[TowerTalk] US Tower: Broken cable, resolution?

D. Rodman, MD rodman@acsu.buffalo.edu
Tue, 28 Mar 2000 07:06:14 -0500 (EST)

Thanks to all readers who offered suggestions on the repair of my 589
tower last month.  I wanted to bring out some points in a second
discussion as the project is nearing resolution, or is it?

#1 Order cables from manufacturer.

The set of replacement cost roughly $300.  I received this in a week after
my phone call.  I was surprised to find NO documentation or explanation on
what cable went where.  The pull down and pull up were obvious.  The
others were almost identical in size and configuration.  Some were only
1/2 inch difference in size.  I did not pay too much attention to this as
the weather got bad again and I knew that absolutely no one would be
available to help me.  I kept calling US Tower and it took two weeks to
get a call back from Bruce.  Unfortunately, he did not have any
documentation for the cable lengths.  He gave me his cell phone number if
I needed help on the weekend and explained that step #1 is to remove the
pull down cable.  I phoned back the following Monday and asked the
secretary to FAX me the cable diagram or explanation of what goes where.
I was told there is no such information and Bruce will call.  Still

#2 Do it yourself.

I had a nice weekend and  forumlated a plan to change the broken cable and
its opposite on the other side of the tower.  I could not get a
professional to work on this.  I did not get any offers of help from
fellow hams, so I asked another physician friend of mine to help.  He is
very handy and has a fairly extensive home shop.  The weather was great
for March in New York.  I went to the local tool store and bought a
"porta-power".  (great tool, lots for oogles from shoppers when they
carried that baby out of the stock room)  Alternatively, I could have
lowered the tower to do this, but d id not want to climb with broken

#3 What now?

Well, we got the tower's rusty bolts off and were able to safely block the
tower by using the portapower and wood blocks.  Cable changed, we now
discovered after 3 hrs work, the cables provided were too short.  Work
stopped while I studied the tower.  I placed the portapower on the next
smaller section, this allowed the cable end to come down enough to get
placed in the hole for the bolt.  OK, what is next?  My friend had to
leave and we called it a day.  Next morning I changed the pull up cable
alone as it was pretty rusted.  Now to get my friend back and change the
adjustable cable opposite to the broken one.  

#4 Sawsall.

The hardware was too old to get the bolts off.  We had to use a sawsall to
cut off the 1/2" bolt on the adjuster of the cable.  Dremel tool used to
cut the cable.  Since there was no diagram or explanation of cables, we
laid out the cable on the ground.  Guess what?  All the cables were
longer, some by 6".  Moreover, the thimble on the ends were too large for
the tower AND the adjuster screw was a totally different type of mounting.
I decided to change the cable anyway.  Up on the tower I pounded the
thimble to a smaller size to make the parts fit, and down below we cut the
cable to change the termination and shorten the length.  After 8 hrs more
work, the job was nearing completion.


US Tower is difficult to contact when you need them the most and the
information is sketchy.  They do not want hams to do this job for
liability reasons.  If they are going to sell kits, they need to provide a
list of lengths and clear labels on what is used.  At this point, I have
no idea what I have done to this system.  I had no choice, it was
precariously perched.  Had the secondary cable holding the tower up failed
too, it would have crashed an X9 into a bedroom.  Not a good thing to
explain to the judge when you are splitting up assets 50/50.  Good luck to
all who will face this task!

David J. Rodman, MD 

Assistant Clinical Professor 
Department of Ophthalmology 

Research Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry

State University of New York at Buffalo

FAX 716-859-4565 
Office 716-854-1137

e-mail: rodman@acsu.buffalo.edu

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