Installation of RFS N-Connector on RFS LCF158 Cellflex For Use On New Tower

RFS NF-LCF158-D01 installation on LCF158 1-5/8″ Cellflex corrugated coaxial cable

The female N-connector needed to be installed and tested prior to this 550′ piece of RFS LCF158 1-5/8″ corrugated coaxial feedline being hoisted up a new tower which is currently being erected. The installation of the connector went well and the connector/cable combination sweep-tests at approximately 546 feet which is more than close enough to tell us that the connector installation and the cable checks good and is ready to be hoisted up the tower and put into use. For a lot more details, photos, and technical information regarding the installation of the RFS “D01” series connectors on LCF158, you can click on this link.

Replacement Auburn, AL Communications Tower Delivered

After about a year of helping a client with our part of the planning, preparations, and procurement of antennas, feedlines, hardware, etc. for the “Swap and Drop” replacement of the approximately 450′ Auburn communications tower, it’s about to start going up. The tower sections were delivered this morning, but due to rain in the forecast and a some of the guy wire hardware and other materials not scheduled to arrive until this afternoon, it looks as if the first section won’t be going up until next week. It is anticipated that erection of the new tower will take about ten days. This one is going to be cool to watch, since the gin pole system will be rigged in “Chicago Boom” fashion, which means that once it’s up and the gin pole/boom system is at the top of the new tower, the old tower will be dismantled and lowered to the ground by literally reaching across from the new one, similar to a tower-mounted crane, which is essentially what it amounts to. Can’t wait to see this shiny piece of hardware go up, although seeing the old tower — built back in the 1960’s — being dismantled and hauled away has a bittersweet feeling to it. I suppose that’s a “broadcast and radio guy” sort of thing. There’s just something nostalgic about some long-standing towers which have provided many, many years of service, weathered all sorts of storms… hmmm… kind of makes me wish I  could have the old one reassembled in my back yard. 😉

Update On the “Uncle Wobbly” Tower

We have been monitoring the status of a tower in a community south of Opelika which was supposed to have been taken down a while back. This

The curving of the tower in this photo is not camera distortion. It really is bowing and bending as bad as it looks.

tower has been (not so affectionately) nicknamed “Uncle Wobbly” because you can watch it precariously sway with the wind. It is also bowing and leaning very badly. All of this is because it only has three of the original guy wires still intact, and only two of those are actually supporting the tower. The guy wires are old and extremely rusted and six of the original nine guys have broken. Two guys remain on the back side of the tower at approximately the 60′ level, and one on the front at approximately the  80′ level.

The guy wire at the front (from the vantage point of the road — and utility lines — is the only top guy remaining, and it’s slack. That “slackness” is actually a good thing in this instance, because with the other two top guys missing, one can venture a pretty accurate guess as to what would happen if someone put much tension on that top/front guy.

Two of the three front guys have been broken for quite some time, and you can see the extremely rusted condition of the guy wires in this photo.

This tower is only about 50 feet from the utility lines running parallel to the road. That has created a seriously hazardous situation. The tower is 110′ tall (including appurtanances.) Obviously, if it falls in the direction it is leaning, there is a high likelihood it will fall across the utility lines and the roadway. This decommissioned tower was slated for dismantling in the Fall of 2017 according to the tower owners, but that work has not yet been done.

We will not be the least bit surprised to get a call at any moment letting us know the tower has completely failed. We also would not be surprised to hear that it damaged the utility lines (and quite possibly the utility pole nearest the tower) and caused interruption of utilities for a lot of folks in the area.

Forensic Inspection of Damaged Tower

Earlier this week, we had to go and do a little forensic inspection of a tower which was severely damaged by an electric company bushhog operator who was cutting and clearing the right-of-way. Here are a few photos of the damage and how the tower failed as a result of the incident.

This is how the tower looked when the owner went to investigate the loss of signal from his equipment.
This guy wire anchor and spreader had been struck by a utility company “bushhog.” It went unreported by the operator of the bush hog. The tower owner could tell that the site and utility right-of-way had just been cut, and he and the deputy finally made contact with the equipment operator who admitted he had struck the guy hardware, causing the tower collapse.
Top guy, which had been pulled with enough force to pull the upper part of the tower over.
One of the two tower legs which literally bent and folder over, in a hinge-like fashion.
The second of the two tower legs which bent and folder over.
This tower leg was opposite the side of the force of the top, front guy wire being pulled by the bushhog. As can be seen, the bolts remained intact in the mating leg, and the force was sufficient to cause the bolts to rip through the galvanized metal tower leg.