400 words on “doing things right”
While this phrase is often bandied about in discussions concerning IT procedures, contrasted with “doing the right things,” let’s focus here and now on doing things right in the tower work field.
Mostly, this means following what commercial builders and contractors would term “standard industry practices,” which is semi-legalese, meaning that such practices would be defined by “expert witnesses” in a courtroom. Scary stuff, huh, when all we wanted was a nice tower and beam in the backyard!
But as a working professional, I encounter folks who simply do not know or follow good engineering practice, and it sometimes gets me in trouble. Turns out, not everyone started reading and memorizing the Rohn catalog in their teen years! None of the remarks which follow should be considered as “bashing” or otherwise berating or belittling anyone. They’re merely meant or intended as illustrations or examples.
Here’s a case in point: I recently installed a client’s tower (and $6000 Yagi), and he insisted on running the Phillystran guys to ground level. No amount of conversation could convince him otherwise. Or, this client, who had me drive 10 hours, only to discover the base of his 25G tower had rusted away—leaving 90-ft of 25G tower standing on only one leg and the Z-bracing.
In each case, there was clearly a lack of understanding of basic, sound engineering practice. In the first instance, we did it his way; in the second, we had to build a “new” base up and around the rusted out stubs, which required a lot of new concrete, and two more 10 hours trips, once the concrete had cured, to then fix the tower and install the new antenna.
The idea I’m promoting here is this: I like tower work. A lot. I like to do things right, which means the way the manufacturer(s) intended. And this means the safest and “best engineered” way, whenever and wherever possible. If something isn’t following either of those dictums, I’ll speak up. What I say is NOT a comment on your family history or criticism of your radio fantasies. It is simply experience talking, gleaned from 52 years of hamming, and those long hamshack hours reading the Rohn catalog from cover-to-cover, along with anything and everything else I could discover on this subject. I apologize in advance if any clients think such remarks are “complaining,” because they’re not—rather, they’re merely my sometimes socially inept way of trying to guide you down a better path.