How to Make an Antenna Tower Into a Tilt Over Tower

By Grahame Turner

The tilt over tower is a sturdy construction designed to withstand winds and get your antenna up in the air for your ham radio set-up. They are a simple construction, and hold sturdily to the ground because of its twin base design. Converting your old antenna set up to a taller tilt over set-up can cost you a fair amount of money, and does require a bit of work, but it can be worth it for the added range.

Dig a 6-foot deep, 3-foot wide hole in the ground with a shovel. Place the hole near your radio shack or set-up, close enough that you can attach the antenna to it.

Dig a post-hole in the bottom-center of your hole. Dig it three feet deep and insert the earth anchor into the bottom of it, so that a foot extends into the hole.

Wrap the #4-gauge wire around the earth anchor, and bring it the remaining wire up to the top of the hole. Hold the wire down with a rock so that it does not fall in.

Cut two 1-foot lengths of 4 1/2-inch pipe. Repeat on the other 4 1/2-inch pipe so that both are the same length. These become sleeves to reinforce your pipe material, and the remaining pipes become your upright supports.

Slip two of these sleeves onto the 4-inch pipe. Place one sleeve at the end and the other exactly halfway up the post.

Lay the two upright base posts side-by-side, about 4 1/2-inches apart. Place the 4 1/2-inch pipe between the two, so that the top of the center-most sleeve meets the top of the two upright posts. Place the two remaining sleeves between the two upright posts to act as spacers, one at the bottom, and one 4-foot from the bottom.

Drill through the sleeves at the middle, and drill corresponding holes on both of the uprights, so that you can bolt all the way through these posts.

Insert the bolts through the lower two sleeves and keep them in place with the nuts and lock washers. Leave the upper pair of sleeves unattached for now.

Insert the upright posts into the hole, and make them level.

Cut the hog wire into 5-foot square sections, roughly, and ball them up and stick them into the hole. This not only reinforces the concrete but also keeps the posts upright. Use up the entire mesh fence to keep the posts upright.

Verify that the posts are still level.

Insert the remaining anchors into the mesh, with the tops level with the ground. They should be at least 1-foot away from the uprights, and positioned between the posts. These will become pulley anchor points.

Mix the concrete and pour it into the hole to cover the bottom earth anchor, hog mesh and 6-feet of the two upright posts. The tops of the two top-most anchors should remain visible. Recheck that your posts are level periodically. Leave the concrete to dry according to its directions.

Insert the narrowest aluminum pipe 2-feet into the next narrowest. Drill from the top through both sections of poles about 6-inches from the join, and from the left to the right side about 18-inches from the join. Repeat with the next-narrowest pipe, and again with the 4-inch pipe. These create sort of sleeves along the height of your antenna mast.

Drill through the 1-foot sleeves of 4 1/2-inch pipe at the top, from the top to the bottom.

Insert a bolt through each of the holes drilled at these sleeves. Bolt and lock these into place.

Tie a small rock to a piece of rope, and tie the other end of the rope to your antenna cable from your ham setup. Lift the mast as far as you can so that the rock falls through to the top and brings the rope and cable through.

Pull the rock at the other end to bring the antenna cords through to the top. Attach your antenna to the top of the mast according to the directions on your packaging.

Lift the end of the mast and position it between the two upright posts so that the holes on the sides of the sleeve line up with the holes at the top of the upright. Push the bolt through and loosely bolt it into place.

Place the iron bracket across the two uprights, so that it is below the top section of the mast. Drill through this piece and bolt the bracket into place. This will stop your mast from going too far when you raise it.

Raising the Mast

Attach two pulleys to the earth anchors.

Run rope through the two pulleys. Stand so that the top of the mast is on your left, and the bottom is on your right. Tie a rope from the left-hand pulley to the right-hand end of your mast, and vice-versa.

Pull the other ends of the ropes to lift your mast to its upright position, with the help of as many people as you can get. This is a heavy project, and likely, one you should not do on your own. Be very careful to lift or pull with your legs, not your back. If you cannot pull this up on your own, attach the ropes to a truck for more pull.

Bolt the bottom sleeve to the sides of the antenna using the remaining 16-inch bolt set.

Bolt the box from your antenna kit to the front of the mast.

Things Needed

  • Shovel
  • Three 6-by-4 earth anchors
  • 10-feet #4-gauge grounding wire
  • Post hole digger
  • Rubber mallet
  • 1.6 cubic feet of concrete
  • Two 20-by-4 1/2-inch schedule 40 aluminum pipe
  • Metal cutting saw
  • Drill with 1/2-inch metal-cutting bit
  • 20-by-4 inch schedule 40 aluminum pipe
  • Four 16-by-1/2 inch bolts with nuts and lock washers
  • Level
  • 30-foot of 5-foot hog wire mesh fence, 3/4-inch mesh
  • 20-foot by 3-1/2-inch schedule 40 aluminum pipe
  • 20-foot by 3-inch schedule 40 aluminum pipe
  • 20-foot by 2-1/2-inch schedule 40 aluminum pipe
  • Five 5-by-1/2 inch bolts with nuts and lock washers
  • Four 16-by-1/2 inch bolts with nuts and lock washers
  • 24-by-2 inch angled iron bracket.

Tip

The beauty of a tilt-over design is that you can take the tower down between uses. You will need to perform a similar operation to raise it each time, but it can be taken down and covered during severe storms or harsh winters. Follow the directions for putting the mast up, in reverse, to take the mast down.

Warning

Do not work on this project during any type of inclement weather. If a storm occurs, you are more likely to be hit by lightning when standing next to a giant metal spike.

About the Author

Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009 and a freelance reporter since 2010 for Wellesley Patch and Jamaica Plain Patch in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore. He is a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.