[TowerTalk] Hi-Tech Station Cost

K7GCO@aol.com K7GCO@aol.com
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
 R7000                           $380
 R5                                 $100*
 HF2V                             $239
 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**
 Tailtwister(2)            $1000
 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
 Viking II
 Mosley CM1
 Utica 650
 Rigs Total ..........................$12,850
 HF (Henry)           $6000
 6M    (Henry)        $3000
 2M  (Henry)          $3000
 SB221                   $400**
 LK1000                  $200**
 Bricks for vhf+UHF $1500
 AMPs total  ........................... $14,100
 Bird W/M (6)        $600
 12 slugs                $600
 Kam                      $200
 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
 tuners                      $350
 Accy total.................$8,050
 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+
 Project total...................$100,000+
 #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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