[TowerTalk] Winch needed

K8RI K8RI-on-TowerTalk at tm.net
Sun Sep 30 00:18:33 EDT 2012

On 9/29/2012 11:19 PM, Steve Maki wrote:
> For light tower work (up to 1000 lbs load) most crews use capstan rope
> hoists (catheads). After getting used to one, you will never consider
> anything else.

Unfortunately I do like the capstan, but it is completely unsuitable for 
solo work. IE, I need to be able to operate the winch alone, taking 
masts and sections to the top of the tower, guiding things into 
position, and then lowering them into place, yet still holding onto them 
while I climb up the back side of the tower to bolt things in place. IE, 
one person on the rope to the capstan and one or two for lateral 
movement of the parts works great, but I don't have that kind of help. 
There are several knowledgeable hams in the area, but scheduling is a 

I can use the occasional gofer on the ground, but generally will be 
working with untrained (and likely unknowing) helpers.  That means 
planning ahead and depending on the equipment while practicing safe 

The capstan is great if I have someone on the tower that knows what they 
are doing, or some one on the ropes to raise and lower parts while 
controlling their position.  I'm not willing to depend on inexperienced 
rope handlers to the capstan or positioning while I work the tower. Also 
with me working the tower, I've still not built enough stamina for more 
than about an hours worth of work.  I have done this with a hand cranked 
winch including the placement of tower sections, but I'd like to 
minimize the work required.  To stay out from under things the hand 
cranked winch requires it be mounted away from the tower and that means 
building a mount that won't pull loose, or take up a bunch of space in 
the yard.

In either case I will not be working under anything being raised or 
lowered, nor will I let anyone else do it.

The heaviest parts will be less than 150#, hence I figure a winch with 
1000# capacity should have plenty of safety factor.

When climbing you have to always remember that people make mistakes and 
equipment breaks. So the simplest, mundane things can kill you when 
doing tower work. You have to know what you are doing, the people on the 
ground have to know what they are doing and you prepare yourself to 
handle anything that might go wrong.  You CAN NOT eliminate the danger 
but you can minimize it and minimize your susceptibility to things that 
do go wrong. One thing to never forget. "Tower work is Dangerous!"


Roger (K8RI)

> http://www.midwestunlimited.com/categories/Tower/Capstans/
> -Steve K8LX
> On 9/29/2012 10:48 PM, K8RI wrote:
>> I'm looking for a powered winch that runs off 110, that is relatvely
>> easy to move from tower to tower, can be left out in the elements, will
>> take up to several hundred feet of 1/4" steel cable or 7/16ths double
>> braided poly rope.
>> I like the winches that go on the front of pick up trucks and SUVs
>> except for the weight and 12 VDC operation.
>> Most of the 110VAC powered winches are meant to be a permanent part of
>> the installation and use multiple belts. I do not want to use a simple
>> V-belt reduction unit. It needs to be reversible and hold up to 500#
>> safely, yet be something a guy with a bad back can handle.
>> I have several hand cranked winches that are capable of doing what I
>> want, EXCEPT I do not want to be underneath what I am cranking up. Nor
>> do I want to have to build a remote mount for each installation. Hence
>> the remote operated, electric powered requirement.
>> There are enough ways to get hurt seriously when working on towers
>> without standing under what's going up.
>> 73
>> Roger (K8RI)
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