The Best Way to Remove a 30-Foot Antenna Tower
By Tom King
Dropping a 30-foot antenna tower can be done safely with planning and careful rigging work. A crane is the best way but, if can't get one, you can do it effectively with a pair of come-alongs and a couple of 50-foot lengths of rope or cable.
Most antenna towers have at least three or four guy wires that hold the tower up in a high wind or storm. This model is based on a three-wire setup but can be handled just as well with a four-wire setup.
Attach two ropes or cables to the top of the antenna tower. You can do this with a ladder or by climbing the tower if it is sturdy enough. Be sure to use a safety belt if you climb the tower.
Find two solid spots to attach the come-alongs to on one side of the tower. Come-alongs are hand winches that tighten and loosen a steel cable. You can rent them at a local equipment rental place. A tree or post set in concrete is a good spot to attach one. If the tower is light, you can attach a come-along to the bumpers of a pair of trucks or something similarly heavy. You'll need 30 feet of cable for a 30-foot tower or you'll have to lower the tower in stages. After you attach the base of the come-alongs to your hardpoint, attach the movable hook end to the rope or cable at the top of the tower.
Pull the lowering ropes tight and stake down the base of the tower legs on the opposite side of the come-alongs. This will keep the legs from sliding toward the helpers on the come-alongs as the tower leans over. Unbolt the legs of the tower from the base. If they aren't bolted, cut them free with a torch or metal cutter (also rentable). Cut the guy wires on the same side as the lowering ropes, but leave the guy wire on the opposite side attached during the take-down.
Begin to let out the come-alongs and the tower will begin to lean. Either have two people work the come-alongs simultaneously or let out the come-alongs two or three cranks at a time so they come down slowly and evenly.
If you are working with a short come-along with a cable that isn't long enough to get the tower all the way down in one pass, you'll need to obtain some heavy boards to brace the tower up while you reset the come-alongs about halfway down. It's better to get come-alongs that are heavy enough to have 30 feet of cable.
Once you get the tower down, unhitch the cables and take it apart.
Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.