Is that free tower worth it?

They pop up all the time on Kijiji, craigslist or posted on Facebook club sites. Someone has a free tower that they want to be taken down. At the heart of every successful radio, installation is the antenna support structure because there is no substitute for a radio antenna that has sufficient height! So when a free antenna is just waiting to be rehomed how can you turn it down?

Many of these towers have been up for years and without a thorough inspection, they may not be safe to climb. What happens is a little water gets on the inside and can not be drained. The metal tower structure starts to rust. Like at the base it can create weak spots that you can not see. An enthusiastic ham climbs it to take it down and finds out the hard way just how little height it takes to kill a man.

In many amateur radio towers takedowns, you can use three ropes. One over the building to control the descent and two on the tower side of the building to guide it into a clearing. The bottom will want to slide at some point so it should be secured to a stake with a chain or rope before any cutting takes place. In that case, You can jack the bottom section of the tower stub sticking out of the cement with two bottle jacks and some 2×4 through the tower lattice. With lots of penetrating oil and some sweat equity, the tower should be freed and safe to lower to the ground.

The simple answer is that you should not be climbing free towners. These structures are just not safe to climb mostly anymore because of age and design technique.

For more information on tower safety and design. Here are some great resources that will help you with your antenna support structure. But don’t underestimate the knowledge and experience that your local ham clubs have and their willingness to help set up antenna support structures.

Antenna Towers for Radio Amateurs

A Guide to Design, Installation and ConstructionbrWith years of experience as a professional tower climber, Don Daso, K4ZA, leads you through designing and building your own antenna tower. You’ll learn the skills, tools, climbing techniques, and safety measures necessary to improve your antenna system. Antenna Towers for Radio Amateurs will guide you through the installation process in its entirety, from selecting a tower, digging the base, pouring concrete, and installing the tower, antenna and accessories. Included are tips for working with rope and pulleys, guy wires and associated hardware. You ll also learn proper procedures for taking down existing towers, conducting inspections and performing maintenance. Whether you aspire to climb and work on an antenna tower yourself or hire a professional, this is your guide to success!

Amateur Radio HF Antennas

What stands between you, the amateur radio operator, and all the other amateur radio operators in the world? Antennas. Yours, theirs…and propagation conditions between. In other words, you can have the most advanced transceiver, coupled with the most powerful amplifier on the market, if you know too little about how antenna systems work and about radio wave propagation, you risk spending your time and money for naught. This e-book is the first of a series on HF antennas. Together, they will help ensure that you turn the situation around to your advantage.

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