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Author Topic: Tree as a Tower?  (Read 7368 times)
KC0KEK
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« on: April 02, 2014, 06:23:10 PM »

This past summer, one of the trees in my backyard suddenly died. It looked healthy, so I think emerald ash borers got it. It's a couple of feet around and pretty straight for the first 25 feet. It's also close to my shack. I was planning to have it cut down and turned into firewood, but now I'm wondering if it's practical to have it delimbed and turned into a tower. One benefit is that because it's a tree, no one would notice the antenna unless they look up.

Crazy idea? Or worth trying? And if it is, how would I calculate how much of a wind load it could handle?
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2014, 06:51:51 PM »

If the tree is dead its going to deteriorate and eventually fall. Wood electric poles stand for years because they are pressure treated. If it can fall and damage anything (like your house) you are better off cutting it down and using it for firewood.
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N2ADV
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 07:16:03 AM »

Maybe you can hollow out the center and put something metal in the middle as a support... ? 
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 09:12:56 AM »

that's going to be some big drill bit to hollow out the interior of the tree.

firewood looks like a good plan.  check with the area forester to see if it has to be debarked before storage.
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AB3UD
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 10:42:14 AM »

Maybe you can hollow out the center and put something metal in the middle as a support... ? 

In that case, he may as well buy a metal mast and sink that into the ground. Echoing others, I'd say chop it up for firewood. Utility poles are pressure treated to withstand being used in that way. If ash borers got it, I would be suspect of the integrity of the tree. It will probably fall down in the future.
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ONAIR
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 03:12:32 PM »

I heard of a ham who used a dead tree in his yard for a camouflaged antenna!  After a few years he needed guy wires to keep it vertical. Smiley
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N2ADV
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2014, 05:27:06 AM »

Maybe you can hollow out the center and put something metal in the middle as a support... ? 

In that case, he may as well buy a metal mast and sink that into the ground. Echoing others, I'd say chop it up for firewood. Utility poles are pressure treated to withstand being used in that way. If ash borers got it, I would be suspect of the integrity of the tree. It will probably fall down in the future.
Agreed - thought he was looking for some kind of camo support so was trying to throw him a bone. Put in a tower and put branches on it like they do with cell towers Smiley
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K7MH
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2014, 09:47:05 AM »

I have known a few hams that had some big beam antennas in tall trees. One guy had a TH6DXX in a tree and the other had monobanders in different trees.
The monobanders were in trees where he had mounted a shortened section of 25G to the top of the tree that was topped. It was alongside the tree and mounted with metal straps around the tree similar to how a chimney mount is mounted. The trees were fir trees and the antennas were up about 70-80 ft.

It is a lot of very dangerous work to get it done! Anyone attempting it better know very well what they are doing!
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KC0KEK
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 09:54:27 AM »

I appreciate everyone's input. I'm still kicking around the idea. If I decide to try it, I'll post my experiences here. 73.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2014, 10:18:31 AM »

The issue is that the tree is already dead. If you try it I'd want to know how it fairs a few years from now. My experience with dead trees is that you could easily end up with aluminum elements poking through the roof of your house.
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KC0KEK
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 10:22:07 AM »

The issue is that the tree is already dead. If you try it I'd want to know how it fairs a few years from now.

Right. So one test will be how long a dead tree remains viable as a tower. Another factor is the antenna type because that determines wind load and stress on the tree.
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W8JX
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 02:01:00 PM »

The issue is that the tree is already dead. If you try it I'd want to know how it fairs a few years from now.

Right. So one test will be how long a dead tree remains viable as a tower. Another factor is the antenna type because that determines wind load and stress on the tree.

I have a 36 foot de-limbed trunk from a spruce tree I cut down last year. I plan to treat it with a preservative and use it for a center pole for a wire antenna with a pulley on the top of it and it set in a ground with a post hole digger. I am thinking I should get a 3 to 5 years out of it maybe?
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KC0KEK
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 02:31:08 PM »

I have a 36 foot de-limbed trunk from a spruce tree I cut down last year. I plan to treat it with a preservative and use it for a center pole for a wire antenna with a pulley on the top of it and it set in a ground with a post hole digger. I am thinking I should get a 3 to 5 years out of it maybe?

Yes, and maybe even more. There are a few trees in the woods next door that have been dead for at least the seven years I've lived here, and they're still standing. Plus they all have most of their limbs, so they're stressed by a much bigger wind load than yours.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 05:11:13 PM »

It all depends on the tree. I've cut down a couple of trees in my yard that still had a few live branches on them and found that the trunks were hollow. One was probably 3-feet in diameter at the base and only had a few inches of wood around the hollow center. A tree guy working in the yard noticed some holes near the top and drilled a 1/4-inch hole near the bottom and water ran out for about 30 minutes. In cutting trees myself I've had some surprises when the tree fell a lot sooner than expected because of an unknown hollow center.

Be careful. If the tree is out in the yard then all you've got to loose in an antenna. If it's located where it can fall on the house however it might get a whole lot more expensive.
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W8JX
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 06:07:33 PM »

It all depends on the tree. I've cut down a couple of trees in my yard that still had a few live branches on them and found that the trunks were hollow. One was probably 3-feet in diameter at the base and only had a few inches of wood around the hollow center. A tree guy working in the yard noticed some holes near the top and drilled a 1/4-inch hole near the bottom and water ran out for about 30 minutes. In cutting trees myself I've had some surprises when the tree fell a lot sooner than expected because of an unknown hollow center.

Be careful. If the tree is out in the yard then all you've got to loose in an antenna. If it's located where it can fall on the house however it might get a whole lot more expensive.


I have lots of room as I live in country on 12 acres and tree was a nice healthy straight one I took down to thin trees out nearer house.
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