My First Tower!
By Scott Neader, KA9FOX

Click to Enlarge I was first licensed in 1979 at the age of 14. Since then, I've always dreamed of owning my own tower and shack. Finally, that dream is coming true.

I was married in 1995 and purchased a home that year. Soon after, I began learning as much as I could about all the different tower and antenna options for my small corner city lot.

Looking Up At Antennas My wife decided for me that I was going to go self-supporting (NO GUY WIRES!). I had many options for a medium size self-supporting tower, until I decided that I wanted to be BTR (that's Big Time Radio, per K7LXC) and put up a big antenna at 70 feet. At that point, most of my options fell out of the picture, either because they were too expensive (Rohn SSV for example) or weren't heavy-duty enough to handle the wind load that I intended on putting on it (our county is in an 85 mph wind zone).

My tower on Day 1 I got quite a bit of advice from those on the Tower Talk mailing list (here's a summary). In the end, I decided on a Trylon Titan T-500 72 foot self-supporting tower, which was purchased from Champion Radio Products.

For antennas, I went with the following:

  1. Cushcraft 13 ele 2 meter beam (horizontal) at 87 feet
  2. Cushcraft 6 ele 6 meter beam at 83 feet
  3. Cushcraft 12 ele 2 meter beam (vertical) at 79 feet (10 yrs old)
  4. Force 12 C4XL 9 ele 10-40 meter beam at 74 feet

All mounted on a 23 foot long high-carbon steel, hot-dipped galvanized mast, rated at 87,000 psi, purchased locally for about $220. About 15 feet of the mast sticks out of the top of the tower, and 8 feet is inside. A Hygain Tailtwister rotor turns it all (so far).

An Inverted Vee for 80m hangs off of the north side of the tower from a support mounted at about the 68 foot level. I am in the process of installing an Inverted L on the South side of the tower.

All antennas are fed with low loss Belden 9913F (Flexible center conductor and filled -- not the air dielectric stuff).

You may notice a STAR attached to the side of the tower. That is only there during the Christmas holiday season. It is lit up nice at night. Here's another picture, showing the star at night.

I took a lot of pictures, and will share some of them with you now. NOTE: These pictures aren't totally in chronological order. For example, I assembled the tower after pouring the concrete for the base, but I'll show you the assembled tower before I show you pictures of the base being dug. Work with me on this, OK?

PHOTO 1: Tower arrives

The tower arrived as 9 sections of 8 feet each (total 72 feet) plus 3 4-foot stub legs that go into the cement base (more on the base later). The sections were nested inside one another.

KA9FOX Home Page | NEXT