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RolandSWL
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« on: June 13, 2024, 09:22:53 AM »

The wife and I are planning our escape from Long island, N.Y. to the greener pastures of Maine.
She wants a move in ready house and I want land to engage in nefarious radio activities.
I have a fantasy to erect one or two self supporting towers of at least 100 feet in height.
My question is, aluminum or steel? Is one better than the other considering that the climate in Maine
can be icy and windy in winter? The tower(s) will be used to support a beam and the associated
effluvia and also wire antennas. Perhaps I'll shunt feed the tower itself.
What say you?
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KA3EKH
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2024, 10:05:58 AM »

Better be prepared to drag out the check book, a Rohn SSV 100 foot self-supporting is going to be pricey, just a regular Rohn 65G 100ft guyed tower will set you back around 17 to 18K not including installation. Most Hams just do a 25G or 45G sections and beyond forty or fifty feet guy them. I have a forty-foot 45G non guyed and that works for me.
Don’t think any serious towers are built of aluminum, that’s just for lighting trusses and things like that.
Certain others know more and are more experienced on the subject.
 
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W3SLK
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2024, 11:11:53 AM »

RolandSWL said:
Quote
The wife and I are planning our escape from Long island, N.Y. to the greener pastures of Maine.
She wants a move in ready house and I want land to engage in nefarious radio activities.
I have a fantasy to erect one or two self supporting towers of at least 100 feet in height.
My question is, aluminum or steel? Is one better than the other considering that the climate in Maine
can be icy and windy in winter? The tower(s) will be used to support a beam and the associated
effluvia and also wire antennas. Perhaps I'll shunt feed the tower itself.
What say you?
I think if there was any one person on this board who could answer your question it would be Tom, K1JJ. He lives up in CT and has quite the antenna farm!
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Mike(y)/W3SLK
Invisible airwaves crackle with life, bright antenna bristle with the energy. Emotional feedback, on timeless wavelength, bearing a gift beyond lights, almost free.... Spirit of Radio/Rush
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2024, 12:44:16 PM »

 Actually, there are some serious aluminum towers available:
https://www.alumatower.com/products/towers/amateur-radio-operators/
  I can't personally vouch for them, since I haven't used one, but I've communicated with the company, gotten a quote, and been quite impressed.
  Not only have towers gotten obscenely expensive in the last twenty years or so—check out the U.S Towers prices—but where you'll really pay through the nose is in shipping costs, depending on where you live. My shipping quote from Alumatower was roughly $1000, which included $450 for the wooden shipping crate—a lot of money for something that will probably become firewood once its job is done. Considering that a steel tower would be vastly heavier, the shipping costs would necessarily be higher still.
 
Better be prepared to drag out the check book, a Rohn SSV 100 foot self-supporting is going to be pricey, just a regular Rohn 65G 100ft guyed tower will set you back around 17 to 18K not including installation. Most Hams just do a 25G or 45G sections and beyond forty or fifty feet guy them. I have a forty-foot 45G non guyed and that works for me.
Don’t think any serious towers are built of aluminum, that’s just for lighting trusses and things like that.
Certain others know more and are more experienced on the subject.
 

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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2024, 04:46:22 PM »

I live in Maine.  I'm inland about 40 miles from the coast and we get ice, snow and wind.  I've had a Universal Aluminum 70 footer, 18 inch face, up for over 40 years.  Being a belt and suspenders sort of fellow, even though it's listed as self supporting, I bracket it at 20 and guy with Phillystran at 50 feet. The top 20 feet is self supported and I've had various yagis and various other things up there without incident.
I spent a lot of time as a field service engineer for TCI, all over the world.  We supplied, among other things, a 4 to 30 mhz rotary log periodic antenna, all aluminum on an aluminum tower. 100 foot boom and it was nearly 100 feet up, with a big hydraulic rotor in the head.  I once put one on 75M from Puerto Rico at 50 watts.  SWR was still OK and it was a real boomer.  These were in all environments, Puerto Rico, Azores, Japan, Romania and a bunch of other nifty spots .  Aluminum is fine for towers.
Check your local zoning office...generally the "code enforcement guy" in most Maine towns and ask to see any tower ordinances.  Aside from some subdivisions in suburbia, things are pretty reasonable up here.  Frost can go down as far as 5 feet when we have a real winter so don't scrimp on foundations and guy anchors..  And don't be too proud about being from New York.  We don;t have many prejudices in Maine, but that can be one of them.
73 de Norm W1ITT
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RolandSWL
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2024, 08:04:24 AM »

Thanks for the information. I have seen used Rohn towers go for stupid money down here. Norm, Maine has been our happy vacation place for years. The first thing we'll do is stop at the D.M.V. to get rid of our N.Y. license plates. We are casting a wide net as to where we'll ultimately live. The wife was quite taken by Skowhegan.
Roland....
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Jim, W5JO
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2024, 11:28:29 AM »



Here is a company in Canada that makes self supporting towers.  I believe the tallest is 68 ft. but you can look if you please.  They are made like the Rohn DBX series and is very sturdy.  The last time I looked the prices weren't as bad as Rohn.


https://wadeantenna.com/product-category/towers/
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w9jsw
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2024, 06:33:52 PM »

Thanks for the information. I have seen used Rohn towers go for stupid money down here. Norm, Maine has been our happy vacation place for years. The first thing we'll do is stop at the D.M.V. to get rid of our N.Y. license plates. We are casting a wide net as to where we'll ultimately live. The wife was quite taken by Skowhegan.
Roland....

Timmy land...WA1HLR
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RolandSWL
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2024, 03:50:21 PM »

Funny story. While in Skowvegas I asked several random people if they knew a Tim Smith. Cue the crickets. To a person they said 'you mean TIMTRON' !
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WB6NVH
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2024, 10:01:17 PM »

In the early 80's I was manager of the ham department in a large electronics store in San Jose, CA. Long gone now. We were a Rohn dealer and carried 25 and 45 series sections.  At that time a 10 foot section of 25G was $ 65 and we would loan you the gin pole.  I had any number of customers who would come in and complain that Texas Towers sold 25G sections for some $ 20 cheaper and there was no sales tax. I would try to explain that the shipping would kill all of that, but they would have none of it.  They were sure there was free shipping and would not be talked out of the idea.

California has pretty mild weather other than right on the ocean so towers last a long time.  You can usually get a free 50-75 foot one out here but the devil is in the details.  I have a friend in Long Beach who just had his 65 foot Rohn 45G taken down two days ago as he is moving out of state, and it is headed to the scrap yard.  He just doesn't want to deal with it.  The crazy situations are where there will be an ad on Craigslist where it says "Free tower, grandpa died and his house is sold and we need it out of here. You take down and haul away."  I cringe when I see this. The liability issues are massive.

The age of nice towers in residential areas is coming to an end in most of the country.  Neighbors, HOA's and city codes are all against it.  Not that it would affect you in the country, but the law of supply and demand means towers will get more expensive and harder to source.

Smart dealers won't sell caged crank-up towers. Too risky, some fool will try to climb one.  But those usually are 50 feet or less and don't fit your plans anyway. 

None of this really answers your questions but the topic jogged my memory.
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Geoff Fors
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RolandSWL
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2024, 03:11:34 PM »

Not at all Geoff. It is food for thought. Free usually means the lower lumbar pays the check.
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KD6VXI
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2024, 12:27:35 AM »

In the early 80's I was manager of the ham department in a large electronics store in San Jose, CA. Long gone now. We were a Rohn dealer and carried 25 and 45 series sections.  At that time a 10 foot section of 25G was $ 65 and we would loan you the gin pole.  I had any number of customers who would come in and complain that Texas Towers sold 25G sections for some $ 20 cheaper and there was no sales tax. I would try to explain that the shipping would kill all of that, but they would have none of it.  They were sure there was free shipping and would not be talked out of the idea.

California has pretty mild weather other than right on the ocean so towers last a long time.  You can usually get a free 50-75 foot one out here but the devil is in the details.  I have a friend in Long Beach who just had his 65 foot Rohn 45G taken down two days ago as he is moving out of state, and it is headed to the scrap yard.  He just doesn't want to deal with it.  The crazy situations are where there will be an ad on Craigslist where it says "Free tower, grandpa died and his house is sold and we need it out of here. You take down and haul away."  I cringe when I see this. The liability issues are massive.

The age of nice towers in residential areas is coming to an end in most of the country.  Neighbors, HOA's and city codes are all against it.  Not that it would affect you in the country, but the law of supply and demand means towers will get more expensive and harder to source.

Smart dealers won't sell caged crank-up towers. Too risky, some fool will try to climb one.  But those usually are 50 feet or less and don't fit your plans anyway. 

None of this really answers your questions but the topic jogged my memory.

Quement?

--Shane
WP2ASS / ex KD6VXI
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WB6NVH
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2024, 09:32:02 AM »

Yes indeed
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Geoff Fors
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2024, 10:35:49 AM »


Quement?

--Shane
WP2ASS / ex KD6VXI

South Bascom Avenue, San Jose
Been there in 1984, even got the T-shirt

Good, knowledgeable people, fair prices, unadvertised bargains.  The internet vendors can't compare with old-school brick and mortar suppliers like this, and many others of the day.
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Rick / W8KHK  ex WB2HKX, WB4GNR
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2024, 01:15:30 PM »

What bands are you mostly active on?  What is the surrounding terrain elevation like?

I ask because tower height is most important for line-of-sight frequencies and for low-frequency verticals.

You don't need much height to support an HF beam as it's not hard to "see" the ionosphere even from a 50' tower in a valley. Being 100' closer to the sky isn't going to do much for signals travelling hundreds or thousands of miles.

Alternatively, if you're into VHF and UHF and located in a valley, all the tower you can afford will be worth it.
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KD6VXI
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« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2024, 10:55:21 PM »

Yes indeed

LOL!

Went to high school 'over the hill' in Santa Cruz...  Damn valleys!

Spent a ton of lawn mowing and other money at Quement.  Was a great place.

--Shane
WP2ASS / ex KD6VXI back in W6 for 2 weeks.
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Tom W2ILA
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2024, 10:58:56 AM »

Having visited a couple of retired hams during this spring it finally dawned on me.  Towers are great, until you can't climb them or find someone who will.  Both hams had tower problems so one leaves his 70' telescoping tower nested down at 30' and accepts the dead rotor pointed towards the far east.  The other ham has a 100' guyed tower that's now shaped like a violin bow and the beams are useless U-shaped wreckage from an ice storm 10 years or so ago (New Hampshire).  They are both done with working on their antennas and that limits their radio play- a lot. Just something to think about.
Our building inspector had one requirement - need to be able to lower the tower for a hurricane.  I was lucky to get a 50' tubular telescoping tower that shrinks to about 20' and it's rigged with a support that allows it to lower horizontally.  No climbing, ever and the whole shebang has been down for a number of storms including Sandy (which still twisted things a bit).  Just something more to think about. 
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Carl WA1KPD
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2024, 04:36:56 PM »

I live in Midcoast Maine, about 8 miles inland from the cost.
Because I was retired and did not want to face climbing in 10 year from now I waited for a crank up. One came up on Craig's list, a US Towers 55 ft. The guy I bought it from said he had owned it for 8 years and never installed it. He had all the paperwork from the 1st owner which indicated it was built/sold in 1980.
I called UST and worked with a great guy there. I ordered all new cables, hardware, and bushings. He was very helpful and asked for pictures. He assessed that in its life the tower had never been installed or used. The lack of any scratches in certain areas led him to that conclusion.

Anyway, I ordered the extra parts so I can lower it down to about 12 ft high vertically and then to the elements horizontally. Makes life easy and no worries for the future, The building official was very helpful. His only requirement was it be set such that if it ever come down it would not land on the adjacent homeowner's property.

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Carl

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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2024, 01:17:40 PM »

   Unfortunately, my experience with my crank-up tower's manufacturer didn't go so well. The nameplate is long weathered away and illegible, but as I remember, it was made by Teletower. After buying it used in the mid 80's—being able to read the nameplate back in those days—I called the manufacturer, seeking replacements for several of the pulleys, which were badly worn. When I gave the guy the model and serial number, he immediately told me that since the tower was over ten years old, they wouldn't support it in any way, neither with replacement parts, documentation, nor advice. He did say, though, that since I was a current owner of one of their products, he'd give me a great deal on a brand-new tower.
   What a wonderful inducement to buy their products—we don't support our products, but please buy a new one!

I live in Midcoast Maine, about 8 miles inland from the cost.
Because I was retired and did not want to face climbing in 10 year from now I waited for a crank up. One came up on Craig's list, a US Towers 55 ft. The guy I bought it from said he had owned it for 8 years and never installed it. He had all the paperwork from the 1st owner which indicated it was built/sold in 1980.
I called UST and worked with a great guy there. I ordered all new cables, hardware, and bushings. He was very helpful and asked for pictures. He assessed that in its life the tower had never been installed or used. The lack of any scratches in certain areas led him to that conclusion.

Anyway, I ordered the extra parts so I can lower it down to about 12 ft high vertically and then to the elements horizontally. Makes life easy and no worries for the future, The building official was very helpful. His only requirement was it be set such that if it ever come down it would not land on the adjacent homeowner's property.


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