[TowerTalk] Hi-Tech Station Cost
Tue, 23 May 2000 11:16:31 EDT
Let me compliment K0FF on the scope and accuracy of his cost run down. I
came up with the same figure with an educated guess in previous posts. I
added another $100,000-500,000 for the land just for the towers. Don't
forget the extra real estate tax and loss of money by not having all that
money increasing in investments. There is even more land needed or access to
it for the long Beverages. Or hide it in the top wire of neighbors fences or
lay green insulated wire on the ground. If one buys a Motor Coach he can get
a high % of money out of it if he sells it. How much money can get out of a
contest ham station. There are far fewer buyers. If one gets several years
of good use out of it--go for it. The price of excellence tends to get a bit
There will be so many guy wires for all these towers that no sun screen will
be needed to prevent sun burn for all the hours needed to maintain it. If
one used a lot of the rotators and other equipment that TT shows is always
breaking down, replacement costs after a few years and also labor cost if you
can't do it yourself, keeps the cost increasing fast after the initial
investment. Retirees usually can't afford even the maintenance and often
have to sell everything. I can still climb towers but would rather not.
Weather delays maintenance in the winter unless you have crank ups or tip
over towers. I have platforms on fixed towers. Many retirees become
Involuntarily, Financially, Physically Bankrupted from their Hobbies.
To put this estimate in even more prospective, one can install a 5 band 2
element quad (I've added 6M also) with individually driven DE's with a coax
switch at the beam like Antenna Mart has, a 35-50' tower next to the house,
rotator and coax for about $1500 which is a great bargain. This will work
the world like few have ever experienced with virtually no maintenance. They
are built for Longevity and retiree budgets--physically, financially and
To beat this beam or similar ones like the RaiBeam or HexBeam (or Moxon who
no one builds commercially), you need mono-banders of more elements, all the
associated costs, the land and permission to install it all physically and
financially from you know who--the XYL. They frequently don't like the looks
of this new aluminum mistress and it's cost in money and time. If the wife
ever saw what it really costs for a few more Ego Boasting dB's toy that
reduced your time with her, you could lose it all in a divorce.
For 20-30 dB more $$$, all you gain is 2-4 more "line of sight gain",
sharpening of the vertical pattern which gives what I call more "DX Gain"
based on many comparisons and a lower angle of radiation which puts one in
sooner and holds one in later needed to be competitive in contests. You will
hear stuff the lower ones don't hear. The lower and fewer element beams seem
to take over during the day in the contest. So all this investment only
really helped your signal mostly during the opening and closing of the band.
Disturbing isn't it?
Now there are a couple a ways to get a lower angle of radiation from lower
heights. Vertically polarized beams is one. (The others are trade secrets?)
Minimum tower interference is a must and can be obtained with 2 vertically
polarized beams on a horizontal boom mounted away from the tower. This
sharpens the horizontal pattern--not the vertical pattern. However just
tipping the beam vertical automatically sharpens the vertical pattern also
which is beneficial for DX as the E plane of each beam is sharper than the H
plane. This takes another tower and beam. Although I have done both on one
tower on 10, 6 & 2 M by installing a horizontal beam 1/2-5/8 WL above the
horizontal boom close to the tower holding the 2 vertical beams. I have a
telescoping mast technique that works, is strong and I can raise it and the
beam all by myself. I could select the vertical beams, the top horizontal
beam or both, with various phasings with great results.
There is a way to feed a quad for 6 polarizations but when vertically or even
45 degree polarization, the tower is lit up and eliminates the advantage.
There is a way to actually isolate the tower from vertical polarization when
the vertically polarized beam is right at the tower. One can reduce QSB due
to polarization shift by being able to switch between different
polarizations. This also results in a different and lower angle of radiation
than that from the horizontal polarization.
DX Ego is very costly but what the hell, competition is the source of all the
great joys. How you spend your money on technical challenges is your
business. I just spent $110,000 for 6 acres 4 miles from town in SD of the
highest ground conductivity in the US, no power lines for miles and it has a
very modern house on it with 12" walls and 2' of insulation in the ceiling.
The rest of the hardware I need I already have for the most part which was
carefully hoarded over 60 years in anticipation of my dream sight. In
addition to not being able to take any money with me after my last QSO I also
have determined I can't take any ham gear with me either. I feel I can put
together a great station at the least cost of anyone and on a retiree's
budget. I still do my own installations often alone and maintenance .
To decrease the initial and replacement costs there are several ways. I have
repeatedly pointed out the many advantages of open wire line and a Johnson
Match Box (with my modifications). With a few sneaky tricks, there isn't an
antenna you can't feed better and get more RF into it over the whole
band--continually for the least 1 time cost for your entire lifetime. Visual
inspection is all one needs to do to determine if the open wire line is doing
it's job. Damaged open wire line is easily repaired--coax isn't. Initial
cost is very low and feedline maintenance cost is virtually ZERO.
Rotator problems just go away with Prop Pitch Motors properly installed and
modified as I have suggested many times. My initial rotator cost was very
very low and maintenance cost is virtually ZERO.
I suggested no guy wire telephone poles several times with wire tracks on
them for easy up and down for the least initial cost and virtually no
maintenance. A few finally saw the financial and practicality light.
Telephone Pole Maintenance is virtually ZERO.
For more DX Versatility at the least cost and maintenance (no crane and
installation crew needed), stacking 2 element quads, RaiBeams, Hex Beams or
Moxon 2 element beams gives the same increase in line of sight gain with
closer spacing, lighter towers and rotators. It's what I call the "K7GCO
Retiree's Kick Butt Budget Antenna System." 3 stacked 2 element beams can be
installed for less or equal cost of 2 monobanders of several elements. When
the wind really blows, you can sleep much better with 2 element beams on the
towers. Antenna installation is very easy and maintenance is virtually ZERO.
The extra insurance, grass cutting and technical consulting cost plus
telephone bills were not mentioned on all this??
High level of technical performance cost and maintenance can be greatly
minimized. The World of 2 Element Beams, ease of installation and their
great performance at low heights starting a 1/2 WL is one that has not been
properly portrayed. They also work great much higher also with far less
tower and rotator cost than the big ones. RaiBeams with directors have more
gain per boom length. The boom length normally used for a reflector is used
for another director as it's design has good F/B--without a reflector.
Eznec shows that VHF/UHF antennas can be installed inside HF quads with no
interference to either one. You can have it all on one tower.
In a message dated 21.05.00 11:42:42 Pacific Daylight Time, K0FF@ARRL.NET
Here is a rundown of the $$ for a medium big Midwest station. (7 Towers,
Beverages), with a VHF/UHF emphasis.
* denoted homebrew
** denotes items purchased used.
(What is the cost of a Big Big Midwest station?)
Hygain 5 el 20 $500
Hygain 5 el 15 $500
Hygain 5 el 10 $450
Mosley Pro 57 $600
CC 6M Boomers (4) $1476
CC 2M Boomers(8) $1760
CC 230WB $250**
M2 2M-17el (5) $999
M2 6M 7 el $290
M2 6M 11 el $530
M2 432 13WL $230
M2 222 7WL $300
M2 1296 $100
Create LP $300
s.s Discone (VHF) $150
Hustler discone $50
Diamond 2/440 repeater ant $240
Mosley el 40 $900**
For the trailer tower:
Mosley TA33 $100**
ATAS 100 $200
BJ screwdriver $100**
Hustlers w/ coils $200 **
6M 3 el 00*
6M 5 el 00*
6M 7 el 00*
222 10 el 00*
430 10 el 00*
Antennas total ...............$10,644
100' SSV 8-1/2' base $2000**
10x10 air-conditioned transmitter building free
professional delivery installation of above incl... underground electricity
and 39 yds concrete, and removing the old 185' microwave tower .......
89' US Tower, work platform, chrome molly mast, coax arms
bearing, lifting fixture, raising fixture, SP for HDR300,
plus 56' US tower, motor,bearing, reinforced mast, coax arms and shipping
for both ......... $15,000
Triex 56' crankup $400**
Triex 72' Motorized crankup $1000**
HDX 56 $50**
Heights 48 $100**
Wilson 40' tubular $200**
Concrete, backhoe, labor to install towers $2500?
33' Triex trailer tower w/ 4K generator,
solar panels, batteries, inverters $1500**
20' 55G w/ (2) 3" bearings, 2 rotor plates, 3" mast $700
Total for towers ............................................. $39,150
Rotors HDR300 $300**
Ham4 (2) $800
M2 2800 (2) $2860
M2 M3000 (2) $2000
hd73 (2) $300
CDE 45 (2) $100**
Pelco AZ EL $1500
Total for rotors ..................................................$8,860
FT1000D (HF sta.) $3000**
IC756 (6M sta.) $2000
FT 847 (2M EME) $1600
FT736 (222+1296 sta.) $2500
FMs + HTs $1000
MFJ 9420 $150
ATV gear $600
TUBE RIGS (nostalgia sta): $2000**??
75S3C / xtal pack
32S3 / DX eng
Dentron 160 xvtr
Rigs Total ..........................$12,850
HF (Henry) $6000
6M (Henry) $3000
2M (Henry) $3000
Bricks for vhf+UHF $1500
AMPs total ........................... $14,100
Bird W/M (6) $600
12 slugs $600
Drake 7000 rtty $4300**
HP Pentium II $2000
HP Laser printer $1400
Atomic clock $200
SSB 2m preamps (2) $440
Polypahser panel $500
Ant analyzer, grid dippers, sig gens, voltmeters, other test equip $1000
Auto notch filter $150
Voice keyers (2) $300
Coax, control wire, control boxes:
350' 1-5/8 run from op. position to TX shack at 100' tower. $3000
225' 1-1/4 run from op pos to 89' tower (new w/ new connectors) $1200
6 100' runs 7/8"
6 100' runs 1/2" $300
1000' RG389 $500
3000't 75Ohm Triax $2850
3000' RG 213 $300
LMR 400 phasing lines $500
Power splitters $500
5KW relay boxes (3) $300*
Bev hub box $100*
innumerable coaxial fittings + adapters, ground rods, ground strapping.. ??
1000's ft multiconductor control wire.
10,000's ft 18ga. wire for radials + Beverages.
Total coax etc.................$10,000+
#price does not reflect the cost of the 1000' of riverbluff top for siting,
road cutting, trenching for electric, tree removal, etc.
This fellow wishes to remain anonymous. He's already over budget, his wife
may see this. She thinks he's finished already.
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