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comm towers and staad pro

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presently, we are involved in the design and investigation of communication towers for a leading telecom company here in the philippines.

so far, we have only worked with self supporting towers.  but later on, we will also be working with guyed towers as well.

so far, in all the towers we have done, we have modeled the entire tower as one 3-dimensional tower, complete with diagonal and horizontal bracings.  applied wind loads, antennae loads, and then have staad pro (the software we're using) analyze it.  my concern is whether my analysis approach is being inputted in staad pro correctly.  sometimes, our analysis is correct, but then when we input the data into a program, there may be misinterpretations as to what we want the program to do and what the program is instructed to do by our input files.  and since i have had no formal training on staad pro, i am not sure if my staad models are correct.

can you recommend some references in the design of communication towers?  (both self supporting and guyed towers)

we have looked into the program MS Tower by Microstran, does anyone have an opinion on this product?


>Regardless of the software your using, your questions relate more 
>to the analysis approach rather than the specifics of the program.
>Your approach is dependent on the level of suffication and what are 
>you determining. You can break the tower down to a number of 2D 
>plane frames i.e the 4 sides, diaphrams, crossarms. (oh..the days 
>of 2D analysis and non graphical input are coming back to haunt 
>me) or, define it as a space frame as you describe. 
>Since you have the power of the software there, space frame is the 
>approach I would take because now you can play the whole 
>torsional game on the tower checking what happens under 
>unbalanced conductor spans, broken conductor conditions etc.
>Of course, you now have to check different tower 
>configurations....deadend(terminal), in-line towers, deviation angle 
>towers etc.
>Then of course, are you designing self supporting lattice towers, 
>guyed lattice, etc.....??????
>If transmission lines is your main function, it may have been better 
>to purchase software such as PLS-CADD and associated 
>programs (i.e. Tower) which would do all the terrain modeling, sag - 
>tension etc. functions.
>ASCE has a number of manuals that can give you guidance.
>#52 - Guide for Design of Steel Transmission Towers
>#74 - Guidelines for Electrical Transmission Line Structural Loading
>just to name a few......
>I hope these comments help....
>Peter McCormack