[TowerTalk] Tower Foundation

Chuck Smallhouse w7cs at theriver.com
Fri Jan 3 03:30:18 EST 2014

I guess that I was somewhat fortunate,  When I moved to Oracle (Pinal 
Co) AZ, I purchased enough land, 3.5 AC on a ridge to put up 7 ea, 
"antenna support structures" for which I applied for a zoning 
approval and received.  Pinal Co didn't and still doesn't have any 
Ham tower ordinances,  All I need to do was to hand draw a outline of 
my lot and  my house location on it.  I than also had to indicate the 
location, the height and type of each "support structure, on my plot 
plan.  My location at 5K' has a negative horizon from about 270 
degrees around to 120 degrees so I don't require much antenna height 
and most antenna systems are VHF/UHF/MF for weak signal work and 
quite a bit of EME.  One of the structures was to support a 5M dish 
using a base support and a 4' pillar elevated track system for 
azimuth rotation.  Another was for a 55' Sky Needle for an KLM/M2 
KT36XA,  another 30' of Rohn 55 to support a large 16 yagi array for 
2M EME use.

I became friends with fellow down the road, who contracted out extra 
work using a good size back hoe, after his day job and on 
weekends.  One afternoon at the end of his work shift (mining), he 
came buy and dug all seven of my different size holes in only 2 or 
three hours.  Of course he could drive right to them and the ground 
was decomposed granite and was relative easy digging and held it 
shape and didn't tend to cave in.  He did an outstanding job with 
very good corners and well within the size constraints that I gave 
him.  He only charged me $50, but I would have paid more !

After the holes were dug I threw all kinds of scrape metal into the 
holes , including rebar.   I stick spot welded it all together with 
175 A  Miller stick metal welder, that I'd recently acquired at a 
hamfest.  I also was taking welding classes at tha           t time( 
my limited college welding classes was over 50 years ago!) .  It was 
an AC one that I was gong to convert to DC, but procrastinated too 
long and traded it in for a new Miller 175 A  Mig welder that also 
came with provisions/circuitry and the appropriate spool gun for Mig 
welding aluminum.

I purchased custom made large J bolts from Copper State metals.  They 
were up to 4' long and 3/4" to 1 " in diameter.  I think that their 
price was about $15 ea.
  Their was a family own concrete producer about 15 miles away, on 
the San Pedro river and I ordered two trucks full ( about 6 to 8 
yards each) and in one morning they filled all my holes and i grade 
finished them my self.  I think that the concrete prices from that 
local vender was running about $60 a yard.  Up a bIt from what I'd 
paid 13 years earlier, in the SF Bay Area, at $40.

I'd dug some of the smaller holes my self and all 6 of the pillars 
that held the 5M dish traveling rail above the ground by four 
feet,  These were done sometime after the original  pouring, 
using  about 12' long and about 12' in diameter cardboard tubes, I 
cut them in half and sunk them  into the ground and filled them with 
concrete and a couple of J bars.  There's about an 10" x 10" X 3/16: 
steel plate bolted to the J bars and a bit above the top of the 
concrete pilars.  This double nutting allows for track leveling  This 
plate is welded to the I beam shaped rack.

I mixed all the cement that I got from HD (30+ bags?) in a 
wheelbarrow.  I found it took not much more time, this way  than with 
a small 1 yard mixer and it was a hell of lot easier to clean .

GL es 73,

Chuck,  W7CS

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