Crankup safety

Stan Griffiths
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 16:22:21 -0800 (PST)

>Can anyone tell me how it is safer to climb a long extension ladder resting,
>unsecured, against a tower, than to climb a fully nested and blocked
>crank-up? I just don't buy it, but I am very interested in hearing opinions. 
>Mike  K7NT

Well, I have been repeating what all the crankup manufacturers constantly
say:   "Never climb a crankup.  Use an extension ladder instead."  I have
always assumed it was for safety.

Reflecting on this for a moment with my suspicious mind, maybe it is not
about safety at all.  Maybe it is the tower maker's way of getting you to
fall off of an extension ladder INSTEAD of his tower thereby transferring
the liability to the ladder maker . . .

I think the real issue here is that there are SO MANY cases of people losing
fingers, etc, in crankup towers they THOUGHT were all the way down, but
weren't. It happens even to very experienced tower climbers.  About the only
way to be certain it won't happen to you is don't climb one.  I think of
myself as a very safety concious person and extremely careful and observant
as well.  I am just too chicken to mess with crankups, but then I don't
skydive or bungy jump either.

I think people sort of get "tricked" into doing something unsafe on a
crankup.  Here is a sample scenerio:  They get used to climbing it during
installation with no misshaps.  The rotator is installed before the tower is
set vertically.  It has no "tilt over" feature.  It works for 5 years
without incident.  Suddenly, one day before the contest, the rotator quits.
With the tower fully nested, you can't get the rotator in or out.  No tilt
over feature or people to help you tip it over at this late date.  You have
to crank the top section out just two feet to remove the rotator, so you do
it and climb the tower, like always, except just this once with just two
feet cranked up . . .  This is the recipe for disastor.  Simply could not
happen if you did not own a crankup.  It can (and has) happen to people who
do own crankups.  Oh, sure, there is a safety remedy for every risk.  But do
you know ALL the risks?  I am still hearing about new ones after 44 years in
hamming . . .

Crankups just scare hell out of me.  I would rather be at the top of W7GG's
180 foot rotating 55G than on a nested 20 foot crankup.  No kiddin'.


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