate your cables from US

Over the years on this list there has been a persistent thread suggesting it
is essential to lubricate your crank-up tower cables.

See the link below for a .pdf FAQ document from US tower wherein it is
stated twice NOT to lubricate the cables. Below I also cut-and-pasted the
relevant Q & A's.  There may be those who will argue that lube is a must,
but I would suggest following the advice of those who build the
towers.....even if they don't build the cable.

As a US tower owner for 14 years, I have NEVER put lube on my cables and
they have remained in excellent condition. They have been replaced twice,
but NOT because of any noticeable wear, but only as a precaution as per the
manufacturers advice.

73, de steve ve6wz.

QUESTION : Cable replacement and maintenance.

ANSWER : We recommend that you replace your cables every three years, with
regular inspection of the cables. You need to look for any rust, broken strains 
and/or kinking. We
do not recommend lubricating the cables as can cause a more serious damage to 

QUESTION : Can the cables be lubricated?

ANSWER : We do not recommend lubricating the cables. The lubrication only
attracts dirt and debris

causing cuts and scarring into the cable resulting in a shortened cable life


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