[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [TowerTalk] rope strength - Knot Expert

To: "''" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] rope strength - Knot Expert
From: Gedas <>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2019 10:56:03 -0500
List-post: <>
Grant TU for the very useful write-up and description. Yesterday before solid rain and below freezing temps set in today my wife and I managed to put everything in place and raised up both towers. Each now has my 2x4 with pulleys arrangement attached & threaded and I really like the way it turned out. Running up the loop with attached SS Carabiner clips up & down worked out so well.

I provided a couple of URL's showing the 99% finished setup. Images do not show the SS pulleys attached to those clips. The images may look a little confusing but I tilt over my 70' Universal towers (with 22' mast) using a system I designed and have been using for over 35 years. The black poles are a pair of 6"x6"x18' PT timbers bolted together and set into 7' deep concrete (same as the HD tower bases). A double pulley system and geared winch allows me to tilt up & down the towers in about 10 minutes since I do not climb.

The images show I used a simple square knot to join the rope ends but these will be replaced with a double fisherman's knot in the next day or so. Thank you again to everyone who helped out and provided input.

Gedas, W8BYA

Gallery at
Light travels faster than sound....
This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

On 12/1/2019 11:40 PM, Grant Saviers wrote:
I looked at your 2x4's with pulleys jpgs.  If rope strength is a concern, then consider that going around a sheave (pulley) significantly compromises strength in two ways. I thought a comment would be appropriate given the discussion about knot strength.

The rope fibers are compressed inside and stretched outside in the sheave wrap so the strength can be degraded 50% or more.  The pulleys you appear have a tiny radius.   Repeated passage is cumulative for damage. Check rope specs for the recommended sizes. (might be for wire rope, same problem, bigger loads and life safety = bigger concern)

The second problem is there is a lot of friction in the pulleys. I've seen tests for hardware store ones where the output tension is only half of the input tension.  I use a good sailing block, the best have polymer ball bearings.  It's amazing the difference low friction makes.

Sailboat pulleys are also made to minimize chafe, so if the load moves or the rope stretches in the wind you will be much happier in the long run spending $20 for the good ones.  I figure a tower climb costs much more than $20 if the rope breaks or the pulley fails.  Harken, Lewmar, Ronstan, are all great.  Here is the one I am currently using

Also, I went back to your original post to understand the goal. You mention 30# load.  The actual load in a rope pulled from the side is greatly affected by the angle the rope makes with the a line between the ends.  i.e. at halfway actual rope tension is load/sine(angle).  That means at zero degrees the tension multiplier is infinite for a load 50% between the support points. Obviously, that never happens since the rope stretches or something fails.  When your hoist point gets to the top pulley then that pulley will take all the load and the other line part can be slack, so not a problem.  Be aware that when hoisting,there might be a larger tension then expected halfway up if the hoist is a tight loop.  And the loop force on the supports is twice the tension. So a better solution is to put a lot of slack in the hoist loop.  I always use a loop through my permanent sailboat blocks in trees, just to never lose an end, but they have a lot of slack, also to reach the antenna on the ground partway out.

Grant KZ1W


TowerTalk mailing list
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>