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A good wind power story

Discussion in 'Photovoltaics' started by m II, Feb 27, 2005.

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  1. m II

    m II Guest

  2. Richard P.

    Richard P. Guest

    Great story, I liked it!
  3. wmbjk

    wmbjk Guest

  4. philo

    philo Guest

  5. Bughunter

    Bughunter Guest

    I have to agree with others that this was a truly inspirational story

    There is something very heroic about these guys who grew up in the 1930's,
    just after the great depression. The did so many wonderful things, like
    invent commercial aviation, skyscrapers, the automobile, Hoover dam, the
    Golden Gate Bridge, and so many other amazing things.

    He gets tired of reading by kerosene lamps, so he builds himself a little
    wind generator from scrap materials around the farm from tidbits he learned
    in shop class. Did you see the size of that wind generator. Awesome.
  6. Richard P.

    Richard P. Guest

    I thought it was interesting that right after WW2 he mentions the nation was in an energy crisis.
    And here I thought it was a 1970's/80's/90's/21st century thing.
  7. ptaylor

    ptaylor Guest

    I second the notion. Very cool. Thats the DIY way!
  8. Nelson Gietz

    Nelson Gietz Guest

    ...makes me embarassed that I've been postponing putting up a simple Air
    I have...
  9. m II

    m II Guest

    I know that feeling all too well.

  10. Bughunter

    Bughunter Guest

    DJ, you don't realize how rare it is to find somebody willing to climb up on
    a two story roof, let alone climb a 90 tower. My buddy built a camp with as
    many as 15 friends helping out. I was the only one brave enough to climb up
    and put a roof on it! The mere mention of a 90 ft. tower would have sent
    them all running for home. (me included)

    So, you are a present day hero and you deserve every buck you get for going
    that high.
  11. Guest

    Then again...

    When Dan Pederson arrived at Brush Mountain in 1916, the fire station
    had only a telephone and a crude map stand. To Pederson, a retired
    Norwegian sailor, that simply wasn't good enough. He needed a higher
    point, to see more country. Just below the crest of the shield volcano
    grew a tall Shasta red fir. Its top was a good sixty feet above any
    point on the hill.

    So, armed with an axe, auger, and a pair of pliers (but no safety belt),
    he took on the job of converting that tree into a 104-foot tall
    lookout tower, alone...

    Starting at the ground, he began drilling holes every 18" to accomodate
    66 yew pegs. Each freshly driven peg served as a place to sit while
    he bored the hole for the one above. Limber poles, bent and wired
    to the outside end of each peg, made the stairway more secure.

    Circling the tree four times with his spiral staircase, he eventually
    reached the desired height. He then sawed off the top.

    Reminiscent of his sailing days, he fashioned a circular crow's nest,
    similar to one you might find atop a ship's mast. The small enclosure
    would give him a place in which to sit for hours at a time ten stories
    above ground, watching for that infrequent but inevitable puff of
    illicit smoke in the forest.

    Not to be content, he rigged two buckets to an endless cable, and filled
    one with rocks to equal his own weight. A gentle pull on the cable thus
    sent him shooting up or down the "tower" at ease in an elevator. Only once
    did the man-lift pose a hazard. A local family was visiting the station,
    when their ninety-pound son climbed unnoticed into the bucket and pulled
    the locking pin. The hundred-and-eighty pounds of rocks at the top brought
    the counterweight bucket crashing to the ground, with the lad in the other
    pail sailing up the tree at an equally breathtaking speed. Dan leaned over
    the rail, grabbed the cable, and succeeded in stopping the elevator just
    in time to prevent the lad's suicide launch into outer space. The kid
    wasn't hurt, but Dan suffered rope burns all the way to the bone...

    Smokechasers had many a tall tale to tell about his expertise in
    plotting smokes. One, without exaggerating, tells of being sent to a
    smoke the size of a campfire four miles from Dan's lookout. Pederson
    figured it to be located about 120 odd feet from the northwest corner
    of Section 12. The fire turned out to be 123 feet from the corner.

    With his lookout tree completed, there remained one thing missing atop
    Brush Mountain--a house to live in... With the abundance of rocks,
    he created a snug and cozy little stone cabin, complete with
    an artistic fireplace and thatched roof...

    Today, nearly hidden beneath an overgrown forest of wild cherry bushes...
    remains a little stone cabin, its roof mostly gone. Nearby are the
    decaying ruins of a 104-foot long log, along with a few "bones"...
    yew pegs, buckets, and a length of badly rusted wire rope...

    * * *

    It was known across the nation as "The Cook Creek Spar Tree"--the
    most ingenious fire tower ever. It stood within the Quinault Indian
    Reservation 9 miles southwest of Lake Quinault.

    In 1927 a 179' Douglas fir 7 feet in diameter was high-topped by a
    Hobi Timber Company climber using spurs and a crosscut saw. The huge
    pole was then debarked with a double-bitted axe as he descended from
    the top. Three-foot steel rods with an eye in one end were driven
    into the tree in such a manner as to form a winding staircase with a
    steel cable threaded through the 130 eyes and stretched taut with a
    chain binder. The tightened cable served as a hand rail, as well as
    to hold the rungs securely into the trunk. Four railroad ties were
    then anchored a few feet below the top, with the 49-square foot house
    assembled atop them by Paul Meyer and his two helpers. Cedar shiplap
    siding finished the walls, and sliding glass windows gave the eagle's
    aerie its own touch of class.

    Upon nailing on the last shingle, Paul stood up on the rooftop and
    hoisted the American flag. His shouts could be heard only faintly
    on the ground as he declared, "I can see all the way to Hawaii."
    For the next 28 years that the unique fire tower stood, no one ever
    challenged his statement by climbing atop that breezy roof again.

    During its years of service, the Cook Creek Spar Tree became a center
    of nationwide publicity. Newspapers from coast to coast ran feature
    stories, and in 1929 Hollywood newsreels portrayed it as the
    phenomenal one-legged skyscraper.

    In 1955 the Bureau of Indian Affairs found it necessary to saw the
    pole down for fear that someone might be injured climbing the decaying
    attraction. Today, nothing can be found but a few rusted fragments
    amid a thriving new forest in the NE1/4 of the NW1/4 of Section 26,
    Township 22 North, Range 11 West.

    From "Fire Lookouts of the Northwest,"
    by Ray Kresek, Ye Galleon, 1984

  12. Bughunter

    Bughunter Guest

    Good story!

    I am running on 400 watts of PV panels now, but I would love to have a wind
    generator to augment that. Problem is, I am in the middle of many spruce and
    fir trees, many of which are 85 feet tall. I'd need a 100' tower myself.

    I get all puckered up just thinking about the maintenance, let alone the
    cost of a tower that tall.
  13. wmbjk

    wmbjk Guest

    There's nothing to it. ;-) Check out the ones on this page

  14. Bughunter

    Bughunter Guest

    Hey, I'll bet that would make a great pumpkin launcher!

    Ok, so that kind of a machine eliminates the pucker factor. But, then there
    is the cost factor.

    That looks like a first class machine. I couldn't find a "sales page" where
    they show a price.
  15. Ecnerwal

    Ecnerwal Guest

    Speaking as another person with 85 foot trees, I'd say you need a good
    bit more than 100 feet to have a hope with 85 foot trees, unless the
    tops of them are constantly whipping in the wind - mine do not.

    Think about it - it'd be just barely sticking up above the trees. If you
    happen to be up on a ridgeline, that might be adequate, (as might a 15
    foot tower on a hill in the plains) otherwise I doubt it would be worth
    doing. Especially if the trees grow any taller, as they tend to.
  16. Bughunter

    Bughunter Guest


    100' is probably not enough to get above the turbulence caused by 85' trees.

    Generally, these considerations as well as cost of such a tall tower make
    windpower a bit out of reach for my site and budget. My small PV systems
    works pretty well, as the sunshine is nice enough to come all the way down
    to my roof top.

    I might be inclined to buy one of the cheap Air-x turbines, mount it in a
    tree near the lake and hope to catch a few watts now and then on windy days.
    My expectations would be very low for a system like that, but then again
    they are not that expensive. It would be more of a toy to fiddle around with
    rather than a serious watt-catcher.
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