[TowerTalk] Help Needed Replacing Crank-Up Cable on US Tower

K7LXC at aol.com K7LXC at aol.com
Tue Jun 6 09:16:57 EDT 2006

In a message dated 6/5/2006 9:02:43 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
towertalk-request at contesting.com writes:

>  I just purchased and have brought home US Tower, model  HDX-572MDPL, 72' 
Duty tower from the estate of a SK.    

>  It has a motor drive whose design includes a postive  pulldown feature.  

>  The tower contains 4 sections, was  installed in 1999 and has had little 

>  Where I need help:  

>  US Tower recommends replacing the cable every 2-3 years,  which may be an
overkill but is definitely erring on the side of  safety.  Since my tower is 7
years old I'd like to start out with  fresh cabling. 
    The UST recommendation is known as a "weasel  clause"; that is, if 
something happens to your tower and you hadn't changed  the cables, they can weasel 
out of any liability. Tower manufacturers are  insurance-driven enterprises so 
it's no surprise they are reluctant to  provide any helpful information. 
    The other gotcha is that there isn't anyone  around who can do the cable 
change anyway. I spent a couple of days at the  factory to learn how to do it 
and what I found out is that it's an involved  and semi-complicated endeavor. 
It's not something I would try myself. 
    I'll bet you a nickel that you don't have to do  anything other than lube 
the cables and you'll be good to go. The actual  circumstances that would 
require cable replacement are: 1) Excessive broken  strands. Industry standards 
allow you to have six broken strands before  replacement is necessary. 2) 
Excessive rust - not surface rust but real  cancerous into the strands rust. 3) 
Damaged cable. This would be kinks or flat  spots in the cable. I doubt that your 
cables meet any of the above criteria.  

OTOH you should lubricate the cables annually at  a minimum. Champion Radio 
Products sells PreLube 6 which is recommended by the  wire rope manufacturers. 
    You should exercise the tower a couple of times a  month by running it up 
and down. You should also park it at different heights  rather than just at 
the limit switches all the time. The cables can take a  permanent set by 
sitting on the pulleys at the same spot for years.  By doing these 3 things, you 
will prolong the service life of your  cables.
    BTW I have never personally seen a ham tower that  the cables were so bad 
that they had to be replaced. Some were pretty grungy  but didn't meet the 
aforementioned criteria. 
    Lube it and enjoy it and don't worry about  replacing the cables.
Steve    K7LXC
Professional tower services for hams
Cell: 206-890-4188


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