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I'm wanting to mount a radio receiver (for internet access) to a really tall tree in my yard. I don't have a death wish so climbing it with tools is a non-starter.

So I've been thinking about renting a boom lift (specifically a Genie / S-65 or JLG / 660SJ) from one of those construction rental places. This should get me high enough to bolt the sucker to the tree, if I max out the reach of it.

What has me nervous is that I've never worked heavy equipment bigger than my riding lawn mower. I'm concerned that I'm going to be able to operate that sucker without some kind of extensive training or someone who knows what they are doing nearby. Clearly these machines can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly.

Some mitigating factors are that I will be a minimum of 80 feet from any power lines and the ground is very level around the job site. Also, I'm pretty nervous about heights so you can be sure that I am going to be totally obsessive about following any safety precautions. A complicating factors is that I'd probably need to use the full extended height of the equipment.

I'd like to hear from someone who either as a pro or amateur has operated equipment similar to this as to whether it is something I could safely do with a quick training by the rental company person or by reading the manual?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

A snork lift is something that you could rent, and it is not that hard to use, as long as you are comfortable. With large equipment, it is always better to hire someone. If something goes wrong they will have insurance to cover it :). I am sure you are capable of doing it yourself, but sometimes the feeling of hiring a professional is better then the feeling of screwing up. I have operated this type of equipment, and I have to say, for jobs that require heavy machinery, hire a professional. It will be better in the long run.

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How sturdy is this tree? If it's big enough to support the weight of a grown adult, find a rock climbing gym in the area and ask the owner to recommend someone for the job. If you came in to the gym I frequent, I know a couple people I would unquestioningly trust to do such a job. In fact, one of my worked for a wireless internet company and climbed towers and buildings for a living installing transceivers.

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It would be sturdy enough to support a person, but it would sure make me nervous about the liability to hire someone who wasn't a insured/bonded to be climbing that tree. It is a looong way down. –  JohnFx Aug 7 '11 at 20:40
    
Tree and rock climbing require entirely different equipment/skillset (I'm a rock climber who thought I could handle doing some trimming on my 200+ year-old oaks :) ). You may want to look for an arborist instead. I'm sure you could negotiate to have him do the install, and he'll already be insured. –  fakeleft Sep 12 '11 at 16:36
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