particularly ropes and webbing. Because of how it’s used,
cuts, nicks, and abrasions are common. (Rodent damage is
another common problem.) If you see web stitching that is
coming undone or partial cuts, retire that gear so it doesn’t
fail under load. Carabiners with weak springs and pulleys
with wobbly or binding sheaves should be retired too.
Avoid buying used gear if you aren’t experienced.
In the Clear
I’ve just scratched the surface of getting your antenna
to where it can work the way you want. There are lots of
decisions to make and things to learn. When I was young,
I did some dumb things: free-climbing; not using the right
climbing gear; overloading masts; working alone; you
name it. Pro tip: Don’t! You might get away with it and you
Take the time to learn how to climb and work aloft.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know” and ask for help or
hire a professional. It’s not a race. Plus, you don’t get extra
points for taking unnecessary risks. NV
n FIGURE 4. Carabiners are available from mountain
climbing stores and rigging suppliers. At left is an open oval
carabiner with a closed carabiner to its right. A steel snaplink
is at right with a locking carabiner to its left. (Photo courtesy
of Steve Morris K7LXC and the American Radio Relay
Tower and Rigging References
Where can you find out the right way to do things? Start with information provided by the manufacturer of your mast or tower.
They want you to have a good experience! The Rohn User’s Guide is a wealth of information about towers. Online, survey the articles
in the ARRL’s “Antennas” web page at www.arrl.org/antennas or pick up a copy of the ARRL Antenna Book (
Finally, there are two complementary books specifically written for hobby-level antenna and tower installers that you’ll find very
helpful. Antenna Towers for Radio Amateurs by Don Daso K4ZA covers all aspects of erecting the typical amateur tower and applies it
to many commercial installations too. Up the Tower by Steve Morris K7LXC is a tutorial on working aloft, rigging gear to lift and position
antennas, and the tools and accessories involved. Both are widely available online, including from the ARRL ( www.arrl.org/shop).
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Errors and omissions excepted.
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22 May/June 2018