[TowerTalk] Building a Tower Trailer

Terry Gerdes terry at ab5k.net
Mon Jun 26 22:53:41 EDT 2006

If you live near the border, another option would be to purchase a used 
light tower.   The Border Patrol makes heavy use of light towers.  They come 
up for sale on the government bid sales every few months.  The ones that I 
have purchased are made by Magnum and are called NightBuster 4000.  New they 
cost around $10,000.  They have a three cylinder Isuzu diesel engine driving 
a 6KW generator.  The tower cranks up to 30 feet and has four 1000 watt 
lamps.  Manufacture data at:  http://www.m-p-llc.com/Light%20Towers.htm

You should inspect before you bid as some are stripped for parts.  However 
if you are just looking for the trailer and tower, that may be what you are 
looking for.   The engines will typically have about 20,000 hours on them 
which is about 1/2 life before overhaul.

I purchased five of them several months ago.  They typically go from between 
$400 and $1600 depending on the shape of the unit.  We were able to get four 
of the five units running.  Most of the issues were cracked hoses.  Here is 
a picture of the machines that I purchased.


If anyone ends up with one of these units, we have a set of manuals in PDF 

73 Terry - AB5K

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Lux" <jimlux at earthlink.net>
To: "Kelly Johnson" <n6kj.kelly at gmail.com>; <towertalk at contesting.com>
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2006 6:53 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Building a Tower Trailer

> At 04:02 PM 6/26/2006, Kelly Johnson wrote:
>>Outriggers would be preferable, but guys would be acceptable if necessary.
>>Here's another thought.  Would it make things easier or harder to
>>assume that the tower will be transported by an SUV or truck whereby
>>the bed of the truck or the roof of the SUV could be used to hold the
>>tower for transportation.  Remember, the whole goal here is to make it
>>possible for me to transport and erect the tower by myself.
> This is what I was contemplating with my 50 foot mast/flagpole hooked to
> the car roof rack idea. It's very doable (take a look at what the Kite
> Assisted Photographer/Pole Cam guys are doing).  Actually, this works even
> better than the tower trailer, because it gets your pivot point up high, 
> so
> you can have your mast almost perfectly balanced.  Then, you can climb up
> on the roof to attach the antenna, once the mast is vertical.
> Think of the rigs used to push a rowboat,scow, canoe, raft, kayak up on 
> the
> roof rack. (the ones that don't require you to lift the boat up over your
> head)  A couple rollers and an extending member so that the pivot clears
> the rear (or side) of the car. You slide the tower back until about 6 ft 
> is
> hanging over the pivot, tip it up, and you're done.  I've seen a clever
> design for sea kayaks and canoes that sort of moved diagonally, so that 
> the
> hatch could still open.
> The problem I've found is wind survival. You either have to be willing to
> tolerate a collapse in fairly moderate winds, OR, deal with the
> outrigger/guy/ballast issue.  The roof rack just isn't strong enough to
> take the side loads. {Lesson learned: Do NOT attach guy lines to the roof
> rack!, not only does the rack fail, but it also deforms the roof with it,
> which makes it expensive to fix.}  In any case, design so that a collapse
> destroys something cheap to fix, not your car.
> W4EF has erected a 50 foot-ish mast for the 160 contests anchored to his
> truck several times. His comment is that you need to bear in mind the wind
> loads when tipping up.  With a crankup/telescoping tower this wouldn't be
> such a big deal.
> http://www.dellroy.com/W4EF's-Ham-Radio-Page/Salton-Sea-05/Salton-Sea.htm
> http://www.dellroy.com/W4EF's-Ham-Radio-Page/Stew-Perry_El-Mirage/El-Mirage.htm
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