[TowerTalk] Winch questions - Message: 3

Grant Saviers grants2 at pacbell.net
Fri Nov 12 09:18:40 PST 2010

I think your criteria should be reliability, reliability, reliability 
since a winch/hoist failure has dramatic consequences.  For me that 
rules out any Chinese made gearbox and I know from experience that most 
of the Chinese electric motors in the discount store products (Harbor 
Freight, Northern, etc.) are junk.

If you must have an electric winch then Warn and Ramsey are two 
reputable US brands.  I have a M12,000# Warn, 125' 3/8" cable on a 
tractor and it is awesome.  HOWEVER, these winches have a freewheeling 
capability in addition to power in/out.  I think this is a very 
dangerous option for a tower winch, one OOPS with that lever or bumping 
it or it jumps out of gear and disaster strikes.

I've used clutch type manual (see the Grainger catalog) winches for 
hoisting barge spuds and loading ramps.  They work fine but continual 
water/weather exposure takes its toll, caused them to lock up in 5 
years.  Additionally, a clutch brake is not a good idea on a tower hoist 
wire rope.  I wouldn't depend on it for sustained holding in the up 

Here is an option for a worm gear driven manual winch, which might have 
enough spool capacity for your tower


and another that I found with a google search "worm gear hand winch"

serious looking commercial quality, check out the manual for the small 
one , it is built to connect to an electric drill.  I have no experience 
with this brand.

Worm gear drives can be designed to not free spool and these won't (I 
used one to hoist a huge chandelier for relamping).  I'd get a lift 
rating for Dutton ones at least 2x of your maximum load since they are 
rated for some mighty large biceps on the crank.  Also, a 1/2" drill can 
be adapted to the winch so that can make life a lot easier.

Another advantage of some worm drives is all the parts are in the open 
and can be easily inspected, lubricated, and rust inhibited on a regular 

Grant,  KZ1W

On 11/11/2010 11:52 PM, Terry G. Glagowski wrote:
> I Have a Tristao 52 ft tower, very similar to the HG52SS...
> And I too am looking for a winch / hoist that is appropriate for this.
> The tower itself weighs 550 pounds and there are 3 sections, two of which are
> supported by the cable.
> Simple arithmetic puts the weight of the upper two sections somewhere under 400
> lbs then there is the weight of the mast and antennas.  Perhaps around 500
> pounds is a good figure to start from for the minimum weight requirements.

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