80′ tower

.. so I’ve been at it again. I purchased an 80′ mast kit from the Fed. for a cool $357.91 which as far as I’ve seen is substantially less than a similar kit could be found elsewhere.

80' mast kit in a shipping crate

In total, there were six auctions for 80′ tower kits which ranged in finishing prices of $318 through $503 which meant that my winning bid of $357.91 was just below the average price of $380.39 – a win in my books! While it is true that I might have won with a slightly lower bid, I feel that what I paid was well justified considering the timeline I was essentially forced to work with.


12' utility trailer

The antenna mast was located in Montreal, so this meant renting a 12’x6′ cargo trailer from a local moving company for $35 which meant the purchase of a 2″ drop ball-mount and 2″ ball which only cost another $25 and I wanted to have for the FJ anyways since it has a class III hitch & required wiring already. As it turned out, the choice of trailer was a very good one – the shipping crate just fit inside the walls (more on this later).

With the winning bid paid for and the “authority to release” documents printed and checked, my trusty ally and I headed out for our long journey to retrieve the tower. At approximately 13:00 we were on our way to Montreal – and the Crown Assets depot we were driving was expecting us for 15:00. Yikes!

Mast section showing the construction

After a long drive, spending some quality bumper-to-bumper time with the proletariat of Montreal, we arrived just in time to have our contact meet us at the loading dock. I backed the trailer up to a waiting forklift which was holding the crate aloft. After an initial inspection, it was determined that we were exceptionally lucky that the crate was just going to clear the rear gate / door of the trailer.

We weren’t sure that we’d be able to transport the whole kit in one piece – the backup plan was to demolish the crate and move the sections by hand onto the trailer for transport. We were both glad to not resort to this tactic.

So there we were at 15:45 ready for peak Montreal traffic, hauling a 12′ trailer with a ton of steel behind us. We stopped in at a fast-food joint as neither of us had eaten all day, and it was well deserved by this point. A few minutes later, we were back in traffic, headed west-bound back to Ottawa, albeit at a much more relaxed pace!

Mast kit hardware

Being an apartment dweller, I had to arrange for temporary storage of my acquisition which meant asking my very loving parents if they would be so kind as to store my future antenna mast until Julie and I find a home of our own (which we are actively, and with great anticipation seeking). I feel a bit bad having the tower stored at my parent’s place – they put up with a lot of crap of mine, and so I am extremely grateful. Love you Ma&Pa!

Upon arrival at my parent’s house, it was originally planned for the tower sections to be hand-delivered to a predesignated storage area – that is until my sympathetic father saw the scope of the work ahead. In typical Buck fashion, a seat-of-the-pants plan was hatched which involved the following aspects:

  • 4×4 low-gear
  • tree-saver strap & tow chain
  • momentum & some leverage

Mercifully, we were able to unload the crate in excellent time with minimal headache (save for a few bald-ish patches of grass which I have to attend to in the spring).

For now, the great tower will lie in wait – eager to be thrust high into the sky (okay, maybe not 80′ high – maybe). More on this adventure later …

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