Failure to do Maintenance=Failure to have Tower

This is a tower behind one of our FM transmitter sites.  In the past, it has housed paging and two-way services.  It has always been sort of a slum, in my opinion.  Several times, malfunctioning or improperly installed 900 MHz paging radios from this site have caused interference with our 950 MHz STL receivers.  In recent years, all those things have gone away, however, to be replaced by a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP).  Even with this change, the site is mostly overgrown and uncared for.

Yesterday, I noticed the tower was not as tall as it used to be, so I walked down the hill and saw this:

Self supporting tower after loosing top section
Self-supporting tower after losing top section

It appears this happened a few weeks ago. View from the other side:

Self supporting tower section resting on roof of building
Self-supporting tower section resting on the roof of the building

Close-up of the tower section that failed:

Failure point
Failure point

Looks like the bolts that held one of the flanges together failed, the tower was pushed over by a strong NE wind causing the other two legs to fail.  Truth be told, the tower had been in rough shape since the mid-’90s.  I am surprised that it stayed up this long.


WISP sector antennas. I don’t know if they owned the tower or were tenants. Either way, this is going to cost a few rubles to repair.

More carnage
More carnage

Looks like the shelter took a little bit of damage too. To be honest with you, I hope that this is it for this site. It would be nice if they take down the stump, scrap the lot of it and move it somewhere else.

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10 thoughts on “Failure to do Maintenance=Failure to have Tower”

  1. We used to call that “field expedient repairs” among other things…

  2. It’s remarkable how tower owners are unwilling to protect their investment. Like anything else, towers need regular care an maintenance.

    Of course this could have been a version of “let it fall and collect the insurance money”.

    Either way, horrible business practice and something that could actually endanger someone.

  3. Usually the owner walks away and the mess will just sit there. Same as big box stores, dead malls, etc. Then the city or whoever will be forced to deal with it but it will take a very long time. See the “Pontiac Silverdome”.

  4. Pictures like this make me oddly sad/sentimental for some reason. I see them and I think “once upon a time someone used to take care of that site and take pride in it”. Same thing happens with some old houses that have clearly been abandoned. The intrinsic beauty of the structure, be it a house, a shelter, a tower, whatever… and the pride that someone took in creating it, now being ignored and forgotten.

    In cases like the one you’ve documented here it hurts more, with the knowledge that some site owner (or disembodied corporation) actively doesn’t care and is just letting it deteriorate as he/they cashes the checks. Maybe I’m attaching too much significance to inanimate objects, but it just kills me to see situations where an occasional ounce of early prevention would have been faaar more beneficial than the many pounds it would take to cure things as they’ve ended up. Much of what should be common sense PM seems to have died an early death.

    Or maybe I’m just turning into a “get off my lawn, ya danged kids” a few decades earlier than normal…

  5. Rob, I hear you. There are several old AM sites from the 30’s and 40’s around that are in very rough condition; roof leaking, mouse shit everywhere, trees growing up next to the towers, or towers about to fall over. Still, with a little imagination, one can picture the days when such sites were grand indeed. Once upon a time, somebody cared about those places an awful lot. It was more than just a collection of buildings and towers, it was an important part of the community. Something that the people relied upon during good times and bad.

    Times have changed. Nowadays, these transmitter sites are simply a list of assets on some accountant’s spread sheet at the corporate headquarters, which may be located hundreds or thousands of miles away. Roof repairs, tower maintenance, tree removal are all not in the budget. It does not matter that eventually the leaking roof will destroy the transmitter. Like the rest of the industrial infrastructure, out of sight, out of mind.

    It is hard to not care, but eventually, if you care too much, this shit will eat you alive. The industry is crumbling, the moneymen all have their vacation homes in the Bahamas or whatever. In the meantime, the ordinary person just trying to live is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  6. Hi Paul. Really enjoy your site. Thanks for keeping it running. I’m waiting to hear about one of these rusty old towers falling. Either injuring or killing someone, or, at least causing some serious property damage. When these cheapskates choose to abandon a site, they should be forced to remove the towers and clean up the site. Too bad if the crybabies have to spend some of their ill-gotten gains to make things right.

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