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Thread: 50 foot observation tower

  1. #1
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    Default 50 foot observation tower

    I got engineered plans for my 50 foot observation tower from the US forestry division free of charge. The tower is 50 foot high 20x20 at the base and has a 14x14 cab at the top with a catwalk around the cab. The tower is also rated for a 2500 gallon water tank (The water tank will never be installed) i just want to give you an idea of what the tower can handle. The tower requires 25 cubic yards of concrete for the pilings. The tower is rated for 100 mile an hour winds. I planned on mounting my solar panels on the railings around the catwalk and wind turbines to the top of the tower for max efficiency of said devices. My friends all laugh and say I am a nut for even thinking of constructing a tower this large in a remote location. One of my friends builds cell towers of all kinds and laughs at my idea because of the logistics and the difficulty of the build.

    The build sight is 15 miles from the nearest road 30 miles from the nearest town.

    According to the K.P.B. there are no building restrictions for my sight and I can do what ever I want out there.

    Feed back and nut busting is greatly appreciated on this one folks. beat me up hard please!

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I think that you have a total lack of understanding of the difficulty of what you are attempting with this AND your earth ship. You will only have 5 to 6 months of time available to work on either of these. Where is your sand and gravel going to come from for the concrete? How are you going to haul in 125 bags of portaland cement? How are you going to mix it? Have you ever mixed 25 yards of concrete by hand? What is the tower going to built out of and how is that material going to be moved?

    And finally..... towers are a balancing act between ruining the beauty of the wilderness and public usefulness. Don't expect any of your neighbors to be too happy with your tower.

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    I think this is a very good idea; you can not over design a tower. Two suggestion, If you want to mount solar panels on the side rails, the cab will need to rotate and tilt to follow the sun or you will not have enough panels to run your house. A 50 foot tower is two small I would make it 150 ft. to maximize the wind in the area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    I think this is a very good idea; you can not over design a tower. Two suggestion, If you want to mount solar panels on the side rails, the cab will need to rotate and tilt to follow the sun or you will not have enough panels to run your house. A 50 foot tower is two small I would make it 150 ft. to maximize the wind in the area.
    Rutting Moose, Don't be jerking his chain that hard you know that a 100 ft. tower would be just fine.

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    Yep.... your friends are right

    My friends all laugh and say I am a nut for even thinking of constructing a tower this large in a remote location.

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    Gun rails and spotlights will ruin the equilibrium of the tower ... safe to stick with the solar panels

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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    Ive built a couple of 40 footers at camps , so a fella could see along ways, shoot Rabbits from above, and have anice place to mellow out. 4Posts and some cross pieces, rungs from poles along one side and a Crows Nest atop for comfort.....lemme find some pix.....
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    That would be great if you had enough mature trees on site to construct it from. However, it would be simpler to use a modern lattice tower with guy wires. Probably cheaper too once you factor in the materials costs.

    25 cubic yards of concrete is funny. The old CAA CT towers and SBRZA range towers had four piers at their base. Some CT towers were 300 feet tall. Lots of them built around the bush prior to WWII and just after. None of them have more than 8 cubic yards of concrete for all the piers.

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    I think the tower he plans to build a forestry tower. That's a big tower with a huge base and no guy wires. You can get away with a lot less concrete if they are guyed off.

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    I put up a 50' Rohn antenna tower last summer and that was as big as I could handle. And I had a small loader/excavator and a Polaris 6 wheeler to do the heavy work. In my case I had only my wife to help. I suppose if you have 100 tradesmen available the outlook might change. I can't imagine erecting a wide stance tower capable of standing in 100mph winds without an excavator for the dirtwork and a crane or a helicopter for the heavy lifting.

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    I am not quick to jump on the nay-sayer list but I am curious how many undertakings like this you have done in the past. I had a neighbor growing up who we referred to as Diggin Dick because his name was Richard and he was always out digging up SOMETHING in the yard. He was a tireless guy who could dig for hours and it took him several days to dig a 20'x3'x3' drainage trench in reasonably decent soil. I recently set out to do something similar for a power line and after 3 hours of using a pick to break out rocks and only producing a 3' deep, 18" wide by 3' long hole I was off to the local rental company to get a mini excavator!!

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    Boy oh boy guys, I was hoping for a little more ball busting then what I have read thus far. I hope after this post you could give me a better reason for a redesign or a no build.

    First I do hope to meet so of you some day and have a beer or a few shots together. Sound like most of us would get along just fine.

    Here it go's,
    the 25 yards of concrete is specked to support the weight of the 50' tower with a 2500 gallon water tank with 14 x14 cab as noted in the first post that a few of you neglected to read the entire post. I am sure the non readers are Obama fans and need food stamps to make it in the woods. Lets all try to read together and keep up with the others. For those of you that are a little slow on the reading hooked on phonic make help on maybe even Evelyn Woods reading program. now back to the tower.

    At a height of 50 feet the bulk of the tower will be obscured by trees and that puts the cab at the top of the tree canopy. Also at that height I only need a short pole atop the tower for the wind turbine and allows the solar panels an open unobstructed view of the sky.

    As far as making the concrete, beach sand and washed beach stone will work just fine when mixed with Portland cement (about 17,000 lbs of Portland cement, in 94 lbs bags) I am sure that the slow readers at this point may need a little help with the math at this point too. If your feathers are getting ruffled at this point you may be a slow reader.

    Tower construction will be done in stages. First year construction is pouring of the four pilings and then let it cure until the next season so the concrete can reach its full strength. The second year the main frame will be erected. Third year will be cab construction. (yes I planned on multiple lighting rods) The fourth year will be installing solar panels and wind turbine.

    Akdoug, Points out the arduous task of mixing concrete by hand (small portable mixer) and that is why it will take one season for the pour. I would say that Akdoug is a fast reader and has a good head on his shoulders wouldn't you others agree? (Good point Akdoug) Also to add hauling all the sand and stone from the beach and getting the cement and re-bar to the sight. Don't forget that the those piling holes must also be dug by hand too. I am figuring one month total from dig to pour including hauling in the materials. That one pile per week. If your are slow and lack motivation you live in an apartment and are on the Obama plan and should stop reading at this point. If your driven like I am and work for what you want read on and bust my balls please.

    As far as the timber, chain saw mill and laminated beams.

    strangerinastrangeland, I also look forward to your pics of the 40 foot towers you have put up and any advice you have to offer.

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    Guy wire are out of the question and compound the construction problems and cost dramatically and require concrete anchors also if done correctly. So that negates the less concrete theory if I use guy wires. Have you ever priced that cable? $$$ Also do you know what it takes just to string that cable and tension it correctly with the other cables. No guy wires!

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    It sounds like you need a mentoring in bush alaska means and methods, lol.

    Big hole, grader blade, concrete, wire rope, comealong, turnbuckle, multiple attempts...lol

    I agree that 25 yards of mud is a tall order 15 miles from road.

    I think the foundation needs to counter the uplift more so than the vertical down weight. Think 100 mph wind. 50 feet is one hell of a moment arm with a large wind load on a "cab" or solar panels. That is how we design three legged cell phone tower foundations (pilings only!!!) Any chance of getting a tracked rig to the site, say in winter? That would make your life much nicer!!!

    All that said, you seem to have a good mind for a plan and seem reasonably sane. I wish you the best and would buy you a beer anytime. Looking forward seeing how (if) this develops.

    Good Luck.

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    Bingo, once again Akdoug knows how to read and is up on the subject manor. This is not a flimsy antenna tower guys! Read the entire post and stop guessing.

    Lujon, It is about time that question was asked. I have never undertaken a project like this. This is my first. That's why I am here, to pic your brains. I have used all types of heavy equipment loaders backhoes trenchers but no cranes. I have hand dug holes trenches of all types and sizes in a variety of soil types across the lower 48. Now I want to put my accumulative knoll-age and skills to the test in the Alaska wilderness.

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    dkwarthog Now we are starting to get some where, Nice ball bust LOL. I will take that beer. This reminds me of the time my oldest brother said that it was imposable for me to shoot a rabbit with my bow through a chain link fence at 40 yards. He was wrong and that rabbit tasted oh so good on the grill that night. I lived in Maine, Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois & Colorado. I hunt, fish, track & wilderness camp solo. I think I am more then qualified for this endeavor. The only thing I fear in life is not trying! With the help of God and you good folks I will make it happen in good time.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If the tower is rated for 100mph winds then everything you ad to the tower that catches wind will take away from the 100mph rating and you will need every bit of it.Also as mentioned by you in the other thread this is new land and its still growing and shaking so figure that in.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Hey Rich, big project. Just wondering if the 25 cb yds of conc. is spec. for the tower when it has 14 + ton of water & tank.

    Is that still the required spec. when just having a say < 2 ton cabin/walkway on the tower ?

    The hole digging, gravel/sand transport to site and mixing are mega' jobs in themselves. To support 14 + ton the tower construction has some serious steel framing, and would have to weight, and I have no expertise, four ton minimum ??

    Helicopter it in ?

    Hope all goes well for you.

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    [QUOTE=Rich Heipp;1063666 With the help of God and you good folks I will make it happen in good time.[/QUOTE]

    I hope your god has a strong back, we Alaskans will drink your beer and tell you what you’re doing wrong, nothing more. LOL

  20. #20
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    Beach sand there is SILT.. you cannot make concrete out of it. It will fail. I know from experience. Are there outcroppings of good sand? Maybe, but you will have to find them. Sand will have to be washed to make good quality concrete.

    Next issue. I bet if you look at the plans on that tower (post us a link) it is most likely spec'd for Douglas Fir timbers. White spruce does not have nearly the strength and will need to be reengineered to take this into account. Have you chainsaw milled timbers? If not, you are in for another summer's worth of education.

    BTW... we are just getting warmed up. If you keep throwing out the "slow reader" jabs it might just get ugly

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