Towers and regs

K7LXC at K7LXC at
Thu Feb 8 10:51:51 EST 1996

In a message dated 96-02-08 01:52:18 EST, you write:

>I have an older Wilson 77 ft. crankup - tube type tower .
>I've heard comments on crankups being on the no no side
>but haven't understood the concern.  (maybe it's something 
>I do understand but don't violate?)
>73 Robert  WB5CRG  w5robert at  

Robert, howdy --

   Your Wilson crankup is a nice tower and aesthetically pleasing as well.
 The main negatives for crankups as I see them are:  the cable is the weak
link in the chain ( they break) and you can't climb them to work on them when
they are extended.  A crankup has its applications for many back yard
installations where neighbors are a concern (keep it cranked down until you
use it) or where you don't have room for guy wires.  A guyed tower is less
expensive cost-wise but not everyone can put one up. Windload-wise, crankups
are commonly rated at 50 MPH or down-rated at 70 MPH.  You will have a
problem getting a building permit for most crankups because they won't meet
the UBC regulations for wind speed rating (typically 80 MPH.)

   Enjoy your Wilson and do some PM on the cable, winch and pulleys at least
once a year and you'll get more reliable use out of it.

73,  Steve  K7LXC

     "Up The Tower"   now appears in CQ Contest magazine

>From flanders at (Jerry Flanders)  Thu Feb  8 16:13:43 1996
From: flanders at (Jerry Flanders) (Jerry Flanders)
Date: Thu, 08 Feb 1996 11:13:43 -0500
Subject: Tower Help

I am in seriously contemplating putting up a tower here at my QTH in
Florida, and was wondering were I could get information on how to make wind
survival versus tower size tradeoffs, guy selection, etc....

... survival comparisons between Rohn 25, 45 and 55 to see if
the heavier tower sections are worth the added expense.

Please respond direct to me at mtope at 

73 de Mike, AD4VH

I am responding here because there have been several postings recently
concerning tower engineering data.

A few years ago ROHN published a nice manual with engineering data on their
tower line. Not only the ham stuff like the 25/45/55, but even the
commercial stuff. It had their factory engineering data as well as guy
design recommendations, concrete base specs, even dead-man design. I never
used it for such, but I suspect copies of those pages would have overwhelmed
the average county building permit clerk, provided you intended building to
those specs. It also had maps showing what areas of the CONUS were rated for
the different wind threat levels, so you could determine exactly which set
of standards you should be constructing for. No guesswork, just good
engineering-based design stuff.

I don't know if it is still available, but it sure would be a worthwhile
addition to any ham's library. It was free for the asking back then.

Jerry       W4UKU      South Carolina     flanders at

>From w7ni at (Stan Griffiths)  Thu Feb  8 16:49:43 1996
From: w7ni at (Stan Griffiths) (Stan Griffiths)
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 08:49:43 -0800
Subject: CC&R's , a growing danger to contesting
Message-ID: <199602081649.IAA28006 at>

N0AX said:

>There are plenty of places to live in the area where you can put up a
>skyhook...check out the older subs, unincorporated King County, and,
>surprisingly, the city of Seattle.  My suggestion is to drive around until
>you see a tower and ask your agent to shop in those locales.
>73 and Good Hunting!
>Ward N0AX

It is STILL VERY IMPORTANT to check the regulations.  Any ham tower you see
could have been installled before the strict regulations went into effect.
(My case, exactly.)  Or, it could simply be an illegal tower that has
escaped execution so far . . .

I found out when I lived in LA in the early '60s that there were legal and
illegal antenna supports.  I was on a 63 foot wide lot and wanted to go 90
feet or so.  Not possible with a conventional guyed tower so I chose to use
a very tall wooden pole (110 feet) without guys.  I tried like crazy to get
a permit to put it up to no avail.  The City told me they NEVER issued
permits for wooden poles.  However, I noticed thousands of telephone and
power poles and pointed that out.  They said because they were public
utilities, they were exempt from the permit process.  Frustrated, I put the
pole up anyway since I knew of several other installations in the city that
were not public utilities that had poles.  Surprise!  Surprise!  My pole was
condemned and I was ordered to remove it within a week.

At this point I got serious about this whole thing and approached each pole
owner I was aware of (Henry Radio, W6RW, and a couple of other hams who's
calls I can't remember).  I asked them about the process they went through
to get their permits and nobody but Henery Radio would discuss it at all
which suggested to me they did not have permits.  I found out that Henry's
pole was a super expensive installation with the pole mounted in a concrete
"well casing" with the pole suspended in air and not touching concrete,
earth, or water.  Such an installation would have been WAY beyond my budget,
besides my pole was ALREADY installed in the dirt like utility poles.

So, I went back to each pole owner and said that even if their poles did not
have a permit, I could still use them as a precedent for my installation
because the fact that the city did not require them to take theirs down
constituted permitting them to leave them up and the City would have to
treat me the same way.  I also suggested that the result COULD be that we
would ALL have to take our poles down.  Mild panic ensued and each of the
ham pole owners joined my efforts to locate a legitimate ham-owned permitted
pole in LA which was set in the dirt that I could use as a precident.  We
actually FOUND one (I would NEVER have found it alone)!  Rather than blow
the whistle on the other guys with poles, I used only the permitted pole as
a precident by getting copies of all the paperwork from the City records
(without letting on to the Building Department what I was up to since I did
not want to take a chance that the records would suddenly "disappear") and
waving them in front of the building permit people.  I got my permit and
used that pole in Canoga Park from about 1964 until about 1969. My call was
WB6ENX at the time.

I think this is what "contesting" is all about . . . 

Stan  W7NI at

>From w7ni at (Stan Griffiths)  Thu Feb  8 16:49:48 1996
From: w7ni at (Stan Griffiths) (Stan Griffiths)
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 08:49:48 -0800
Message-ID: <199602081649.IAA28051 at>

>** Reply to note from w7ni at 02/07/96 01:39am -0800
>> I am glad you were able to solve this telephone interference problem, but
>> you solution is do a disservice to the rest of us.  Think of the poor guy
>> who lives a stone's throw from 100 appartments, all with bad phones.  At $80
>> a crack, it will cost him $8000 to implement your solution!
>> You may not think so, but you are helping to set a very UNDESIRABLE
>> precedent.  You TOLD your neighbors it was not your responsibility to fix
>> their phone (you are correct, of course).  But then you ACTED like it WAS
>> your responsibility by buying them a phone.  ACTIONS speak louder than
>> WORDS.  Any of their friends who have a similar problem will now expect a
>> similar solution, ie: a free phone paid for by the poor ham involved.
>aw, comon Stan, lighten up!
>How close is the closest neighbor you YOUR house?

House to house is about 50 feet, but I have my 20 meter tower between the
houses so the ends of my elements are just about right on the property line
which would put them about 20 feet (horizontal distance) from the neighbor's
house.  Fortunately, it is up 107 feet which helps reduce the RFI problem a lot.

>My closest neighbors house is no less that 10 feet from the end of my
tribander >element tips... I have to live with these people and would like
to have pleasant 

In my case, the closest neighbors are very friendly.  The next house over,
not so.

>Bill did exactly the right thing by letting them know he did not HAVE to fix  
>their phones, but was doing so in order to be a good neighbor.
>And your neighbor has no idea if you paid $2 or $200 for the phone that
fixed >his problem.

Oh yes he does!  I made certain they knew the only reason I was giving them
a phone is because I got it so cheap.  It replaced an expensive GE phone
with memory, redial, speaker, and other features.  I was not about to buy
them all those goodies.

>I have had MUCH BETTER results in working with my neighbors and fixing their  
>problems. That allows me to stay on uninterrupted during a contest without
>familiar not-too-nice knock at the front door.

You are lucky that you have not had a real tough case yet.  Where possible,
I work with my neighbors, too.  I just won't pay $50 (or more) for the

>How do think our friends in Japan feel? Many of them can't even operate
>of these issues.

Rotten, I am sure!  A great reason not to live in Tokyo.

>I think a lack of cooperation is more likely to harm our hobby than drawing a  
>line in the sand.

It is impossible to say, isn't it, what will really harm or protect our
hobby in the long run.  You are certainly entitled to your opinion.
However, I think you judge me too harshly by assuming I don't cooperate with
my nieghbors.  I just draw the line at spending more than about $5 or $10 on
each one of them.  

>Now of course I recognize that many times neighbors simply refuse to deal
>the issue, and will not cooperate in any way. Those are the ones that you
>the registered letter to and don't help at all.

That is my neighbor two doors away.

>To date, I have provided 11 K-com filters and 6 Ameco TV hi-pass filters to
>various neighbors. None have been back.

>* Brian McGinness WA3WJD    *
>* Potomac Valley Radio Club *
>* wa3wjd at    *

Again, you obviously have not had a real tough case.  I  hope you continue
to be so lucky.  If you can buy your way out with simple store-bought
filters, you have it easy.  They don't always work.  What then . . . ?

Stan  W7NI at

>From w7ni at (Stan Griffiths)  Thu Feb  8 16:50:13 1996
From: w7ni at (Stan Griffiths) (Stan Griffiths)
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 08:50:13 -0800
Subject: Tower Help
Message-ID: <199602081650.IAA28229 at>

>Hey Folks,
>I am in seriously contemplating putting up a tower here at my QTH in
>Florida, and was wondering were I could get information on how to make wind
>survival versus tower size tradeoffs, guy selection, etc. I am considering a
>60 to 70 foot guyed tower with a something like a Force-12 C-3 Tribander
>stacked under a Cushcraft 402CD. Being in Hurricane country, I would like to
>be able to do wind survival comparisons between Rohn 25, 45 and 55 to see if
>the heavier tower sections are worth the added expense. I just got a copy of
>Dave Leeson's book "Physical Design of Yagi Antenna's", from what I have
>seen so far, an excellent book, but it seems focus mostly on antenna and
>mast design - no too much about towers. No sense putting up a antenna and
>mast rated for 120 mph if the tower is going to buckle at 95 - HI HI. 
>Please respond direct to me at mtope at I'll summarize and post the
>responses on the reflector.
>Many thanks!
>73 de Mike, AD4VH

Hi Mike,

I can certainly sympathize with your desire to know how to correctly design
your tower installation so it won't fail.  We had quite a thorough
discussion here a couple of months ago where it was pretty much concluded
that all of the engineering design expertise needed to do this job right
could be put into a software program that could be used by the average ham
much the same way as antenna design software is used today.  The problem is
that anyone who writes such a program is assuming a massive amount of
liability in the event that one of the tower systems designed using the
program fails.  When a tower comes down, real damage can occur to people and
property.  If an antenna blows apart, the pieces are generally light enough
that nothing gets hurt (except the antenna!)

It turns out that there actually IS a place where you can get the
information you seek.  The Rohn tower company offers various services to
their customers regarding evaluating designs using their towers.  Here are a
couple of examples of the services they provide and what they typically
charge for them:

Product review of Standard Catalog Towers (for other than catalog antenna
loads): $1000 per tower.

I believe this is the service you are asking for.  What you need to do is
get ahold of a copy of the "Rohn Ham Tower Catalog", determine the square
footage of the antennas you plan to use, and see how your installation
compares to those published in the Rohn catalog.  Once difference I noticed
is that Rohn never talks about stacking any antennas on a mast above the
tower.  Their loads are always shown to be at one place -- right at the top
of the tower.  $1000 may seem like a lot to pay for this information, but it
just reflects the cost of Rohn's liability insurance which they MUST have if
they are going to pass out this kind of information.

Here is another service you might need if your city requires it before
issuing a building permit:

Foundation Drawings and Calculations (Soil analysis by others) (Anchor
Blocks, Base Piers, Pier & Pad, Caisson, Mat):  $1,500 per type.

I am not aware of any ham who has ever taken advantage of this service from
Rohn.  It just costs too much.  Besides, I suspect you won't really be able
to get a good picture of the "tradeoffs" without having Rohn submit a bunch
of different designs for $1000 EACH . . . Oh yes, the above prices are
DEALER PRICES and you will have to pay considerably more unless you are a
Rohn dealer . . .

Probably the real way to get this done is to cultivate a personal friendship
with a qualified structural engineer and offer to swap him an equally
valuable service if he will design your tower.  You could give him a free
heart transplant, for example, if you were a cardiovascular surgeon . . . or
perhaps a new Ferrari if you are a car dealer . . .

Stan  W7NI at

>From H. Ward Silver" <hwardsil at  Thu Feb  8 17:02:04 1996
From: H. Ward Silver" <hwardsil at (H. Ward Silver)
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 09:02:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Contest stations in emergencies
Message-ID: <Pine.3.07.9602080903.F24406-a100000 at>

I remember that very well!  K7SS called me in the middle of NAQP and told
me what was going on.  We were listening to both sides relaying into the
West Coast.  When propagation started to change, it moved up to New
England and we could no longer hear the Lithuanians.  Then ON4UN got on as
the Euro link...we could hear him just fine!  I was about to pull the plug
when I heard John say, "Doug, this one's important."  Then they passed the
message of the transfer of government to the minister in Poland.  Seems
that this wasn't entirely unexpected and one senior minister was kept out
of the country at all times just to be available.  Yow!  What traffic! 
Even today it's exciting to recall.  Good show ON4UN and K1DG and the
others at LY2WW and WR.

73, Ward N0AX

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