Max Tower Height

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Hello, while in the planning stages of a new tower for my home. I am in need of some info... What it is the max height a tower can be WITHOUT requiring any FAA/ aircraft lighting or painting? I believe it is 150ft, but want to be absolutely sure. Also, I am NOT with in 5 miles of any airport or landing strips (I know that makes a difference). Anybody with some intel please help!!!!
 

902

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Hello, while in the planning stages of a new tower for my home. I am in need of some info... What it is the max height a tower can be WITHOUT requiring any FAA/ aircraft lighting or painting? I believe it is 150ft, but want to be absolutely sure. Also, I am NOT with in 5 miles of any airport or landing strips (I know that makes a difference). Anybody with some intel please help!!!!
It's generally 200 ft - HOWEVER - there are a number of caveats. First, enter your coordinates into the FCC's TOWAIR system to see if they have some deviltry that requires you to register with the FAA. There are areas that can be within an airport, helistop, seaplane base, or something you're not aware of, that if you do build-out, you will be heavily fined if you are out of compliance. You might be required to, even after building a 179 ft. tower with a 20 ft. antenna on top of it, to light or paint the tower anyway (happened to me at a former employer because of proximity to a river and to a Level 2 trauma center). These have to be approved lighting or paint. You just can't go out and put up Christmas lights or paint the tower contrasting blue and orange (well, you can do both, but the question is: "Do you like your neighbors, and do they like you?" and neither would meet compliance...). It's not a matter of distance, there is a diagram of complex airspace available that shows what might be considered (if you drew it out on a CADD program, it looks a little like a gigantic stadium - see slide 11 in the PowerPoint I hyperlinked to). It's in the Commission's Uniblab, and there is still contention over how accurate it is.

Finally, thank you Congressional Representatives one more time for the wonderful work they do protecting the average guy - you are required to undergo a Historic Preservation review, by virtue of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Public Law 89-665, Sec. 101), which is now being enforced by the FCC. In general, hams have been more or less left out of the fray, but if you are erecting a commercial or public safety (or combination thereof) tower, you had better get in touch with your State Historic Preservation Office. Be prepared for a potential line of shamans, gypsies, and both Fred Sanford and Grandpa Munster riding up together in an olive green/Bondo/faux wood panel 1972 Country Squire station wagon posing as latter-day Aztecs. You may also be required to do an environmental assessment which may highlight migratory bird routes, wildlife habitats, and other things you never knew about.

Dot your T's and cross your I's. If you're going to build a tower for hobby uses that meets your local zoning requirements for personal use, you would probably be fine living up to your permitted use. But do check TOWAIR.

Good luck!
 

902

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Hi , @902 do you know what my restrictions are to put up a tower within 5 miles of an airoot?
Airoot? Do you mean airport? Check your coordinates and proposed tower parameters in the TOWAIR utility. It will go down the list of potential conflicts and tell you if you pass or not - and why.
 
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N8IAA

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Hello, while in the planning stages of a new tower for my home. I am in need of some info... What it is the max height a tower can be WITHOUT requiring any FAA/ aircraft lighting or painting? I believe it is 150ft, but want to be absolutely sure. Also, I am NOT with in 5 miles of any airport or landing strips (I know that makes a difference). Anybody with some intel please help!!!!
It also depends on local regulations. The city, or county may have height limits. You may want to check the local ordinations.
Larry
 

ff-medic

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Hello, while in the planning stages of a new tower for my home. I am in need of some info... What it is the max height a tower can be WITHOUT requiring any FAA/ aircraft lighting or painting?
Had some folks at my workplace about two winters ago; working on replacing lights on a tower. **They** told me anything over 200' has to be lighted and logged with the FAA.


The Federal Aviation Administration

Notification to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is required for any tower construction or alteration of an antenna structure that is registered with the Commission. Towers that meet certain height and location criteria (generally towers more than 60-96 meters (200 feet) in height or located near an airport) will require notice to the FAA and registration with the FCC. Prior to completing registration with the Commission, an antenna structure owner must have notified the FAA (via FAA Form 7460-1) and received a final determination of 'no hazard' from the FAA.

The Antenna Structure Registration rules are contained in Part 17 of the Commission's Rules (47 C.F.R. 17).
Tower and Antenna Siting | FCC.gov


FF - Medic !!!
 
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Thanks everybody, for your quick responses. I was just asking about tower height in general, where I will be living I don't have to worry about "the community" or what the neighbors think. Only the FAA and FCC LOL
Just to clarify, that 200ft is the very max to include the lightning rod? So if my lightning rod is ie 5ft, my physical tower can only be 195ft?

Thanks
 

jackj

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The height of 200 ft includes anything sticking above the tower. So, yes a tower height of 195 ft with a 5 ft lightning rod will have to be lighted. There are also limits on the maximum height a tower can be based on how far you are from an airport and the flight path around the airport. An airport can be any place where aircraft regularly land.

Also check your deed. Sometimes there are deed restrictions or covenants in a deed which places limits on antennas and supporting structures. Check your homeowners insurance for any restrictions also. There are a number of possible problems you could run into when erecting a tower above and beyond the FCC/FAA.
 

902

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Thanks everybody, for your quick responses. I was just asking about tower height in general, where I will be living I don't have to worry about "the community" or what the neighbors think. Only the FAA and FCC LOL
Just to clarify, that 200ft is the very max to include the lightning rod? So if my lightning rod is ie 5ft, my physical tower can only be 195ft?

Thanks
Mmmmm... are you referring to your antenna as your lightning rod? :twisted: Well, it's supposed to be the antenna support structure and all appurtenances. That's generally the tower and antenna. In the land mobile industry it's not uncommon for an entity that doesn't have any other restrictions to put up a 180 ft. tower with a 20 ft. antenna on top of that. A 5 (fiberglass - like a PD-220) or 6 (collinear dipoles - like a DB-224) dBd VHF antennas or 10 dBd UHF antennas (PD-455/DB-420) are generally 20 ft. long, excluding the mounting stub.

A wise site manager or RF telecommunications engineer will figure out the area he or she needs to cover, then put the antenna off the side of the tower. Then, put corona dissipation arrays on top, especially in Florida. The tower will take the hit and conduct the lightning impulse to the ground. In that case, the tower can go up to 200 ft with no additional topside appurtenances. Here's an article on static wicks, like you'd see on an aircraft.

It is not wise to put a fiberglass radome antenna up top. The instantaneous bend moments from wind will, over time, break the welds between the elements inside the antenna. You will then have arcing in the antenna under full duplex conditions and will have one or two of two conditions: noise/"static" artifact, and signal levels that can be observed to be multiple levels in RSSI or on a spectrum analyzer. A fiberglass radome antenna is for side mounting along with lateral stabilization standoff on the top of the antenna!

I probably should not have to say this, but I will put it out there, anyway. If you do put up a tower, you are wasting your money if you don't run hardline (7/8" for UHF and at least 1/2" for VHF for a 180 ft. run) and a professional grade antenna. I've seen a lot of people put up towers and top them off with a Ringo or AEA Isopole and 300 ft. of coiled 9913 coax. First windstorm and they have a stub. Lightning strike and the thing looks like an exploded cartoon cigar with a coat hanger sticking out. You can't slap them, it's not legal anymore, and you get in trouble. Do it right the first time and follow the NEC and R56 grounding and bonding standards. Wind loading is important to you, especially if your tower is within the fall zone for your house (or, like me years ago, my neighbor's swimming pool). That also goes for professionals. Don't crust it up like it's a Christmas tree.

And, finally, BE SAFE. Rigging a tower is not a beginner's job and you don't get proficient by watching a Youtube video. Everyone is a safety man (or woman), everyone needs PPE.

If I sound pedantic, it's only because I don't want you or someone else who comes across this in the future to die from taking a shortcut. That's a permanent condition. Have fun and best of luck with however your project turns out.
 

w2xq

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Don't forget local zoning ordinances... :D
 
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Mmmmm... are you referring to your antenna as your lightning rod? :twisted: Well, it's supposed to be the antenna support structure and all appurtenances. That's generally the tower and antenna. In the land mobile industry it's not uncommon for an entity that doesn't have any other restrictions to put up a 180 ft. tower with a 20 ft. antenna on top of that. A 5 (fiberglass - like a PD-220) or 6 (collinear dipoles - like a DB-224) dBd VHF antennas or 10 dBd UHF antennas (PD-455/DB-420) are generally 20 ft. long, excluding the mounting stub.

A wise site manager or RF telecommunications engineer will figure out the area he or she needs to cover, then put the antenna off the side of the tower. Then, put corona dissipation arrays on top, especially in Florida. The tower will take the hit and conduct the lightning impulse to the ground. In that case, the tower can go up to 200 ft with no additional topside appurtenances. Here's an article on static wicks, like you'd see on an aircraft.

It is not wise to put a fiberglass radome antenna up top. The instantaneous bend moments from wind will, over time, break the welds between the elements inside the antenna. You will then have arcing in the antenna under full duplex conditions and will have one or two of two conditions: noise/"static" artifact, and signal levels that can be observed to be multiple levels in RSSI or on a spectrum analyzer. A fiberglass radome antenna is for side mounting along with lateral stabilization standoff on the top of the antenna!

I probably should not have to say this, but I will put it out there, anyway. If you do put up a tower, you are wasting your money if you don't run hardline (7/8" for UHF and at least 1/2" for VHF for a 180 ft. run) and a professional grade antenna. I've seen a lot of people put up towers and top them off with a Ringo or AEA Isopole and 300 ft. of coiled 9913 coax. First windstorm and they have a stub. Lightning strike and the thing looks like an exploded cartoon cigar with a coat hanger sticking out. You can't slap them, it's not legal anymore, and you get in trouble. Do it right the first time and follow the NEC and R56 grounding and bonding standards. Wind loading is important to you, especially if your tower is within the fall zone for your house (or, like me years ago, my neighbor's swimming pool). That also goes for professionals. Don't crust it up like it's a Christmas tree.

And, finally, BE SAFE. Rigging a tower is not a beginner's job and you don't get proficient by watching a Youtube video. Everyone is a safety man (or woman), everyone needs PPE.

If I sound pedantic, it's only because I don't want you or someone else who comes across this in the future to die from taking a shortcut. That's a permanent condition. Have fun and best of luck with however your project turns out.
Thanks for the info... I plan on having an actual lightning rod with copper run down. Then the antennas no higher then 1-2ft below the top of the rod. I plan on using either dbspectra and/or Andrews commscope. and probably LMR600/ 1/2" for all runs. I have and will continue to look into grounding, and foundation for the tower I will be getting.
 
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