And speaking of towers, I had a thought just as I was about to put up my 56 footer. I'm 58 now and still working and I don't mind climbing towers (I do it at work). BUT, 10 years from now when I'm on the air 24-hours-a-day (heh) will I still enjoy strapping into my harnesses and hanging for two hours working on the brakes of my HamIV?
I've decided to go 40' because the local rental center has a 42' lift bucket that I can pull behind my F-250 pickup without a trailer. Maybe it will be more fun at 68 to sit in a bucket with my iced tea jug handy rather than watching that bolt I need drop into the grass where it disappears forever and then I get upset, so I go to a symposium for disturbed people, and there I meet Charlie Sheen and start re-enacting scenes from Platoon, and then ...
Some people have a NEED to believe man is causing global warming because they can't accept the fact that climate change may be OUT OF OUR HANDS!
I'm 58 and can climb A-OK. However, I have two beams (one on each 50-foot tower) that I'm not convinced I could get down and back up if they required serious maintenance. Obviously as time goes by, I will be less and less able to do this sort of work.
My plans are to hire someone to do it when I am not comfortable standing on the top plate and reaching out to get at faulty parts, etc. 25 years ago when I got into the hobby, there were lots of young Hams 25-40 who would help. Today, at 58, I'm one of the "youngsters." Since there are few to no young Hams willing to climb 50 feet and sling around 40-60 lb. beams, I'm becoming convinced this will have to be done by commercial outfits.
I know there are many companies who maintain cell towers that are a heck of a lot higher than 50 feet. My quandary is finding a company with employees who are used to working on HF antennas, and won't want $200-300 an hour. HF work tends to involve large, heavy antennas and requires a different skill set (rotators, rotation loops, PL-259 connectors, HF baluns, fixing HF traps, etc.) It's hard to find 40-60 foot towers in commercial HF service these days. From a commercial standpoint, I wonder if the demand for "HF" service people is dwindling and being replaced by cell (UHF/SHF experts.)
In other words, is there someone you could hire to, say, take a TH-5 down and replace it with a SteppIR? I'm sure there are companies who have bucket trucks who could physically do it, but would they also understand the electrical side of things? Just musing about where we all will be in terms of tower and antenna maintenance in 5-10 years. (Not thinking of getting a SteppIR, but curious how I'd install it if I did.)
I'm 67 and don't mind climbing. That said, it is obvious that I am not as resilient as I was. I have two 56' towers that I am putting in right now that will be able to be lowered if serious maintenance needs to be done. I plan on going from 2 meters on up.
Never Does Nature Say One Thing and Wisdom Another
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