How to Rig a Gin Pole

by Keith Allen; Updated September 26, 2017

A gin pole is a unique tool used in the erection of radio, television and other towers. The gin pole extends beyond the high point of the tower during construction and serves as fulcrum for pulleys used to raise or lower tower components. As each new segment of the tower is lifted into place the gin pole is raised and attached to the new segment. Rigging a gin pole can be accomplished by following these steps.

Items you will need

  • Gin pole
  • Rope or cable
Step 1

Pass the rope through the pulley at the top of the gin pole. Rig the rope or cable before the gin pole is attached to the tower. The end of the rope the load will be attached to, the tag end, passes through the pulley going up the side of the pulley closest to the tower.

Step 2

Bring the free end of the rope to a control point at the bottom of the tower. The simplest rig of a gin pole is simply a rope run through a pulley with both ends of the rope at the bottom of the tower.

Step 3

Pass the free end of the rope through a pulley mounted at the base of the tower. This removes the ground worker from the area at the base of the tower in case of any sort of failure that results in tower components falling.

Tips

  • According to the Web site W9iix.com, never use a power winch to pull the load up the tower. Power winches do not allow for the level of control needed to safely raise the tower segments into place. The gin pole transfers the job of lifting the tower segment to the ground workers. This frees the worker on the tower to position the tower segment after it’s raised and fasten it in place. The worker on the tower then raises the gin pole and attaches it in place on the newly installed segment.

Warnings

  • The stress of moving the tower segments up the tower needs to stay as close to the tower as possible. Both the stress of the lifted load and the free rope should be as close to straight down as possible and not laterally.

    Safety is always the primary concern when working at high heights. Follow all Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations concerning the use of a gin pole.

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.