Unlike a new house with a almost flat roof pitch, one that is a single story that one can almost jump up on, I don't have that convenience. This obviously isn't for everyone, but it was more than worth it for me.
I try to access my antennas yearly for inspection and maintenance, but erecting a 32' type 1A fiberglass extension ladder and 16' aluminum roof ladder with a "chicken hook" is no picnic. I have thought about coming up with a roof access opening, hatch or skylight of some kind allowing me to access the peak from the attic, eliminating the heavy ladders.
I did a search for roof hatches, but all I could find were those square boxy metal flat roof hatches for commercial buildings which were expensive, ugly and surely not suited for a sloped roof. I then looked into skylights, but most are just windows that don't open. There are some that open slightly for ventilation, but that won't work.
Then I came across these roof access windows from a manufacture in Poland (no less). These are popular in Europe due to regulations for 3rd floor living areas in what would be considered here an attic. (Their regulations have changed that these are no longer required I believe.)
The company is Fakro and the egress window is here. The US importer is based outside of Chicago.;
There are three choices (sizes), right or left opening. I choose the smallest since this isn't for regular daily or weekly access for a roof deck. Including shipping it was $665. I was having the south side of the roof replaced (a tear off due to three existing layers), so this was the obvious time to do this. Being in a 95 years old house, rafter spacing was around 24", their smallest window was perfect, not requiring any rafter cuts. These are real
2 x 4 dimensional rafters, not todays cut down versions.
I already had a 8' fiberglass stepladder in the attic, so I planned on using that for access to the window. What I needed was a short ladder of some type to get me from the window to the peak which was less than three feet from the top of the opening. Actually, with the tripod within reach I could pull myself up, but I didn't have a platform to stand on with no roof ladder, so that wasn't adequate, or safe. I looked around for a used 16' aluminum extension ladder and lucked in and found one on Craigslist. Splitting this as I did with my 16' "roof" ladder from a 32" extension ladder (using one of the two sections, selling the other to a friend for the same purpose). I didn't want another bulky "chicken hook" for support around the peak, so I devised a bracket out of two pair
of 8" right angle flat
brackets with a 2 x 4 between them. I tried a single bracket on each side, but it seemed to 'flimsy'.
Location of the opening was critical for closeness to the tripod, spacing between rafters (some were less than 24" in center, making it a non-fit for the window) and distance from the peak. Since the object was to be as close to the peak as possible and given the fact I already had a 8" stepladder, I based my choice on this. If I choose to place the window close to the floor, a longer roof ladder would be necessary, defeating the purpose of closer 'peak' access. Also, it would be harder to get that longer ladder out through the window.
The finished result worked better than I thought, making it a real pleasure to go up there. I also gained another benefit that I never thought of. A instant view of the mast and antennas from inside the attic without even using the stepladder.
Here are the pics of the project.