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Taking the towers down at W3PP
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W3PP SK

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Crane day at the former W3PP site, 
Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010:
 
It was a successful day with the crane. Temperature was 17 degrees F and we had a couple inches of snow still on the ground when I arrived just after sunrise. First work was with a chain saw to clear several Leyland Cypress trees that had grown up along the driveway since the last crane visit in 1998, to allow room for its access.

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AA1K climbs to attach the two slings at 90 feet on the Rohn 65

Then we started getting the guy attachments loosened up, and removing the nuts on 3 of the 4 bolts on each leg bolt of the SSV tower, and cutting the last remaining cables/ropes and ground wires.

The crane arrived right on time at 8 a.m. -- only one driveway away, at the house rather than the hamshack. We got him re-oriented and it took about 15 minutes to set up the 35-ton extension crane (with a 110-ft reach) in the middle of the field. He moved the cable and ball into place near the 90-ft. point on the 130-ft. Rohn 65 and then I climbed to attach the two slings, one to each of two legs of the tower. It had likely warmed up a few degrees but my gloves were sticking to the tower as I made my way up, fully harnessed and connected of course. The crane took up the slack on the cable to make sure all was well with the attachment.

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Once I was back down on the ground, the turnbuckles on the six guys were loosened -- the ground crew had arrived and we made quck work of this, thanks to N3KNT, KB3HTE and his son as well as Lucy and her brother Eddie. The crane took more of the load and we dropped the guys toward the tower. We also hooked a rope up to the base of the tower so once it was off the pier pin we could "steer" it if this became necessary. It wasn't, but the rope helped to tug the base when the crane moved it to
where it would be laid on the ground. This went smoothly, and it was all over in under an hour from when I started to climb the tower.

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We moved on to the 60-foot SSV tower, attaching the cable at 40 feet. The bolts were a bit frozen or rusted to the tower base plates and it took a bit of gentle rocking with the crane to get them to break free, one leg at a time. Lowering went smoothly. The operator told me later the crane's computer showed it was at the load limit at one point before they broke free.

Then it was up to 50 feet on the 70-foot Glen Martin aluminum tower, and we had it on the ground with a half hour of time left on the "clock" -- before Lucy would have incurred additional charges.

I had only been involved with installing one previous tower with a crane, so was glad this all went so nicely. The forecast had been for calm wind -- one reason we chose to proceed despite the snow -- and that held through the morning. I'll have the photos posted soon of the whole operation.

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Lifting the Rohn 65 off the pier pin

All three towers remain intact for the moment. Our next effort there will be to dismantle them, with N3RRR using his backhoe to lift the heavy SSV and Rohn 65 sections as we remove the connecting bolts.

We have buyers waiting for the Rohn 65 and Glen Martin. The SSV is still for sale (a potential buyer changed his mind), as is 85 feet of Rohn 25. And a bunch of nice beams. Details here.

This tower removal project began in January, 2010, following the untimely death in a plane crash of Dallas Carter, W3PP, in October 2009. The successful completion of this project has been made possible through the contributions of an entirely volunteer crew who put in many, many hours. ]
 
These include:
 
Phil, N3RRR; Pat, KW3Z; Roy, K1RY; Marvin, KB3HTE, and his son; Rod, N3KNT; Paris, W3PAR; Chick, NW3Y; Rick, WW3DE; Irwin, KB3TB; and Ray, K9RS.
 
In addition I'd like to thank Glenn, WW4B (ex-N3HUV), Chet, N4FX; and John, W2GD, for numerous consultations and advice along the way that helped bring this closer to completion.
 
73/Jon AA1K

Photos by Lucy Carter and AA1K