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Thread: Bought a house with a tower. Need your expertise.

  1. #1

    Default Bought a house with a tower. Need your expertise.

    Hello all,

    If this should be posted in another forum, Iím sorry and please let me know.

    I bought the house of a deceased man in Ottawa, Canada. So heís no longer there to help me understand what gear I have in my back yard. It certainly looks like serious am radio gear. Please have a look at the pictures in my Album. I think the equipment was purchased new in 2001.

    Unfortunately, I have no knowledge at all in that field and no time to start a new hobby. Itís disheartening to see this tower unused and would like to sell it. I spent a few hours browsing the Internet for information, but I realize the learning curve is very steep.

    Am radio seems to be a fun hobby for connecting with people and be part of a community. Above all, it looks like it can be a life-saver in emergency situations and sometimes the only communications means in remote areas. Beyond that, I know nothing about the technical aspects.

    So I need your expertise.

    1) Is there any chance that I could find a buyer for such a big item? Where can I advertise such an antenna?
    2) How much could I sell it for?
    3) How much could it have cost new (installation included)?
    4) Would it be complicated to remove and move it (moving logistics, taking it down, ship it, etc.)? How much would it cost to ship such a tower to a potential buyer?
    5) What is the main purpose of this antenna? What would be its reach? Worldwide?
    6) If you had to sell it, what descriptor would use to advertise it?

    As you can see, Iím completely clueless.

    The tower is made by US Tower Coporation. My understanding is that the company no longer operates on the residential market. It is active only on the commercial market with big company clients.

    The tower is 25 feet tall, but the neighbors tell me that it is telescopic. I donít know the total expanded height. What could it be? Any educated guess?

    The diameter is 6.5 inches.

    It looks like the cranking up function is motorized.

    Neighbors also tell me that the tower can be tilted for maintenance, but looking at it, I doubt it. I donít see any pivotal point.

    The actual antenna is from Hex-Beam Traffie Technology (miniaturized controlled field antennas). The model is HX-5Bi Multi-Band Array. It is fed with a 50-Ohm cable. The diameter is 226 inches.

    Iím looking forward to hearing your expert comments. Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions. This is much appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Where is your album? Can't see any links or pictures anywhere?

    Questions. Steel or aluminium (or however you spell that in the US - aluuminum or similar) Ali has a decent scrap value, which means at the very worst, a local scrap contractor would find value in it. Steel, has very little scrap value.

    If you want to sell it for what it is - the best solution is to Google for your local ham radio club. They are usually loads of them. They could assemble a team of people who could dismantle it and remove it, but it's rare to get anywhere near the original cost simply because the demand is low, the hassle factor high and planning rules often prevent the people who want them, having them.

    If you have the skills to get it down, then shipping will still kill the sale - towers are heavy and hugely expensive to ship as it is based on weight and size. The other problem is that you cannot sell it complete as the base is probably buried in a lump of concrete. If you can remove this so you can sell the tower complete, you will get more money. Without the base section, buyers would have an incomplete tower. If it's still being made they could get a replacement, otherwise, they would have to fabricate one!

    As for what it's for, it depends what is on the top. HF beams for worldwide, VHF beams for country/county, vertical antennas for local working - could be anything. If it's telescopic, then the usual overlap would be a couple of feet when extended. We need photos - lots of them to go any further - probably best to host them on an outside server somewhere.

  3. #3

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    There is very little, if any, money to be made in trying to sell a used tower.
    I do not know what the tower cost originally, but the install was likely done at almost no cost.
    Amateur radio is a hobby, a hobby that most who are in like to do things themselves as much as possible.
    Very few hams can afford to just buy or pay for all the things in the hobby, the money spent for most of us has to come after the family and necessities.
    Over the years I have put up 4 towers and I never paid for an install, I always had antenna raising parties... my friends came over and we put it up.
    The only thing I paid cash for was the concrete pour into the base, and that was only on the largest one, the other three, my friends and I dug the holes and mixed the concrete ourselves.
    Getting rid of a used tower often costs the property owner rather than them make any money on it. Taking a tower down needs to be done by someone who knows what they are doing, and companies who do that are not cheap. I have taken many towers down for folks over the years, usually we heard about it through the local club letting us know that someone had a tower they wanted taken down and a few of us would get together and go over and take it down... the tower itself was usually our pay for doing so. I was usually involved because I owned the gin pole and climbing harnesses that are necessary to climb most towers and lower any equipment off of it, and then take down the tower sections and lower them safely to the ground. Paulears had a great suggestion for you, look up the local ham club and contact them. They will likely be able to assist you, but do not count on making any money, look at it as more of getting rid of an unwanted obstacle in your yard. Hams each have their own idea of the kind of tower and antenna they like to use and if the ones you have are not the one they prefer they will not likely want to give you anything for it. Good luck.

  4. #4

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    To reiterate on what Obed said - since all that Obed said is true, A antenna is nothing more than a electrically charged device, nothing makes an antenna an AM antenna any more than nothing makes a UHF television antenna a Hi Definition tv antenna.

    More than one tower tech has been hurt / killed, by trying to be a good Samaritan, helping out another ham etc. and got electrocuted by the very antenna / tower they were trying to save.

    Crank up towers are dime a dozen, you would be lucky to get $100 for it, and only then if someone was looking for the winch - not the tower, since it is too short for most everything except playing UHF / VHF FM - since FM the repeaters does all of the heavy lifting.

    Make sure who ever takes the tower down and hauls it away is licensed and insured. Someone getting hurt on your property is a good way to end up in a lawsuit.

    Most electrical contractors - with bucket truck, can easily lay the tower down for you, then all you would have to do is unbolt it from the base plate.

    The most expensive part of any tower construction is the guy wires and the foundation.. Cement / rebar / time, equipment time is the biggest expense..

    Some towers will actually crank and tilt down - so if that is true, you won't even need a electrical contractor.

    A person working AM - as you put it, would usually operate AM on 75 or 160 meters - hence they would need a tower that is practically 200' tall - to use the tower as a radiator, and would need at least 140' if they were using some type of horizontal dipole antenna and would need two tall structures - one for each end of the dipole antenna, to hold it up high enough to be able to operate. AM wastes 70% of the power generated in the carrier. Hence it takes almost 3 times as much power as SSB - from an efficiency standpoint..

  5. #5
    Super Moderator pmh's Avatar
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    I read Am radio as an abbreviation for Amateur radio, rather than the AM mode.

    Kind regards,



    Phil

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmh View Post
    I read Am radio as an abbreviation for Amateur radio, rather than the AM mode.

    Kind regards,



    Phil

    I pretty much took it that way too. The rest of what sixmeters said is still relevant to the OP.

  7. #7

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    Thank you all for the replies. This is much appreciated. When you see the photos, it will be clearer. I'm sorry for the missing photos, I'm trying to figure out how to post them.

    I'm sorry for using the wrong terminology, I'll do some research, digest your replies and reply to this thread.

    Here are the photos. I hope you can see them:
    General view.jpg
    Hex-Beam antenna.jpg
    Motor front view.jpg
    Motor side view.jpg
    Base.jpg
    Last edited by Newbie 1 Kenobi; Tue 3rd Apr 2018 at 22:50. Reason: Typo

  8. #8

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    More photos:

    Brand plate.jpg
    Telescopic mechanism.jpg
    13574583-15.jpg

    The neighbours have told me that the height could be doubled telescopically (I don't know if this is true or possible). Because the owner was in an urban area, apparently, he needed the tower to be telescopic. He obtained a special authorization from the city to operate the tower.

    The tower is from this company:
    http://www.ustower.com/
    My understanding is that they now only make commercial equipment.

    The top of the mast looks a bit like this one:
    https://www.ecvv.com/product/3097286.html

  9. #9

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    Many thanks to each and everyone of you for taking the time to reply. I really do appreciate the thoughtful and sound advice you gave. Solidarity, teaming and connecting with people is part the hobby and you have shown good ham radio spirit in assisting me.

    So I'm assuming that you have seen the photos and that they don't change your initial assessment. I now understand that there is no point in trying to sell the antenna.

    Based on your advice, I'll contact my local ham radio club to see if someone is interested in taking it. If that doesn't work, I'll ask them for good contacts who could help me take it down safely either in exchange for the antenna or for a fee on my part. Unfortunately, it looks like it is made out of steel, not aluminium, so an exchange for the service seems unlikely.

    I guess antennas are like very old pianos in basements of houses for sale. Though the piano is still somewhat serviceable, the cost of removing it is higher than its actual resale value. And if you have no need for the piano, it stays there collecting dust because it won't even make good firewood.

    Thank you again. This is much appreciated.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie 1 Kenobi View Post
    More photos:

    Brand plate.jpg
    Telescopic mechanism.jpg
    13574583-15.jpg

    The neighbours have told me that the height could be doubled telescopically (I don't know if this is true or possible). Because the owner was in an urban area, apparently, he needed the tower to be telescopic. He obtained a special authorization from the city to operate the tower.

    The tower is from this company:
    http://www.ustower.com/
    My understanding is that they now only make commercial equipment.

    The top of the mast looks a bit like this one:
    https://www.ecvv.com/product/3097286.html
    Or it might look like this - https://www.dxengineering.com/search...rder=Ascending

  11. #11

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    Come south of the border, take the 35 question multiple guess test and get your license.

    Buy some radio stuff and use the tower to put up your first antenna's and join us in the fun.

    That tower is worth 5 times as much as what you will sell it for, if you decide at a later date to put another tower in it's place.

  12. #12

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    Here in the UK, battling with neighbours and planning rules makes many people frustrated. As you have one up, I'd second the idea of maybe giving it a go?

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    You go giving it away for free and they will make legend of you.

  14. #14

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    Sixmeters, thanks. You put a smile on my face. I don't own the radio shown on the picture. Only the antenna, which of course, without the radio is mostly decorative. You're right, that would be the logical thing to do and that antenna would become a treasure. But I have come to an age where I understand that I can have only so many hobbies. I have to prioritize.

    As I mentioned, the previous owner passed away. One thing is for sure, that antenna meant a lot to him. To get that antenna, he went through the hassle of importing it from USA, buying it in pieces from different providers, obtaining a special city permission to operate it, having it installed. The neighbours tell me that the installation was a true community effort. Apparently, he used it to contact Inuit communities in the far North where he did some research as a university professor.

    So as suggested above, I started inquiring about the ham radio clubs in my area. And with some googling, I found his callsign as well as contact info of people from the club who knew him. So I'll go from there and see if they know people who would be interested in providing a new home to this antenna in exchange for removing it. If I have to pay, I'll pay.

    I'll make sure to post the outcome when everything is settled. This may take a few months. I'm sure lurkers in my situation would be curious to know what their options are.

  15. #15

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    Newbie, that is too bad that you do not feel that you can do amateur radio (too many hobbies I get), with the attitude and sense of humor you have displayed here it looks to me like you would be an asset to the hobby.

  16. #16

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    The antenna tower found a new home!

    So, in the end, I sent an email with photos to the local ham radio club and I got a reply 3 minutes later saying that they would gather a team to remove it and take it.

    When they first came, they were impressed by the sheer size of the tower. Though they had seen the photos, they were not expecting something that big. So they took measurements and decided to come back the next week with more men and tools to remove it. When they came back, they had their plan in mind and the removal went smoothly. Actually, it was flawless.

    They were truly wonderful people. Six fine gentlemen. They had dedication, thorough expertise and a positive, enthusiastic, contagious team spirit.

    I think it was a good deal for both their club and me. (I donated the tower in exchange for removing it.)

    One of the club members will install the tower in his backyard and will donate his current tower to the club. They needed a tower that is more portable to do fielding activities.

    We have been able to confirm that the tower is the MA-550 by US Tower Corporation.

    It’s a motorized telescopic tower that is 22 feet tall retracted and 55 feet tall fully expanded. The rotation is also motorized. Without the motor, it weighs 435 pounds and with the motor, it’s around 600 pounds. It’s huge.

    Here’s its description and data sheet (though probably an older model).

    http://www.ustower.com/towerproducts/ma-550/

    http://www.ustower.com/wp-content/up...l_MA_550_c.pdf


    So I hope this thread will be useful to lurkers who would like to know what to do when they buy a house with a big antenna tower. To me the whole removal ended up being a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to meet nice and passionate people.

    Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply to this thread. You’ve been extremely helpful in guiding me through the whole process. This is much appreciated. Keep up the good spirit!

  17. #17

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    Glad you had a great outcome! Also - thanks for reporting back, many people wouldn't have bothered!

  18. #18

    Join Date
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    Good deal all around, I'm glad it worked out for everyone involved. Yes, thanks for checking back; many never do. Best wishes and enjoy the new house!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie 1 Kenobi View Post
    Well, the ol' boy certainly had the world at his feet...

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