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Thinking Tower Safety KI4NDN

posted Oct 23, 2015, 5:32 PM by Stones River
Greetings,
Well let me start by saying I am an Amateur, period. I make no claims of being anything but. So I've been thinking about tower safety and what I might encounter as a Ham Radio enthusiast / amateur ham. Okay that Moonraker 4 on top of that 60' Rohn 25 G tower from the old CB Radio days is not exactly what I'd like to see way up there anymore. Is it safe for me to climb up this tower that looks good from everything that I can see? What could go wrong? Is there any visible rust, missing bolts, guy wires in place properly. etc. What are the things I should look for? Is the wind blowing? Do I have at least one ground man that has some common sense and some kind of idea of what exactly has to take place for me to SAFELY remove the antenna on top. Is the base plate bolted and secure? Is there anything that will prevent the safe removal of the Moonraker 4? These are just some common sense questions one might ask their self when working with or on a tower project.

Safety Safety Safety Safety Safety Safety Okay Okay you get the point.

I have worked in the construction field for near a lifetime and have seen many things go wrong that could have easily been prevented. Life saving tips are as simple as Listening sometimes. Yes listening to someone other than yourself. I really don't like to do that, but when it comes to safety we all should do just that. I know what I'm doing just get out of the way. Well that is kindly human nature most of the time. It comes with deadly experiences sometimes that some of us are willing to stop, look, listen before we encounter very dangerous situations such as working atop of a 3o', 60', 110' tower. Most falls from any of these heights are Deadly. period.
The specifications for say Rhon 25 G tower's are under specific conditions. These conditions can mostly be counted on. But it is ultimatly up to you and the crew you choose to work with on any tower project. Lets say you have a Rhon 25 G at 30' with guys at top. You have inspected the base and looked at the overall condition of the tower. All looks well, the only thing I really don't like is that someone has cleard a bunch of trees and small brush and it lays completely around the tower 360' out about 50'. That is of some concern. Okay after observation it looks safe enough. Oh yeah I noticed on leg bolt missing at the base plate and I meat to tell the climber before he made his way up. Well it's too late now. At the top now 30' Tower worker is making preparation to begin the process of tower removal. Everything seems to be going well until the release of the first of three guys at the top. The split second he releases the guy there is a little jerk. On the ground sipping a cool drink in the shade, you are watching as the guy jerks a little upon release. No No No you yell as you run towards the falling tower with your friend attached to the top. You arrive to his aid almost the moment of impact to find, well use your imiganition. Remember the stumps and brush mentioned earlier? You find your friend still conscious and hanging in his harness a few inches above the ground. The brush and the slow fall of the tower has granted your friend another chance for safety in the future. You grasp him up and help him to detach hisself from the tower as you are amazed to find that he is not hurt at all. He gets up and walks away as you tell him "He is the luckyiest man in your county.
I will tell you this, this might or might not be a true story. It matters not. It was discovered that at the bottom of the tower legs there had been drilled a hole in at least two of the legs, probably to allow water to escape. Well in this case the structural integrity of the tower was no longer meeting the conditions and specifications of the towers specs. Along with a questionable weld at the base plate, this was the formula for disaster.
Under the best conditions, it is still very dangerous working in situations like this. Always remember to observe every possible thing that you can think of and even discuss the process with your ground crew. I personally will not climb a un-guyed tower of 30' that has obvious drilled holes at the base that were not factory drilled. If it can happen it will happen. I have met and known a couple men that have ridden towers down and lived to tell about it. Many never are able to talk of their experience. Professionalism is a must when climbing and working on Ham Radio towers. 100% attachment is Highly Recommended. From top to bottom, let this become natural to you. Hook up and climb, when your feet hit the ground then unattach.
KI4NDN


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