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Amateur Radio Antennas - For discussion of all amateur band designed antennas and related accoutrements. This includes base, handheld, mobile and repeater usage. For commercial antennas on the amateur bands please use Commercial Radio Antennas below.

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Old 07-21-2017, 5:14 PM
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Default I wanna Yagi and a Tower. What to Buy?

I have a dipole under the second story porch and I like it, but it does pick up a lot of noise and the furthest I can get sometimes is Indiana from Colorado. So, I think I want to upgrade.

I have never had a tower, or a rotator or a yagi, let alone see the set up, up close. I do a lot of 40m and 20m digital, and wanting to get into the bigger stuff like voice. What would you buy? The most wind we have ever gotten out here has been 70 mph (fast enough to roll a 8 foot high culvert pipe up a hill!) So I am thinking something I can lower in a bad wind storm or blizzard.

What would you recommend for a first tower timer?
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Old 07-21-2017, 6:07 PM
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The last tower I got (used) is a US Tower MA-40 crank up tubular. I like it a lot and you can mount the rotor at the bottom for easy maintenance. My particular tower was about 40yrs old when I got it and in nearly perfect condition due to the heavy galvanizing. I replaced the winch for about $40, otherwise its all original and blends in ok in my big city neighborhood without screaming TOWER!!!

For 40m you ideally want to get a Yagi at 1/2 wavelength or about 65ft high on 40m for the best low angle take off. That might be asking a lot for some neighborhoods and for your first tower. If you give up 40m then I can highly recommend a Hexbeam by one of the various mfrs. These have 2 elements on each band 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 and 6m.

I recently got a Hexbeam from NA4RR at $570 shipped to my door and it just love it. I supplement that with a 133ft 80m offset center fed dipole mostly for 80 and 40m but he OCFD covers 80 through 10m. The Hexbean is usually about 2 S units better on the higher bands than my 133ft wire antenna.

StepIR Yagis are quite popular and can cover 40m, but they are not cheap.

Once you venture away from smaller directional antennas like a Hexbeam, and towers above 40ft the cost can really get up there. You can usually find used towers for fair prices but they should be carefully checked out to make sure they are safe. Many times you find a great deal on a used tower only to find you need to buy an expensive new bottom section to mount in concrete because the original can't be salvaged.
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Originally Posted by kd5ywa View Post
I have a dipole under the second story porch and I like it, but it does pick up a lot of noise and the furthest I can get sometimes is Indiana from Colorado. So, I think I want to upgrade.

I have never had a tower, or a rotator or a yagi, let alone see the set up, up close. I do a lot of 40m and 20m digital, and wanting to get into the bigger stuff like voice. What would you buy? The most wind we have ever gotten out here has been 70 mph (fast enough to roll a 8 foot high culvert pipe up a hill!) So I am thinking something I can lower in a bad wind storm or blizzard.

What would you recommend for a first tower timer?
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Old 07-21-2017, 6:26 PM
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Thanks good idea on abandoning the 40m Yagi, because I know that is a stretch. I live out in the vast front range of Colorado, so I don't have to worry about neighbors who can say much about what I do.

Could I mount my Alpha Delta Dipole on the tower and make an inverted V?
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Old 07-21-2017, 6:42 PM
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I had a US Tower TX489MDPL I bought used. US Tower is very good quality. Bear in mind that with a crank up, there is a lot of potential for collapse and injury, if the cables and pulley sheaves are not in tip top shape. I restrung mine and put new sheaves on all the pull up cabling and moved the remaining good used sheaves to the pull down cable. I then had an elevator mechanic check all my work. The foundation is critical, so I had a soil test and engineering study and foundation design before the pour. So basically, what I would advise is to think ahead to what you might need in the future and put your energy into doing it right.


Look at the potential antennas that you might want and determine the amount of surface area that they present as wind load, their dead weight, the surface area and weight of the coaxial cables and other appurtances like rotors, preamplifier boxes etc. Then read carefully the tower specs , the required foundation etc. Wind speed is the concern and even with a crank up tower nested, there can be a lot of force on the structure and foundation. Sometimes a crank up towers rated wind speed and load assumes the tower is down and nested, so pay attention to the fine print. It was a learning experience for me that went well because nothing ever broke. But it does take some money to do it right.

And PRCGUY makes an important point about buying used. Make sure all the parts are there and if not that they are available from the manufacturer.

I bought a used Aluma Tower for a new project and found that a lot of welds were cracked. I have to factor in that repair and purchase a tilt base as well. I might have saved some money passing on that tower and looking for a better one.



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Last edited by RFI-EMI-GUY; 07-21-2017 at 6:47 PM..
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Old 07-23-2017, 1:25 PM
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Probably the most common tower for ham radio antennas out there is Rohn 25G. It may be the least expensive tower as well.
I have used Rohn 25G but now have an older (70's) Wilson TT45B which is very similar to the US Tower MA40. A new MA40 with the self supporting mount and tilt over fixture is pretty expensive.

There are a lot of towers and beam antennas out there to choose from. You are going to have to do some research and decide on a budget. It is not an inexpensive project!
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Old 07-23-2017, 3:36 PM
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I've got a Rohn 25 myself and its very good, however its not designed to be a free standing tower. Going by the mfrs information you can probably get 30ft of it next to a house with a bracket at 20ft and I don't see any problem with 20ft of Rohn 25 sticking above ground un guyed with an adequate amount buried in concrete and lightweight antennas on top. But if you want free standing it's gonna cost a bit more than a Rohn 25 series.

I was able to get 70ft of Rohn 25 for free, so there are a lot of good deals to be had. Mine is only 35ft up with a massive house bracket and I put 20ft of it horizontal around the 15ft level to hold a bunch of VHF/UHF sticks. I also have it guyed near the top.
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Originally Posted by K7MH View Post
Probably the most common tower for ham radio antennas out there is Rohn 25G. It may be the least expensive tower as well.
I have used Rohn 25G but now have an older (70's) Wilson TT45B which is very similar to the US Tower MA40. A new MA40 with the self supporting mount and tilt over fixture is pretty expensive.

There are a lot of towers and beam antennas out there to choose from. You are going to have to do some research and decide on a budget. It is not an inexpensive project!

Last edited by prcguy; 07-23-2017 at 3:41 PM..
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Old 07-23-2017, 3:43 PM
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Look out for rust on "free" Rohn 25. A lot of it was installed in the days of Philo Farnsworth and his TV and sometimes directly buried into the soil, or mounted with blockage at the bottom section causing water to stand inside. Kind of hard to inspect corrosion inside the pipes. If the tower has been painted, look carefully.
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Old 07-23-2017, 4:38 PM
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Good advice. Mine was in perfect condition and never installed. It might have been stored outdoors for 5yrs but thats no big deal for the great galvanizing that Rohn puts on.
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Look out for rust on "free" Rohn 25. A lot of it was installed in the days of Philo Farnsworth and his TV and sometimes directly buried into the soil, or mounted with blockage at the bottom section causing water to stand inside. Kind of hard to inspect corrosion inside the pipes. If the tower has been painted, look carefully.
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Old 07-24-2017, 4:37 PM
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Rohn's hot-dipped galvanizing is the bee's knees! You really have to abuse it hard to damage the galvanized surface.

Many decades ago I owned a tower business in Gainesville, Florida and over the course of twenty odd years installed many hundreds of 40' 20G towers, most of which are still in great condition. I also put up quite a few Rohn 25G and 45G towers, although mostly for ham operators who needed the strength for their much heavier antenna(s), rotors, etc.

My company took down a guyed 140' Rohn 25G tower that had been standing tall in St. Augustine by then for close to 20 years. It was in such excellent condition that I managed to reuse all of it but the base, mainly because chiseling the concrete off of it would have been effort than it was worth...

My only competitor in the area installed American Tower Company's "steel towers" that were sprayed with aluminum paint. They would show rust within two years, and become completely unsafe to climb within another year or two.

I do agree that base sections are particularly critical to carefully inspect since they are the most likely to be damaged by water intrusion.

I sold that business when the opportunity to buy South Texas Radio Service (a GESS) presented itself.
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Old 07-25-2017, 8:57 PM
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Rohn's hot-dipped galvanizing is the bee's knees!
Yes, but...If water stands in the tubing, the steel will corrode from the inside out. No matter how good the galvanizing is.
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:14 AM
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Thank you all so much for all the info on the towers. I have loads of good recommendation.

Talking about scary things to climb, I threw a ladder up once on a jumper pole (shorty pole) when I worked in the cable industry. That pole was rotted, and it swayed several feet. Good thing I don't weigh much, I sure it would have broke under the weight of a man.

If I am so lucky to get a free tower, I will look it over for sure!
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Old 07-26-2017, 1:02 PM
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Yes, but...If water stands in the tubing, the steel will corrode from the inside out. No matter how good the galvanizing is.
The only place water will 'stand' long enough to cause problems is at the base. For that reason alone, I'd never re-cycle a base section of an old tower, even if I could be bothered to chip off the concrete.

Because the entire 10' tower section is lowered into a 'bath' for hot-dip galvinization, the interior of the tubes are covered equally well as the exterior.
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