In the interest of disclosure, my new call is WB9EXA.
In part 1 I described the problems with shipping an HD70 tower and how it was mishandled by AN and acknowledged as such by AN. I also want to emphasize that Dan Simmonds is no longer the owner of AN ( Precision of Ohio is the new owner) , but Dan has been a tremendous help in getting some of the problems addressed with this purchase.
Once I had a chance to unpack parts of the tower, it became apparent that there were other problems with the tower package. The three stainless steel mast plates were a total fiasco: 1.) Most holes were jagged with sharp edges and non concentric. 2.) The intermediate plate was not fabricated with a hole for the mast to go thru ( how do you get the mast to the rotor?). 3.) Rotor plate looked to be plasma cut with a hole that was not of the proper dimension and had extremely jagged edges. 4.) Top bearing plate was also roughly fabricated. I had provided all the templates to AN prior to their fabricating the plates.
At this point I got on the phone to Sam at AN and told him what I had found so far. He asked for pictures as I recall, and I was put in contact with a consultant to AN named Dan Eastman ( at least that was what I was told his role in the company was). Dan Simmonds was also contacted by AN. Mr. Eastman and Mr. Simmonds both asked for copies of pictures to be sent to them, I honored those requests. Both of these individuals acknowledged seeing problems with the plates, and I told them that I would notify them of any other problems I found as I unpacked the tower.
Other problems found were as follows: 1.) Intra-sectional and inter-sectional braces that were cut AFTER the galvanizing process resulting in rust formation. 2.) Holes drilled and rusting in the same braces mentioned after the galvanizing had been applied. Seems to me that the bolt holes should have been punched and not drilled and then galvanized. (I have worked with metal punching equipment at one time). 3.) Some tower section legs that were already rusting due to poor galvanizing. 4.) Missing hardware. 5.) Rusting splice plate. 6.) Real problems communicating these problems to people at AN with my constantly having to explain what function the different parts on the tower served. This really is a problem with some of the people or agents that I talked to at AN. Dan Simmonds intervened, and it is my opinion that this whole arduous affair was lessened due to his efforts. My Thanks to him.
After pictures were reviewed by Dan Eastman, a conference call was arranged between myself, Dan Eastman, Ron Larson (VP of Manufacturing at AN), and Mike Patton ( Plant Manager at AN). This occurred on September 17, 2012. I told them that I had assembled a large portion of the tower so that any other problems would become evident and had communicated by phone and/or email that information to Dan Eastman, Dan Simmonds, and Sam Ditullio.
All problems were acknowledged by the individuals from AN in the conference call. Ron Larson was willing to replace the entire tower, but wanted me to ship the old tower back. I informed them that I did not have the facilities to pallet, band, and ship the close to 2000LBS of material back to them. Nor do I have a shipping dock for a truck. Not to mention that I had already spent over a week assembling most of the tower. If they want the old tower back, I would be more than happy to have one of their agents do the work. We agreed to replacing components found to be defective. At no time were any of the individuals involved in this phone conversation belligerent or argumentative in speaking to me.
At this point, the fall back option was to replace the bad section of tower and hardware. We agreed that section 7 of the 70 foot tower would be replaced along with mast plates, missing hardware, and all of the inter-sectional bracing. My question at the end of the conference call was where was the quality control in all of this process and how could a product be shipped out in such poor condition? The answer was that they were "ramping up production." It was good they were acknowledging the problems and as it turned out, I discovered that section five had a leg that appeared to be bent. This was after the conference call. They replaced all the section 5 legs. A nice gesture. Unlike Scott, no company representatives were sent out to take care of the problems I encountered. I also made it clear that any further problems that I found now or in the future with this tower would be taken care of by them. No one objected to this.
Shipments of the replacement components arrived in the same double palleted manner of the the first shipment that caused so much unloading problems . ABF driver and I had to cut steel banding and hand unload to the tractor again. I guess no one listened to me about the prior shipping problems.
Through out all of this, Dan Simmonds exhibited what has been his trade mark for good customer service as noted in the EHAM reviews of the past. It is unfortunate that I have had these experiences with the new ownership of AN WIRELESS. Hopefully, there will be improvement in their product and customer service.
The replacement components have arrived. Mast plates appear to be well fabricated. Apparently, Inter-sectional bracing still is having secondary holes drilled instead of punched, but the galvanizing appears to be better. Sectional legs for sections 7 and 5 look better in their galvanizing.
My next review will hopefully appear in the REVIEWS section of EHAM. Assembly, and installation will be reviewed along with safety options that you may want to include.......73 for now, Jerald Granger WB9EXA