posted on June 20, 2020 09:41
Currently, ELWA Radio FM transmissions cover Monrovia and surrounding areas, a potential audience of some 1.5 million. The existing 340-foot tower was pieced together from 40-50-year-old sections of multiple towers after the Liberia Civil Conflict. Several sections have bullet holes--evidence of having been through a war--in the legs, which are hollow tubing, not solid steel.
Salt spray from the nearby Atlantic Ocean has been at work on the tower. While the obvious corrosion has been under close observation for several years, we cannot see what is going on inside the hollow tube legs which provide the primary support for the tower. All this adds up to a tower that is in danger of collapsing, perhaps catastrophically, in the near future.
EMAUSA began raising funds for the tower in 2018. Over $150,000 has been raised which covered the tower, lighting system, tower paint, straps, and shipping.
The new tower is made of 1-1/2" solid steel legs. To ensure a 50-60 year lifespan, in ELWA’s coastal environment, each welded solid steel section has been hot-dip galvanized (zinc coated) and the guy wires are made of Kevlar.. The sections are only 10 feet long, instead of the usual 20 feet, to make it easier and safer to erect with limited equipment. It was also designed to be able to safely hold additional pieces of equipment, like cell phone antennas.
The new tower was ordered late in 2019 and delivered to a site in Florida in February 2020, ready to be shipped. The material for the tower base and three guy wire anchors have already arrived in Liberia. We had anticipated several radio engineer volunteers making a trip in 2020 to install the base and anchor rods in their underground concrete anchors, but the worldwide COVID pandemic has delayed this portion of the project.
Alan Shea, Contributor