Tower Equipment page...

Welcome to my tower equipment page! I have made many references to my tower and the features that I have added. I Decided that the best way to allow everyone to get a first hand look was to devote a page to them. If you have any questions please feel free to email me from the button at the bottom.

The tower was formerly located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina at the North Carolina Highway Patrol station. The tower had several low band antennas mounted on it and little else. They had one run of 1/2" heliax and one run of RG-8. The only other attachment was a run of 1" galv water pipe inclosing the wiring for the marker lights and beacon.

I have made many changes to the tower from its first use. I have added more antennas, feedline, and structure. I will cover each of these in separate sections:

Structures that I have added have been designed for usefulness and safety. A good friend of mine, Mike Mihalov, operates a machine shop that specializes in stainless steel work. His company, Metal Designs, Inc., has been instrumental in the additions that I have made on the tower. He has helped us on all our tower projects at least once. My tower has seen a great deal of his work.

I added a platform on the tower top to assist in antenna work. The tower had a 24" square top, which would have been postage stamp size to me if I had to stand on it and work. I had an octagon shaped 5 foot platform with hand rails made to sit on top. It has a flip up panel on one side that allows for direct climbing to the top. The platform is constructed of diamond tread aluminum. The hand rails also will act as antenna mast mounts. It provides a wide platform where several people can work in comfort and safety.

Climbing safety is the second priority. I wanted to have a safety accent/ decent cable so I has brackets made that would be mounted to the tower by the climbing pegs. A galvanized aircraft cable was mounted thru these brackets and the brackets are mounted every 6 to 9 feet. This will not prevent a fall but is designed to keep a climber from falling away from the tower. And still limit a fall of more than 9 feet. All brackets are constructed of stainless steel and welded.

Although lighting on the tower is not required I plan to install both day light strobe and night beacons on the tower. We are one a direct flight path for several hospitals and have medical helicopters over fly several times a week. The North Carolina National Air Guard has a helicopter unit at Raleigh/Durham International Airport and they often use rural areas for training. And a tower looks better light. Mike made me some stainless steel bracket to securely mount the lights to the tower.

Antennas mounted high, and of high gain are nice but then to connect radios to them with RG-8 would defeat the project. I was lucky to get some surplus hardline, both 7/8" and 1 5/8". Very low losses but not light. I wanted to mount it securely and try to distribute the weight over as large an area as possible. My solution was a hardline ladder. This was constructed of galv angle with uni-strut as cross members. It sits on the concrete lightly and is attached to the tower on the side away from my house. This has a two fold purpose: 1. it adds the weight to tower on the opposite side from the house and a lightning strike will move away from the shack. Hopefully!!!

My lightning protection was designed behind the PolyPhaser Corporation grounding solutions pamphlet. I mounted a copper panel on the metal building under the tower. The hard line is terminated just inside the panel and PolyPhasers are mounted on the connectors and grounded to the panel. The hard line outer conductor is grounded to the panel. Then a jumper attaches the hard line to the run that goes to the shack. This hopefully will pull all lightning energy to ground. I plan to install 50+ ground rods and 500 feet of ground field. This is to circle the house and provide a ground tree running away from the house.

I have a Davis Weather Monitor II that I plan to mount the wind speed and direction sensor on the platform at the top of the tower. This will give me a true indication of the forces acting on the tower and antennas. It is not unusual to see very light or no wind indication on the ground and a nice wind at the top of the tower. I would like to try to incorporate the data collected in a program to monitor the wind speed and direction. When winds reach a certain level it would be nice to release the rotor brake and rotate the antennas into the wind, thus producing the least amount of wind resistance. I will work on this as a future project!!!
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