Recently it was my privilege to participate in a presentation given by Jim Idelson, K1IR, on the topic of Tower Safety.  Jim has performed research and analysis into how and why amateur radio enthusiasts suffer injuries and fatalities while erecting, maintaining, and removing antenna towers.

My brief summary of the presentation barely does justice to the effort Jim Idelson put into his research and the presentation.  Hopefully, my words will capture your interest and you will seek the original material to develop and build your own understanding of the topic.

The presentations can be viewed on YouTube.   You may wish to search for K1IR Tower Safety.
Or, this link will take you to a recording of a recent presentation given by Jim Idelson:

Short version — Amateur Radio enthusiasts are exposed to injury or death at a rate of about four times greater than experienced by commercial tower workers.  Factors that .

  • Safety Equipment that does not meet current standards.  The leather climbing belts of days-gone-by no longer are suitable for tower workers.  A full fall-arrest climbing harness is today’s standard.  A hard-hat safety helmet and gloves are vital additions.
  • Safety Equipment that is used incorrectly or inconsistently compared to good safety practices.  The tower climber needs to be secured to the tower at all times.  This involves the use of dual lanyards and hooks — one of which must be properly secured to the tower while the other is being repositioned.
  • Planning, preparation, and skills of the climber as well as the ground crew need to be top notch.  Allow ample time in order to do the job right.  Don’t take shortcuts.  Don’t rush the job.
  • Never underestimate the need for proper guy wires at all times when working with guyed towers  When raising or removing a tower, even the first (or last) ten foot section of tower needs to be guyed using materials and methods as good as the permanent guys.


Jim Idelson is the founder of the Zero Falls Alliance.   

For more information about the Zero Falls Alliance and Tower Safety visit    Take the pledge.