Category Archives: Tower

Ham Radio Insurance

When I was getting quotes for homeowners insurance I specifically asked my agent about coverage for my tower. It turned out that for just a few dollars a year I could purchase a rider to cover my tower, however the standard $1,000 deductible applies, and it’s not clear if the antennas and rotor are covered. I decided that I was okay with that for the time being.

But I recently upgraded three smartphones, two being Apple iPhone 6s devices, and a Samsung Galaxy S7. The cellular provider is happy to provide coverage for accidental damage for only $9/mo per device, with a $50 deductible, and I have to send the phone off to some 3rd party to attempt to repair it, and if they can’t, they replace it with a “comparable” refurbished device. That doesn’t sound like a good deal at all.

Instead, I purchased a policy from Ham Radio Insurance Associates to cover not only my ham radio equipment, but my smart phones as well. The coverage was less than $100 a year. Next year I’ll probably add my tower, antenna, and rotor to the policy as well, instead of purchasing the rider to my homeowners policy.

If you are wanting to insure your ham radio equipment, be sure to check out HRIA. They have great rates, and the agent is a ham operator.


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Mostly Done

The tower is now mostly done. The HF antenna is up, as are the 2m and 70cm yagis.  The rotor is installed, and rotates.  Mostly. There's a tree in the way of the HF beam, so it can't rotate.  I have a guy with a boom truck coming to fix that little issue. I still… Continue Reading

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Tower Grounding

Here's a brief summary of the grounding on my tower as it stands today.  It's not perfect, it's not even ideal.  It's a major compromise. I ran a 2" copper strap from one tower leg to a ground rod about 20' away.  The strap is buried underground, but only about 4 inches deep.  The reason… Continue Reading

2 Responses to Tower Grounding

  1. Ufer ground, I had never heard the term before, I had to read up on it. It’s a pretty smart way to augment your grounding with materials you were already using. How did you decide how much steel to use to avoid concrete flaking/decay?

    Man the Limestone has been the bane of this project eh? Do you know if it’s good ground? It wouldn’t seem like it would be as effective as soil, but that is a guess. If the water table kept the limestone saturated it might be a fairly good ground. Huh, I’ll have to go look that up next 🙂

  2. I learned of the UFER a little over 10 years ago when I started studying up on grounding for tower sites after I tired of chasing behind storms fixing the destruction from lightning while I was working in the cellular business. My employer didn’t understand lightning protection at all, and while it was great job security, the 3am trouble calls were getting tiresome. I went from multiple failures per month at one site to none over the next year until I left that job.

    As for how much steel to use, I went a bit overboard. A friend that does lots of ham towers did the rebar and welding, so I went with what he recommended, which was more than what Rohn specified in their foundation drawings. I figured more than the minimum is good.

    If I never saw any more limestone it would be too soon! It’s a HORRIBLE conductor. Something like 1000 times more resistive than normal soil. That’s not good at all.. But what can a guy do? Closer to the house it’s all backfill from when the basement was dug, so I’m trying to drive rods about 36-42 inches from the foundation, where there’s no rock.

    Now, if I wanted the perfect ground I would run 2 inch strap all the way around the house, with 10′ ground rods every 20 feet or so, and 3 radials coming off the tower itself with 3 ground rods on each. But that’s not practical in a residential setting, nor is financially feasible. So compromises have to be made. I hope to add to the grounding in the spring when I have a bit more money, and time.

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Stacking Tower

I'm way behind on updating here.. The tower itself is up. I home brewed my ginpole using an actual gin pole head I bought on ebay.  I added a 10 foot section of 1" galvanized pipe.  I didn't buy any brackets, so I used u-bolts to attach it to the tower.  Not recommended.  And I… Continue Reading

2 Responses to Stacking Tower

  1. Nice, now just don’t move in a year! 🙂 Will the ginpole serve as a lightning rod? Or will physically be breaking the circuit from your antenna(s) to your HAM shack when not in use? (I’m sure I learned something about how to handle that when I took my Technicians, but I’ve forgotten)

  2. Last time I built a tower we DID move. A friend here built a really nice tower last fall, he had about $12,000 in it. Very nice. Never even got the coax connected and he’s moving to Florida.

    The ginpole is just a temporary fixture to for lifting the tower sections and antennas up, then it will come down. I just u-bolted the pipe for the gin pole to a tower leg, which wasn’t ideal, but it worked. If I ever build another tower I’m buying a proper gin pole bracket.

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Tower Construction – Part 2

Some photos this time around. To build a tower you have to dig a hole.  A pretty good sized one.  In my case a minimum of 30" square and 48 inches deep.  No problem.  In normal soil. I don't live on "normal soil".  Our neighborhood is notorious for limestone.  Even the electric utility had issues… Continue Reading

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Tower Construction – Part 1

Here is the latest on the new tower. So far I have acquired: 40' of Rohn 25 tower The concrete base plate A Rohn heavy duty house bracket (which needed some modifications) galvanized concrete anchor bolts new Rohn hot-dipped galvanized leg bolts And so the digging of the foundation has begun.  And it's been an… Continue Reading

6 Responses to Tower Construction – Part 1

  1. Thanks, Josh, for the invite. Although I don’t know a thing (other than digging a hole, I’ve done that plenty of times in my life) about what you are talking about, I will sitll read and learn.

    Build away, dude.

    • ke7fyn – you really need to find a cheap 10m rig. It’s a blast when it opens up in the evenings. They can be had for under $100, and you can get a cheap CB antenna at Radio Shack for $30 or $40 and trim a couple inches off and be on the air.

  2. yah I should. I really need to test for my general or extra class. I could probably study for a day or two and have my general.

  3. I took the general the same night as my technicians. I was one question away from passing. That was about 4 years ago, so it would probably take some work now.

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I have some tower sections

I now have three 10 foot sections of Rohn 25G tower sitting in my yard. I hope to get started soon getting that thing up in the air. I still need a 36″ house bracket. Rohn gets $249.00 plus freight for their heavy duty “universal” model which supports both Rohn 25 and 45 (more on… Continue Reading

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