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Author Topic: 40ft+ utility pole / mast  (Read 24160 times)

Posts: 59

« on: January 31, 2011, 07:26:57 AM »

Has any one ever installed a utility pole.  I would like to install one at 40ft+ above the ground, with a pully at the top for raising and lowering the mounting point of a fan dipole or other future antennas.  I want to keep the property free of guy wires and am not too fond of the very expensive crankable tower assemblies, which both the wife and I think will be more of an eye sore than just a wooden utility pole.

Any suggestions for installing.  Also, how much should I expect to pay the local co-op utility to come out and install?


Posts: 15065

« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 07:35:24 AM »

Unless you have a contact in the power company I think an aluminum or steel tower price will look good compared to the cost of a utility pole and installation.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 59

« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 08:08:56 AM »

Well, I can get a 25 ft pole for $75 delivered, and have planted many of those myself when installing the pole barn.  Can it be that much more for a 50ft pole?  Yeah, it'll probably require them to install due to extra burry depth requiring their auger.

I am not finding anything in steel or aluminum, that isn't a crank up, requires no guying, and is less than 1k$.

Posts: 141

« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2011, 09:27:06 AM »

It would not hurt to call the utility in your area and ask. For work, I have had the power company come out and set a NEW pole, feed from the transformer from across the street, and tied it into our meter, all for $150.00 pole included which was ours at the end of the job.

One side note, MANY poles are NOT owned by the power companies, they are owned by the telecommunications utility in 95% of the states. (Read as Verizon, Alltell, Bell South, etc.) The other utilities then lease the right to hang their lines and equipment on these said poles. If your power company can't do this for you, try the Phone company in your area.


Posts: 5093

« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2011, 04:00:36 PM »

Has any one ever installed a utility pole.

Years ago, I worked with a line gang and learned how to do it. Both with machinery and by hand.

I would like to install one at 40ft+ above the ground, with a pully at the top for raising and lowering the mounting point of a fan dipole or other future antennas.

Any suggestions for installing. 

Couple of things:

- The rule-of-thumb I learned for wood poles was that a 25 footer needed a 5 foot hole, and for every 5 feet above 25 you added a foot to the hole.

This rule is for average poles in average soil. Sandy or loamy soil needs a deeper hole, clay/rock can do with a little less - but not much. Better too deep than not deep enough.

So a typical 50 foot pole would need a 10 foot deep hole and would have 40 feet above ground.

- Poles come in various classes and types. Class refers to how thick the pole is, with lower numbers being thicker and higher numbers thinner (like wire gauges). Type refers to the species of wood and the preservative treatment given to the wood. (Without treatment, most wood species will only last a few years before they rot enough to be unsafe).

- A typical pole of the size and class you want weighs hundreds of pounds at least. Installing one can be very dangerous if you don't know exactly how to do it the right way.

- Think about how you will access the top of the pole when the pulley jams, the rope breaks, or something needs attention. Because sooner or later, it will.

- Consider what hardware you will put on the pole for your pulley and halyard. Good marine-grade stuff is worth the money if you can't easily get to the top.

- Wood poles are typically treated every so many years to prevent rot underground and keep out critters. Take a good look at some utility poles in your area and you'll see round aluminum tags nailed into it, with dates and a word like "Osmose". They tell when the pole was treated, and the method. Often you can see what look like giant golf tees driven into holes near the base of the pole; those are a form of treatment.

There's a lot more, but that will get you started.


I don't know how much it would cost for such a pole, or to have it installed. Some utilities and their contractors will do it almost as a favor, others are supremely cautious because of liability. It all depends on your situation. If you had poles put in for a pole barn, the folks who sold you the poles would be a good place to start. Even if they don't do 50 footers, they might know somebody who does.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY

Posts: 2527

« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2011, 05:12:03 PM »

Utility poles are ugly.  Unless you plan to buy spikes and a climbing belt, you won't have access to the top.  Maybe you live in an are where you can rent a hydraulic platform?

If you go that route, consider adding a pulley at the bottom, and running a continuous loop of a flexible steel wire thru the two pulleys.

Best from Tucson

Posts: 1042

« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2011, 05:46:12 PM »

I was going to suggest two or three halyards with stainless pullies.  You can replace a rope without climbing if you do it before they break. And don't forget the VHF UHF stick on top!

Posts: 5639

« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2011, 07:23:52 AM »

Utility poles are ugly.  Unless you plan to buy spikes and a climbing belt, you won't have access to the top.  Maybe you live in an are where you can rent a hydraulic platform?

If you go that route, consider adding a pulley at the bottom, and running a continuous loop of a flexible steel wire thru the two pulleys.

Best from Tucson

And unless you get TRAINING on climbing with spikes, you can cause yourself considerable injury when climbing that pole! I've forgotten the exact nomenclature for them, but I'd locate and install the European-style steps before I'd climb with spikes.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 07:27:46 AM by W3LK » Logged

A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.

Posts: 59

« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 11:40:11 AM »

I was going to suggest two or three halyards with stainless pullies. 

Exactly, I plan on using steel cable and two pullies.  I also realize I may have to climb the thing at some point if the top pully jams or the steel cable frays/beaks.  Brother in-law and I were discussing digging a tapered trench and using the John Deer 310D to install if the power co wants too much $.  Still got to get one delivered though.

Probably won't do the VHF/UHF antena thing as it won't buy me much over my current VHF/UHF installation.  Actually, probably be worse due to loss in about 190 ft of transmition line required.  Possibly I'll try a 6meter vrtcl, but will probably have around 5dB atten there too.

I would like to thank every one for chiming in.  Lots of good advise here.

One more thing, any suggestion on grounding.  If the power co drills the hole and plants the thing, standard proceedure I believe is to roll up the ground wire on the bottom to be planted and extend it all the way to the top.  If we install with the 310D, I'll probably drive a 8ft rod at the bottom of the hole and connect all the way up the pole.

Thanks guys


Posts: 509

« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2011, 03:15:04 PM »

Folks in my neck of the woods say the local elec. co. will put in a pole for $100, you provide the pole.  God thing about it is they have a boom truck that will also reach the top.  Of course it helps that the guy in charge at the utlity is also my neighbor...  BTW, I have other friends with boom trucks and I am not afraid to pay them to do what needs to be done.


Posts: 169


« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2011, 07:55:24 PM »

Someone up my way had listed some steel utility poles for $200 each, 40 foot ones. With the base to bolt onto a concrete base. Now those would have been sweet slick towers. Two piece for easier transportation.

Years ago my brother had one of those light standards installed for his big old 11 meter beam.

He mounted metal steps on it for climbing.

Put the Ham 4 rotor on the top on a mast that slid down into the pole. It was a nice setup really.

You could put some climbing bars of some sort on the pole before you put it in the ground, just in case you ever have to climb it.

You could also mount a metal arm across the top of the pole, so you could have two sets of pulleys to haul up wires on.

Let us know how you make out.

Posts: 35

« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2011, 02:51:27 PM »

Years ago, back when I was on 11 meters, I decided to make my own quad beam, similar to a 4 element Moonraker, and put it high.  Since I did not want a lean-over tower that lowered at all to the ground, I thought about getting two telephone poles, mounted side by side, and mount a 40 ft tower to them and have it hinged in the middle when it was lowered.  I asked around where I might get one and some people at our local racetrack who lived out in the country had some (how they acquired them, I'll never know) and agreed to give me a 40 ft pole, just to get rid of it.  I asked if they had the means to cut that pole in half.  Yes, no problem.  I found a friend that had a long trailer and agreed to pay his gas and breakfast for the trip to where we were going. We got to the place, cut the pole in half,(it was laying on the ground), managed to lift up one end of the poles and pushed the flatbed of the trailer under them and push them onto the trailer, tied them down, flagged them and got them home.  Unloaded them by the side of the driveway to be moved later.
I then made a two carriers from four bicycle tires and various stuff.  Used a swing set and come along to raise each end onto the transporters and with help from a neighbor, pushed those rascals down into the back yard and placed them in a position where I was going to plant them. 
Dug a large hole by hand with a post hole shovel (the kind of shovel that one jams into the ground and pulls the handles apart to hold the dirt) that took most of a day to dig down almost five feet deep and wide enough to hold both of them side by side about two feet apart.  Since the hole was next to a chain link fence, I fastened a push up pole to the fence and guyed it off in the opposite direction of the poles to strong anchors.  I fastened a crank up to the bottom of the pole, fastened a tackle to the top and ran cable out to the the far edge of each pole.  While two people held ropes out from each side fastened to the top of the pole to be installed in the ground to keep them from falling to the side, I proceeded to crank the pole as it slid towards the hole.  Several 2 x 4s stuck into the hole up high enough to stop the pole when one end was over the hole also helped the one end to go into the hole.  As it cranked higher the other end went deeper into the hole, until it dropped in and could be tied/guyed off and cement poured in to keep it from moving.  Did this times 2 (for the other pole) placed 2 feet apart, cemented in again, and I had two poles placed the right space apart and high enough to provide a fulcrum point for the crank up tower.   This point was a steel pole screwed into the tower horizontal, joining the two telephone poles together.  Anchored the tower to the fulcrum using heavy duty u-bolts, and anchored the bottom using a rig anchored to the bottom and jacked up to provide stability for the bottom of the tower. 
The tower is then able to tilt over like a giant see-saw, and the heavy-duty rotator is place on top of the tower (now in a almost upside-down position) and fastened to the tower.  Short mast going to the antenna and when everything is fastened, pull the tower back upright with a second crackup installed for that job.  Jack up the bottom for security, fasten the one guy wire (of three) that is needed to be unhooked to its' anchor and the job is done. Crank up the tower, guy the top and there you have it.
I suppose I could have bought a tower, but I did not have a lot of money for that, and so decided to make what I just described to you after many sleepless nights of thinking how it could be done "on the cheap."  This was a three man operation to acquire the poles, move them to the driveway, later move them to the proper place for position, and crank them up for installation, cementation and securitation (my words!).
Where you get YOUR poles is YOUR problem.
In the years I have got out of CB and into ham, I only use a dual band vhf/uhf antenna on a lightweight pole next to the house.  I dismantled all the other stuff except for the poles sitting side-by-side in the middle of my back yard, which are still there, looking kind of odd, but still sturdy.

That's my story, and I am sticking to it.

Ger - KF6PHV.
San Bernardino, CA
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