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Hello all,

Did you ever work with a gin pole? There are several kinds of gin poles. I don’t have a lot of experience with them but I thought I would share what I have learned about them.

Normally, a gin pole is a device used to aid in tower stacking or putting something on top of the tower. It is usually used to go above the top of a tower but there are gin poles that are used to leverage a tower raise it using hinges.

Gin poles are used across other industries but in communications we generally use them in heavy-duty work. They have all sizes, very small to raise something like a Rohn 25 tower to very large and heavy-duty to raise a Large tower sections. Raising the gin pole itself is no easy task! It takes extensive rigging and a heavy-duty winch. Steel cabling is normally used on a large gin pole. Then once it is attached to the tower you will be ready to raise the tower sections. That takes skill and hard work and muscle to get it on right. It takes not only the winch and pulleys and steel cables, but you should also be ready to tag the section out. Once the section is high it takes a lot of effort to guide the steel on the path you want it to take. This takes skill, especially on a loaded tower that needs work. Remember that this is for more than cell towers, but also for HAM and broadcast towers as well.

The gin pole can also be used to stack sections or a dish atop of a tower. It may be easier to work with the line coming from above when mounting the heavy load. This is a lot of work but it is a necessity at times.

NATE actually has a class on gin pole safety, https://natehome.com/training-category/gin-pole/ if interested.

I put together several links fo you to look at, it takes time to look at them but if this is something that you work with, then maybe it’s worth a little time to see what’s out there. It’s all up to you and how much time you want to take to learn about this.

If you want some more information go to http://www.wirelessestimator.com/industryinfoselect.cfm?categid=317 and you will see that Wireless Estimator has a great article on Gin poles. I found that BTTi has a cool page showing information on the gin pole usage at http://www.tower-technologies.com/GinPole.htm if you want to see some illustrations.

Some more links for information:








Now, there are other kinds of gin poles like this one, http://www.arewindtowers.com/raising-systems/conventional-gin-pole that is used to raise a wind tower. It works more on leverage than on strength. Pretty cool though, right? These are called tilt up gin poles. For more information look at http://shop.solardirect.com/pdf/wind-power/skystream-tower-manual.pdf

So to quote Wikipedia: A jin-pole or gin pole (the more common spelling) is a rigid pole with a pulley or Block and tackle on the end used for the purpose of lifting. The lower portion of the gin-pole is set in a shallow hole in the ground and the top secured with three or more guy-wires. The wires or ropes can be manipulated to position the object being lifted.[1] or attached to the upper exterior of an existing tower or structure. The gin-pole’s free end extends above the location the object is to be lifted. When used to create a segmented tower or antenna, the gin-pole can be detached, raised and re-attached to the just completed segment for the purpose of lifting the next segment. The process is repeated until the top most portion of the tower is completed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jin-pole

Some videos

Lifting guy anchor to gin pole using Winch:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLI6EZHPWQ0

Useful Knots for Gin Pole Raising: http://youtu.be/GLW7i8e5BnI

Gin Pole Flies again!: http://youtu.be/XZTNzE2Juvo

Gin Pole installation: http://youtu.be/-emze5-6YWM

Vertical Gin Pole- Wind Turbine Tower Raising System: http://youtu.be/vEEJX29IP50

how to use a jin-pole: http://youtu.be/eU0JFrPLAaM

PART 4: Gin Pole | QUAD BUNDLE | Horizontal Rigging: http://youtu.be/LVGxjVDYugQ

Jumping a Gin Pole Part 1: http://youtu.be/6FZv7NQkdE0

Jumping the Pole Part 2: http://youtu.be/vX8doM20RdA

Flying Gin Pole: http://youtu.be/9RUYT2ftOE0

Hanging sector mounts with a gin pole: http://youtu.be/lsIgLIJAE9U

Installing a Gin Pole Part 4: http://youtu.be/SKt5pDre_k8

WEBSITETAG (2) Wade Casual 5-17-2013

5 thoughts on “Gin pole overview

  1. Wade;
    I didn’t want to disappoint you by not noting the advantages of using a ginpole, so here is the story.
    I agree that using a ginpole is more work than not using one, and therein lies the reason for several fatalities over the last few years. Guys trying to install sector mounts on top of a tower above other sector mounts and torque arms where they don’t have any drift. They overload the lifting equipment because they are pulling on a tagline too hard. And they have a failure.
    Ginpole technology is very simple, it’s not something that requires vast intelligence to work with. I have seen crews work their tails off because they were using the wrong type or size of ginpole and they develop the idea that using a ginpole is a workhouse, which it’s not. If the user selects the right size pole and they have the right rigging to interface the pole to the tower they are working on, it’s not that hard. I use the word “interface” because we work on so many different sizes of towers.
    The truth of the matter is that there have been no fatalities in the industry from ginpoles buckling that I am aware of in my 58 years of working in the business. I only know of six or eight cases where a crew buckled a pole but nobody was injured because they knew they were overloading it. There were a few deaths I am aware of where the crew lost control of their pole but that was from misuse, not from pole failure.
    I have designed, manufactured and sold over a hundred poles in my career, from 12′ long and 500# capacity to 150′ long with 25T capacity. Every pole we built was engineered by a P.E. and not a single one has ever buckled. The idea that all the ginpoles out there today, literally hundreds of them, should be redesigned by a P.E. is ludicrous, and this idea is nothing more than a plot to create additional work for the engineering community. And this work is very appealing because they already know that the poles won’t buckle under the old standard, so their liability for endorsing a pole that fails is non-existent.
    When we built the old AT&T self-supporters, we never used a crane for anything. We “tripped” or stood our 80′ pole up on the ground in the center of the tower and built the bottom 75′ of tower booming the pole from face to face. Then we jumped the pole up for each 25′ section after building out the bottom. When we topped out, we jumped 25 to 30′ of pole out the top and boomed it around setting the lower corner mounts, the top deck and catwalks, handrails, Etc. and the cornucopia, or horn, antennas.
    In closing, a ginpole is the safest, most cost efficient tool for use in tower erection than anything else I can imagine,,,,except for the boom trucks and the extending boom forklifts, but then they are limited by height considerations.
    Just some of my comments. I have more but I have to go.


    • Richard,
      As always, I appreciate your knowledge and insight to these subjects. I realize that most people don’t understand the pros and cons, but thank you for pointing them out.


  2. OK Wade, you asked for it and you have opened the floodgates. Asking me about ginpoles is like asking Noah about floods. My “pingback” regarding cranes as compared to ginpoles is as follows;
    1. Cranes are costly and they have height limitations.
    2. I always use a crane or boom truck to stand my stub, or at least the bottom 60′ of tower. It is by far the safest method to use and you can always find a small boom truck to get this service if you don’t have your own boom truck. It only takes a couple of hours.
    3. When you hire a crane to erect a tower, if you can find one with enough boom, it is always much more costly than just erecting it with a gin pole.
    4. When you hire a crane, you give control of your job, and schedule to the crane company. If they have problems on a previous job, your crew is sitting drawing perdiem until they arrive, and they are paid by the hour, so they are never in a hurry to get the job finished.
    5. Cranes are very heavy, and owners are never willing to provide a sound site to handle heavy equipment, and the last thing you need is to get a crane stuck.
    6. When you order a crane, most companies will quote you an hourly rate with a minimum of four hours, some are eight. But when you get your bill, they tack on a charge for a truck to haul out the counterweights, and a driver to drive the truck, and a permit fee from DOT for roading the crane, and a fuel surcharge, and overtime for the operator and the oiler if they are kept past 4:00 P.M.
    7. If I’m building a big tower and will be standing a 120′ stub that weigh 20T, I usually have the crane company send out an operator to look the site over and confirm that they can do the lift before I issue a purchase order.
    8. Typically, before the cellular build-out, cranes were never considered for erecting towers unless they were under 175 ‘ high. Then before the build-out is over, they are erecting 300’ towers with a crane, and this was only because they didn’t know how to use a ginpole, or maybe they didn’t even have one.
    9. I worked under cranes for several years connecting on multi storied buildings like six or eight floors and they are very efficient machines for this type of operation. Anything higher than this we used a guyed derrick, similar to a basket ginpole like we used on the AT&T long lines towers. The key to using a crane under any circumstances is having a good operator, especially if you are using a lot of boom.
    10. I will send you the advantages of using a ginpole tomorrow if I get time.


  3. Pingback: If you had a choice: Gin Pole or Crane | Wade 4 Wireless

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