[TowerTalk] tower accident

wa4dou@juno.com wa4dou@juno.com
Tue, 21 Mar 2000 23:21:28 -0500

Whether these were hams or not is really immaterial. Hams are no more
than the general population when it comes to cutting corners, taking
risks, trying(sometimes
foolishly) to save money,etc. 

  I cannot even conceive of "tower builders", whether amateur or
profesional, doing the job with
inadaquate, substandard, or inferior material. To have a rope break, or a
knot come loose, that
is used to secure and hoist a tower section is ludicrous. I can't imagine
anyone with an ounce 
of common sense, not realizing that. Rope is rated at a certain breaking
strength. To exceed a
small fraction of that strength(like 10-15%) in the task of
hoisting,lifting, etc., even if its in tip top
shape, is, IMO, foolhardy. Likewise, not inspecting your equipment,
carefully and rejecting items
that aren't in very good condition. Gin poles aren't meant to be stressed
laterally. A tower block 
located well down the tower about waist high helps very much to keep the
load on the pole in
the vertical plane.

  Not being a professional, last year, when i wanted to build a tower, i
studied the Rohn manual
for several months, intently. I was told that it would cost me about
$1000 to have a professional
do the job. I concluded that if i could afford to pay that kind of money
to have it done, then i could
afford to pay that kind of money to buy the items i'd need to do the job
myself. I purchased a 
commercially produced gin pole, safety belt, tower block, tower jack,
rope, tower leg alignment tool,
guy wire tensioner, etc. I did the job myself, by myself, at my own
speed, carefully. I even use 2 safety's
when i'm on the tower. I can well imagine how it would feel to be working
on a tower, leaning out, 
and the second or two it would take to topple off backwards, and break
your neck on the ground,
in the event that your safety let go, for any reason. Its a feeling i
don't intend to experience.

  The bad thing about taking foolish shortcuts, and making do with
impromptu methods is that
getting away with them encourages one to do more of the same, and doing
so invites the day
that it catches up with us. I love ham radio, it was my first love in
life, but its not worth getting killed

  A well known actor can be quoted as having said, "a man needs to know
his limitations."

  Our limitations include being mortal and falable. Tower
building,dismantling ,is probably the most
dangerous thing that many of us will ever do. If stories of amateur and
professionals alike, losing
their lives, serves no other purpose, it should remind us of the
consequences of foolhardiness.
  Most accidents are avoidable with a little planning, forethought and a
lot of common sense.

  73 Roy Lincoln WA4DOU
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