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Author Topic: Why Not a windmill?  (Read 2909 times)
WB4SPT
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« on: May 11, 2012, 06:38:34 PM »

I saw one used to hold antennas.  Looks like a great idea.  No guys not a lot of concrete.  Not much $ for a used one.  Why not popular?
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N3JBH
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 06:56:15 PM »

I saw one used to hold antennas.  Looks like a great idea.  No guys not a lot of concrete.  Not much $ for a used one.  Why not popular?

You folk's must have a diferant type wind mill then we have around here. There huge !!! and the base the use to set these on is larg enough some homes could fit in there. And i would not even want to guess what it cost to move and disassemble and rebuilt it. Although nice thing is you a ready made stair's for getting to the top of them and shoot you could set up your shack in the bottom section with no problem's... Jeff
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LA9XSA
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 07:49:59 PM »

Depends if he means an actual old windmill; if it's electrical wind generators they come in sizes from portable camping versions or ornamental garden varieties to humongous megawatt turbines.

Of course, you might try loading up the tower or mast as an antenna in itself, and even using the power from the wind to power your station.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 07:52:04 PM by LA9XSA » Logged
KG4RUL
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2012, 09:24:29 PM »

I think he meant this style of windmill: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saigodon/2910769132/lightbox/
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W9GB
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2012, 09:53:51 AM »

IF you mean the 1900s to 1930s style power generator/water well pump windmills seen throughout the Great Plains ..... many of these were made in Geneva, IL (sold in Sears and Montgomery Wards mail-order catalogs).
These have already been used for TV antennas (1950s) and Amateur radio antennas on farms in Midwest.
IF you find one or desire to use one .... they are at least 70-80 years old and corrosion is a big issue.  Most of these were not galvanized, so structural failure is possible due to corrosion (rusting steel).
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 10:08:51 AM by W9GB » Logged
N3JBH
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2012, 11:12:56 AM »

LA9XSA My apologizes i guess i was not aware of them type. located in the part of the state i am from the hill's and valley's are so closely spaced that i guess folk's don't use them here. And the mountain ridges are just loaded with them huge type  i was referring too. Although i bet them things would make for quite the 160 meter vertical haa haa. Changes in 2000 feet of elevation happen pretty darn quick around these part's.
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W9GB
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2012, 12:56:19 PM »

Quote from: WB4SPT
Not much $ for a used one.  Why not popular?
Many reasons for not being popular -- at any price.

1.  These structures have a wide base, like many self-supporting designs.
2.  In some remote grazing areas of the Great Plains, they were still being used for passive water pumping.
 Today, that would be termed a GREEN solution.  They are grandfathered in those areas.
3.  The years of corrosion means significant work for disassembly, rust removal,
and then proper cold galvanizing.  Attachment hardware (nuts and bolts) would need to be replaced.  
Unless it is a historical restoration, the time and costs are prohibitive for most.
4.  Lastly, engineering documentation is required in most populated areas, due to more stringent requirements.  
Cost to produce those documents is too expensive, unless you are a PE and pay for it yourself --  
It is cheaper to purchase a new self-supporting tower.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 01:04:00 PM by W9GB » Logged
W3KC
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2012, 08:41:35 PM »

Vesto towers were advertised in the ham mags back in the 50's, but they seem to have faded away. Len W3GRF had a huge one at his Possum Pike contest station.
73 Chas W3KC
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NH7O
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 10:29:46 AM »

The towers made by Dempster and Aermotor are very strong, and the ones I've seen are often galvanized with the solid, thick zinc that was made to last. Fan blade type mills have a lot of area, so they can hold big antennas. We used one here, only a 35' footer, and it required some fabrication to get a rotor mount working. If you have the space and time, by all means do it.
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W9GB
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 01:29:27 PM »

Here is the VK "Aussie" version.
http://www.eham.net/articles/20818
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K5LXP
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 07:55:12 PM »

We used one here, only a 35' footer,

Are there any that are taller?  35' doesn't seem like much for the trouble.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K9KJM
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2012, 09:42:23 PM »

As already pointed out, Windmill towers can come in all sizes and heights.   Out on the plains with no trees they used very short towers of only 15 or so feet.

Around here in the upper midwest, Most of them are in the 40 foot height range. Some slightly shorter, Some as tall as 60 feet.
Most of them were installed with no concrete at all.  Four holes were dug about two feet in diameter, 7 or so feet deep.   The windmill base legs came with a steel plate that was about 16 or so inches in diameter that got put down in the hole on a layer of gravel, Then the hole backfilled with stones and gravel.
Over the years I have picked up a few and restored them, Still have a 40 footer in my front yard that holds up the ends of two dipole antennas. The four legs of mine are 8 feet apart on center.
Most around here are the four leg type, With a very few three leg models that I have little experience with. 
Most that I have seen did have very good thick galvanize coating on the legs. The early ones had gearboxes on top that were "open" with exposed gears. Later models had a big heavy cast iron housing that enclosed the gears.  Usually those gear parts would start to rust and the brown rust stains would run all down the legs making the whole thing look rusty, But I have never seen any rust on the legs of them that would affect strength. (Above ground parts of the legs.)   

If the top blades are in poor shape and not worth trying to save, It is simple to take them down. Hacksaw cut the half of the angle leg right at ground level in the direction you want to tip it over. Hook a rope part way up the tower to a car or truck, Unbolt the far two legs and pull it over.  A stack of old car tires piled where you calculate the top will land will cushion the landing.  Unbolt the (usually) 20 foot long leg angles in the center, Put both parts on a car hauler trailer and haul it home.
Putting it up is the reverse of taking it down, An automotive wrecker winch works great for tipping them up.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 04:46:33 AM »

Back twenty or thirty years ago when windmill power generators were a passing fad, these type tower were the ones made to hold them.  Just north of my QTH is an excellent example of one such tower.  About eighty feet high, (and I believe made for Aermotor) it held a generator set for six or seven years before that genset was taken down because of failure.  Now, it is just standing there holding nothing--except a Christmas light display (star of Bethelhem) during the holiday season.
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NJ3U
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 06:13:47 AM »

Is it this type ?  www.tinyurl.com/6pmf729. If so than it would be cheaper to install a new Rohn!
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K7JG
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 02:49:31 PM »

Aermotor Windmill Company
http://aermotorwindmill.com/

Towers - http://www.aermotorwindmill.com/Products/TowersParts/Towers.asp

The tower construction apparently depends on the diameter of the windmill fan (mill size). The 16' mill weighs 2400 lbs plus they had to support up to several hundred of pump rod and water. The writeup indicates they manufacture towers up to 60' but the item descriptions only go to 47'.

Aermotor apparently built fire lookout towers in the early 1900's, some up to 120'

Some installation instructions - http://www.aermotorwindmills.com/tower_instructions.htm

I grew up around a dozen or so of those things watering cows and they are stouter than they look. When the well cylinder leathers wore out due to well sand or something getting stuck in one of the check valves, all that pipe and pump rod had to be pulled out pipe joint by pipe joint to get to the cylinder. We'd run the winch cable from the Power Wagon up through a block chained into the top of the windmill and down to a pipe cam on top of the casing and start pulling. Those towers never budged. Their service has been replaced by solar-powered submersibles and pipeline but they are still standing there 50 years later.

John, K7JG.
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