[TowerTalk] Building a Tower Trailer

Pat Barthelow aa6eg at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 27 21:22:55 EDT 2006

I had a tower trailer project about a year ago, that went awry when the 
trailer was impounded for beiing parked on an ex Kmart store  abandoned 
parking lot, that was in interim status, and turned hot project while I was 
far away working in the field at Cell sites.  Anyway, by the time I heard 
about the i impound, the storage/tow bill was to high for my soured psyche 
for me to buy my tower back from the Tow yard.  The tower may still be in 
impound in a yard in Moss Landing on the Monterey Bay.

It was a Tri-EX commercial light support, large size.  Had a beautiful TRiex 
  tower, motorized 60 footer, and a Ham 4 like rotor.   There were a lot of 
problems requiring attention, and money to make the tower usable and safe to 
transport.   I put up pictures which you can view at:


Design fault number one, was the very high mount of the 900 lbs of tower, 
about 8 ft off the grouund.  That, combined with zero tongue weight, and my 
lack of knowledge of towing trailers, and a Pintle hook tow connection, came 
close to killing me and a fellow ham who had a WWII jeep with Pintle hook 
tow fixture. We towed it on back roads from Prunedale to Monterey, slowly 
and carefully.  However, as someone else recounted, the tower was triggered 
into an oscillation movement that for a while just got bigger and bigger.  
The genuine WWII jeep, a collector's piece, was authentic, without roll 
bars, or seatbelts, probably weighed about 1500 lbs, about 2/3rd  the weight 
of the tower trailer.  Something set the trailer into oscillation while 
travelling about 40mph.
Within about 3 seconds, the trailer, with the 900 lb tower at 7 ft above 
gnd, was yanking the jeep's rear end back and forth, probably 3 ft at a 
time, left,then right..etc.  I envisioned the coming flip of the entire 
system, Jeep, Tower and Us, was immenent.  The Pintle hook would not unlatch 
so when tower trailer would have tipped it would have flipped the jeep  and 
us, too...In 20 years of skydiving I was not as scared for my life as I was 
then....Fortunately the oscillation stopped, and we were able to get to our 
destination unscathed, but scared sh....less

Read up a lot on trailer towing safe practices, many of which were broken in 
our instance:
eg:  zero tongue weight, short wheelbase, lightweight tow vehicle, ordinary 
auto tires (not trailer tires) , Single axle, heavy tower trailer with very 
high CG.

A lot of detailed pictures of the tower trailer are located at:


Some observations about what I learned about the tower and needed repairs:

1. Overweight for California for single axle no brakes

2. 800 lbs at 7 ft high very dicey on a 5 ft wide tower trailer

3. Needed new cabling, and a lot of surface rust removal/treatment.

4. Needed at least 100lbs of tongue weight  Perfect for addition of a 
generator to the frame.

5. Toiwer per se, was in extremely good condition, high quality roller 
bearings on each section

6. Needed limit switches to winch lift

7. Weak, short "outriggers" in my opinion, insufficient for safe support of 
the tower.

The tower trailer may still be available for negotiated purchase from 
Junkyard/storage yard area in the vicinity of Moss Landing California.  
Contact Marina Beach Towing, in Marina CA 93933

73, DX, de Pat AA6EG aa6eg at hotmail.com;
                  Skype:  Sparky599

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