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Author Topic: ballpark cost to have pro install tower ???  (Read 562 times)
KD7KLQ
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Posts: 15




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« on: July 24, 2004, 05:31:24 PM »

I got a quick question. Let's say I had a tower delivered to my house, lets say the motorized crank-up 55 ft. tubular tower sold by US Tower, and I wanted to pay $$$ to have it installed. Could any hams just give me a ballpark figure of how much $$$ we're talking here? I mean are we looking at thousands of dollars here? I could probably install it myself with a few other guys if I REALLY wanted to, but I still wonder how much it would cost to have a company or some experienced ham do it.

-Pete
KD7KLQ
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AA8LL
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Posts: 400




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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2004, 06:44:15 PM »

Hi Pete,
  Unless you are infirm or very, very, old, you need to get some friends and do this yourself.  That particular tower is not all that hard to install but requires many disciplines  to complete.

Get permits and permissions and plan site.
Obtain tower, antennas and accessories.

First weekend:
Dig hole for base.
Pour concrete. Wait for concrete to cure.
Install electric for motor (to code).

Second weekend:
Bolt antenna to base.
Assemble and install antenna and rotator. Stand up with raising fixture (that's the easiest part).
Run cables for antennas and rotators.
Don't forget ground rod.

I would guess about $1500 - $2000 to hire this done if the antennas aren't too complicated.  I always hire someone to dig the hole (nobody's perfect) and do the rest myself with the help of my xyl.

73 and gl,
Wade
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KA4P
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2004, 07:31:53 PM »

I would (and did) let the concrete set for a month before installing the tower, not the next weekend.

KA4P
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3228




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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2004, 07:41:10 PM »

Good feedback on the concrete set time.

Regards the hole:  call the local funeral parlor and ask for the name and number of the local gravedigger.  

Don't laugh.  

This guy (it is ALWAYS a guy) can cut a perfectly-square hole to the depth you need, have the dirt in a neat pile nearby, and not damage so much as a grass blade nearby while doing it.  He will have the perfect tools for the job, be able to show up on short notice, charge a reasonable amount, and be tidy about the work.
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W3FJ
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2004, 10:00:46 PM »

KZ1X has a great idea which I'm certain many would not have thought about.

The key is to go slow and have patience. If you hurry..you'll be sorry!
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KD7KLQ
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2004, 11:28:02 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions! Great idea about contacting the funeral parlor. It just so happens that my father, call sign KD7KLR, is the head mortician for a mortuary here in Las Vegas, so he has connections =)
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K9KJM
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2004, 02:37:43 AM »

The grave digger idea sounds great, But all of the graves I have seen dug around here for many years now have been done with backhoes...... Not by hand....
Would be ideal to find someone who still does them by hand to dig your hole.  
It is very important to have your hole dug so the concrete is poured against undisturbed soil only. (NO below grade forms for the concrete)
Most towers need about a cubic yard of concrete at least. Only a 3' X 3' X 3' hole. (Some freestanding towers may require much more) Years ago I could dig such a hole in one hour if the soil was decent digging...
I agree also that only a week is pushing it to erect the tower after the concrete pour....  I have done it in the past, But that is pushing your luck. At least 10 days cure time would be much better.

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K5LXP
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2004, 02:21:50 PM »

I purchased my present QTH from a ham that did exactly what you're describing.  Had a 55' crank up delivered and a contractor dig the hole, set the base, pour the concrete and a boom truck to place the tower.  Near as I can tell from the receipts in the file I have it amounted to about $5500 including the motorized tower and all materials.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2004, 09:21:28 PM »

If a professional who actually knows what he's doing does all the excavation work, installs the base and anchorage, levels the installation and trowels the concrete, figure probably two days of work at $500 a day = $1000, plus the cost of the concrete.  2 yards of concrete at $90/yard = $180, delivered, around here (it varies by location).  If you dig the hole yourself (or have someone dig it for you) and only need the pro to oversee the work, that's probably only one day ($500) plus the cost of the concrete.

If you mix the concrete on site and don't have it delivered, this is *not* any cheaper, and it's a lot more work, however in some cases this is a good way only because it draws less attention (from neighbors) about what you're doing.  Remember it takes about eight (Cool "scoops" of cement and aggregate to fill a 2 cu. yard hole...and of course a lot of water, too!  But this really can be mixed on-site, even using a wheelbarrow and shovels, if you're up to the task; a motorized mixer makes the job easier.

Do remember you must wait about one month between the pour and the tower raising.  If the tower raising requires a crane, count on about $200-$250 for a small sign crane and operator to show up and lift the tower for you.  If it can be done by "manpower," so much the better (I prefer the crane approach -- overall, it's safer).  The nice thing about the crane is that although it will only take ten minutes for the operator to lift the tower and drop it on its base, you pay for at least an hour (usually two hours minimum), so you've got the operator on hand to also lift your antennas up onto the tower for you.  I always take advantage of that, so the only "work" I have to do is tighten U-bolts and stuff -- the crane does all the lifting.

A good, experienced crane operator has lifted antennas before, and you'll be surprised how good they are at it.

Good luck!

WB2WIK/6
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N3NDW
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2004, 04:37:47 PM »

It takes 28 days for concrete to fully cure.
Renting a crane with operator runs around $120. to $150. an hour form the time he leaves his shop until he returns.
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AA8LL
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Posts: 400




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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2004, 12:40:10 AM »

OK, one more post.  Now this is a tubular type,(motorized) crank-up, tilt-over tower (that you can't climb!) and you guys are recommending a crane to set it up instead of the raising fixture?  I don't get it.  Also, I suppose more is better on the concrete "cure" time.  I put up my first tower when I was 16 years old in 1963.  I mixed up the sackcrete and plunked the bottom section of tower in the hole.  Now I made a big mistake by putting up the rest of the 50-foot, freestanding tower the very next day.  Big mistake, but I got away with it and didn't die climbing the tower.  Also, the tower is still standing today but has had a TV antenna for the last 30 years or so.  The tower looks a bit rusty though, so in 1995 I got a new aluminum tower.  I sure don't want to have to climb a rusty tower when I'm 96 years old!  Also, don't make the rookie mistake of putting your ground rod in the bottom of the hole.  The idea is for the lightning to bypass the concrete at least somewhat.  Don't get us started any more about lightning protection or you will get ten different approaches.
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KD7KLQ
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2004, 01:22:17 AM »

Well, I suppose there is no right or wrong way to raise the tower, whether you do it with a raising fixture or with a crane. Some ways may be more effective than others, some ways will be safer than others, and some will be more expensive than others. From the posts that have been submitted, and from doing some more research, I have concluded that I will install the tower myself with the help of other people instead of hiring a professional. It sounds a lot easier than I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it is an easy task to put up a tower. I know it will take money, effort, and lots of time, but atleast I now know it is "do-able" for me to put it up without hiring expensive professional help. I incorrectly assumed that most hams hired people to install their towers, but now I know better. The tower is a few years down the road though. I live in Las Vegas right now, but I plan on moving to St. George, Utah in the future, and I will get a small house with a BIG yard, and put up my tower there. For right now, I am stuck using a GAP Titan antenna which I've been using, and a Cushcraft MA5B which will be installed this weekend! The MA5B will only be 30 feet off the ground though, not the recommended minimum 35 feet, so we'll see if I wasted the hundreds of dollars I have just spent or not by the end of next week maybe!
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AA8LL
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Posts: 400




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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2004, 02:42:52 PM »

A FEW YEARS DOWN THE ROAD??? We're not getting any younger here Pete!  Seriously, conditions have been stinko lately and are expected to still be stinko next week.  So don't be too quick to judge your new antenna.  30 - 35 feet... it's still going to be stinko but everything changes.  Try to work the YV0, Aves Island station due to come on July 29 - August 8.  They are only on about every ten years and you may have a good path.
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