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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Honey, I Shrunk the Tower

Steve Katz (WB2WIK) on September 18, 2007
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HONEY, I SHRUNK THE TOWER

Steve Katz, WB2WIK/6

If only it were that easy.

I see a lot of discussion on the ham “boards” about a subject near to my heart: Antenna systems. Or the lack thereof.

It is frequently posted that “I have no restrictions, other than the XYL.” Or, “I have no restrictions, but can't put up a sixty foot tower.” Lots of stuff like that. Makes me wonder “What's going on here, anyway?”

It's sad enough that a lot of people are saddled with restrictive covenants prohibiting almost everything including outdoor antennas. CC&Rs are a serious issue in our country and surely a terrible thing for ham radio.

But besides those, I see a lot of restrictions hams simply place upon themselves. “I wouldn't do that to my neighbors!” “I don't want to decrease my property value!” “My XYL won't approve it!” Oh, baloney.

I read between the lines when possible. A lot of these statements can really be taken to mean, “I'm too lazy!” or perhaps, “I've never had a real antenna, so I have no idea what I'm missing.” Or in some cases, perhaps, “My XYL wears the pants in the family, and I just stay in line.”

Some points to ponder

The presence of properly installed amateur radio antennas has never reduced the property value of anyone, anywhere, including the amateur who has them or his neighbors; if you think they do, cite the case using names and addresses and we'll research it.

Installing real, working antennas, including towers to support them, is not a major undertaking. In fact, it's a small undertaking in most cases; and as with most things, it takes no more time or effort to “do it right” than it takes to do it wrong.

A tower of any height will fit in any yard. I have a small lot, and I've owned several houses on small lots; that certainly hasn't caused me to think I can't install a tower. When planning a tower, think “up:” Although my lot is small, the sky over my yard is just as high as it is anywhere else.

Towers needn't be expensive; most of the ones I've owned and installed for myself were “used,” and procured very inexpensively. Of course, that meant in most cases I had to take them down.

Great antennas needn't be expensive, either.

Marriage is a contract between two people who should be equal partners; I would never consider telling my XYL she can't plant roses in the garden, and she would never think of telling me I can't install my next antenna or tower.

Neighbors will never complain about antennas if you install them properly and you don't invite the complaints.

Higher antennas draw fewer looks from neighbors or anyone else because people don't go around looking “up;” and when they're higher, they look smaller.

Few people would spend $3000 on a stereo system and connect it to $20 speakers; spending money on ham equipment using crappy antennas is similar.

You cannot possibly know how well or poorly your antenna works without having others to compare it to. Everything works great when it's the only thing you have: A 1985 Yugo is a great car.

Most of us want to be best, or better than the next guy, or better than we were yesterday, if we can. Part of the fun of ham radio is the competition, and this doesn't imply contesting; the most bang for the buck in developing a competitive signal is surely an investment in antennas.

A $10,000 rig connected to lousy antennas will make some contacts, but a $500 rig connected to great antennas will make thousands and thousands of contacts.

Antennas are the second most important thing under our control. Operator skill is the first; everything else is a very distant third.

How do I do that?

What bothers a lot of people about towers is they don't have any idea how to install one. Fear of the unknown has held back a lot of potentially great efforts.

Join a local ham club or two and get some help from people who have done this before. You might even find a local who is a tower installer, a real professional who knows what he's doing. Don't expect a professional to donate his work and time for free; but advice over a beer usually is free and if it comes from the right source, it's worth the price of the beer - or maybe several cases.

If you have the funds, I always recommend hiring a competent professional installer for this job; however, a lot of (probably most) hams do their own tower installations and maintenance, and 99.9% of them don't kill themselves, so it must work out. The advantage of hiring an experienced professional is you'll get a professional installation that's to local codes and is assured of following all the engineering specifications. Another advantage is you can write one check to pay for it, and you're all done. The disadvantage is that check can be quite large.

For do-it-yourselfers, the 20 steps to a tower installation are really simple:

  1. Find out what kind of permit is required. Unless you're in an “unzoned” area, there probably is one.

  2. Never ask for permission to install the tower. Go to the County or City zoning or building and safety office and tell them you're putting up a tower. What you are “asking” about is what kind of permit you need, and where you apply for it.

  3. If anyone ever says, “Oh, you don't need a permit for a tower,” get that in writing and make sure it's signed by an official, on a City or County government letterhead. Get the full name (printed) and title of the person signing this. Otherwise, you don't have squat.

  4. Returning to reality, once you find out what kind of permit you need, you can also research what the local ordinance is pertaining to your planned tower. This is not a big effort, it usually takes an hour. Make copies of any documents you can, so you can bring them home.

  5. Follow the zoning/building/safety rules and plan the site for your tower. It can be next to the house or far from it; but it shouldn't be within falling range of power lines or your neighbors' houses. Other than those two stipulations, as far as I'm concerned, anything goes. But see what the ordinance requires and if you cannot follow it, you may need a variance and you may need a lawyer.

  6. Take a deep breath, all of the above should not take more than 1-1/2 or 2 hours of your time.

  7. If it looks like a “go,” plan your tower with regard to manufacturer, model, and base excavation/foundation requirements. Always go by the manufacturer's recommendations, using them as “minimum” guidelines. If the manufacturer stipulates a 5' deep hole and 3 yards of concrete, it is very acceptable to go 7' deep and use 5 yards. I've never seen a permit denied due to “over engineering.”

  8. I'd get the tower and its base hardware (the tower base or recommended method for anchoring it) on hand before digging one ounce of dirt. This is to be absolutely certain that the foundation you're digging is exactly correct for the tower you have. If you don't have a tower, you can never be sure of that. Also, your actual permit may be tied to exactly the make and model of the tower, and having a city or county engineer inspect the tower documents (blueprints) and the tower itself. Can't do that unless you have a tower.

  9. Dig the hole! In my case, being slightly lazy and very expedient, I almost always employ someone else to do this. My last tower excavation involved my discussing the requirement with my gardener/landscaper, who in turn translated everything into Spanish and explained it to two of his friends. They all showed up with a pickup truck, a wheelbarrow and three shovels the next morning and the hole was completed before I returned home from work that day. It cost very little. They carried away all the dirt and rocks from the dig and left the place as neat as it was before they started.

  10. If “building and safety” requires the excavation be inspected prior to pouring the concrete, now would be a good time to call them and schedule that.

  11. If not, do what is needed to install the base or anchoring hardware, along with rebar requirements as specified. Build a little frame to contain the concrete pad above grade so the resulting foundation is neat, clean and square.

  12. These last steps take maybe one hour. Don't sweat it.

  13. Call the cement yard to request delivery of the amount of concrete you need. Tell them what it's for (a radio tower base). You'll need construction grade aggregate, and they'll know what to use for your area and soil conditions. A cement mixer usually holds 10 cubic yards, and you probably won't need that much. They'll likely charge more for a “short” order. Too bad. It's still not expensive.

  14. If your excavation is accessible for a very heavy truck to pull right up to it, this will be easy. If not, you may need to “barrow in” the concrete (ugh) or “blow in” the concrete (much easier, but they charge extra for this). Figure that out in advance, and tell the cement yard all about it.

  15. Pour the foundation. Take photographs of the process. You may need them for the local engineer to sign off on the final permit.

  16. Trowel the foundation. If you don't know what you're doing, the guy with the cement truck does.

  17. Wait 28 days for the concrete to cure to most of its ultimate strength. Depending upon the weather, the cement truck guy may advise you to spray the pad down with the fine spray from a water hose now and then for the first few days. Fresh cement lets off a lot of heat. Whatever they advise, do it.

  18. During the 28-day wait, plan how you're going to raise the tower. Options abound. Get advice. Do it safely. A small crane is almost always a “safe” way, but there are others. “Buildable” towers like Rohn sections usually go up one section at a time, using a climber, a base assistant and a ginpole. Telescoping towers (my favorite) go up all at once, with the sections nested - but it's still the full weight of the whole tower.

  19. Erect the tower. Never be alone for this unless you're using a crane with a skilled operator and he's doing almost all the work.

  20. Make sure it's level and all the hardware is tightened. Step back and enjoy looking at it. Plan the next step, which is antenna installation; or rotator and antenna installation; or whatever it is.

If you've planned pretty well, all 20 steps will consume about one full day of your life, plus the 28-day wait for the concrete to cure. Okay, that's 29 days.

It's worth it.

New or used?

New towers are great but expensive. Used towers are almost as great and a lot cheaper. But you have to be careful when acquiring a used tower. Some things to look for and beware of:

-Try for a used tower that is still a currently manufactured model. Two reasons this is important: (1) You'll be able to buy a new base and other accessories; (2) You'll have access to engineering drawings, blueprints and specifications which are often impossible to obtain for non-current models.

-Don't be too worried about the above suggestion: Most tower models are on the market for decades. If you buy a Tri-Ex W-51, LM-354 or LM-470 or DX-86 telescoping tower, for example, many of which were made more than 30 years ago, those are all still “current” models. The stuff U.S. Tower sold 20+ years ago are all still current models, too. Ditto for Rohn 25G-45G-55G etc.

-It's *much* easier (and usually much cheaper) to get a permit for a tower when you have the manufacturer's actual base or installation hardware and the manufacturer's specifications and blueprints than if you don't.

-If possible, be around to take the used tower down or at least be present during that operation. A great deal is learned in this process. You can carefully examine the original base and everything about how the tower was originally installed. If you get to climb the tower in the “removal” process, you'll know how secure it is - or not. You'll have the chance to “opt out” of the deal altogether if you think the tower's not a good one.

-Another reason to take the tower down is that way you'll know exactly how long it's been “stored” laying on the ground, horizontally - which ages a tower faster than being stored “upright,” because when the tower is horizontal, any water that falls on it doesn't drain properly and accelerates the rusting process.

-Avoid used towers that show signs of rust. Good galvanizing lasts 30-40 years, longer in dry climates.

-Avoid used towers that have been laying directly on the ground and not supported by something to keep them above ground level.

-Avoid used towers that have any visible signs of damage at all. Good towers can be installed, removed and reinstalled several times without damage.

-And most of all, make sure the tower you buy - new or used - is suitable for the antennas you intend for it to support! “Suitable” includes windload and windspeed ratings and boom length/torsion ratings. Many towers that can easily support 1000 lbs or more of dead weight cannot support a 30 lb. amateur antenna having 35' long elements, like a 20 meter beam does.

Even with all these caveats, a good, solid, strong, functional used tower is pretty easy to find!

The advantages of a tower

One is, your antenna will be higher than if you didn't have one. Higher antennas work better. How much better depends on a lot of things. If you were accustomed to using an HF vertical or a dipole and upgrade to a beam at fifty or sixty (or more) feet, you're going to be very pleasantly surprised. For VHF, you might be even more surprised.

Another is, if you place the tower strategically, your antennas will usually be less noticeable than they would be if they were on a pole in your backyard or on your roof.

Another is, if you do this really well, you can make all the cables just about “disappear” by routing them from antennas, down tower, to shack in such a way that they're very hidden most of the way.

If you erect a telescoping tower, a big advantage is you can lower it if you go away or in anticipation of a storm. A “lowered” system on a tower that's fully retracted can often withstand hurricane force winds, even better than a guyed tower can. You may lose antenna elements, but the tower should remain.

A tower also allows you antenna experimenting options that can be an awful lot of work without one. I can “swap HF beams” in less than one hour by simply going up the tower and lowering down one, then pulling up another one and clamping it onto the mast: Even if the beams weigh 60-70 lbs. After that, I get help. I used to do 90 lb beams alone, but that was when my back was younger.

A tower also allows you a lot of antenna mounting options. Rotating beams over the top of the tower; inverted vees and slopers hanging off the tower on small standoff brackets; verticals or other antennas clamped to the tower sides on longer standoff brackets. A decent tower can hold 6-8-10 antennas without strain. You probably wouldn't want that many on your roof.

One last advantage, and it's a goody: If you sell your house to another ham, you've just increased the value of your home by more than the tower and its installation cost. “I guarantee it.” I've sold my houses to other hams, before: It's pretty easy to do if you have a good and permitted (legal) antenna tower installed. In one case, I asked about $10K above fair market (appraised, comparables) value simply to “leave the antennas in place,” instead of taking them down. The ham buyer was extremely thankful and very happy to pay the extra $10K. That was a case where I made a profit on the towers and antennas.

But I'll only be here a year or two

So what? I just described that a tower installation usually takes 29 days. One day of actual work, and 28 days of waiting. That's four percent of the time you'll be in your home if you stay there two years, and provides 701 possible days to enjoy your antennas. Very much worth it.

The XYL hates the idea

I hate the idea of visits from the in-laws, but I have learned to live with it. Cheer her up. “When the tower's installed, we're going to dinner at your favorite place” might help.

WB2WIK/6

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by SSB on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
As much as I like antennas I hate towers on small lots because they are ugly. I think it is extremely rude for home owners to keep their rusty pickup on the side of the house for 20 years, or a guy running a washer repair business out of his home keeps his 20 parts washers on the side of the garage, or the guy across the street that buys a new refrigerator and puts the old one on the front porch and leaves it there for 10 years.

This is why there are so many restriction on new property. If hams kept all their antennas on small lots stealthy, antennas may not have been universally banned. Most people think a bunch of wires over a back yard or a tower with an overhanging full size yagi is ugly. Thats just the way it is.

Towers belong on farms or 40 acre up north cottages.

Alex.....

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by G3LBS on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Been there done that - it's all in the past.
As a ham gets more elderly, she/he may not be able to cope with engineering or cost of a tower.
Engineering is not the way forward in ham radio - electronic simulation and steering is. Much more subtle and sophisticated! We need divergent thinking to preserve this hobby, not ostentation or bragging.
I hang my homebrew lightweight spider quad from a catenary between the trees. Best thing I ever bought was a tennis ball launcher. I can raise or lower the antenna 100ft in one minute.
God help me when I can't afford trees.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KB9CRY on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I've got three towers and they look beautiful.

Yes some of us are plain lazy or are not physically able to maintain a tower, so stealthy wires are the way for you.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KY1V on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

On farms up north with 40 acres?

I guess this is an eyesore...on 3 acres, down south, near a villa...

http://www.6y1v.com/images/6Y1V%20021.jpg

Hope to hear you on the air tomorrow, I am flying south!

David ~ KY1V
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N5YPJ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article Steve.

I've had towers at every house I've lived in, all limited only by my finances. Don't ever ask a city official or neighbors permission, request a permit if it is required. At the last house I had in town I called the planning office and inquired from the chief if a permit is required he replied no, I verified who I was talking to once again - Thank you good bye.

Life is too short for what ifs.

73

Richard
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K0BG on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A very good article, Steve. Thanks for taking your time.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N3OX on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"As much as I like antennas I hate towers on small lots because they are ugly. "

I think UGLY towers on small lots are ugly, but that's different.

I think people who need to have 100% control of the precise aesthetics of their environment should move to 40 acres in the country. They just have to remember that there will be a whole bunch of tall grey things sticking up everywhere in the winter... so they might have to cut down all the trees.

I do think that there are some hams who'd get 5 sections of rusty 25G on its last legs and stick it in a hole 5 degrees off plumb and hang ugly, busted tribanders off it. That's not very nice to your neighbors... I've seen installations like that, usually accompanied by four more bent sections lying in the grass "awaiting repair", some heliax, an old refrigerator full of Motorola Micors... whatever.

If you properly install a tower in good condition with decent antennas on top, your neighbors just need to suck it up.

If developers would leave some trees when they built subdivisions (talking about UGLY), no one would be able to see your tower anyway.

Dan
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N1GXC on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Steve.

I bought a used 30' Universal aluminum tower and erected it all by myself. I love the way it tilt's down for antenna adjustment and repair. This is my first 'ground' tower. At my former residence I had a commercial tripod on the roof with a tall mast and beam. Both homes are on small lots in residential area's.

Go for it!!!

73, Dan WZ1P

 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K1RFD on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and while a good tower/antenna installation is impressive and effective, not every ham would agree that it's asthetically pleasing.

The main reason I haven't put up a tower here is that I personally don't think it would look good -- nothing to do with the neighbors, the XYL, or legal restrictions.

And if I ever did, I'd probably take great care to ensure that it was nearly invisible from the street, for the same reason.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K1CJS on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Any towers that are purchased used have got to be examined for defects and corrosion before they ever go up again. I'm not surprised some people think rusty/damaged towers can be used over again, and I'm dismayed that some will take their lives in such low regard as to put up rickety towers and actually climb them.

Those who do think that nothing will happen to them if they climb up an old tower don't belong near a tower at all--and if they care to argue the point, I'm sure there are hams out there that can show those boneheads just what can happen--especially if they point to the chair they're confined to by using such questionable judgement.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KE4MOB on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Neighbors will never complain about antennas if you install them properly and you don't invite the complaints."

Wow....you're kidding, right? I wish all neighbors were like that. I have one neighbor across the street who complains because I don't mow the lawn in the "correct" crisscross fashion. I go around in circles.

At any rate, ham radio is what you want to make of it. If you feel you need a tower, then go for it. I know people who have towers, and those that don't, and both seem to have equal amounts of fun.

I have found that as I age (and gain "wisdom") I am more and more reluctant to climb. When I was first licensed, 25 and single, going up (and taking down) 140 feet of tower (Rohn 45) was easy and didn't bother me a bit. Now that I'm 37, married, with 3 kids, once I go beyond 60 feet the idea of going SPLAT begins to bother me immensely--you know, this hobby isn't worth dying for...
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KE3HO on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I think that a lot WITHOUT a tower is ugly. Why would someone own a house without a tower? Don't they realize how stupid that looks? If I ever subdivide a large piece of land, I am going to put a deed restriction in that requires every lot owner to install a tower with a minimum height of 60 feet and to maintain that tower, and to replace it with a tower of the same height or greater should the tower decay and become non-maintainable. If we all work together, we can rid the world of the eyesore of tower-less properties.

:-)

73 - Jim
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VE6TL on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
What would help the situation is for somebody to invent a paint that changes color along with the sky (like those old mood rings changed color with temperature). This way, we could all have stealth towers and antennas, as they would be camouflaged against the blue or grey backdrop. The higher the better. This just takes some good old ham ingenuity!
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KB1GMX on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The rule in this house has always remained the same...

No guy wires.

Nothing that will make the street lights dim.

So when the tower went up It was at my pleasure and
to match my desires. A low ranch house 15ft to the
peaks looks right to me with 28ft of tower. Also
it's just short enough that a hinged base works. Its bracketed to the house at the 15ft level is fine. I don't climb.

Results, there are a few trees higher, none close and
it does everything I want it too. If it doesn't, I can
change to a longer mast. It holds a tribander, 6m 2M
and vertical on the mast and a side mounted 4 element
for repeater use. There's room for more.

I did put one thing on it I've found extemely handy and
if anyone is putting up a tower you should consider this. I put two pullys about 2ft below the rotor plate
and installed lanyards. This allows me to raise and lower wire antennas supported by the tower without climbing. A very worth while addition.

Overall it looks very nice to me. Especially compared to a neigbors unused tower just rusting away. Waste
is ugly.


Allison
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK writes:

A really great article!

But I found this contradiction. Early in the article, he writes:

"A tower of any height will fit in any yard."

but then later on, writes:

"Follow the zoning/building/safety rules and plan the site for your tower. It can be next to the house or far from it; but it shouldn't be within falling range of power lines or your neighbors' houses."

My first house was on a lot 46 feet wide, with the neighbors houses close by on either side. A 30 foot tower, with no antennas, installed dead center of that 46 feet would have hit the neighbor's houses on either side if it fell the right way.

My second house was on a lot 100 x 57 feet. Same problem.

Many properties have similar problems, in that no matter where you put a tower, if it is more than a trivial height, it will be within falling-over distance of a neighbor's building or a power line.

Looks like that first statement needs a bit of rewrite.

----


That doesn't mean "no antennas", it just means "no towers".

"But see what the ordinance requires and if you cannot follow it, you may need a variance and you may need a lawyer."

Be advised that variances can be refused. By definition, a variance is someone asking for an exception to the law (ordinance), and the burden is on the asker to show why the exception is a good idea.

"The XYL hates the idea"

I lucked out in a big way by becoming a ham at age 13. Since then, anyone with XYL possibilities knew from the getgo that I was a ham and would put up antennas of various kinds. It was part of the package.

One thing I did that worked with YLs was to drive by the homes of amateurs with antenna systems that were done the right way. Seeing the reality of a good amateur antenna installation is much more convincing and much less frightening than phrases like "50 foot tower", "10 yards of concrete in the foundation", "guyed sections", etc.

What *really* made an impression, years ago, was the rotating pole tower of K3JH (later sold to K3PA). This was a 100+ foot tall custom made rotating unguyed tubular mast that held long monobanders for all HF bands - 5 elements on 10, 15 and 20, 3 elements on 15, and a two-element quad for 75. All full size, all custom made. On a suburban lot of about an acre.

After seeing that, a tribander at 50 feet looked like a TV antenna on a 5 foot mast. Practically invisible.

The big mast is gone now (sniff) but for years we local hams would use it as a point of reference.

73 de Jim, N2EY


 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by NN4RH on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>>> Wow....you're kidding, right? I wish all neighbors were like that. I have one neighbor across the street who complains because I don't mow the lawn in the "correct" crisscross fashion. I go around in circles. <<<

Off topic, I know, but that gave me a chuckle. I mow my lawn a different way each time. Sometimes it's the "proper" straight pattern parrallel or perpendicular to the street, sometimes it's diagonal across the lawn, sometimes I mow in a series of arcs around the house, sometimes in a spiral pattern starting in the middle, sometimes in circles around each tree until the circles overlap.

There's been a few times I've noticed certain neighbors clustered together across the street talking amongst themselves, and pointing and shaking their heads.

Hey, maybe they're so distracted by my uncustomary lawn mowing that they haven't noticed my antennas yet!
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by NN4RH on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I don't have a tower simply because I don't feel like I need one for the type of operating I do. I'm just a casual operator - not a "power ham".

The county zoning ordanance explicitely allows me up to 75 feet tower, and I don't even need a building permit (though most hams in the area elect to get one anyway "just in case").

I don't have explicit deed restrictions regarding antennas.

Even if I did, my older neighborhood does not have a homeowners association, but merely an informal civic association.

And I can guarrantee that the civic association wouldn't make a fuss about it ... because I happen to be the president of the association.

And I have even discussed the possibility with my immediate neighbors in the past, and they'd be all OK with it.

And I have plenty of room in the back yard. I have a wife who would not have a problem with it and even encourages me to do whatever I want to do with my hobbies, and I have a good income and no budget issues.

Pretty much the ideal situation for a tower in the suburbs, isn't it?

Well, I just simply don't feel a need for a tower. Is that OK with you WIK?
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by N2EY on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
But I found this contradiction. Early in the article, he writes:
"A tower of any height will fit in any yard."
but then later on, writes:
"Follow the zoning/building/safety rules and plan the site for your tower. It can be next to the house or far from it; but it shouldn't be within falling range of power lines or your neighbors' houses."
Looks like that first statement needs a bit of rewrite.<

::Not really. I don't think it does. The "...shouldn't be within falling range of..." statement was made because most municipal ordinances pertaining to structures including similar wording; however, with a variance or Conditional Use Permit, that requirement is *often* waived. I've had it waived, myself, on three occasions, the last one being only two houses ago where the C.U.P. cost $2400 (application fee, non-refundable!) but it did go through and I received approval for a tower that was far higher than my property line setback. The onus was on me to "prove" that the tower was so safe it just couldn't fall over -- and I had a P.E. testify (in person, in a hearing) on my behalf that after examination of the tower design, materials, specifications and installation plans the tower was far less likely to ever fall down than every single structure in the neighborhood was, including dozens of trees in the fifty to sixty foot height range. Evidence included records of trees having actually fallen over in the neighborhood. I remember his testimony: "Trees do that, when they get too tall for their footings. Properly installed towers don't."

It worked, and I got the variance and permit.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KD4AC on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
SSB said:
"Towers belong on farms or 40 acre up north cottages."

That isn't practical for all of us. Not all of us are independently wealthy enough to do such a thing. However, if you want, you can donate to the "KD4AC Wants Property For A Tower" fund. All donations can be sent to the address on file with my license.

BTW, does it HAVE to be up north? Once I get enough donations, can I buy a ranch in Texas? The XYL grew up in Montana and hates snow. Besides, we have a two year old daughter and we would like to get closer to family, not further away.

As mentioned by another, I see nothing wrong with a small to modest tower on a city or suburban lot. A simple 40' tower with one SteppIR 20-6M beam with the folded 40M dipole add on would probably work pretty well. Towers and antennas done correctly and maintained look far better than the ones that are falling apart and obviously haven't been used in years.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W4VR on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve: I've always been blessed with a big lot (5 acres or more), tall trees, and no covenents. I could put up several towers if I wanted to, but I do not want to risk my life climbing these structures every time antenna hardware gets loose. I do extremely well with wire (beam) antennas. I've been using a wrist rocket sling shot and side-mounted Zebco casting reel for the past 40 years to put them up. I've learned over the years to use #10 gauge wire and good quality rope. The key to keeping them up is to droop the wires slightly so the tree sway does not wear out the rope. If you have tall trees in your backyard, don't waste your money on a tower(s) that the neighbors will hate you for. Ron
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Thought I'd share a thought from a fellow ham who also happens to be an attorney, who responded to this article via PM today (the following is abbreviated):

"Hi Steve:

Excellent article, enjoyed reading it. Thank you for researching, writing, and posting the article.

As a Volunteer Counsel for the ARRL for many years, I have had more problems with local homeowners association than with city or county governments.

I have a 70' tower topped with a 16 element OptiBeam, aluminum cloud". You are right, no one ever looks up.

I have passed the email address of the article to several amateur radio operator friends of mine.

73 de
Cooper/wa4pzd
ARRL V/C, S.E. Div."

Good going, Cooper, and thank you.

The most significant statement here is "You are right, no one ever looks up." I've lived all over the country and had a lot of towers, and this is what I have *always* found. Yes, neighbors will nit-pick the way the grass is cut, or whether your roses are dying and not looking up to snuff, and maybe if you have an oil stain on your driveway...but those same neighbors don't look up. I've never had a "tower complaint" anywhere, in 40 years of having towers.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK writes:

"The "...shouldn't be within falling range of..." statement was made because most municipal ordinances pertaining to structures including similar wording; however, with a variance or Conditional Use Permit, that requirement is *often* waived."

OK, fine.

But they are not *always* waived or varianced.

"I've had it waived, myself, on three occasions, the last one being only two houses ago where the C.U.P. cost $2400 (application fee, non-refundable!) but it did go through and I received approval for a tower that was far higher than my property line setback."

But if it did fall over, would it have hit the neighbor's house, or a power line? Or just landed on the property?

"The onus was on me to "prove" that the tower was so safe it just couldn't fall over -- and I had a P.E. testify (in person, in a hearing) on my behalf that after examination of the tower design, materials, specifications and installation plans the tower was far less likely to ever fall down than every single structure in the neighborhood was, including dozens of trees in the fifty to sixty foot height range."

Also utility poles, which are heavy and often have heavy transformers and other hardware on them.

"Evidence included records of trees having actually fallen over in the neighborhood. I remember his testimony: "Trees do that, when they get too tall for their footings. Properly installed towers don't.""

Fudd's First Law of Opposition always applies.

"It worked, and I got the variance and permit."

Excellent! But at what total cost? Looks like a couple of thousand spent on permission alone.

And because something is possible in one case does not mean it is always possible.

I'm not against towers, but the reality is that there are some properties where the cost and complexity of putting one up are beyond the ham's resources.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by N2EY on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
But they are not *always* waived or varianced.<

::No, of course they're not. In every case I was personally involved with, the CUP or varience was issued. I've heard about many denials.

>"I've had it waived, myself, on three occasions, the last one being only two houses ago where the C.U.P. cost $2400 (application fee, non-refundable!) but it did go through and I received approval for a tower that was far higher than my property line setback."

But if it did fall over, would it have hit the neighbor's house, or a power line? Or just landed on the property?<

::It would have falled on my neighbor's house, that's the reason a CUP was required. Wouldn't need a variance for a tower installed per the required property line setback.

WB2WIK/6

 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K6YE on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve,

Congrats on a G-R-E-A-T article.

We moved from California three years ago and I lugged my Hy-gain HG54HD tower to Colorado. My XYL is not crazy about the placement but is happy that I have a tower up. She has always encouraged me to have one since I tripped over a guy wire on the roof in the 80's (I had to turn the beam to work Tibet when it first came up). The roof gutter kept me from becoming one with the concrete patio.

Keep up the good work!

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
DX IS
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WW5AA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Steve!

The city ordinances are a good reason to get involved in local politics. The reason I have a roof tower is that the city sets only one regulation now. The tower must be insured if it could fall outside of your property and cannot be over 70' without a permit and inspection. I live in a very exclusive area without CCR's and do not find junk cars or refrigerators around the yards. We just had our house appraised to do a renovation a few months ago and the appraiser said the tower and wire antennas didn't have any effect on the appraisal! As I have said before, the XYL tells her friends that she always knows where I am, and it’s not at the pool hall or sports bar so she does not mind my antennas. I think lazy or ignorance is the biggest reason that some are happy with that G5RV at 20' driven by an IC-756 Pro III and kilowatt amp.

73, de Lindy
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KC0TUD on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Why would any self-respecting property owner entertain the judgements of the lawncare/appliance/antenna police if they were acting safely and legally?

I know and like most of my neighbors, but I didn't ask any of them if I could put up an antenna on my property (it's fairly large). And I would never expect them to ask me about what they could lawfully do on theirs.

Andy

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by WW5AA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
We just had our house appraised to do a renovation a few months ago and the appraiser said the tower and wire antennas didn't have any effect on the appraisal!<

::Towers or antennas will never have any effect on a R/E appraisal, for you or for your neighbors. I've spent years researching this and haven't found a single example of property devaluation based on amateur towers, yet.
 
Now is the time for a good vertical antenna.  
by AI2IA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
So you dream of a tower, eh? Why? Most likely you dream of a tower and a rotator. Why?

I have seventeen working base antennas at the moment. I enjoy them all. There is no tower here. Read about omnidirectional vertical antennas. Read about their advantages. Build one, or buy one for your needs. You can put them up, take them down, move them around. They are the best things since sliced bread! If you pay attention to details and do it right, you will never again dream of towers.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K5LXP on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I became a tower owner for the first time upon moving into the present QTH.

I've learned a few things.

Go by the book- get all the permits, certifications and inspections. I discovered that not only would I not be covered under my homeowner's policy for liability if my tower hadn't been properly installed, but my agent warned me they are looking for any reason to move policyholders into a high-risk category or drop coverage altogether, if they were to discover I had, or made a claim regarding an un-permitted tower ("accessory structure" by their definition). It would be bad enough to have the thing blow over and put a "V" into the top of my neighbor's house or car, or worse yet kill or injure someone, but then find out your policy doesn't cover damages would really make for a bad day.

Guy wires suck. It's worth the additional premium to buy a self supporting crankup tower with a motorized winch. You're spending a lot of time and money to put up a tower, might as well make it something that doesn't add to your workload, add to the visual impact and make it less convenient to use. Having a crankup without guys makes tower work a breeze. You only have to climb 20-25ft, and there are no guys to maneuver around, maintain and periodically replace. Cranking down the tower during storms or while you're gone on vacation is huge peace of mind.

Neigbors- They never asked me what color they should paint their house, if the pink flamingos in their front yard looked OK, or what I thought about seeing their camper sit on their front lawn for weeks at a time. It's called MUTUAL RESPECT. I won't judge their activities if they don't judge mine. I've had just one neighbor make a comment about the antennas being visible from the street to which I replied, "When I get done, they'll be visible from Space". End of discussion. People, life's too short to worry about what other people think of you, or what you do. They don't pay my mortgage or property tax. Life is not a popularity contest.

Cost- Even if the tower is "free", all of the logisitics of permitting, engineering review, concrete, not to mention antennas, feedlines, rotors, stainless hardware, etc etc etc. will all add up to large dollars unless you are extrememly lucky. If you
can't write a check for a tower and equipment that approaches that of a nice used car, then you're in over your head. There is no return on investment, consider it under the category of "entertainment". Is it worth it? Highly subjective. Do I need it? No. Would I like one? Yes. Only the individual can determine where the dollar threshold lies. I also put this under the category of life's too short. If I wait too long, I'll be too old to climb and maintain it, and wish I'd done it when I was younger. I'm spending my retirement early, while I can enjoy it.

XYL's- The inside of the house is hers to decorate, the outside is mine. If she doesn't suddenly want to have her livingroom decorated with a harley and have a bedroom converted to a paint booth, this clear line of demarcation will never be crossed. Marriage is about going down the path of life and helping each other fulfill dreams and goals, not inhibit them. Compromise does not mean exchanging her wishes for yours. It might cost you a $30,000 kitchen remodel though...

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WU7X on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Let me add my story to this mix. I have lived in the same neighborhood for 20 years. My home is on the edge of a Cul d'sac and is pie shaped. When I first moved in, I installed a HyTower; no problems from the neighbors. several years later I took that down :-( and installed a 34' Rohn 25g and a 2 el Lightning Bolt Quad. Near heaven! Three years ago, I took all that down, dug a new hole and installed a 52' crank-up tower and a SteppIR 3L yagi. At Heaven's door!! There were codes in place for ham towers in my county, but I foolishly followed the advice of a number of well intentioned local hams (and the county code folks) and never applied for one. fortunately, when I installed this tower, I took pictures of everything in preparation for a presentation to my DX club. That PowerPoint presentation really helped later on.

I have great relations with all but one of my neighbors and quickly cleaned up any rfi problems that popped up (computer speaker wires being a good example). Then a new neighbor moved in nearby. He doesn't get along with any of his neighbors, and I was no exception. The big problem was that he worked for the county, read through my property records, and discovered that I didn't have a permit. He filed a complaint and the county was literally forced to go after me. Here is where developing good relations with you neighbors comes in handy. Because my nice tower was taller than the shortest distance to my lot line on one side, I had to get a "Private Owner Fall Zone Easement" from the neighbor on that side of my property. As far as I can discern, I am the only person in eastern Washington State with this kind of easement. because of this I had to write the easement document myself! My good neighbor signed off on it immediately when I requested the easement from her. With the easement in hand, I quickly was able to procure the required, but belated, permit from the good folks at the county. They came, checked the installation once, and signed off on it immediately.

My recommendations to all are: 1) Always try to have excellent relations with your neighbors; 2) prior to digging any holes, check to see what kind of permits are required by your county codes folks; 3) develop good relations with the county folks too. they are only trying to do their jobs; 4) document everything! Use photos extensively! 5) Finally get that tower up and have fun!

My one tower now holds a 2 M/440 cm J-pole, and that beloved SteppIR yagi for 6-40 meters. No guy wires, no problems!

Dale WU7X
 
Tower v Skype or even Echolink ? :O  
by G3SEA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

Good Luck to those who are able to do it in suitable areas but as U.S. urban areas become even more congested you can see where this is going :(

Comments from neighbours like " My Johnny talks to friends and family around the world using e mail and Skype on a $300 laptop so what do you need that outdated monstrosity for " are hard to refute ( From their point of view ).

Good Luck ;)

KH6/G3SEA
 
RE: Now is the time for a good vertical antenna.  
by K9IUQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>So you dream of a tower, eh? Why? Most likely you dream of a tower and a rotator. Why?
....................................................

You are kidding right? Surely you aren't serious?

It's obvious you have never had a tower with a beam on it.

>Read about omnidirectional vertical antennas

You can read all you want about them but they will never outperform a beam on a tower.

Stan K9IUQ

I really feel sorry for you if you actually think you are competitive with hams that have a tower, rotator and beam.

 
RE: Tower v Skype or even Echolink ? :O  
by N3OX on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Re: omnidirectional verticals:

"They are the best things since sliced bread! If you pay attention to details and do it right, you will never again dream of towers"

HA!

Not bloody likely.

I have a great fondness in my heart for DIRECTIVITY and the improved copy it brings.

If I can build a fancy vertical array that outperforms a rotatable beam at some height, maybe I'll think about it, but a tower and rotator is almost always going to be the less expensive option for easily steerable directivity and gain at upper HF.

Dan
 
RE: Tower v Skype or even Echolink ? :O  
by K9IUQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N3OX: have a great fondness in my heart for DIRECTIVITY and the improved copy it brings.

You are young. I am old. Why do we always seem to agree?

Stan K9IUQ
 
Towers-I Am An Appraiser..  
by KU2US on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
In regards to "Towers will never devalue your property"..I am a Real Estate Appraiser for over 30 years in Western NY. State.. Any item affixed to your real property is considered a "fixture" and treated as personal property, as long as the item or fixture can be dismantled or removed. It is not valued +/- with the property. Another example would be above ground pools. Even if a tower was set in concrete, it still could be dismantled from the top down and placed into removeable sections. The ONLY exception to this is a house. One could say a house could be moved and dismantled, BUT, it ADDS value to your property, a tower does not, except to the enjoyment of the owner. Now, a fan dipole is a different story :)..Ken
 
RE: Now is the time for a good vertical antenna.  
by N2EY on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Read about omnidirectional vertical antennas. Read about their advantages. Build one, or buy one for your needs."

I've done that - many times.

"They are the best things since sliced bread!"

Not really.

"If you pay attention to details and do it right, you will never again dream of towers."

A good vertical can do a great job. But an omnidirectional vertical is simply not in the same league as a good beam on a tower of appropriate height, for a whole bunch of reasons.

73 de Jim, N2EY

...who bakes and slices his own bread....
 
RE: Towers-I Am An Appraiser..  
by AA4PB on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
When I sold my house 25 years ago the company who purchased it gave me a $1500 allowance to leave the tower in place in case the buyer wanted to install a TV antenna on it. I'll bet this doesn't happen very often although it was in the country and many people had TV towers.
 
Tower myths make me laugh!  
by AI2IA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K9IUQ says: So you dream of a tower, eh? Why? Most likely you dream of a tower and a rotator. Why?
....................................................

You are kidding right? Surely you aren't serious?

It's obvious you have never had a tower with a beam on it.

>Read about omnidirectional vertical antennas

You can read all you want about them but they will never outperform a beam on a tower.

Stan K9IUQ

I really feel sorry for you if you actually think you are competitive with hams that have a tower, rotator and beam.

Well, Stan, K9IUQ, what do you really know about me and my experiences? The fact is that it is not at all obvious that I have never had a tower with a beam on it. "Obviousness" is the enemy of exactness, Stan and others. Intelligently selected and properly installed vertical antennas are one of ham radio's big secrets! Here is only one example. The vertical antenna is a superb performer on the 160 and 80 meter bands. You can't match it. Of course, if you like local rag chews and avoid all-night DXing, then you will be happy with a beam on a thirty to forty foot tower.

This thread is about the big wonderful towers. Wow! If you like myths, blow away your bucks on this junk and annoy your neighbors, too! I'm not handing information to anyone. Dig for it, but here is a hint: VERTICALS WILL GIVE YOU LOW ANGLE RADIATION IN THE LOWER FREQUENCY BANDS WHERE THE HEIGHT OF YOUR BEAMS PROVIDE MOSTLY HIGH ANGLE RADIATION, AND DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR YOU CAN'T BEAT THE VERTICAL. ALSO, BEING OMNIDIRECTIONAL, YOU DON'T MISS OUT ON THOSE SIGNALS YOU NEVER HEAR WITH YOUR DIRECTIONAL BEAM. My logbook is my treasure, not the company any tower comes from.
 
RE: Now is the time for a good vertical antenna.  
by AB7E on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
AI2IA: "There is no tower here. Read about omnidirectional vertical antennas. Read about their advantages. Build one, or buy one for your needs. They are the best things since sliced bread! If you pay attention to details and do it right, you will never again dream of towers."

That's a very silly statement. I've used omnidirectional vertical antennas for years (even worked 5BDXCC with just two of them ... one for 80m and another fed through a tuner for 40m thru 10m) but unless you live over a salt marsh, the best possible single vertical you can build is going to be down almost two S-units compared with even an average two or three element yagi on a decent tower. Do the modeling and see for yourself.

Dave AB7E
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by AB7E on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There is some decent information in this article, but anyone thinking of putting up a tower should take the time beforehand to research proper tower grounding techniques since some of them involve work that needs to be done before the concrete goes in. I'd also give a lot of thought to how I planned to run feed lines and control lines to the tower.

Dave AB7E
 
RE: Now is the time for a good vertical antenna.  
by NN4RH on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>> ..., the best possible single vertical you can build is going to be down almost two S-units compared with even an average two or three element yagi on a decent tower. <<

I think AI2IA's point was concerning the lower bands. I don't think he was saying that a vertical was "better" than a multielement beam on a tower for 20 - 10 meters.

Do you have an 80 meter two or three element Yagi up high enough to matter, that you have compared to a vertical? If you do, that's great.

By the way, you can get effective directivity from vertical arrays.
 
I look at my log and I laugh at the tower folks.  
by AI2IA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You know I must say that I really enjoy this. Yet I must be careful not to give away too much of my little secrets here. You tower worshippers may call me silly, call me anything you like, I only chuckle more when I look at my logs. If nothing else, you miss things with your directivity. Also, LOUD reception does not fill your log book with DX. In fact, use your tower mounted beam and a powerful linear, too, and I'll get through to that station before you or after you. It's not what you have. It's what you do. If anyone out there can think for themselves, does not want to run with the myth-believing herd, research the vertical antenna and come up out of the masses and enter into one of ham radio's best kept secrets. Now back to the tower folks. Mock me if you wish. I say no more. I'll thing of the tower folks and smile.
 
RE: I look at my log and I laugh at the tower folk  
by AA4PB on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Verticals get a bad rap because many who install a vertical only install half of it. They forget about the half that goes underground.
 
That's it!  
by AI2IA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
NN4RH understands what I am getting at. Thanks NN4RH. I should have been a little bit clearer. Anyway, thanks folks for just considering the idea. You will be glad you did, dollar for dollar, and log entry for log entry.
 
RE: That's it!  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
AI2IA, verticals are fine. Arrays of phased verticals are better. I've always had and used verticals as "part of my arsenal" of antennas, and still do. In fact, I wrote this article for eHam years ago and it's been re-published in 22 languages all over the world:

http://www.eham.net/articles/4148

However, does that vertical (elevated with 24 tuned radials -- it's worked 272 DXCC entities on 10-15-20-30-40 meters since its installation in November 2001) work as well as my tower-mounted beams? Nope. It's just another antenna to "go to," on the coax switch. One of many. Usually, my beam at 55 feet outperforms the HF vertical (or any HF verticals I've used over 42 years of hamming) hands-down, even if it's aimed in the wrong direction, simply because it provides a better S+N/N than the verticals do.

Still, the vertical is worthwhile. In fact, my vertical is the only antenna I have for 30m, where I've confirmed 163 DXCC entities (mostly in the past 3 years or so, with lower sunspot numbers).

A *really huge* difference occurs on VHF-UHF-SHF, though. Very huge. I'll challenge my horizontal beams at 60-70 feet located in my backyard to any vertical antenna you can install anywhere, including on a mountaintop. No comparison at all when working weak signal, over the horizon VHF-UHF-SHF-EHF stations. A horizontal beam at sixty feet on 144 MHz will outperform any quantity of phased verticals on two meter SSB, no matter where you install them.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Now is the time for a good vertical antenna.  
by AB7E on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
NN4RH: "I think AI2IA's point was concerning the lower bands. I don't think he was saying that a vertical was "better" than a multielement beam on a tower for 20 - 10 meters.
Do you have an 80 meter two or three element Yagi up high enough to matter, that you have compared to a vertical? If you do, that's great.
By the way, you can get effective directivity from vertical arrays."


Hi. Yes, for sure ... verticals with good set of radials are often the best bet by far for the lower bands. Not many of us can put up an 80m yagi on a tall enough tower to get anything close to optimum results, even less so on 160m. Vertical arrays work great ... you can find several prominent hams who prefer a well-built 4-square to a single yagi even on 40m (some even on 20m.)

I'm pretty sure AI2IA isn't restricting himself to the low bands, though. If he was he wouldn't have made the equally silly statement that "(good) reception does not fill your log book with DX", when in fact receive directivity for improved S/N is typically critical to making contacts on 80m and 160m.

I think AI2IA is simply one of these guys who has latched on to an idea that he thinks sets him apart from others less insightful, and as long as he can use purely subjective reasoning to support it he has no reason to back off.

73,
Dave AB7E
 
RE: Tower myths make me laugh!  
by K9IUQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Well, Stan, K9IUQ, what do you really know about me and my experiences?
.....................................................
Nope don't know you or your experiences.

I DO know antennas. after 47 years of hamming and maybe 100- 200 antennas put up, I have a *pretty* good idea how antennas perform.

I have had more verticals than I remember. Also have had wire antennas. Sterba curtains,loops, Zepps, inverted L's, inverted V's. Have probably tried em or modeled them all in Eznec at one time or another. Have you ever modeled a vertical antenna and compared it to a beam at 50ft on a tower? it might be an eyopener for you. Even more of an eyeopener would be to have both a vertical and a beam (on a tower) on a coax switch. Like I have had many times. And switch back and forth between them.
Oh yes, a real eye opener.

Your statement >They are the best things since sliced bread! >omnidirectional vertical antennas

Your key word is omnidirectional.

The tower beam,and rotator key word is *directional*

The best place for OMNIDIRECTIONAL verticals is when you have to have to use compromise antenna. Like the guys with covenants that prevent a tower and beam.

Stan K9IUQ












 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VA1CQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Regarding a tower...if you can, don't wait, just do it. If you can't, you can't. But at least install some kind of good antenna with gain. The antenna is what is important; everything else is detail.

I am now directly comparing my well-installed Steppir Bigir vertical against a temporary wire loop supported by my tall tower. Night & day difference in pleasure of operating even with just this loop. This difference could be the difference between losing interest in the hobby or not. I used to think the vertical worked well because my comparison was a low dipole. I can't wait to actually get a directional yagi at height.

I enjoyed your article, Steve. People should listen to this message because you are right.

Murray
VE7HA
 
RE: Tower myths make me laugh!  
by K9IUQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Intelligently selected and properly installed vertical antennas are one of ham radio's big secrets!

.......................................................

Here we go again. Why, oh why do hams think antennas are a Mystery?????

When it comes to antennas there are NO secrets or magical voodoo antennas. There is PLENTY of literature available on performance of antennas. I suggest you read a few.

Also there is EZNEC which will dispel any secret on antennas you think you know.......

Stan K9IUQ
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by AB7E on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There is some decent information in this article, but anyone thinking of putting up a tower should take the time beforehand to research proper tower grounding techniques since some of them involve work that needs to be done before the concrete goes in.<

::Sometimes, but not usually. Most "big, commercial" tower installations add grounding after the tower's installed; and most ham installations can, too. I wouldn't want my ground system to be in the concrete block.

>I'd also give a lot of thought to how I planned to run feed lines and control lines to the tower.<

::Good point, although that's part of the tower planning ritual, which needn't take long. Having run cables underground and overground, I strongly prefer overground -- and up high, out of the way. I use only overhead cable runs, with a messenger cable (tensioned by a turnbuckle) as appropriate, for improved serviceability. Underground is nice, but not as serviceable and also usually a lot more work to install. After trying both ways a lot of times, I won't use the "buried" cable method again.

::Good points, though -- appreciate it.

WB2WIK/6

 
RE: Tower myths make me laugh!  
by N7YA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Stan,

If you were using a beam a couple of weeks ago, then it was working just fine...i was listening in on your qso with F6DDR and you were the loudest signal on the band from my QTH.

Regardless, due to my restrictions here, i can guarantee everyone has a better signal than i do. I am running a dipole in the attic. I also must agree, a vertical is a great antenna when properly installed and grounded, but theres no way on earth it will outdo a directional beam...i have also used both, and i have also switched between them...no comparison.

73...Adam, N7YA
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K9IUQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>I am now directly comparing my well-installed Steppir Bigir vertical against a temporary wire loop supported by my tall tower. Night & day difference in pleasure of operating even with just this loop

....................................................
Comparable Higher antenna is always better than lower antenna for Dx work. There IS a good reason some Hams have high towers or live on a hill.

Higher antennas give a lower angle of radiation than a comparable low antenna.

This is easily seen in Eznec software. Model an antenna at 35 ft and then model it at 60 ft. Look at the elevation angle.

Lower angle= DX

Stan K9IUQ

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by AB7E on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WB2WIK: "Most "big, commercial" tower installations add grounding after the tower's installed; and most ham installations can, too. I wouldn't want my ground system to be in the concrete block. "

Many sources (Polyphaser, for one) suggest that a proper Ufer ground comprised of the rebar cage within the foundation is adequate for lightning. And even assuming you install an extensive exterior protective ground system, most sources I've seen say it is desirable to ground the rebar cage (usually to the tower base) as opposed to just letting it float within the foundation.

Take care,
Dave AB7E
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K9IUQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N7YA says: Stan,

If you were using a beam a couple of weeks ago, then it was working just fine...i was listening in on your qso with F6DDR and you were the loudest signal on the band from my QTH.

........................................................
Adam, thanks. My setup is VERY modest compared to many other stations. I use a Tennadyne T6 Log Periodic for 20-10 mtrs. The antenna is at 43 ft on a tubular fold over tower.

My biggest advantage is I live on a hill at 825 ASL. This is 300 ft higher than the valley. The ground slopes away from my antenna in 3 directions. I have a direct shot to the horizon to Europe.

Before I had the tower, I had a commercial Vertical antenna. I had it it ground mounted and for a while roof mounted. There was 38 130ft radials under the antenna. I used this for 2 years before I got around to getting the tower up.

I no longer have a Vertical antenna. This should be a CLUE for the Vertical lovers..

Stan






 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Dave AB7E: I've read everything from Polyphaser but there's this very popular school of thought also (pasted from the TowerTalk reflector, and validated about a zillion times over by professional tower installers there):

"I can recall a commercial tower design firm (1,000 and 2,000 foot
broadcast
towers) telling me that you never run a ground cable through a concrete
base
or guy anchor. That the rebar cage is intended for strength not
grounding.
That if you run a lightning strike through the foundation or guy anchor,
the
concrete will crack if the lightning tries to exit the concrete looking
for
real ground ground or from the heat of the lightning."

So, two very different schools of thought. Local "code" varies as well. Here in L.A., commercial tower installations require an external, inspectable ground that is not beneath the tower in its concrete foundation.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by NI0C on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve,

Congratulations on another fine article! It should provide encouragment to those planning better antenna systems, especially for the 14 MHz and higher frequency bands after the sunspots begin to improve.

For those of us who prefer the lowbands, large directional yagis, quads, etc. are simply impractical for ordinary urban/suburban lots. So we work with our verticals, inverted L's, and dipoles.

That's why I tend to agree with postings by AI2IA and NN4RH.

Over the years I've managed to work over 300 countries on 20m alone, and nearly 250 each on 15m and 10m using simple wire antennas and verticals. Based on my goals and interests in ham radio, a tower installation simply isn't cost effective.

73,
Chuck NI0C

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W7AIT on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve misses some very important points:

1. Ham radio is hobby
2. The “Fun Factor”
3. Ability / disability of hams
4. Tear down / maintenance / failures
5. The sin of improperly built antennas – guys don’t “get it”

Hobby: A hobby by its nature is to have fun. It need not be a job, a competition, a tower competition, a chore, or work, unless I chose to let it be so. I do ham radio because its fun. A big tower is a headache, a chore, a huge ongoing expense and a liability I’m not willing to take – not fun, to me.

Fun Factor: The “fun factor” can be had by trying to work 3B7C with my 12 foot high Buddipole in the back yard OR I can put up a tower. I’d probably have more fun actually trying to see if I can work them on the 12 foot Buddipole. A 50 foot tower and a big beam might be easy to work these guys but it likely takes the fun out of it. Taking the tower example to absurdity, IE 7JAAL’s 80 meter beam on a tower or JA3CZY 200 footer on top of a sky scraper, gets out of hand. Yes these guys can work 3B7C any time of the day or night with these antennas, but is it worth the cost / value – IE the “Fun Factor”? Maybe to them, not to me.

Ability / Disability: When I was young & healthy, I though nothing of climbing on the roof, doing a small roof tower, masts, poles, ground mounted verticals, roof mounted verticals, and some small beams on masts. But after becoming disabled 10 years ago, it’s a **hugely big deal** for me to even set up the Buddipole. As a result, I hired professional installation for my modest BWD-65 on a 30 foot mast, VHF antennas, A99 etc. These all work fine, even though I haven’t worked 3B7C yet. But the “fun Factor” is huge – I have a blast with these modest antennas.

Tear Down: All antennas need to be torn down when you move. All antennas require some kind of regular maintenance. All antennas are prone to eventual failure, and they often do fail (how many guys have I worked – “the rotor is stuck north and I can’t get up there to fix it”). The tower antenna types make tear down, maintenance, and fixing failures very difficult because they are so high. And the more times you climb, the more times you are exposed to personal injury from a fall.

Greatest sin: The new crop of hams often just don’t “get it” and do antennas that just don’t work because they won’t listen about “counterpoises, balun matching, using proper / good coaxes for the job”, nor will they bother to read the ARRL Antenna Handbook. And they get all wound up around the axle about SWR. I think these guys are missing it because they refuse or won’t take the time to read and understand these things, that would make their antennas actually work. I think that is a the greatest sin, not making the effort on their own to learn, reading and then asking questions.

Anyway, time for me to try to work 3B7C on the Buddipole. Back to the pile up. Peace.

PS: I have Sweden, Marshall Island, Germany, Croatia and a whole bunch of JA’s in the log using that 12 foot Buddipole. Fun!
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VA1CQ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
NI0C: For those of us who prefer the lowbands, large directional yagis, quads, etc. are simply impractical for ordinary urban/suburban lots. So we work with our verticals, inverted L's, and dipoles.

VE7HA: For those without tall trees, towers may be the only way to hold those wires up nice and high where they can do the most good.

NI0C: Over the years I've managed to work over 300 countries on 20m alone, and nearly 250 each on 15m and 10m using simple wire antennas and verticals.

VE7HA: If a large total country count is what you want, this is true. Being a long-time little pistol, with occasional opportunities at being a big gun over the years, the pleasant long distance QSOs were always only possible with a gain antenna, usually supported on a good tower. It's human nature for any DX to be more likely to engage in at least a bit of a real conversation when receiving a strong, clear signal.

Murray
VE7HA
 
Honey, I Shrunk My Mind.  
by AI2IA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Of course there are no "secrets" to ham radio success. It is just a figure of speech to convey the suggestion that you may benefit from learning more about something you think you already know. Of course towers are good if you can afford them, want them, care enough to properly install and maintain them, and are willing and able to defend them to your neighbors.

What have I said? Dollar for dollar, well installed verticals can compete very well with tower antennas, especially for the lower bands.

"I think AI2IA is simply one of these guys who has latched on to an idea that he thinks sets him apart from others less insightful, and as long as he can use purely subjective reasoning to support it he has no reason to back off." No, this is false. I brought up the subject of verticals because they work well and almost always do not get the recognition they deserve. In the admiration frenzy for tower antennas, I just wanted to suggest to unbiased hams that they owe themselves a closer look at verticals. Is this a provocation? If it is, then let us hope that it stirs some to look beyond usual ham folklore.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by ARRLBOOSTER on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
SSB-Alex is a stooge. If you were really a ham, you would not have such "views". Get off this site and get back to your knitting....
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W4NTI on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
First thing I do before putting up a tower is make sure I live in the County. Which is easy, because that's the way I plan it.

Second thing is have someone that is putting in my fence use his Monster Auger to cut me a nice 5' hole.

I then fill the bottom with rocks, stick in that quarter section I had left from my last tower, pour in the concrete, level it and make sure it's plum, and let it sit a couple years. Never get in a hurry in Alabama.

Save up some bucks for a Hazer and tell everyone were having a antenna party.

Go to Winn Dixie, but up some Ribs and Hamburger and Weenies, a few cases of brown and green bottles, lots of ice.

Set a day, fire up the grill and get er done.

Any questions?

Oh yeah.,.,my lovely XYL bought the Hazer for me and say's my tower looks good.

So there.

Dan/W4NTI

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KB9CRY on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There's been engineering studies and real life trials and a tower will never fall down completely along it's length.

The common failure mode is that the tower buckles in the middle and it mostly falls straight down all around the base.


Also, I apologize for calling some of you lazy. Erecting and maintaining a tower calls for a lot of technical skills and many of us, let's me honest, do not have the experience or aptitude to do that.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N3OX on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"ALSO, BEING OMNIDIRECTIONAL, YOU DON'T MISS OUT ON THOSE SIGNALS YOU NEVER HEAR WITH YOUR DIRECTIONAL BEAM"

Uhh... I am trying VERY hard to get SOME directivity ONLY FOR RECEIVE on 80 and 160m on my tiny lot. Now, I will concede to you the point that it *IN NO WAY* requires a tall tower to do this... in fact, my 80m/160m directive antenna and my 20m Moxon rectangle are about the same size, and the 80m/160m flag is down low.... but I rarely find omnidirectional receive performance to be a good thing. It's nice in a contest as a backup and if you're running a net... but you have to listen to noise all around.

"What have I said? Dollar for dollar, well installed verticals can compete very well with tower antennas, especially for the lower bands."

Dollar for dollar at the high-performance level, verticals can't compete at all on the *higher bands*

If you want good low angle gain over regular earth on 20 meters for the least amount of money, you will find a mechanically rotated directional antenna on a tower wins.

If you really want to play with vertical arrays on the higher bands (which could be VERY cool and rewarding), a phased array of some size could really give you beam-like performance, but your yard is going to look like a porcupine instead, and multiband arrays are hard.

But you're just playing a losing game if you're trying to beat a beam at 100 feet on 20 meters with a vertical array. Scaling an 8-circle array for 160m down to 20m doesn't give you better performance than a couple element yagi on a 40 foot tower. An 8-circle is an AWESOME 80m or 160m antenna which will tend to give you one of the best signals on the band and great receive capability... but that's partially because you can't put a 2 element yagi at 400 feet on 160m and partially because the band characteristics down there are different. The 8 circle of little short 16 foot verticals might replace a 20m yagi on a short tower, but at the expense of radiating maximally into the shed and the bushes down low. I'm sure the REAL performance of such an array will be even worse than model comparisons show, whereas a 20m yagi on a 100 foot tower might as well be in free space as far as effects of surrounding objects (as long as the guys are nonmetallic)

We can find cases where vertical antennas will soundly beat horizontal antennas, but unless there's a low frequency or saltwater present, it's not likely to happen.

I think high-band vertical arrays could be a very cool option for technically-minded hams who CAN'T put up a tower, but are unlikely to gain ground as a REPLACEMENT for a yagi on a tower where one is allowed to put one up.

Dan



 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by AC2Q on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My Solution was to Become President of my Homeowners Association =0)

When I mentioned an External Wire Antenna, thier response was "That's a WIRE, not an ANTENNA". I have that in writing BTW.

SO I have an Inverted L for HF. I admit I use Attic antennas for VHF and UHF though, but I can work the entire county on simplex, which is all I desire.

And TODAY the tree trimmer came to give the 60 foot Sycamore in my front yard a much needed "haircut".
A part of my requirements? I left 100 foot of 3/8 dacron rope with detailed instructions of what high branch to loop it over =0)

Sadly it is only at 45 feet, so it looks like a loaded 1/2 wave vertical will be needed (for 40 meters).

P.S., my lot is .19 acres
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N3OX on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W7AIT says: "7JAAL’s 80 meter beam on a tower or JA3CZY 200 footer on top of a sky scraper, gets out of hand. Yes these guys can work 3B7C any time of the day or night with these antennas, but is it worth the cost / value – IE the “Fun Factor”? Maybe to them, not to me. "

You're forgetting that they can constantly pound loud signals into the East Coast U.S.A. making ham radio WAY FUN for small stations who what a JA contact!

I would love to work JA on 80m with my 100W and my single (admittedly full size 1/4 wave) vertical. (Yes, AI2IA, I like 'em too... for the low bands, never did anything for me on 20m and up).

7J4AAL's setup makes that a lot more likely!!!

I think that part of the fun factor for me in putting up a 60 foot vertical for 80m is that I actually worked a guy in Europe who was using a low G5RV. The better I make my antenna system over the years, the more I will be able to help weak/small stations make really fun contacts.

I operated from an apartment for several years and was very happy that people could hear me. I think putting up a big tower and running full legal limit would be a a way of giving back to ham radio for all the guys that pulled out my weak signal.

Don't get me wrong, I just built a 4 foot magloop, and it's equally fun to call big gun EU on 20m on a 4 foot antenna and get a response, but as PA7MM told me when I tried this experiment and switched antennas mid-contact, the difference between the magloop and my Moxon at 30 feet was "like turning on a light"

Yeah, I made a contact on 30m with ZL1ALZ on my little 4 foot antenna... but again, I called him because he was loud, and lo and behold, he's got 3 elements at 55 feet.

VE7HA touched on another aspect; that you're only going to have nice ragchews with DX if you're loud.

It would be a different game if hams were allowed no more than 1500W PEP into antennas with more gain than a dipole, but were allowed to make up the difference in ERP if they were using an antenna with negative dBd gain... but that's not how this works.

I aspire someday to be a big gun so I can give little stations around the world a DX contact just like they did for me.

73,
Dan





 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N3OX on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"who what a JA contact! "

who WANT ;-)
 
RE: Tower v Skype or even Echolink ? :O  
by K1CJS on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Comments from neighbours like " My Johnny talks to friends and family around the world using e mail and Skype on a $300 laptop so what do you need that outdated monstrosity for " are hard to refute ( From their point of view )."

Very simple to refute: 'I see your Johnny has a laptop and likes to use it to surf the web. It seems like that is his hobby. The outdated monstrosity as you call it is MY hobby. I enjoy ham radio as much as Johnny likes to use his computer. Are you telling me I can't enjoy my hobby while Johnny is free to enjoy his??'

73 and peace!
 
RE: Tower v Skype or even Echolink ? :O  
by NA0AA on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>>Comments from neighbours like " My Johnny talks to >>friends and family around the world using e mail >>and Skype on a $300 laptop so what do you need that >>outdated monstrosity for " are hard to refute ( >>From their point of view ).

"Well, I don't care for the impersonal nature of digital communications so this IS my 'internet'."

"Your Johnny spends most of his time looking at naked women or men, his time would be better spent on Amateur Radio where he'd learn something"

"You can make indoor ski areas too, let's not waste energy and mountain scenery with ugly runs and lifts"

You can see this from their point of view. you like to fish? Great, don't let me know by parking your derlict boat in front of your house....

Your kid's a baseball star? I don't like all the noise of their playing at all hours....

i.e. let's all get a life...<G>
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N5YPJ on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>>> Wow....you're kidding, right? I wish all neighbors were like that. I have one neighbor across the street who complains because I don't mow the lawn in the "correct" crisscross fashion. I go around in circles. <<<

Sometimes I just don't mow the yard - neighbors have always gotten over it.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N0AH on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have no restrictions here in Douglas Couny, Colorado. I have a 17.5 Glen Martin Roof tower. It has been pure HE** getting e Professional Engineer to sign off on specs, to get my roof finished off to meet code, and to get my drawings done showing that if my tower falls, it stays in my yard.

PRB-1 did help. The county has to be reasonable. But they are treating my tower like a commercial unit and are not bending the rules and specs for one.

It is all BS. I am putting up a Optibeam wire beam, 3.3 sq ft wind load at 130 kmph. Unreal eh?

So I think anyone thinks the average guy can go out and just stick a tower in an free antenna restricted zone should walk in my shoes for a day or two-

PE=$1,000-$1,500
Roof: $500-$1,000
Drawings: $400
Tower: $750
Misc: $400
Antenna: $1,500
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K6AER on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve, great article and right on the mark.

I lived in an antenna restricted area in California and could not even put up a backyard vertical. So I moved to a small ranch in Colorado where I could put up what I wanted. After 47 years of hamming, building repeaters, working Disaster Communications with the LA Sheriff department I found putting up a large tower with a big beam a real joy. My tower is 105 feet with a four element SteppIR on top. Things I noticed between a beam up high, a dipole up high and a vertical with 120 radials.

• The beam has about 15-20 dB more gain than the dipole at 70 feet and the perfect vertical.

• The beam has more signal off the back and sides than the vertical. Many times I hear a station off the back which is 25 dB less then the front gain and still the signal is stronger than a dipole or a vertical.

• The atmospheric noise floor is much lower on the beam.

• With the beam you hear DX on what most consider a dead band.

• On twenty meters and the band is open in some direction if you know where to point.

• Even ten meters is open much more than you would imagine.

• During the summer you can point away from lightning storms for better communications.


I am a Comtrain Certified Tower Climbing and Rigging instructor. Steve steps in the tower process are right on. The permit process is only one step in the per-functionary process. Engineering, excavation, concrete, grounding, erection and final tower assembly is an exact process but it is not beyond the average amateur as long as you do your research and don’t take safety shortcuts. Most hams run into trouble when they go out of bounds of safety.

You need proper equipment for the various stages of construction and if you don’t have the experience, hire someone who knows the process or get experienced help. If your tower help or expert tower climber says you need a crane, get one. It is the safest and cheapest way to put up a large array.

Each year about 20 tower climbers die in high angle tower construction. Most are not properly trained and take unnecessary risks.

The amateur ranks don’t fare much better. With up to 5 hams a year dieing in antenna erection accidents. Considering we, as a group, don’t do much tower work and our safety record is pretty poor.

As I said, the tower is just part of the process. You will need a proper rotor, thrust bearing, mast pole, ground jumper for the top mast, proper rotor loop. Protection boot for the thrust bearing and good antenna assembly to make sure your antenna performs for many years and by the way don’t forget a good grounding system.

Bottom line is the tower/antenna process is just a bunch of steps to completion but the rewards are huge. As Steve said; I would rather have a 10,000 antenna and a 500 radio than the other way around.

Nothing but nothing compares to having a high gain antenna up high. For those of you that think not, you have never have had the experience working DX on a dead band.

Take Steve’s points to heart and put up a proper tower with a high gain antenna. You’ll keep smiling for years.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W8JN on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I had a tower and moved to an area that allows no outdoor antennas. Problem solved with a little ingenuity. You cant imagine the array that clamps onto my reese hitch on the back of my Jeep at night. 30 feet tall. Now, lets get to the next point. Anyone who says that an 80 foot tower in an affluent neighboorhood doesn't affect property values is just plain stupid!!!!! If you live next door to an 80 foot tower and are trying to sell your $800,000 home, you can rest assured of two things: 1.Your ham neighbor killed the value of your home and 2.You can't sell it. Case closed end of story!
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K9KJM on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Another good article by WB2WIK. I cannot argue with any of that original article. I can only add that a low cost source of towers may be simply to search local neighborhoods for unused TV towers (Many Rohn 25G types) Now that cable TV has pretty much replaced over the air antennas. Many such towers can be had just by the asking and removal.

AB7E wrote that the "UFer ground" is suggested by Polyphaser and others as a sufficient ground......
That is NOT TRUE!
Polyphaser and all other responsible lightning protection companies will suggest to USE the concrete rebar as a supplement to other ground systems.
A UFer ground to rebar in concrete IS a good thing to add to your normal ground system. A UFer ground is never meant to be the "only" ground system!
http://www.psihq.com/iread/ufergrnd.htm
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.

The difference in gain between a three element yagi and tower and a 5/8 wl vertical will be 4.76dB ( Less Than One "S" Unit ), but in different main lobe directions, the lobe of the 5/8 wl vertical is lower than that from the yagi.

Gain is meaningful only when considered with reference to a particular communications path and set of propagation conditions.


Towers are not really that great, you will find when you try a good well made 5/8 wl vertical.

W6TH

.:
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KB1GMX on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY WROTE:

My first house was on a lot 46 feet wide, with the neighbors houses close by on either side. A 30 foot tower, with no antennas, installed dead center of that 46 feet would have hit the neighbor's houses on either side if it fell the right way.

My second house was on a lot 100 x 57 feet. Same problem.

------------<

Without risk a riot please be more clear as to why
it's impossible?

before you do I'll explain. I have my tower backeted to the back of the house and one of the location features is short coax to the operators room. The other is I'm only 37ft from my neighbors line, and maybe 15 more to his house. Yet when I filed for permit complete with plot plan I planned for and got 50FT. How can this be? Simple, I was able to demonstrate that materials and installation were adaquate to insure falling was not likely and in the extreme unlikely event falling in that direction is self limited. First there are two tall Pines in between my house and neighbors and it's bracketed to the house and the hinge is arranged so the direction is away from the house and that direction I have at least 90ft to my line. In most directions (180 degee radius) my house would limit the distance or prevent it entirely. It was sufficient to prove that if a collapse were to occur it would be entirely on my property.

I permitted for more than I'd use mostly to allow for
a small expansion later and to also allow for the fact that the mast and the VHF vertical at the to top add 15ft even though those do not really count according
to our town.

Power lines around here are along the street and in my case across the street so the nearest possible power line contact point is my neighbors entrance line at 70+ft away. I do understand in some areas power runs through a narrow right of way between properties and can be annoyingly close.

If my neighbor and I have any worries it's those two Pines! Those trees are big.

Often "can't" means you drew the box too small. I'm one of those that believes "impossible" is only a another way of saying "we haven't figured out how, yet".

Also to some "tower" implies really tall rather than a robust support of far more modest height. In my case I could have put up a 12ft roof mount tripod and been as high and also avoided any permits at all but I didn't want to mess with a newly installed roof and the need to work up on the roof even if I could tilt it over. The ground mounted tower with hinged base and bracketed it the back of the house also looked better to me in drawings than roof mount in drawing I'd done for myself. Importantly it allows me to work at ground level which is far more comfortable. Even my 15ft high low pitch roof is not comforable for me.


Allison
 
RE: Tower myths make me laugh!  
by AK2B on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve,

A very informative article with lots of good advice. Thanks for taking the time to write it. The best posting here in a long time.

Tom, AK2B
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY WROTE:

"house was on a lot 46 feet wide, with the neighbors houses close by on either side. A 30 foot tower, with no antennas, installed dead center of that 46 feet would have hit the neighbor's houses on either side if it fell the right way.

My second house was on a lot 100 x 57 feet. Same problem."

------------<

KB1GMX wrote:

"Without risk a riot please be more clear as to why
it's impossible?"

Not impossible, just not practical if the criteria was to not fall on the neoghbor's house or property.

"I have my tower backeted to the back of the house... I'm only 37ft from my neighbors line, and maybe 15 more to his house."

That means it's 52 feet from the base of your tower to the neighbor's house.

"Yet when I filed for permit complete with plot plan I planned for and got 50FT."

Which means that if your tower fell over from the base (highly unlikely but possible), it would still not quite reach the neighbor's house.

"How can this be? Simple, I was able to demonstrate that materials and installation were adaquate to insure falling was not likely and in the extreme unlikely event falling in that direction is self limited. First there are two tall Pines in between my house and neighbors and it's bracketed to the house and the hinge is arranged so the direction is away from the house and that direction I have at least 90ft to my line. In most directions (180 degee radius) my house would limit the distance or prevent it entirely. It was sufficient to prove that if a collapse were to occur it would be entirely on my property."

That's exactly my point. In the case of both houses, I could not prove that a collapse would end up entirely on my property.

In the case of my first house (Palmyra NY), with the 46 foot wide lot, a tower right at the back of the house could have been bracketed at about the 12 foot level because of the way the roof sloped. Any tower taller than about 35 feet, if it bent at the bracket, would have wound up hitting the neighbor's house. No trees in the way.

In the case of my second house, (RadioTelegraph Hill, Upper Darby, PA), I had half of a twin. which puts one neighbor right on the property line. Same problem.

Fudd's First Law of Opposition still applies.

It might have been possible to get permits for either place, but it would not have been easy, fast or inexpensive.

"If my neighbor and I have any worries it's those two Pines! Those trees are big."

I had an 80 foot Norway Maple at the RadioTelegraph Hill house - until an arborist told me "take it down before it falls down". Firewood for a couple of winters!

"Often "can't" means you drew the box too small. I'm one of those that believes "impossible" is only a another way of saying "we haven't figured out how, yet"."

While I'm a die-hard optimist, there are some things which are simply impossible, due to basic physics. Like the mythical "200 mpg carburetor".

There are also things which, as you say, we haven't figured out how to do - yet. Such things are still impossible until figured out.

There's also the difference between "impossible" and "impractical" or "unaffordable". All depends on the situation. In some areas, plans drawn by the homeowner and self-representation before a few officials are enough. For other areas, you may need a lawyer, a surveyor, plans, calculations and certifications by a PE licensed to do tower work, and fees, plus appearances before the planning commission and zoning board, all of which can add up to a tidy sum before you ever put a shovel in the ground.

I know, I had to get a variance to put an addition on my house. You don't want to know what it cost to get that variance, even though it sailed right through all the required steps.

I think where some hams run into big problems is by trying to do tower projects with too many shortcuts.
Either do it right or not at all.

"Also to some "tower" implies really tall rather than a robust support of far more modest height."

Very good point.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"The difference in gain between a three element yagi and tower and a 5/8 wl vertical will be 4.76dB ( Less Than One "S" Unit )"

Theoretically - and only if they are over perfect ground and there are no RF-absorbing obstructions.

In practice, on HF, the situation is usually very different.

"but in different main lobe directions, the lobe of the 5/8 wl vertical is lower than that from the yagi."

That depends on how high the yagi is above ground. Also on whether there are RF-absorbing things in the way.

This is one reason ground-mounted verticals sometimes work really well, and other times really poorly: RF absorbing things nearby. Modern houses, with metal siding, metal lath under stucco, metal ductwork, wiring, plumbing, etc., can be pretty RF absorbing. A wire or beam antenna up above the house has a much better chance to radiate useful RF than a vertical alongside the house.

"Gain is meaningful only when considered with reference to a particular communications path and set of propagation conditions."

That's true - and it brings up another point.

The 5/8 wave vertical is omnidirectional, the yagi is not. That means the vertical picks up QRM and QRN equally well in all directions. Often a yagi can be turned so that source of QRM/QRN are in a null, improving communication much more than the gain figure would indicate.

For example, if you're trying to work a weak DX station whose bearing is 102 degrees from you, and there's strong QRM at 192 degrees from you, the yagi's front-to-side ratio can be used to knock down the QRM. The vertical lets you hear all the QRM from all directions.

On the bands below 10 MHz, a good vertical can be great for DX. It will also be enormous if it is full-sized for 160 or 80. And if you want to work hams who are closer in than 1000 to 1500 miles, the low angle will work against you.

"Towers are not really that great, you will find when you try a good well made 5/8 wl vertical."

Been there, done that. I have nothing against verticals - I've made thousands of contacts with them - but a good beam is in a completely different league. That's just the way it is.

Note too that a 5/8 wave vertical for 20 meters is over 40 feet high.

And a tower with beam on top can be shunt-fed as a vertical for bands like 160, 80 and 40, or hold up wire antennas for those bands.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by W8JN on September 18, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I had a tower and moved to an area that allows no outdoor antennas. Problem solved with a little ingenuity. You cant imagine the array that clamps onto my reese hitch on the back of my Jeep at night. 30 feet tall. Now, lets get to the next point. Anyone who says that an 80 foot tower in an affluent neighboorhood doesn't affect property values is just plain stupid!!!!! If you live next door to an 80 foot tower and are trying to sell your $800,000 home, you can rest assured of two things: 1.Your ham neighbor killed the value of your home and 2.You can't sell it. Case closed end of story!<

::W8JN, you're wrong. As I stated earlier, if you think this is true, cite the case including the address and we'll be glad to research it. I've done a lot of research in this area and haven't found an example yet. My last home which I recently sold was this one here:

http://www.zillow.com/search/Search.htm?addrstrthood=21101+Celtic+St.&citystatezip=91311&GOButton=%3CSPAN%3EGO%3C%2FSPAN%3E

If you paste that link into your browser it will take you to a shot of the house (overhead) along with its value, which is over one million dollars. I listed it while three antenna towers were in the yard. My next door neighbor at 21103 Celtic sold his house three months earlier, while my towers were up with beams visible from two miles away, for $1,123,000 which was the highest resale in the neighborhood at the time. His house was on the market for five weeks.

There just isn't any indication whatever that being next door to, or across the street from a ham radio tower complete with antennas has any impact on resale value at all. I've bought and sold fourteen houses personally (my own) and live in #15. I've had towers at all of them and the neighbors sold homes quickly, easily and for prices exactly as listed.

As for the argument posted above regarding "antennas and towers installed must be removed when you sell the house..." I've never found that to be true, either. Most hams probably *do* remove their stuff, so they can use it again at another location: But it's definitely not required. When I sold the house listed above, the buyers, who paid a million dollars for it (young couple with little kids) never noticed the towers or antennas since they all blended in with tree trunks and stuff at eye level. During escrow, I promised them, "Don't worry, the towers will be gone before escrow closes!" and their response was -- get this -- "What towers?"

Common response from people who are looking for a house and a yard and not looking up to see what kind of airplanes are flying over.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by AB7E on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K9KJM: "AB7E wrote that the "UFer ground" is suggested by Polyphaser and others as a sufficient ground......
That is NOT TRUE!
Polyphaser and all other responsible lightning protection companies will suggest to USE the concrete rebar as a supplement to other ground systems.
A UFer ground to rebar in concrete IS a good thing to add to your normal ground system. A UFer ground is never meant to be the "only" ground system!
http://www.psihq.com/iread/ufergrnd.htm "

I messed up ... you are correct. I personally would never rely only on a Ufer ground, but I had thought Polyphaser's technical note TD1028 had said it was sufficient. I went back and re-read it, though, and I was wrong. The note says that making the rebar cage into a Ufer ground is a good augmentation, but is not sufficient on it's own. Sorry for the error and confusion.

Dave AB7E
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
When I sold my one and one quarter acre and two homes on the land in California, I had to remove my seventyfive foot tower, as the buyer would buy, but his loan company would not let him have the loan. Most that came also agreed that I remove the tower, but no sweat as the first that looked at the property, was sold on buying.

I now own a house/home appreciation of $350,000, no way am I going to install a tower. Two reasons why; won't look good and am too old for the climbing, oh! a third reason, ham radio doesn't mean that much to me any longer with the drastic changes for the hobbyists.

Live Free or Die, death isn't the worst of evils.

73, W6TH.

.:
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W3LK on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W8JN:

<< Anyone who says that an 80 foot tower in an affluent neighboorhood doesn't affect property values is just plain stupid!!!!! If you live next door to an 80 foot tower and are trying to sell your $800,000 home, you can rest assured of two things: 1.Your ham neighbor killed the value of your home and 2.You can't sell it. Case closed end of story! >>

Can you provide documented proof of this assertion? I'm betting not.

The vast majority of things that people like you say will kill property values will have virtually NO effect upon the property value of the adjacent homes.

When my company bought a property with a parking lot in downtown Baltimore, the neighbor adjacent to us started a big stink because we parked a 16' box van in the lot at night. Claimed the truck dropped his home's vaule 50 percent and demanded we not part the truck and filed a protest with the city. We made him PROVE the decline in his property value before we stopped parking the truck. That was nine years ago and we are still parking the truck on the lot.

As long as it is legal, I'll do and build whatever I want on my own property.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.

As long as it is legal, I'll do and build whatever I want on my own property.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut


In Connecticut? Your are kidding. You must have made a mistake and thinking of New Hampshire as where I reside, there are no zoning laws.

Live Free or Die, death isn't the worst of evils.

W6TH
.:
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I now own a house/home appreciation of $350,000, no way am I going to install a tower.<

::Boy in zip code 03785 (Woodsville, NH) that would be really tough to do. That zip code reports five property transactions in the past year, all between $100,500 (260 Mt. Eustes Rd.) and $230,000 (158 Clough Hill Rd) and zero appreciation on any of them since their close dates per NHBR. There are currently 36 properties for sale (listed) in 03785 today, almost all for below $350,000 except for one with substantial property. The ones on Berkshire Rd., Bean Rd., Williams Rd., St. Mary St., Franconia Mtns. Rd., N. Pond Rd. Sass Ave., Dodge Pond, etc are all down in the sub-$300K range.

Where is this one that appreciated $350K?

Even better, which is the home in this area where anyone would care if it had a tower next to it or in the yard? I've been up there dozens of times. Six months a year it's heavily treed and the other six it's mostly white. Nobody would give a rat's butt about a tower.

WB2WIK/6



 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W3LK wrote:

"As long as it is legal, I'll do and build whatever I want on my own property."

W6TH replied:

"In Connecticut? Your are kidding. You must have made a mistake and thinking of New Hampshire as where I reside, there are no zoning laws."

He wrote "as long as it is legal", Vito.

And while there may be no zoning laws where you live, other parts of NH sure have them. They may reach you sometime.

"Live Free or Die, death isn't the worst of evils."

New Hampshire has a strange sense of humor.

They put "Live Free or Die" on the license plates.

But who makes license plates, and gets to see that motto over and over and over again?

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.

Steve, WIK.

I won't give the exact location of this one as it is being used now for a business and don't want a crowd, but can see the Connecticut river, that is, if I can see through the trees. Another is being looked at and that one is in Bath, NH. We have a super, super Wal*Mart being built and is suppose to be the largest ever built by Wal*mart, should be ready by this coming November.

This house for business was paid for in cash and no mortgage, got one great deal on it.

I don't recommend anyone moving here as the winters are very cold, past year was minus 3 degrees. Folks stay where you are, it is costly to move and your wives may not like our beautiful trees and country sides, no state taxes, no sale taxes, no users and people mind their own business and , etc, etc, you won't like the move.

By the way, I never heard of California, will look it up and see if it is in the United States.

73 Steve and nice post from you as always.

Vito, W6TH.

.:
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
Jim N2EY
And while there may be no zoning laws where you live, other parts of NH sure have them. They may reach you sometime.

It has been tried. The last board tried it again and they were voted out, new ones now behave.

New Hampshire has a strange sense of humor.

They put "Live Free or Die" on the license plates.

This part of NH is still a Republic for which it stands and still believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; no free rides I noticed. These folks know how to vote and not by popularity.

Again;
They put "Live Free or Die" on the license plates.

Also on the eHAM;
"Live Free or Die, death isn't the worst of evils."

What is worse than death is the loss of freedom and government control, much more. Makes sense to me, how about you?

W6TH

.:

.:
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W3WN on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve --

Great article. This should be one for the "classics" for the next few years!

Of course, I can kibbitz with the rest of them... just a few comments:

(1) Document everything. Keep copies in a safe place. Especially if you are in an area that at present does not require permits. Things change. (The community I currently live in had no antenna or tower ordinances on the books, when I got married and moved here 15 years ago; there was a ham (now SK) on the borough council. The ordinances are there now.) If some fuss budget raises an issue, as other posters have mentioned in this thread, the documentation can prove that your system predates newer ordinances and are thus grandfathered (assuming, of course, that that's allowed).

If in doubt... speak to your lawyer. Even if you have to pay him. It can be worth it.

(2) Safety. Of the tower itself. Let's face it... towers can be considered an "attractive nuisance." So make sure you take reasonable steps to keep the tower safe from intruders.

A friend of mine (yes, I have friends!) has had a crank-up tower in the back of his parent's home for close to 20 years (he's now married and lives a few miles from them, but his primary shack is still there -- one day he will inherit the house, or so they've told him in my presence). Until recently, the tower sat in the back of their property, surrounded only by some shrubs and small trees.

Then one day, his parents caught some neighborhood kids climbing on it. Now, the base of the tower is covered in a way to deter climbers; I'd be more specific but I don't know all the details. (Personally, I'd have gone to Home Depot, gotten the materials, and built an 8 foot high fence around it, with a locked gate... but that's me.) A small fence, be it wood or chain link or whatever, with a locked gate shows that you've taken that reasonable precaution to prevent the idle curious from getting hurt on excersizing their idleness.

In short, safeguard your tower the way you'd safeguard your swimming pool. More details for your situation? See your insurance agent. And your lawyer.

(3) You live in a restricted area where towers aren't allowed? Read the fine print and find out what is allowed. Is the prohibition only against "permanent" structures? Then look into a "portable" crank up on a trailer. See www.n3sh.org for one example!

Oh, and since someone else brought up verticals: Verticals are nice. I have three (only one up at the new QTH right now). In certain circumstances, a vertical can beat a beam, but you have to be on the right frequency with the right propagation in the right place at the right time. And when you're real estate is limited, they're fantastic. (Try using a chain link fence as your counterpoise -- nice!)

Phased verticals are nice too. If you phase them right. And have the room.

Overall, verticals are nice. Beams on towers are better.

73, ron w3wn
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.

Steve, WIK.

I won't give the exact location of this one as it is being used now for a business and don't want a crowd, but can see the Connecticut river, that is, if I can see through the trees. Another is being looked at and that one is in Bath, NH. We have a super, super Wal*Mart being built and is suppose to be the largest ever built by Wal*mart, should be ready by this coming November.<

::I wouldn't brag about the Wal*Mart...I'd move if one ever moved in close to me! But anyway, I do know your area well. Used to live in Boston (North End) and commute up to my ski house in Randolph, MA at the base of Sugarbush Mtn, going up 93 to 89 and then into VT. Couldn't take the WX, it eventually forced me to leave the area entirely but it had its good points as all places do. I remember Woodsville because it had a weather station (I've visited it) and during the summer there was a Farmer's Market on highway 302 with a lot of scrumptious goodies: Kind of like the L.A. Farmer's Market but maybe 2% the size. Anywhere along U.S. 5 you can see the Connecticut River, I think. It's right there. There's an old covered bridge over the river in that area, too. I've seen it get a *lot* colder than -3F there, so if that was your coldest day last year, just wait -- it will get much colder.

I was at Sugarbush for my last ski season there in 1999 (just before I sold the ski house) and one weekend in February it was -27F, and when I got to Boston it was still -19F. Woodsville would have been somewhere in between.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
I have had both, towers at 75 feet with yagi and quad antennas. Also two verticals, one 1/4 wave ground mounted and the 5/8 wl. My location that recently was sold, was in CA and the elevation was 3724 feet above sea level. No neighbors for over one mile and nothing in the path of rf for over 40 miles in N, S, E, W, and for many years compared the yagi and quad to the verticals. The two element quad out did the yagi on dx, because the quad would still work the dx when the band was going out and the yagi did not perform. Now between the quad and the 1/4 wave was up and down, but I preferred the quad, although the 1/4 was great. The quad compared to the 5/8 , well it was a toss up, I couldn't make up my mind as one was good as the other. In other words, If I didn't have the quad, I was very pleased with the performance of the 5/8 wl and I could do away with either one and be happy. I found better results with the yagi antenna by going at the height of 3/4 wavelength rather than a full wavelength.

These comparisons were all on the 20 meter band, the 5/8 vertical had eight radials, but with a 4X4X1 steel plate mounted at the bottom of the 5/8 and ran the radials on the ground, not buried and the length was just 34 feet long.

I like low angle of radiation over the kilowatt as it is more fun and thank Mr. Fresnel for his information as his information was of great help.

W6TH
.:

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
I may get question so here is the answer; 4X4X1 steel plate mounted at the bottom of the 5/8 is in feet and the 1 is in inches.
.:
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K2WE on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Steve, I had my 70' Tri-Ex LM-470D up on a small city lot for 30 years.. The funniest thing happened the day after I reaised it to it's full height.. There were no antenna's on the tower.. I just wanted to see how it looked fully extended.. I got 3 complaints from neighbors saying "my antenna" was causing the problem.. On the TV and telephone.. I called each back and explained there were no antenna's. The tower was only the support structure for the antenna's.. and they won't be installed for at least 6 weeks.. One didn't believe me so I invited her over.. I showed her there were no cables running into my house meaning there were no antenna's on the tower.. She just shook her head and walked away.. I only had 2 other complaints in 30 years.. One happened while I was away on vacation!! Now how could I cause interference if I'm not home!! I've since sold the tower and antenna's. I'm nearing 60 years of age (43 in the hobby) and really don't need the headache of maintaining the tower.. Question.. How do I get rid of a huge 8'x 5' x 6' block of concrete???

73 Steve/k2we
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by K2WE on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Question.. How do I get rid of a huge 8'x 5' x 6' block of concrete???<

::Isn't it underground? If I want to cover the concrete foundation for a tower, I pour dirt over it, mix with some fertilizer, add grass seed, and water. Soon, it's part of the lawn! Better still, leave the tower up with the concrete foundation, and simply don't use it if you don't want to. When you go to sell your house, advertise it in the ham magazines as "complete with 70 foot motorized telescoping tower, installed and permitted," and charge $25,000 more for your house than you normally would. A ham will buy it.

WB2WIK/6

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
I want to bring up another point. Although the yagi and the quad were putting out a stronger signal and the 1/4 wave down some 2 or 3 S units, The idea was to get a low cost antenna with low angle of fire to reach the same distance although the difference in signal strength was of no concern, I was happy to make the "trip".

W6TH
.:
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K1CJS on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"......If you live next door to an 80 foot tower and are trying to sell your $800,000 home, you can rest assured of two things: 1.Your ham neighbor killed the value of your home and 2.You can't sell it. Case closed end of story!"

$800,000 homes are the exception rather than the norm. I suggest owners of such homes think less about what their neighbor is doing and concentrate on their own business--you can't live in a world of your own, you've got to share the world with others.

If you do own such a house you more than likely have a larger piece of land around it, and the 'obnoxious' tower is not close to your house even though it is on your neighbors property.

Its the same for everything, not just an example like this--the almighty DOLLAR is supreme now, not the teachings of the almighty GOD--as in 'love thy neighbor'.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VA1CQ on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K1CJS: $800,000 homes are the exception rather than the norm.

City of Vancouver AVERAGE house price is about $600,000. This is for an old house. A typical new house could easily cost $800,000. Lots for such a house would be a typical 6000 sq.ft. lot or less. Your statement is true outside major cities.

K1CJS: I suggest owners of such homes think less about what their neighbor is doing.....

You cannot change how others think whether they are right or wrong. Remember, the way hams think is the vast minority. Most people, strongly dislike towers and antennas the same as they dislike RVs, boats, old cars, etc. in the front yeard. This is reality.

K1CJS: If you do own such a house you more than likely have a larger piece of land around it......

Not true.

My point I'm making is you will not change how the rest of the world thinks. Modern reality is that a ham who wants towers/large antennas MUST reside in a rural location or similar or be prepared to accept neighbours' dislike for them. I like to like my neighbours and so I choose to live rural.

Murray
VE7HA
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W3LK on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
<< In Connecticut? Your are kidding. You must have made a mistake and thinking of New Hampshire as where I reside, there are no zoning laws.

Live Free or Die, death isn't the worst of evils.

W6TH >>

Nope. I have NO antenna restrictions and the only tower restriction is an 8' setback. This was WELL researched before I bought the house.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N4SL on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
OH THE DRAMA!

Are you boys auditioning to be Chips replacement?
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W6TH wrote:

"I don't recommend anyone moving here as the winters are very cold, past year was minus 3 degrees."

In Wayne County, New York, we called that "long sleeve weather".

"no state taxes"

Did they do away with the state education tax, ($3.33 per $1000 of RE valuation)? Or the various real estate taxes?

"By the way, I never heard of California, will look it up and see if it is in the United States."

"It has been tried."

(zoning)

"The last board tried it again and they were voted out, new ones now behave."

That doesn't mean it will never happen. Just that it hasn't happened yet.

New Hampshire has a strange sense of humor. They put "Live Free or Die" on the license plates. Guess who makes license plates? People who are neither free nor dead.

"This part of NH is still a Republic for which it stands and still believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; no free rides I noticed."

Nobody on welfare in NH? Same tax rates for everyone regardless of age? I think not.

"These folks know how to vote and not by popularity."

That I agree with! New Hampshire - a blue state, just like Pennsylvania and California.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N1ERF on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

New Hampshire does have a strange sense of humor:

They try to make Cell phone towers look like
camouflaged trees!

The other thing is they don't know how to drive.
You'll find them all in a traffic jam in the left-
lane while the other two are open... Go figure!

NH does tax you through property tax an re-registering
your car every year. If you have a case of bad gas...
You'll need a permit for that too. *8^)


One of the few thing I like about NH is it does have
alot of trees... some of them you can hide your tower
behind.

Thanks for the great article.

John
N1ERF
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W8EFA on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Good article Steve except for this statement -

From Wb2WIK
"The presence of properly installed amateur radio antennas has never reduced the property value of anyone, anywhere, including the amateur who has them or his neighbors; if you think they do, cite the case using names and addresses and we'll research it. "

With all due respect that statement is ridiculous and just flat out wrong. Many of us who live in somewhat close quarter "subdivisions" in the Midwest, East, and Southern neighborhoods know that a tower in many of these locations would be an eyesore, would upset neighbors, and would lower property values. I think I know my neighbors very well after living here for 10 years. To tell you the truth I wouldn't like to look out my back windows and see a tower in my neighbors yard either. I really prefer the trees and the woods thank you very much.

Steve writes some great articles but unfortunately has a hard time seeing past his own beliefs and realizing not everyone thinks like him. Reminds me of another Ham I know that was so caught up in his own thinking, he ranted how certain Comic Strips he didn't like should be removed not realizing other people had different views of what was funny.

Steve has argued this ridiculous point in the past. "W'ell research it" is Steve (who doesn't even have a real estate license) stating his biased opinion.

Time to put up or shut up OM.

You want to do some research? Put up $1000.00 to see who is right. I will give you 20 names of people that live on my street. You can randomly pick 10, conference me in and you can ask them if a neigbor put a 50 foot tower in their yard would they dislike it and do they think it would decrease property values. We can throw in a couple of local realtors if you like.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K3EY on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I used to go up to club station W3KWH and work the world. A lot of the time I would get pile ups of DX hams wanting to work me on CW. This was using giant mono banders on big heavy towers. I mean these antennas were asinine they were so big, especially 40 meters. I have been playing radio for over 25 years and have never owned a tower and I am one guy who knows exactly how the really big antennas on giant towers perform, great to put it mildly. I never had the desire to put that kind of money time and effort into a tower/antenna system. It would be easier by far to go up the radio club if I needed that kind of performance. Paying yearly dues for a life time would never come close to the cost of even a little tower and antenna! I don’t drive a Chevy 409 with two fours either. I settled for an inverted vee up 40 feet and a 9 band vertical on 21 foot pipe. With that combination running barefoot, I don’t own or want an amplifier, I have no problem whatsoever working the planet. I worked 3B7C on three bands CW didn't bother with SSB or it would be more. I work 160 thru 6 meters with my antenna system. I do this with no tower and absolute zero desire to go out and get one after this article which was designed to get attention and not contacts.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N6TZ on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

I have a small lot, about 100x65, but a nice tower and antenna, the city allows 75 feet as long as it is all in the back yard with 20% of height setback.

When I put it up about 5 years ago, some neighbor put a copy of the CC&Rs on my porch and left. I guess that neighbor did not read the CC&Rs, because there is no mention of anything about antennas or towers as the housing track was built back during T.V. antenna days. Also the CC&Rs had expired about 3 years prior to my tower installation... Lot's of mention about keeping goats and chickens in that document however.

I guess when I did not take the tower down, that neighbor maybe looked at the document themselves....."measure twice - cut once?" Never heard anthing more about legal issues as I made sure several neighbors knew I took out a permit, $37 in this town.

One of my next door neighbors is not thrilled with my tower, but then again they have pool heater panels covering their roof which faces right out to the street...which is uglier? Well, I hear that nobody that has ever lived next to them could ever get along with them anyway, and I don't for many reasons. They are on the far side of my house away from the tower anyway. The lady neighbor close to my tower is a sweet thing and has no problem, and always looks on the good side of life.

You can see my installation at:
http://www.earthsignals.com/N6TZ/

Hal, N6TZ



 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by SSB on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
According to author.......
"The presence of properly installed amateur radio antennas has never reduced the property value of anyone, anywhere, including the amateur who has them or his neighbors; if you think they do, cite the case using names and addresses and we'll research it."

Well how about researching the property value of buyers that are visiting a neighborhood to inspect a house for sale, see a big crappy tower up down the street, and then drive off saying "no way I'll be living by that ugly antenna thing on a neighbors house.

A prospective buyers appraisal is the only one that counts.


Alex.....
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by RX1 on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Well how about researching the property value of buyers that are visiting a neighborhood to inspect a house for sale, see a big crappy tower up down the street, and then drive off saying "no way I'll be living by that ugly antenna thing on a neighbors house.

A prospective buyers appraisal is the only one that counts.


Alex....."


I completely agree. I received a letter some time back, from a Ham who had received my address via the ARRL listing. He had sent it to all Ham's in the area regarding another Ham who was fighting the local council about erecting a hugh tower. The position of the council was naturally against it. The request was for all available Hams to come to a council meeting in support of the guy.

I remember thinking that just because someone has an FCC license, doesn't necessarily imply that they'll jump on the bandwagon to defend these things. I frankly wouldn't want to live adjacent to many of those towers either. It absolutely does effect the market of potential buyers, and that's significant to me. The guy who sent the letter almost shot himself in the foot. I was VERY tempted to make multiple copies, and then send it to as many non-Hams as possible to tip the scale in the opposite direction.

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W3WN on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Bill W8EFA --

I would agree with you that Steve probably should not have made a sweeping, blanket statement regarding property values. He probably could have worded that a bit better.

Having said that...

No, I am not a property appraiser, nor do I play one on television. But I have worked for a company that (amongst other things) did appraisals, and in the course of buying all of my homes, have discussed this issue at some length with appraisers and real estate agents.

In general -- not in every specific situation, YMMV -- the presence of a single tower and antenna should not adversly affect the appraised property value. Now go back and read that again. Because by 'appraised' I mean the value that the person who is evaluating the property on behalf of the bank, loan company, or whomever is providing the loan/mortgage places on it. They have very specific guidelines to follow on things like that. Talk to an appraiser for more specific details, as things vary across areas and as per state regulations.

This is NOT to say that a SPECIFIC installation might be considered an "eyesore." Nor is this to say that someone looking to purchase a property in the neighborhood where a tower is located might give in to illogical fears of "interference" and look elsewhere (and sometimes that's a convenient excuse, too). This is only to say that the appraised -- book -- value of the property under normal conditions in many or most areas is not legally affected by the presence of a tower.

Now, will the presence of a tower be considered an "eyesore" by some? Certainly. That's human nature. (Wonder what they did in the days before cable & satellite TV when many fringe areas pretty much required a TV antenna on a small tower for decent reception... I guess they're not an "eyesore" when everyone has one?) Will the presence of a tower upset some of your neighbors? Heck, some of my neighbors at my old QTH got upset every fall when I had left the Pittsburgh Pirates flag up on my HF2V "flagpole" instead of replacing it with a Pittsburgh Steelers flag... really... the point being that if someone is inclined to get upset, they don't need much of an excuse.

But affect neighborhood property values? Perception might be that this is true -- but again, according to most appraisers I used to work with, this is not the case in most circumstances.

73
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I will give you 20 names of people that live on my street. You can randomly pick 10, conference me in and you can ask them if a neigbor put a 50 foot tower in their yard would they dislike it and do they think it would decrease property values. We can throw in a couple of local realtors if you like."

The problem with that challenge is that it's theoretical rather than practical.

The people being asked are not actually looking to buy homes. They're also probably not clear about what "a 50 foot tower" would actually look like in reality. So the answers you get will be based on their imaginations, not a real-life experience.

One *big* caveat, though: The tower has to be a good-quality installation, properly engineered, installed and maintained. Poor workmanship sticks out, whether it be on a tower or anything else.

Most people I know do not really "see" utility poles, even though they are all over the place, 30 to 50 feet tall, and have all sorts of wires, cables, transformers, guys and other hardware all over them. They have simply been conditioned not to see utility poles at all. I have seen poles with incredible amounts of stuff on them, bending under the strain, yet the neighbors simply didn't notice at all.

As WB2WIK has pointed out, and I learned by climbing trees as a kid, most people don't look up that much.

The scientific way to determine whether an amateur radio tower has a negative effect on property values is to find a large but uniform neighborhood that has a tower at one of the homes, and compare sales of houses near the tower with those far from the tower. Compare price, time on the market, and sales conditions.

I have known folks who *liked* the fact that a neighbor-ham had a tower, because they figured it would divert lightning from hitting their houses and the power lines. I don't know if they were right, but it's what they believed.

Perhaps the most important thing is to have balance about what is reasonable use of a residence. A 100 foot tower with multiple beams probably isn't reasonable in the front yard of a treeless quarter-acre lot, just as having six large, loud dogs on that property would not be reasonable.

OTOH, a 50 foot tower with a tribander in the back yard of a treed half-acre lot can be completely reasonable - just like having a couple of well-behaved canines on the same property.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N3OX on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"A prospective buyers appraisal is the only one that counts. "

Yep, and if the neighborhood has friendly neighbors, kids playing in the yards, good schools, a reasonable commute to work, and well maintained houses, no one is going to completely reject the place for a 50 foot stick of steel and aluminum three houses down. That would be silly unless they have enough money to buy *any place they want* in the local market, and if that's the case, there's not much chance of them buying any particular property anyway.

Buyers capricious enough to ignore ***all other desirable characteristics*** of a property in light of some metal in the backyard of one house are not the ones driving the real estate market.

There's no "oh, well, we were going to offer you twice the value of your home but that thing is ugly" going on.

Will a tower in the neighborhood bias some buyers toward another equivalent property? I'm sure... but unless it biases the MAJORITY of buyers, it's not going to change the property value.

Actually, a tower in the neighborhood might bias ME toward another equivalent property... no way I want to live in the same neighborhood as another ham unless we wanted to pool resources and build a multi-op contest station.

Dan

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N3OX on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"They're also probably not clear about what "a 50 foot tower" would actually look like in reality. So the answers you get will be based on their imaginations, not a real-life experience. "

I think there's a lot to that. If I could put such a tower up here, half of the neighborhood would still only see the 70+ foot tree in this picture in the summer, and the tree would at least break up the outline of the tower in winter:

http://www.n3ox.net/projects/sixtyvert/overview_lg.jpg

(That's a 60 foot vertical in the foreground)

The apartment complexes behind me when I was taking this photo would be able to see my tower, but it would still be against the backdrop of the trees.

The nearest neighbors would see the bottom of the tower, but that's easy to camouflage. Stick some bushes around the base... a couple of small trees at strategic angles from the tower could obscure the neighbors' view of it unless they looked UP all the time, and they don't. Plus, if it's a nice looking tower (clean and plumb like it should be) it just becomes a benign part of the view.

The neighbors across the street here would have the clearest natural view (i.e. not looking at a point above my lot) of my tower and antenna against clear sky, but if I made it a crankup that I only put up when in use, they'd often not see it.

Now, those who really like the aesthetics of a completely treeless subdivision with identical houses and yards might have a different situation... with 20-30 houses with clear view of the tower... but here in the DC suburbs, there are lots of places you could put up a 50 foot tower and have it be nearly invisible except to three or four neighbors.

Dan




 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KG6AMW on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The question is what influences a buyer’s decision to purchase a home? Perhaps a look at extremes would put the whole thing in proper perspective. Having a pig farm or half way house for the sex offenders next door would definitely influence the buyer. Having a big tower might influence a certain percentage of borrowers looking at the property, but mostly just in passing and very likely not at all.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W8JN on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have been reading the responses to my post and must say that this has turned into quite a spirited debate. I am a real estate agent,buy and sell my own property and am an amateur. I have had towers. Nothing is more fun that putting up a fantastic tower loaded with slick toys!!!
As far as property values, only the naive think that a tower on your property does not affect the value of your neighbors $800,000 home. That is why builders have strong ccr's in the deeds of subdivisions. We have to think past what we want and deserve to see what our tower does to the "hood". Trust me, if I am allowed, I will put up a tower and I don't care what the neighbors think. Refer to one of the previous articles: What if your neighbor had a stack of rusty washing machines, beat up old lawn mowers or cars on blocks scattered on their lawn and you were trying to sell your affluent home. One mans art is anothers "Sanford and Son's junk yard". Our beautiful tower is everyone's eyesore, unless it's hidden it the trees!!
Thats my story and I'm sticking to it har har har.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by AF3Y on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article Steve! I Wonder Is Alex/SSB, the no callsign person, an XYL? Sounds like it. Hi Hi! Towers RULE! Gene
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by W8EFA on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Steve has argued this ridiculous point in the past. "W'ell research it" is Steve (who doesn't even have a real estate license) stating his biased opinion.<

::Not quite correct. I do have a real estate license.

>Time to put up or shut up OM.

You want to do some research? Put up $1000.00 to see who is right. I will give you 20 names of people that live on my street. You can randomly pick 10, conference me in and you can ask them if a neigbor put a 50 foot tower in their yard would they dislike it and do they think it would decrease property values. We can throw in a couple of local realtors if you like.<

::That's meaningless. Such data would never hold up in court, where you have to *prove* an allegation. Opinions are meritless. What I need to see is actual evidence that a house (anywhere) could not sell or did not sell specifically due to the presence of an amateur radio tower on adjacent or otherwise nearby property; or, that the house sold for a lower than comp value due to same. I have indeed asked every licensed appraiser I know, as well as dozens of real estate agents, and nobody could provide me with even one example of this ever happening.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by W3WN on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
In general -- not in every specific situation, YMMV -- the presence of a single tower and antenna should not adversly affect the appraised property value. Now go back and read that again. Because by 'appraised' I mean the value that the person who is evaluating the property on behalf of the bank, loan company, or whomever is providing the loan/mortgage places on it. They have very specific guidelines to follow on things like that. Talk to an appraiser for more specific details, as things vary across areas and as per state regulations.<

::Well, I talk to and work with lots of licensed appraisers. There's a standard spreadsheet, formulas and guidelines for R/E appraisals and opinions about radio towers isn't on it. Interestingly, most very expensive "upgrades" aren't on it, either. If two neighoring houses are identical except one has $50,000 worth of hardwood floors and $40,000 of upgraded kitchen cabinets with granite countertops, and the other one does not, they will appraise identically because the appraisal must be based on square footage and general overall condition. No line item for upgrades. The upgrades are listed as "features" on a R/E listing, and they might make the house more attractive to prospective buyers, but they don't increase the appraisal at all. This is why any realtor with two brain cells will always recommend to a seller: "If you're looking to sell, don't upgrade anything! Make the house look bigger by removing every item you don't need daily. Keep it bright, keep it clean, keep it dusted, keep it smelling nice. Don't spend a dime on upgrades, you'll never get it back."

>This is NOT to say that a SPECIFIC installation might be considered an "eyesore." Nor is this to say that someone looking to purchase a property in the neighborhood where a tower is located might give in to illogical fears of "interference" and look elsewhere (and sometimes that's a convenient excuse, too). This is only to say that the appraised -- book -- value of the property under normal conditions in many or most areas is not legally affected by the presence of a tower.<

::Absolutely correct. People will shun properties for many reasons, and a tower might be one of them. A swing set might be another one. I know people who specifically will not buy any property having an in-ground pool, but of course many others (like me) who will *ONLY* buy a property with an in-ground pool. Different strokes for different folks. But an appraisal will not be influenced by any of these things.

>Now, will the presence of a tower be considered an "eyesore" by some? Certainly. That's human nature. (Wonder what they did in the days before cable & satellite TV when many fringe areas pretty much required a TV antenna on a small tower for decent reception... I guess they're not an "eyesore" when everyone has one?)<

::Good point. In many more rural areas, before cable and satellite TV, every single home had a 50-60' tower next to it with a TV antenna on top. Some still have them. A lot of these places were and still are valuable properties...multimillion dollar properties.

-WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by SSB on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
According to author.......
"The presence of properly installed amateur radio antennas has never reduced the property value of anyone, anywhere, including the amateur who has them or his neighbors; if you think they do, cite the case using names and addresses and we'll research it."

Well how about researching the property value of buyers that are visiting a neighborhood to inspect a house for sale, see a big crappy tower up down the street, and then drive off saying "no way I'll be living by that ugly antenna thing on a neighbors house.<

::It doesn't matter. Whether a property sells in the same listing time frame as others, for comparable price as others that are identical or similar but do not have a big radio tower next door is the only data that does matter. Every house ever placed on the market has had prospective buyers run away from it screaming how much they disliked something. Since they didn't buy, their opinion doesn't enter the data base. What does create the data base are real statistics used by actuaries to create appraisal guidelines, and that data indicates the presence of a tower doesn't mean anything.


 
For most hams, forget the tower.  
by AI2IA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Be practical and be smart. For most hams, you can do very, very well indeed with a vertical antenna for forty and/or eighty meters. The cost, installation, maintenance, and salvage and reclamation at the end of its useful life in comparison to a tower is a no-brainer. These verticals will give you a nice low angle of radiation on these bands, something you won't get as good with a horizontal yagi atop a squatty tower. You save on footings, permits, cement, steel, grounding and lightning protection complexity, and good will among your neighbors. A good case can be made for omni-directivity versus the highly directional yagi and need for a rotator (one more thing to wire and go wrong).

Of course, if status, image, and keeping up with the Ham Jonses is your thing, then put a tower on your relatively small residential lot. Towers are okay on big farm land or true rural parcels. They blend nicely with grain silos, barns, windmills and the like. Even there, you have the space to phase several verticals, or erect taller ones. This is just a suggestion to the economically minded, efficiency minded, practical minded, budget minded, and neighborly minded hams out there. If you want to join the tower folks, well, hey - it's a free country almost (in some places without covenants and restrictions, that is)!
 
RE: For most hams, forget the tower.  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For most hams, forget the tower. Reply
>by AI2IA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Be practical and be smart. For most hams, you can do very, very well indeed with a vertical antenna for forty and/or eighty meters. The cost, installation, maintenance, and salvage and reclamation at the end of its useful life in comparison to a tower is a no-brainer.<

::Sure, for 40 and 80 meters. How about 6 meters? 2 meters? 23 cm? Or even 10-12-15-17 meters? 30 meters (10.1 MHz) is probably right about the "break even" point where most hams don't have beams and use verticals and wires instead, due to the balance practicality and performance.
 
Need a cause to fight for?  
by AI2IA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My father lived in Florida on a narow strip of land between two canals with all single story houses on both sides. It was a beautiful place until one owner suddenly put up a fifty foot tower with multiple arrays. The tower was painted alternately red and white and the whole thing stood out against the blue Florida sky.

Neighbors voiced their opinions and continued to voice their opinions, hostility grew. The ham became militant. Friendships grew cold, and the ham grew bitter. His XYL was sad and felt isolated. Soon it was a sort of landscape war with the ham giving his lawn and yard a "wilderness" look. Next it was several large dogs and a chain link fence. This went on for three years. The ham eventually died. The house was sold. The XYL moved into a little condominium near a shopping center. The dogs were given new homes. The tower came down. The chain link fence came down. Once again the area looks like a retirement community. End of story.
 
RE: Need a cause to fight for?  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>Need a cause to fight for? Reply
by AI2IA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My father lived in Florida on a narow strip of land between two canals with all single story houses on both sides. It was a beautiful place until one owner suddenly put up a fifty foot tower with multiple arrays. The tower was painted alternately red and white and the whole thing stood out against the blue Florida sky.

Neighbors voiced their opinions and continued to voice their opinions, hostility grew. The ham became militant. Friendships grew cold, and the ham grew bitter. His XYL was sad and felt isolated. Soon it was a sort of landscape war with the ham giving his lawn and yard a "wilderness" look. Next it was several large dogs and a chain link fence. This went on for three years. The ham eventually died. The house was sold. The XYL moved into a little condominium near a shopping center. The dogs were given new homes. The tower came down. The chain link fence came down. Once again the area looks like a retirement community. End of story.<

::My aunt lived in a rural section of Northwestern Los Angeles, up in the rocky hills overlooking the San Fernando and Simi Valleys. It was rustic and peaceful until a guy named Manson moved into one of the farmhouses up there and developed a following of crazy devotees who all decided to live there, manufacture synthetic drugs, go crazy and start killing people. Crazy guy was finally convicted and has spent the past 40 years or so in prison. There should be a law prohibiting crazy people from buying farmhouses.
 
How plain can I make it?  
by AI2IA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If you live in a neighborhood with a certain uniformity in exteriors or with a certain residential theme, you have to expect that you are going to generate hostility toward yourself if you change the exterior appearance of your place in a way that is radically different from the rest of the neighborhood. If you don't mind living with this coldness and hostility, and you have to have what ever it is that drives you, you will go ahead and do it. Good will is not just a nice idea. It helps you when you need help. It supports day to day happiness.

I live on an island. Several blocks away a resident keeps a thirty foot fishing boat in his driveway because this property is too small and narrow to get it into his tiny backyard. He can't put his car in his attached garage because the boat blocks it. I suppose he just had to have that boat. The street looks nice and orderly otherwise. Well there is something to be said for freedom and independence, and for balance and descretion, too!

If your property would look silly with a tower, there are altenatives. What will it be? Gotta have it all,and gotta have it now? Or choosing an alternative and keeping respect and good will?
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by N3OX on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"If your property would look silly with a tower, there are altenatives. What will it be? Gotta have it all,and gotta have it now? Or choosing an alternative and keeping respect and good will?
"

Now that you've backed off about 90% I think you're making sense.

"If your neighbors would get upset at a tower, you need to consider their feelings."

Not

"No ham in a residential area needs a tower" which is kinda what you said first.

Dan
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by W8EFA on September 19, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
With all due respect that statement is ridiculous and just flat out wrong. Many of us who live in somewhat close quarter "subdivisions" in the Midwest, East, and Southern neighborhoods know that a tower in many of these locations would be an eyesore, would upset neighbors, and would lower property values. I think I know my neighbors very well after living here for 10 years. To tell you the truth I wouldn't like to look out my back windows and see a tower in my neighbors yard either. I really prefer the trees and the woods thank you very much.<

::Well I just looked at your neighborhood pretty closely. I see there really aren't many trees. Behind you is a cluster of trees midway between Clara Bea and Henesy, 300 feet northwest of your home. Other than those, it's pretty empty. I also see the ASP (median) of a home there is $246,600 based on the last five resales, dropping off the lowest and highest. The highest was $461K on 5472 Monica, and it's unusually high for the neighborhood including current listings; must be that oversized lot, which is bigger than the others.

I can see that a large tower might well stand out in that area and not look so great.

One of the reasons I try to only buy mature resales is for the mature plantings (larger trees, close to the house) that will provide not only shade and oxygen but also some camouflage for towers, as well as good anchor points for large wire antennas stretched between them.

My last home in Chatsworth (provided all the listing/closing data earlier above, with a link to it) sold for $1 Million and had 3 towers in the back yard. While those towers were up, my next-door neighbor sold his home for over $1.1M, which was at the time the highest resale in the neighborhood. It was worth more than mine mostly because it had a guest house on the premises, which added livable square footage.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6TH on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
I checked out two hams living next door to each other, father and son, in Los Angeles, both had 40 foot towers with 3 element yagis, not a good looking sight. Now, suppose I moved next door to one of them and installed my tower at 40 feet and hung a 3 element quad on it, nice looking sight, "ain't" it? There you go and just think with the influx of hams, living next door to one another, what a mess, huh?

W6TH

.:
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Towers were too short.

Even I think an HF beam can look pretty ugly at 40 feet.

At 100 feet they look very small. And unless you live in an open field with nothing else around in all directions, nobody notices tall towers.
 
A coat hanger for a car am radio antenna.  
by AI2IA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"No ham in a residential area needs a tower" which is kinda what you said first. - Dan

No, Dan, I didn't say that, but you know what? I will agree with it. No ham "needs" a tower. Now before this gets twisted, understand that I am not opposed to towers. For those who want them, they are there to buy or build, but no one "needs" them. Not only are there towers to buy or build, but there are alternatives to towers to buy or build. If you have a sense of beauty, or art, or fitness for a task, or good will for those around you, or any or all of these attributes, then you will consider the alternatives to towers. If you settle for a tower, well, that's your choice.
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by W8EFA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
It is a FACT that HAM Radio Towers definitely can decrease the aesthetics of certain neighborhoods, end of story. I can attest to this personally in my own neighborhood no matter what Steve’s OPINIONS are.

I live in a nice neighborhood that used to have covenants but doesn't now. I would LOVE to put up a tower. I have considered moving just for that, but I like it too much here. I have lived here for 10 years and I personally KNOW that my neighbors would not be pleased if I erected a tower. They are not thrilled with my dipoles but we get along so well they are OK with them. These are good, close, neighbors that watch each others dogs when away have monthly get togethers etc.

Steve recommends that you disregard your neighbor’s feelings which are his personal life style choice, many of us are different. Each to his own.

Also there have been a few COURT Decisions that have ruled against Towers due to AESTHETICS. The courts have decided Towers decrease Aesthetics. In think I will take the Courts stating that antennas effect aesthetics and thus property values over a Hams personal opinions that they don’t.

For example in 1991 the ninth circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided a case called Howard v. Burlingame that established a very bad legal precedent for amateurs seeking antenna permits in the western states.
The court said PRB-1 requires nothing more than a balancing of the CITY"S INTEREST IN PROMOTING AESTHETICS and safety against the amateur's desire for an effective antenna. If no suitable compromise can be worked out with a particular amateur, his request for an antenna can be rejected outright.

Also we had the 1990 decision of the fourth circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Williams v. City of Columbia.

The court concluded that the city had adequately weighed Williams' need for an antenna against the city's legitimate concern about NEIGHBORHOOD AESTHETICS. Given the fact that the city and Williams could not reach a compromise, the court held that PRB-1 was not violated by the city limiting Williams to an antenna height of 17 feet! The appellate court in essence agreed with the city's conclusion that because Williams used his amateur radio station only for "recreational purposes" and because there were other amateurs in the area who did provide emergency communications, Williams did not have any right to a 65-foot-high antenna under PRB-1.

Again to pretend that an antenna that is in open view, in certain neighborhoods, does not decrease the average homeowners appeal is ludicrous and goes against common sense. IT is in black and white in court decisions that it is an issue with homeowners! If I were to look at two houses exactly the same, the only difference one I had to look at a 60 foot tower in the adjacent neighbor’s yard, I would prefer the towerless view.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W8EFA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve replied "I can see a Tower in your neighborhood wouldn't look so great"

EXACTLY!! That is all I have been trying to say. Didn't maen to jump on you but I guess I took offense to telling me what I know is true in my situation is wrong.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by W8EFA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve replied "I can see a Tower in your neighborhood wouldn't look so great"

EXACTLY!! That is all I have been trying to say. Didn't maen to jump on you but I guess I took offense to telling me what I know is true in my situation is wrong.<

::Nobody can be wrong for feeling one way or another. I just try to support my contention regarding property devaluation with actual facts and statistics, like my own where my next door neighbor sold his house for the highest price ever recorded in that neighborhood while my three towers were highly visible right next door to him. I can provide a *lot* of "facts" like this, because I know an awful lot of hams (all over, not just locally) with big towers and happy neighbors. My neighbors are perfectly content with my tower: I've asked them, and they've told me. We're all very chummy.

But that doesn't mean some people wouldn't like it. I think in my case, first they liked *me* and then they didn't care about the tower.

Because of local trees, you can see my antennas mostly when you're 4-5-6 blocks away, and not on my own street. Maybe that helps.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K1CJS on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For my area--southeastern Massachusetts, I'll stand by what I said. Granted, it may be different in other parts of the country--and in other countries. But still, people should mind their own business about what their neighbors are doing on their property. I'm talking about minor things now, not farming, animal raising or car parts all over.

My neighbor tried to tell me once that he didn't want any antennas up around his house. I have no towers, and the highest antenna I have is on a mast--at about 35 feet. I told him I would do as I wanted on my property.

To keep it short, he complained, the building inspector came down, looked, and laughed his way back to his office. No problems with him or the city, and the neighbor was told there was nothing wrong on my property.

As for my neighbor, next time he wanted a favor from me, I just reminded him of the antenna episode--and refused him. He had to pay for what I had done for him for nothing. Funny thing about it, he asks me about ham radio now, how reception is, etc. He's been over to my shack quite a few times, too.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K4FX on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Steve,

You are very correct about the higher the better, the antenna looks a lot smaller, and man does it ever wotk better. When you are planning on using a yagi, try for at least one wave length in height for the antennas lowest operating freq.

Used towers are most times a really bargain, I have taken down many for free, and once was even paid to haul off 60' of Rohn 25G in great condition. I have a nice 40 footer I have at my desposal that I am going to take down and install here, and for the first time in 30 years I will have 2 of them!

Whatever route you go, writing a big check for all new, or scrounging around for used cheap stuff, this will be the best investment of your hamming lifetime. When you go from dipoles and verts, to a yagi or quad at a decent height, you will be amazed and quite pleased with your efforts. Do it right the first time and you will get a great return on your investment, and it will probably be there for the estate sale.

I have way less than 1000 bucks in a 75' Rohn 25G tower, Ham M rotor, and a Cushcraft A4S, my 3rd tower. It's been up since Dec 8th, 2001 and has weathered ice, high winds, and all sorts of other nasty conditions, and worked about 14 thousand QSO's.

73

K4FX
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For anyone still interested, I have a reply regarding this one, too...scroll down...

>RE: How plain can I make it? Reply
by W8EFA on September 20, 2007
Also there have been a few COURT Decisions that have ruled against Towers due to AESTHETICS. The courts have decided Towers decrease Aesthetics. In think I will take the Courts stating that antennas effect aesthetics and thus property values over a Hams personal opinions that they don’t.

For example in 1991 the ninth circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided a case called Howard v. Burlingame that established a very bad legal precedent for amateurs seeking antenna permits in the western states.
The court said PRB-1 requires nothing more than a balancing of the CITY"S INTEREST IN PROMOTING AESTHETICS and safety against the amateur's desire for an effective antenna. If no suitable compromise can be worked out with a particular amateur, his request for an antenna can be rejected outright.<

::For every case like that, there are ten where the courts ruled in favor of the petitioning amateur...especially *much* more recently. Here's one:

"New Mexico Amateur Wins Antenna Case in State Supreme Court

NEWINGTON, CT, Apr 21, 2005--Two 130-foot antenna support structures on the property of New Mexico radio amateur Gerry Smith, W6TER, will remain, now that the case to permit them has prevailed in the state Supreme Court. An opinion earlier this month reversed New Mexico Court of Appeals and District Court decisions that ruled against allowing Smith to continue constructing the towers on his rural Bernalillo County property. In July 1999, the county issued Smith a building permit but in December of that year ordered him to halt the project claiming it had erred in issuing the permit. New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard C. Bosson recounted events a bit differently in the unanimous opinion.
"After neighbors complained, the county changed its mind, tried unsuccessfully to stop the construction and devised new reasons why Plaintiff's [Smith's] radio towers should not be allowed," Bosson wrote.
Smith bought his property in July 1999 after extensively researching deed covenants, conditions and restrictions, receiving assurances from county officials and submitting a detailed, professionally prepared site plan. After Smith got his building permit and began work on the tower project, Bernalillo County attempted to shut it down, citing June 1999 amendments to its zoning ordinance that, the county asserted, had removed Amateur Radio antennas as an "incidental use" in the A-2 (rural agricultural) zone.
Smith took his case to District Court, which agreed with the county's rationale and added another reason of its own to prohibit the structures. The case then went to the Appeals Court. In 2002, New Mexico became the 14th state to adopt an Amateur Radio antenna bill, based on the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1, which requires municipalities to "reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communication. Paraphrasing the language of PRB-1, the Appeals Court agreed that the District Court had acted properly in denying Smith's petition because the two 130-foot towers were "unreasonable" as a customarily incidental use.
Taking the case on certiorari, the New Mexico Supreme Court applied three standards of review and agreed with Smith on all counts. The high court said that the plain terms of the county ordinance indicate that Amateur Radio towers are exempt from height restrictions, that the county had previously interpreted ham radio antennas as customarily incidental, and that the county had failed to adopt a specific standard to preserve scenic value.
"The results of this case may be unfortunate for the neighbors who understandably regard Plaintiff's radio towers as an eyesore," Bosson wrote for the court. "But Plaintiff fairly relied on the express language of the ordinance and the assurances of the county zoning officials in buying his property." The Supreme Court said that if the county had wanted to prevent towers like Smith's, it could have expressly amended its zoning ordinance to include specific height limitations."

That is one famous case (2005, not 1991) where a state Supreme Court overruled everyone and came out in favor of a ham who wanted two 130' tall towers. If you look on the ARRL website under "antenna cases," you'll find dozens and dozens (maybe hundreds...I didn't count) of these.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by G3LBS on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Is the tower a phallic symbol?
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by W8EFA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You are completely missing the point.

Hams have won and Hams have lost. The point I proved with that post is that loss of Aesthetic Value in certain Neighborhoods by visible towers is REAL. The court spells out the case is between the rights and wants of the HAM verses what the normal resident, thus the normal prospective resident (buyer) perceives as loss of Aesthetic value. Loss of Aesthetic Value is just another way of saying loss of resale value.

Your statement that the erection of a tower never hurt resale values is just plain wrong. Your neighborhood with Million dollar homes in California’s screwed up market is NOT a good example. Also would not be a problem in a neighborhood just a few miles from me with much cheaper homes. Would not be a problem just a few miles from here out in the country.

In my neighborhood if I erected a tower my Neighbors would cause a negative effect if they were to be selling their house.

Also a few other of your Real Estate Examples are very misleading. The example you gave that adding 50K of Hardwood floors to a house will not increase the appraisal may be true but it will definitely effect the resale. Probably not the whole amount but a certain percentage, certainly over 50%. I still have charts from my real estate training with percentages retained on average for different upgrades performed ie Kitchen, bath, Pools etc.
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by KE4DRN on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
What about an in ground pool ?

Will that make a property higher in value or take away value ?

Some can claim all the noise from the kids in the pool along with nightly parties would make the pool a big problem, others will jump at the opportunity to have an in ground pool.

When I visit my family in Wayne County NJ, there are many towers around the area and these homes are expensive.

Our next home will have at least one tower !

73 james
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KD4LLA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I own 35 acres in a "ranch" subdivision. The pinheads all want these "ranchettes" to be alike also. You can never get away from the KooKs. They all want you to have a 3brm/2bath home w/attached garage. You are not allowed to open the garage except for entering and exiting. Also, even though it is a "ranch" no animals allowed. And NO junk cars, towers, antenna's, or kids playground equipment...

Mike
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: How plain can I make it? Reply
by KE4DRN on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
What about an in ground pool ?

Will that make a property higher in value or take away value ?

Some can claim all the noise from the kids in the pool along with nightly parties would make the pool a big problem, others will jump at the opportunity to have an in ground pool.

When I visit my family in Wayne County NJ, there are many towers around the area and these homes are expensive.<

::Well, there isn't any Wayne County, NJ. Do you mean, "Wayne, NJ?" I know NJ very well. It has 21 counties and 524 municipalities, and I have been to all 524 of them*. I grew up there, and it's a very small state.

In any case, an in-ground pool normally neither adds nor detracts from value because while many people desire them, almost as many people don't (for some reason, which I don't totally understand). So, from an actuarial perspective this is a "wash." I would never buy a home without an in-ground pool, since we're all active swimmers and enjoy it. But evidently, there are about as many people who don't feel this way.

Now, to get back to "ham radio..."

One good thing about a tower is that it almost always adds value to a home, because that home can be sold to another ham who wants the tower. I've never lost money on a tower. The first home I sold to another ham was in Mt. Olive, NJ back in 1983. I was about to take the towers down, but decided to advertise the house for sale in QST before I listed it with MLS.

Good choice. I sold it almost immediately to another ham who insisted I keep the towers and antennas in place, and sold for about $20K over normal market value, because that was the assumed value of the towers.

Good lesson, because I've done that two more times since and always sold for more than the appraised value, simply because the buyers were hams who wanted the towers.

I'll keep doing that.

I haven't paid a realtor commission to sell a house in more than 20 years.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Oops! To KE4DRN, my reply included an (*) for a footnote, and I forgot to add that!

The reason I've visited all 524 tax towns in NJ is because as a humanities requirement in college, back in 1972, I did my term paper on "architecture." But it wasn't a paper. It was a movie.

Back in those days, there were no VCRs, so the movie was done on 16mm sound film. It was called, "New Jersey Architecture," and included film of architecture in every single town in the entire state. My friend Paul Greco assisted as my partner in this film. We got an "A." But more importantly, the film was recommended by the head of the art department at our university to become part of the permanent records of both the State and the country, and the film is registered with the national archives and has a national publication number. It's available from the Library of Congress

NJ, like most places, has "interesting" architectural history. NJ is the "third state" and was developed before most of the U.S. by settlers from Europe, primarily the Dutch. Our film includes a lot of footage from Salem County, where the Dutch first settled and built windmills just like "home." Last I looked, they were still there and have little markings indicating the year of construction: Years like 1623 and 1624.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by WB2WIK on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: How plain can I make it? Reply
by W8EFA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You are completely missing the point.

Hams have won and Hams have lost. The point I proved with that post is that loss of Aesthetic Value in certain Neighborhoods by visible towers is REAL. The court spells out the case is between the rights and wants of the HAM verses what the normal resident, thus the normal prospective resident (buyer) perceives as loss of Aesthetic value. Loss of Aesthetic Value is just another way of saying loss of resale value.<

::Sure. Okay, you win. But more hams have "won" tower cases than have lost. Check Knadle (K2RIW) vs. Dix Hills, NY. Check Scharfstein (WA2JSB) vs. West Orange, NJ. These were landmark decisions that cost the cities an enormous amount of money, and the cities lost, the hams won. In those two specific cases, not only did the hams win, but the cities were forced to change their ordinances to allow amateur radio towers for perpetuity.

I can list hundreds of similar cases, since I was active in many of them. I sat in the courtroom for Scharfstein vs. West Orange, where Mike's lawyer ate the city for lunch; it was almost comical. The city not only lost, but changed their ordinance to allow amateur radio towers to a height of 100 feet without regulation or inspection.

You haven't lived in as many places as I have, nor been part of these cases, I suspect.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by N2EY on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W8EFA writes:

"The point I proved with that post is that loss of Aesthetic Value in certain Neighborhoods by visible towers is REAL. The court spells out the case is between the rights and wants of the HAM verses what the normal resident, thus the normal prospective resident (buyer) perceives as loss of Aesthetic value. Loss of Aesthetic Value is just another way of saying loss of resale value."

No, it isn't.

Resale value is the money you get when you sell the house.

Aesthetic value is part of the enjoyment you get when you live in the house.

Of course a house with high aesthetic value will command a higher resale value than the same house with a low aesthetic value. But it's only one factor in the resale value, and its effect is highly dependent on other factors. For example, the aesthetic value of a house in a high-crime area isn't going to mean much.

"Your statement that the erection of a tower never hurt resale values is just plain wrong."

Prove it.

Come up with an example where there are two or more similar houses, in the same neighborhood, that sold at similar times, and the significant difference between them is that one house was close to a properly-installed amateur radio tower and the other wasn't. Then show that being close to the tower had a negative effect on the actual sales price.

"Your neighborhood with Million dollar homes in California’s screwed up market is NOT a good example."

Why not? And why is California's market "screwed up", compared to other places?

"Also would not be a problem in a neighborhood just a few miles from me with much cheaper homes."

I've seen inexpensive homes with high aesthetic value, and expensive homes with low aesthetic value. Who gets to decide what is aesthetic and what isn't?

"Would not be a problem just a few miles from here out in the country"

IOW, "NIMBY".

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by K3EY on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY

You like what you write believing it’s Solomon words or some such nonsense as you’re all over these boards spouting off. You’re dead wrong as per the thousands of others who would dispute you with real common sense. Like Clinton asking for the definition of the word “is” your arguments are as lame.


72 Curt
k3ey
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by K9IUQ on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K3EY Speaking to N2EY >you like what you write believing it’s Solomon words or some such nonsense as you’re all over these boards spouting off. You’re dead wrong

.......................................................

HUH?? Spouting off, giving your opinion is what forums are all about.

I like reading N2EY. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't. Like many others here he is *interesting*.

You want ONLY opinions like yours? Then stop reading eham and go back to talking to your buddys on 75 mtrs.....

Realize: Opinions are like Butts. We all have one and they ALL stink except yours....

Stan K9IUQ
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by K3EY on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
HUH?? Spouting off, giving your opinion is what forums are all about.

I like reading N2EY. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't. Like many others here he is *interesting*.

You want ONLY opinions like yours? Then stop reading eham and go back to talking to your buddys on 75 mtrs.....

Realize: Opinions are like Butts. We all have one and they ALL stink except yours....

Stan K9IUQ
---------------------------------------

I am glad you like him, you can worship him too if you desire but I think he's a crack, that's "my opinion" and tough if you don't like it.

As far as 75 meters you moron I am 100% CW, duh. 75 is glorified CB with men who measure manhood with how big an amplifier they own, how big is yours?

k3ey
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by K9IUQ on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
k3EY: >As far as 75 meters you moron I am 100% CW, duh. 75 is glorified CB with men who measure manhood with how big an amplifier they own, how big is yours?

........................................................
Stupid childish locker room remarks like that are why hams like N2EY are much more interesting to read than you......


K3EY says More stupidness:>>but I think he's (N2EY) a crack,


K9IUQ says People that have intelligent arguments NEVER call any one derogatory names...

Because of stupid remarks like yours I suggest you go look in your mirror if you want to see a real *crack*...

LMAO
Stan K9IUQ
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KI5DX on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, i live on a samll city lot, check my tower pics on my site at www.paristexasradio.com/ki5dx

i have 3 towers up. the first one was an all brand new installation, it is the main hf tower, it was pretty expensive

the other two i bought used, they are real easy to find here and most of the time you can get them for free, i put adds in local papers saying i was looking for old tv towers. years ago here lots of folks had 40 and 50 ft towers for television reception, most weere rohn 25g and some are 20g. Most of the time people will give them to you to take down, they just want them gone because they have long since gone to sattelite tv.

the writer is correct. used tower installations are not that expensive, i may put another up soon
73
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by WB2WIK on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: How plain can I make it? Reply
by N2EY on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W8EFA writes:

"The point I proved with that post is that loss of Aesthetic Value in certain Neighborhoods by visible towers is REAL. The court spells out the case is between the rights and wants of the HAM verses what the normal resident, thus the normal prospective resident (buyer) perceives as loss of Aesthetic value. Loss of Aesthetic Value is just another way of saying loss of resale value."

N2EY replied: No, it isn't.<

::100% correct. It isn't. What EFA has been referencing, which is a valid reference, is a court decision, all of which are based on "judge's opinion rendered." ALL non-jury court decisions are a judge's rendered *opinion,* key word being opinion. Cool thing about an opinion is that it can be challenged, and it can be changed. And in many cases, it is, successfully. The courts of appeals and supreme courts override superior court decisions every day.

A sitting judge usually isn't a real estate appraiser, and if he acts as one, it's a conflict of interest.

Thankfully, in *most* cases, hams really do prevail and the court opinions rendered favor the ham because most judges who don't have their heads up their butts understand they cannot rule on aesthetics or property values: They don't have the background or the data to render such an opinion.

WB2WIK/6
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W8JN on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
OK boys and girls.....As I stated earlier, I have had towers and will continue to do so when allowed whether my neighbors like it or not. I will not ask their permission to do something that I am am allowed to do. That being said, in an affluent neighborhood where there are no trees to hide a tower and no other towers in the area, only the stupid will argue that erecting a tower will not chase away prospective buyers to the house next door. I am not stating what we are allowed to do or not do. I am only stating the obvious. "That which hurts the asthetics of a specific neighborhood affects the saleability of the surrounding homes". We are not speaking of property owners rights. We are speaking common sense.
Those who take the side of "it does not hurt property values", let me put a rusty junk car on blocks in your next door neighbors front yard. Put your house up for sale and see how many "lookers" you get at your open house!!!
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W8JJI on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I looked into putting up a tower for a log periodic or a couple of monobanders. No matter how i figured it , it was all too expensive. Tower, concrete ,rotor, mast, guy lines, coax and the antennas all too expensive.

So i further looked into VERTICALS (home-made and otherwise), mounted on the ground or on the roof and have not been dissapointed.
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by WB2WIK on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: How plain can I make it? Reply
by W8EFA on September 20, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

(W8EFA cites this famous case, for those who might be interested...read on, it gets funny:)


For example in 1991 the ninth circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided a case called Howard v. Burlingame that established a very bad legal precedent for amateurs seeking antenna permits in the western states.
The court said PRB-1 requires nothing more than a balancing of the CITY"S INTEREST IN PROMOTING AESTHETICS and safety against the amateur's desire for an effective antenna. If no suitable compromise can be worked out with a particular amateur, his request for an antenna can be rejected outright.<

::Actually, that's *not* what the court said. I didn't think so, so I just pulled the entire case. What *actually* happened was this:

"Howard v. Burlingame began when Vernon Howard, W6ERS, applied for a permit for a 51-foot tower in Burlingame, Calif. According to the summary of the case in the appellate court's written opinion, Howard was initially given a permit, but his neighbors appealed to the city council, which revoked the permit.

"Howard then sued in federal court, contending that the city had violated PRB-1 by denying him an effective antenna. A federal judge ruled that the city did have to accommodate Howard in some fashion, and suggested some possible compromises.
Rather than pursue the matter further, the city then granted Howard's permit.

(Pleae note this case could have easily ended right there. But old stubborn Vernon Howard insisted on going back to court, to make the city pay his legal fees! Read on...)

"But Howard went back to court, seeking a court order requiring the city to pay his attorney's fees. That request was denied by a federal judge, and Howard appealed to the ninth circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The city responded by appealing the ruling that PRB-1 required the city to accommodate Howard's request for an antenna permit."

THAT is the history of Howard v. City of Burlingame. The court decision rendered had nothing to do with aesthetics. The reason Howard ultimately lost is because he became greedy and wanted the city to refund his legal fees. Immediately before that, the City did indeed grant his tower permit, for the second time.

By the way, the *other* case cited by W8EFA has a similar ring to it; that one is Williams v. City of Columbia (SC), and John F. Williams in this case rejected the City's gracious offer to permit him a 70 foot extendable (retractable) tower, stating in essence that was reasonable accommodation to the intent of PRB-1 and he could take it or leave it. John Williams decided to push further for a taller and permanent tower, which was rejected -- so he got nothing. He could have had an extendable 70 footer. Says so right there in the case file 906F 2d 994 (4th Cir. 1990).

WB2WIK/6

 
What's the problem?  
by N2EY on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K3EY writes:

"N2EY

You like what you write believing it’s Solomon words or some such nonsense as you’re all over these boards spouting off."

???

I'm not sure what you're trying to say, Curt.

I write what I think, trying to be as clear, logical and concise as possible. What's the problem with that?

I don't think I'm "Solomon" - he wasn't really that wise, IMHO. Anybody with much of a brain would realize that his half-a-baby thing was just a test, and would know how to answer in order to pass it.

"You’re dead wrong as per the thousands of others who would dispute you with real common sense."

Dead wrong about what?

"Like Clinton asking for the definition of the word “is” your arguments are as lame."

If you think my arguments are "lame", debate them on their merit or lack of merit, rather than just attacking me without specifics.

What have I written that is "dead wrong"?

btw, I'm 100% CW, too. And my main rig is all homebrew.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
RE: What's the problem?  
by G3LBS on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I saw a pic of N2EY's Jim's homebrew rig on one of these discussions and it is a credit to him.
Gil W2/G3LBS
 
RE: What's the problem?  
by K3EY on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K3EY writes:

"N2EY

You like what you write believing it’s Solomon words or some such nonsense as you’re all over these boards spouting off."

???

I'm not sure what you're trying to say, Curt.

I write what I think, trying to be as clear, logical and concise as possible. What's the problem with that?

I don't think I'm "Solomon" - he wasn't really that wise, IMHO. Anybody with much of a brain would realize that his half-a-baby thing was just a test, and would know how to answer in order to pass it.

"You’re dead wrong as per the thousands of others who would dispute you with real common sense."

Dead wrong about what?

"Like Clinton asking for the definition of the word “is” your arguments are as lame."

If you think my arguments are "lame", debate them on their merit or lack of merit, rather than just attacking me without specifics.

What have I written that is "dead wrong"?

btw, I'm 100% CW, too. And my main rig is all homebrew.

73 de Jim, N2EY

------------------------------------------------


Debate you:) This will be all the debate you will ever receive from me.

That's what you thrive on. Massaging your ego in a venue where fellow hams can come and see how brilliant you are.

I don't have to debate you nor will I. I can form an opinion with just your words. I did just that, end of story, end of debate.

And what in the hell does your homebrew rig have to do with anything other than that ego thing?

I don't expect nor want an answer nor will I be back because it simply doesn't matter, at all. I said what I wanted to say which is the reason for this forum, opinions, whether others like those opinions or nor it simply doesn’t matter one iota.

Like a freak show of humanity “some” and not all of these topics and their participants. For example: The guy who should be called IKE...I KNOW EVERYTHING, because he is in every topic on every subject giving his expert opinions, in his mind only of course.

72 k3ey CL QRT
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by W8EFA on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!


WB2WIK states
THAT is the history of Howard v. City of Burlingame. The court decision rendered had nothing to do with aesthetics. The reason Howard ultimately lost is because he became greedy and wanted the city to refund his legal fees. Immediately before that, the City did indeed grant his tower permit, for the second time.

Completely wrong. You are right that Howard had won his case and appealed over lawyers fees. However when it went to the 9th circuit they overturned his win and he was not allowed to erect the tower. In fact this case is used a lot for precedence by cities

"Application of this reasonable accommodation standard, however, does not require the city to allow the amateur to erect any antenna she desires. Instead, it requires only that the city "consider the application, make factual findings, and attempt to negotiate a satisfactory compromise with the applicant." Howard v. City of Burlingame,".

The court in Howard v. Burlingame, 937 F. 2d 1376 (9th Cir. 1991) held that the law that underlies the FCC regulations does not does not confer any rights on amateur radio operators that are enforceable under federal law. It held that all a municipality is required to do under the law is consider the operator’s application for an antenna, investigate the matter fully, and attempt to negotiate a compromise that takes into account the municipality’s zoning concerns as well as the operator’s desire for a large antenna.

Again why would a city be against Towers? Cause they are ugly, residents don't want to look at them thus they decrease property values.

The Fourth Circuit issued a similar decision in Williams v. City of Columbia, 906 F. 2d 994, 998 (4th Cir. 1990). More significantly, one federal court in our circuit recently adopted the Howard requirements (Palmer v. Saratoga Springs, N. Y, 180 F. Supp. 2d 379) N. D. N. Y. 2001)). However, in this case, the court found that the city did not attempt to negotiate a successful compromise with the operator and overturned the planning board’s decision.



 
RE: What's the problem?  
by W2IRT on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Gotta say I've have great luck regarding towers so far (and touch wood!). Steve, I bought Mike's old house in West Caldwell, NJ. We'd just been chased out a potential house deal in Norwalk, CT by city inspectors who would not even consider anything over 35', no exceptions. I asked around and Mike e-mailed me that he was selling his house and in about 7 days, we shook hands on the deal -- though his daughter, a real estate broker, was a little miffed that she missed out on a nice commission <grin>.

He had a variance that both of our lawyers said was valid in perpetuity on the property. So now I have an LM-470 and an aluminum overcast that cuts through pileups like a hot knife through butter.

As to neighbours, as far as I'm concerned, until they pay my mortgage and taxes, they can go pound sand...though I'm happy to say I've had nary a complaint so far and everyone around me is pretty decent. I guess they've lived beside a towered house for so long they don't really care anymore.

And as many others have expressed here, if your wife won't "allow" you to put up a tower, you seriously need to re-evaluate your life situation and get your dangly-bits out of that lockbox. I've been very lucky on that part, too. My wife isn't in love with the tower, but she IS in love with me, and if it makes me happy, she's happy. I return the favour by ensuring it and it's appendages and appurtenances are safely installed and maintained. I'm happy, she's happy, my logbook's happy, Mike's happy and my QSL printer's happy. Life is good <grin>.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WA6BFH on September 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

A very good article -- all the way around!

I especially liked the reference to expected VHF performance. Nothing beats a good antenna system, no matter how good or poor the radios are!

I also liked the respondent comments about neighbors viewing the mowed lawn, and shaking their heads. I actually expect negative comments about the 90 foot antenna tower for my retirement homes 6 Meter installation. If they come, so what? It will be well engineered, and worthy in all respects for the job at hand.

Shoot, I have already heard some negative comments from a neighbor who had the audio amplifier fail in their television set { located about a half-mile away }. Seemed that I was providing this problem, even when I was sitting in front of that TV set. I asked the owner (and the idiot that had proffered it as my problem) how this could be? The thing that bothered me most was that it was another Ham (of the Gordon West era) who had suggested my involment to the TV owner.

Good article Steve!

73! de John
 
RE: What's the problem?  
by WB2WIK on September 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: What's the problem? Reply
by W2IRT on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Gotta say I've have great luck regarding towers so far (and touch wood!). Steve, I bought Mike's old house in West Caldwell, NJ. We'd just been chased out a potential house deal in Norwalk, CT by city inspectors who would not even consider anything over 35', no exceptions. I asked around and Mike e-mailed me that he was selling his house and in about 7 days, we shook hands on the deal -- though his daughter, a real estate broker, was a little miffed that she missed out on a nice commission <grin>.

He had a variance that both of our lawyers said was valid in perpetuity on the property. So now I have an LM-470 and an aluminum overcast that cuts through pileups like a hot knife through butter.<

::Great comments! Mike's location was always blocked to the east, so probably not great into Africa and such, but wide open in other directions, especially to the west where you must have a pileup-busting signal for sure. Guess Mike took the 86' rotating tower with him when he moved! But glad your LM-470 is doing well, and I expect it will forever -- great choice. BTW I was there the day the rotating tower base was completed and was the second one (after Mike) to push the switch to raise the big tower.

This is *another* case of why hams installing towers is usually a very good investment: Not only providing satisfaction for the installer, but providing profit when it comes time to sell the house. Leave the tower there, sell the house complete with tower, and enjoy some extra profit from it. I've done that three times now and have never lost a dime on a tower or antenna investment.

Great story!

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How plain can I make it?  
by WB2WIK on September 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: How plain can I make it? Reply
by W8EFA on September 21, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

WB2WIK states
THAT is the history of Howard v. City of Burlingame. The court decision rendered had nothing to do with aesthetics. The reason Howard ultimately lost is because he became greedy and wanted the city to refund his legal fees. Immediately before that, the City did indeed grant his tower permit, for the second time.

Completely wrong. You are right that Howard had won his case and appealed over lawyers fees. However when it went to the 9th circuit they overturned his win and he was not allowed to erect the tower. In fact this case is used a lot for precedence by cities<

::I'm not completely wrong, everything I wrote is exactly accurate, including wording directly from the decision. "Aesthetics" are not mentioned anywhere as rationale. In fact, the City did issue Howard a permit -- twice. The fact the he stubbornly insisted on going back to court to sue for attorney's fees was pure folly on his part. It never pays to push your luck once an adversary says "yes."

The Howard v. Burlingame case has been used as a precedent for sure...but only successfully used when the applicant has an idiot for an attorney (or represents himself, thus proving the previous statement). That's because a good attorney, if Howard v. Burlingame were ever used as precedent, would point out that the City issued Howard two permits, including one after an appellate court judgment in his favor. The fact is, he lost only because he insisted on an additional hearing to recoup attorney's fees. Once the case is researched by anyone, they quickly dismiss this as any sort of precedent.

I've been in six hearings here in CA where this has been referenced for precedent, and in every single one it was tossed once the applicant's attorney referred to case details.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: What's the problem?  
by W2IRT on September 22, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah, Steve you sure are right about it being blocked to the East. I've run an HF Terrain Assessment and I've got that crazy ridge from 020 all the way down to about 210 degrees. I suck to Europe, Africa and South America -- relatively speaking! I still crush everyone and make the Q's, just it takes a few more watts and occasionally a second try. Three if it's a big pileup <grin>.

Then again, to the areas it matters, I've got an absolutely clear shot from 020 through north, NW, west and SW. Drops off about 150' and stays flat for 8 miles or so. I own Asia from here on 20, and will own it on 40 soon as Mike comes down and puts my 40m yagi up, hihi! Sad thing is, his terrain profile is now worse than it was down here on Beverly Rd! Mind you, his 100' high trees and space for Beverages and full-sized loops makes up for it <g>.

No, that big tower is long gone. He took it up to Bloomingdale with him and I watched him cut up the base for scrap metal. Would have been nice to have that contraption working for me, though, truth be told!. He put up a C31XR and a WARC yagi for me and a Delta-240 goes up before CQWW hopefully. Between those and an AL-1200 I'm pretty happy. Next time you're out this way for a visit, stop by the house for an 807 or and 813, and the kettle's always hot!

73,
Peter, W2IRT
 
RE: Tower v Skype or even Echolink ? :O  
by W6RMK on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Re phased arrays. Technology is advancing, and the cost of a traditional tower, rotator, and passive directional array (Yagi, etc.) is increasing, if only because of regulatory burden (those thousands of bucks for permits, engineering analysis, etc.). The cost of a phased array *may* be more than a tower/yagi today, but it will come down. The primary sticking point today is that good (as in readily available, non-developmental, turnkey) software/firmware/hardware for the phasing doesn't exist yet.
 
RE: What's the problem?  
by WB2WIK on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Peter W2IRT,

Thanks for the update. Too bad Mike took down the "big" one, it was pretty spectacular. Don't know what he had on it recently, but shortly after its "erection" in the mid-80s, he had a 24' climbable mast atop the 89' rotating tower, so the top antennas were at 115 feet above ground -- all on a small suburban lot, as you know!

Because the tower was fully retractable, when he had it lowered, you couldn't even tell a ham lived there.

That was great engineering.

Mike was a big 6m enthusiast, and did very well from there. Go for it on 6m and add a band to your DXCC totals, it's a good challenge. Of course, so is 160.

Never know when I might drop in -- I remember the way to "Mike's house" very well, having been there dozens of times.

Can't believe Jennifer is old enough to be a realtor -- I have pictures of her at about age 6 or 7, along with the whole family.

73

Steve WB2WIK/6

 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VE6CPP on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I installed a 40' in a Newer Neighbourhood..and it was the 'Tallest Thing' you could see for miles! I watched as the neighbourhood walked by and 'looked up'! Then one day.. they started asking "What is that for"? I would invite them into the Shack, and give them a little lecture on what Amateur Radio is.. then make a contact. I would introduce them to my QSO.., and hand over the mic! The first neighbour was amazed that he was speaking to some guy in Moscow.. and had to run home to tell his wife what I was doing when those 'things up there are moving'! It wasn't long after.. other neighbours were coming by to ask if they could see how I talk to people 'All Over the World'..and if they could try it! (I may have made more Future Hams then I know of!)
"Put up a Tower.. and you will meet more Neighbours"!
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VE3TMT on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I read between the lines when possible. A lot of these statements can really be taken to mean, “I'm too lazy!” or perhaps, “I've never had a real antenna, so I have no idea what I'm missing.” Or in some cases, perhaps, “My XYL wears the pants in the family, and I just stay in line.”"

Believe it or not there are more important things in life than amateur radio. And for those of us who don't have money to burn, it is hard to justify spending money on a tower, beam and rotor. I search the ads all the time and the cheapest setup I have found is still over $500. That might be pocket change to you Steve, but I have more important things to spend that kind of dough on. I live on a modest city lot, 115 x 66' with no antenna restrictions whatsoever and would love to have a tower and beam, but it just isn't in the plans right now. Donations gladly accepted!
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W6FG on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You're right as usual Steve... I have had towers and that's how I made the most progress on my DXCC... well sun spots were better then too. Now I'm in the small town of Morro Bay (pop 10k) where the all-mighty view of the Pacific Ocean is very coveted. I'm sure the neighbor across the street in the mansion will gripe; he looked at my 100' wire with a frown. I'm on a 50 x 120 lot in an older residential neighborhood with two small houses on our lot. I asked city hall about permits and they said anything over 25' of the average elevation of the lot needs a permit. 'We'll look over your plans, see if it's *appropriate* for the area. If none of the neighbors have any objections, you can proceed'. Not sure of the cost of the permit, but of course if I had to hire a lawyer...($) Really, I think a roof tripod would be a fine place for a little tribander but since my house is two story, it will be higher then 25' and so need the permit. The ham club here in town is NO help. I would think that one of the functions a club could serve is to give advice and help in dealing with the city. I guess most club members here are primarily VHF/UHF handheld users.
Anyway I'm still trying to get in touch with a ham that used to work in the city hall here and get his take on the situation. Tnx again for the article.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W6FG:

You may be in luck. The district attorney in your area used to be a ham, maybe still is: I installed his antenna tower up on top of the highest hill overlooking Pismo Beach, CA only about 14 years ago.

Now it's been so long, I can't remember his call...give me some time, I can look it up.

BTW, the propagation in that area is phenomenal...when I first installed the D.A.'s tower and antenna back then, he had been inactive for years and only had on old 60's vintage Collins S-line that hadn't even been turned on in ten years.

I plugged in the coax, he turned on the rig, and the first signal we heard coming from the speaker was a station in China, S9+. Of course, he was up 1000' above the ocean with a clear shot towards the Pacific (you could see the ocean with a 240 degree view or so out every window from his hilltop home). I remember him asking, "Oh, is this what comes in all the time?" and all I could do was chuckle..."Yes, for you, it probably does."

Lullejian...something like that...was his name...let me look it up and get back to you. But if he can pull any strings, I'm sure he will.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Okey dokey, I found Jerry Lulejian:

W6TF

Lives in Pismo Beach, and still deptuty district attorney.

He's active.

Contact him, see if he can pull a favor.

I put up his tower and antennas at his Pismo place in about 1991-92 or so. Nice guy.

73

Steve WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!

>Honey, I Shrunk the Tower Reply
by VE3TMT on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"I read between the lines when possible. A lot of these statements can really be taken to mean, “I'm too lazy!” or perhaps, “I've never had a real antenna, so I have no idea what I'm missing.” Or in some cases, perhaps, “My XYL wears the pants in the family, and I just stay in line.”"

Believe it or not there are more important things in life than amateur radio. And for those of us who don't have money to burn, it is hard to justify spending money on a tower, beam and rotor. I search the ads all the time and the cheapest setup I have found is still over $500.<

::Well, it's impossible to argue with that, because you're right. A reasonably good antenna system probably does cost $500 or more...not just for HF, but even for VHF.

I remember the first "moonbounce" (e.m.e.) contact I ever made: It was on 432 MHz, back in about 1979. My XYL was complaining about my spending a lot of time in the "shack" for that, because I was inexperienced at e.m.e. and it was taking some time to get the hang of it. And after the QSO I recall calculating how much that contact cost: $1500 in equipment, $2000 in antennas/rotators/cables. $3500 or so for my first moonbounce contact.

I went on 3830 kHz later to discuss this with other moonbouncers and got laughed off the frequency because almost all of them had invested a great deal more than I had.

So, I reckoned the only way to make this reasonable was to make a lot more contacts, because after the first one, the rest were "free."

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K5UJ on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
<<Also, I apologize for calling some of you lazy. Erecting and maintaining a tower calls for a lot of technical skills and many of us, let's be honest, do not have the experience or aptitude to do that. >>

Some apology. But, perhaps you are correct. In addition to that, the "un-towered," among whom I include myself, may also have a surplus of wisdom.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by K3EY on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
So, I reckoned the only way to make this reasonable was to make a lot more contacts, because after the first one, the rest were "free."

WB2WIK/

------------------------------------------------

To each their own and God Bless You.

I’ll save a few bucks and let NASA talk to the moon instead.

I am just glad I am not eaten up by this hobby feeling I NEED to spend big money for what is really chasing after the wind--or RF.

But I must say your comment here made me laugh because that's like saying: I have ten kids because after the first one they are all free anyway.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Believe it or not there are more important things in life than amateur radio."

Agreed!

"And for those of us who don't have money to burn, it is hard to justify spending money on a tower, beam and rotor.... I live on a modest city lot, 115 x 66' with no antenna restrictions whatsoever and would love to have a tower and beam, but it just isn't in the plans right now."

I think one of the great things about Amateur Radio is that it can be done on a modest budget or a generous one. I've always had to do it on a modest budget (google my call for a shack picture) but I've never begrudged those who can and do spend more.

I think WB2WIK's point is not that every ham can have a tower, but that, in many cases, having a tower isn't as impossible at it may sometimes seen *if* you do it right.

IMHO, it's like lots of other optional things. I know sports fans who get to maybe one sports event a year in the cheap seats, and others who hold season tickets, never miss a home game, and will even travel to other cities to see their team play. I know folks whose boating is a rented canoe once in a while, and others who own large vessels they fondly refer to as "a hole in the water that you fill with money". Etc.

Another great thing about amateur radio is that they ham who has a big setup makes it easier for me, with a modest one, to work him!

Yes, there is the occasional ham who will say things like "if you don't have X as part of your amateur station, you're not a 'serious' ham" or "a 'real' amateur station costs at least Y dollars", but they are simply wrong.

I don't detect any of that in WB2WIK's posts.

73 de Jim, N2EY




 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VE3TMT on September 23, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My current home is the first I've owned since getting into the hobby 17 years ago. I've had more than my share of hidden wires, Christmas tree verticals and stealth antennas. You name it I've tried to turn it into a radiator. The first thing I thought of when I bought the house was "finally I can put up a tower and beam and really starting enjoying this hobby". Well two years later, the R7 is still strapped to the house, I'm still climbing the maple tree trying to get that wire just a little higher in the air. The R7 is noisy as verticals are, and sometimes it sounds like I am back in the apartment on the hedge long wire! Not exactly what I envisioned my ham hobby would be like two years ago. Would I like to have a tower, you bet, with nothing more than a MA5B or TA-32JR. I have no desire for the 100' tower and SteppIR, a 35' tower would do me just fine. As I listen to the "dead" bands, I know there are stations out there, I just can't hear them above the constant S5 noise level. But until a pile of money falls into my lap this is what I have and use and most of all ENJOY.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The point of the article, and it's expressed several times throughout, isn't to spend a lot of money to put up a tower.

It's to encourage those who were thinking about it anyway to go ahead and do it, because it's neither a lot of work nor a very expensive endeavor if you follow the advice given.

I've had 70' towers with "trees" of beams on them that cost almost nothing: Used tower (free), homebrew beams (inexpensive), used rotator (cheap) and an awful lot of enjoyment. And, as pointed out in the article, it doesn't take "property" to do this.

What it takes is desire, motivation and some work.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by VE3TMT on September 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve,

Don't get me wrong, I think the article was very well written. My point was that some of us haven't been blessed with all the good fortune you have and as cheap as some things might be, there is usually something that is a little more important. For example my car died this morning. Since I bought the car new in 1999, I have had the motor rebuilt due to shoddy Chrysler design ($4500) numerous sensors and other parts, probably another 2 or 3 grand. That would buy an awful lot of towers and antennas, don't you think??
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by WB2WIK on September 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, for the cost of a new car I could put up an awful lot of antennas!

 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N5YPJ on September 24, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For the cost of a new pickup I could build a nice station including tower and I buy empty pickups - A/C, auto trans is about it.

I guess I got really lucky - put up the tower at my last QTH no permits or problems. My ex-xyl was killed and the kids inherited the note (and house), both are minors. We sold the house without a hitch. At the closing the realtor said the buyer was dying to get the tower down, who could take it down. I provided him the info and sent the buyer word I would pay to have the tower removed if I could keep the tower once it's down. I have a friend with a sign truck, it would have run me $50!. The tower is still standing a year and a half later - maybe it has grown on them.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2EY on September 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"The point of the article, ....isn't to spend a lot of money to put up a tower.

It's to encourage those who were thinking about it anyway to go ahead and do it, because it's neither a lot of work nor a very expensive endeavor if you follow the advice given."

Steve,

The advice you gave in the article is excellent, particularly the step-by-step breakdown.

But it must be remembered that "expensive" and "a lot of work" have different definitions for different people, and in different situations.

For example, with careful shopping, sweat equity and some luck, it's probably possible to buy the parts for a modest-but-very-useful-tower/rotator/beam/cables setup for, say, $1500-2000.

To some hams, that's a real bargain. To others, it's far more than they can afford *for ham radio*.

There's also the fact that in some areas/situations a permit may be inexpensive or not needed at all, while in others the price of the permit, survey, engineer, inspections, fees, insurance, shipping, etc. may be as much or more than the project itself.

I don't mean to discourage anyone, just to be realistic about what's involved. Your reality may not be everyone's - for example, if you decide to move again, I doubt you'd need to buy any new tools for tower work. In LAX, earthquake survival is an important design factor, but hurricanes, snow and ice loading are not.

I think that where hams can get in real trouble is when corners are cut because costs and other requirements go beyond expectations/resources.

I particularly like the advice not to go to the municipality hat-in-hand to ask *if* you can put up a tower, but rather to go with the attitude that you're *going to* put up a tower, and need the appropriate forms and information. (Except if you need a variance, of course.). The person who wants to put on an addition or do a renovation does not ask for permission, just for a permit.

73 de Jim N2EY


 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by AE6RO on September 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I'm with the gentlemen who are high on verticals. I live on a small SoCal suburban lot with a height restriction of 35 feet. My chance of a variance is less than that of a snowball in Hell.
Having recently found a dead cat on a chair on our porch, I'm pretty sure some neighbors wouldn't bother with legal remedies for a little BCI, TVI or HOI (hearing-aid interference).
What's more, it doesn't seem fun or sporting to have such a powerful setup that you can work everyone you can hear. Particularly in this post 9-11 world. Do I have to spell it out?
More fun to work occasional DX with modest power and a homebrew vertical. 73, AE6RO
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by KI6LO on September 25, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Funny about lawn mowing. I was unaware that there was a regulation regarding the pattern for mowing a yard of grass. Sounds more like you guys live on golf course than a family home. But I suppose if one wants to maintain the impression that they are the 'Better Homes and Garden' crowd, it has to be mowed just so-so. My reply to any neighbor would be suck it up or move on.

As to towers and/or lawn mowing patterns. I was the first one in my area and will probably be the last to leave. If the neighbors didn't like the looks of my antenna farm, they sure didn't have to buy there. I have a 100' x 160' lot with two 40 foot towers in the back part. One has a Force 12 C3S on it and the other is a 6M/VHF stack. Both would probably just clip the neighbors house to the north but both were 'over-engineered' as Steve puts it and I highly doubt they would ever fall. They've been through hurricane force winds and not a single problem. Neighbor to the south is never home but the towers could fall and never reach them. Besides I think they would probably be to drunk to know it on most days.

I plan on putting up a third tower next year to about the 70 foot level with a larger Force 12. It will be a crank-up so I can lower it for access. It will be done with permits and w/wo any neighbor approval. I don't tell them they can't have their all day parties on Saturday which clog the road with cars and trucks nor do I tell the other one to turn down his music, which is 60's and 70's rock and roll which I like anyway so no problem.

As for the mowing, I fixed that problem. Living in the desert, it wasn't economically sound to waste water growing grass so I took out the grass. Problem solved.
Wife would like a nice yard like people in town but I told her that if she would help keep it up, we could put it back in. No grass so far. Before anyone starts whining, I do help her with the housework and I do most of the cooking so I am not being unfair.
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by IX4NT on September 26, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
There are two issues that should be addressed.

First, some jurisdictions that follow either BOCA or UCC now require a steel communications tower to conform to ANSI 222-G ice/wind loading standards. 222-G became effective January 1, 2004. Proving compliance requires a structural analysis by a PE and it requires that antenna models, exact locations and placement be provided before analysis. Also, the foundation must be designed for the tower's static and dynamic loads. Caution: any change to an antenna or mounting requires re-analysis. As more and more municipal engineers become familiar with this new ANSI standard, there will be jurisdiction 'creep'.

Second, a word on grounding. Hams are not immune from ground potential rise damage caused by lightning. What we fail to recognize, though, is that damaging currents that LEAVE the equipment can cause major damage. We often protect ourselves from lightning ENTERING our shacks; we don't think about the current LEAVING. A new IEEE standard is being considered now (scheduled for release in 2008) for new single-point grounding standards for communications towers. A ground grid at the base of the tower and connected by at least 2/0 cable to the shack ground may become a national standard. Driven grounds of 5' minimum would be attached to the grid until a resistance of less than 5 ohms is reached. The idea is to keep the potential difference along the current path to less than 300v. Lots of amps in those lightning bolts. Most of us will do OK if we adhere to Motorola Quality Standard R-56, especially if the tower is very close to the shack. But not even R-56 addresses all the issues.
 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N2RJ on September 27, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Steve -

GREAT article. I am following a lot of your steps in my 70' AN wireless self supporting tower project. It was supposed to go up yesterday, but due to the crane company rescheduling me, I have to go with next week instead.

One important thing you forgot - if you live near an airport or want to put up a tower 200' or more, go to the FCC's TOWAIR site and ensure your structure doesn't need to be registered. If you are required to make sure you go online and submit a request for an FAA study, then register your structure with the FCC. It takes about 2 months to complete, but prevents some poor pilot from suing YOU from crashing into your tower, and prevents the FCC from levying fines for non-compliance.

Also remember that you have to load your tower properly - don't put a stack of two MonstIRs on 70' of Rohn 25G for example.

As for permits - always get a 2nd opinion. IMO, getting a permit is cheap insurance to ensure that the tower nazis can't call code enforcement to force you to take it down. Even though some of your neighbors don't care, there are some that do, and those that do are a pain in the neck and some will stop at nothing to rid them of your "eyesore."
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by N3PZQ on September 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I am in the process of installing a tower. My local ordinances, (city that is, not the communistic/nazi, regimes, AKA... HOA's) do have restrictions.

I will be able to work around them or be able to adhere to them through variances. As a radio operator, Professional and Amateur it is my greatest desire to be a resource to the community and nation. I.E. emergency communications. With the installation of a tower, I will be able to do this with greater efficency and effectively be more useful.

Those of use that have the attitude of antennas and there structures, are ugly and not welcome, will be some of the first to say, "Wow I am in trouble, and can't communicate with the outside world. or Where are the emergency responders?" Look what happended with New Orleans. Hams were there because we had resources that the authorities lost.

Rick

 
Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by W4WB on September 30, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Good comments; however, a couple of points about the concrete. First, it is best not to have a late-day delivery or else the concrete is likely not good. So how do you quickly tell if the concrete is good or not. A simple way is to have them pour some into a wheelbarrow and then stick your hand into it for about 10 seconds or so. If the concrete remains feeling cool, then make the pour. If it feels warm or hot, reject it! Once the exothermic reaction begins, you should have the concrete poured. Allowing a month for the concrete to set or cure may or may not be adequate for your installation. Depending upon the pour shape and volume, it may take even longer. If unsure, check with a structural engineer. A "little known fact" is that the maximum strength of concrete takes about 40 years to reach! Good news, is that it reaches nearly the max in a much shorter time. It is important that you never allow the concrete surface to dry out at any time during the early stages of curing, say first week or so. The length of time is determined by chemical reaction essentially ceasing as part of the hydration of the concrete. The hydration is important in achieving strength and hardness. I know one fellow that buried several thermistors in a deep pour having about 10 yards so that he could monitor the curing of the pour. Maybe an overkill, but he was putting up a 120-foot self-supporting tower.

73 de Barry W4WB
 
RE: Honey, I Shrunk the Tower  
by IX4NT on October 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
CONCRETE 101

The strength of concrete depends primarily upon the water/cement ratio. Various uses dictate the 7, 14 and 28 strenght of concrete as measured by test cylinders which are then crushed on the 7th, 14th and 28th day after the pour. For example, a concrete sidewalk might only require 1500# concrete, but the concrete at the driveway might require 3500# or even 7000# concrete.

If a truckload of concrete is ordered, the supplier loads the hopper so that cement is on the bottom, then sand, then aggregate, then water. The idea is to keep the water from the cement. When the truck arrives at the pour site, the driver begins the mixing process. A load should be rejected if it mixes for more than 30 minutes. The driver then reverses the rotation to deliver the concrete.

A slump test should be done at this point. A small amount of concrete is delivered and then scopped into a slump cone. Once filled and leveled across the top, the cone is twisted and lifted. The cone is placed along side the pile of concrete that was inside it and the difference in height between the two is measured. The slump generally should be between 4" and 6". If less, the mix is too dry. If more, the mix is too wet.

Finally, to ensure that the concrete migrates into all voids in the foundation/footings, a vibrator is used. It is plunged into the pour periodically and then withdrawn so that it never is in place long enough to allow the aggregate to separate from the mix. On large towers, we recommend monolithic pours (a continuous pour until the footing/foundation is completed), but keyed pours can work when necessary if keyed properly and rebar extends properly.

If tower construction cannot wait until the concrete reaches maximum strength (about 28 days usually), then you should consider a 'high-early' formulation. High-early mixes can set up fully in 7-10 days.

Finally, if you cannot keep the concrete moist by spraying it with water, cover exposed areas with salt hay and soak the hay.

And remember to ground structural members and stub angles before the concrete is poured. If a bored foundation/footing is used, the very bottom of the hole should be belled outward to prevent uplift from freezing. If the footing was machine dug, the spindle usually has two slots opposed 180 degrees from which blades extend when the tool reaches the proper depth. These cut the bell and then retract to permit the spindle to be lifted out.

 
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