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 Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)

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PostSubject: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSat Dec 16, 2023 9:12 pm

Hi all,

I've recently got back into the world of all things radio after being absent for a long long time (think 11m in the early 90s as a kid).
I'm thinking of purchasing a Comet gp 6 (or maybe a gp9 if I'm feeling flush) primarily for 446 operation, with the potential of using it for 2m when I get my foundation.
After months of badgering my father when I was a kid he finally succumbed to putting up a Shakespeare bigstick for me on the side of his house and have no idea how it was done.  Now I have a house of my own, I'm unsure as to how to go about doing this myself.
Is anyone out there able to advise what comes with the gp6 in terms of mounting equipment?  I'm guessing I'll need to attach some kind of bracket to the side of the house at the apex of the roof (currently where my tv aerial is - will this cause issues?) which will need a pole on it for me to clamp another pole to?
I appreciate a lot of these questions are basic DIY questions but barely knowing the difference between a philips screwhead and a pozi drive I'd really appreciate help with the following:

  • What equipment do I need to buy that doesn't come with the antenna?  (I should be able to borrow a cordless drill)
  • If needed, what brackets do you recommend?  A link for the kind of thing I should be looking for/where I could purchase would be great.
  • Is it best to drill into brick or mortar or doesn't it matter?  
  • Do I need to use rawl plugs? Screws/bolts?  How do I ensure they're really secure?
  • Should I do anything about lightning protection?  If so, what?
  • Someone suggested I use LM600 coax - is this really thick?  I reckon I'll need about 30' of coax. The cheapest/thinnest I could get away with would be best, but not at the detriment of signal loss.
  • Will there be any disadvantages (interference?) to following the route of the TV coax down the side of the house and through the wall into the living room at the bottom?
  • Finally, I hate being up ladders.  Do you think if I assembled the antenna on the ground, that a TV aerial professional would go up there and erect it for me?


Any help or pointers you can provide, gratefully received.  

Thanks in advance,

SCM.

Edit: And now I’m trying to figure out whether I need planning permission. 😰
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 7:18 am

Hi there, (apologies but no name given),

Welcome to Charlie Tango DX.


That's a lot of questions raised and I'm afraid to say that if you asked 10 radio enthusiasts how to do something you may well get back at least 15 different answers! Wink

Many radio outlets sell all the appropriate equipment to mount antennas along with helpful instructions or guides and some sell complete kits including all fittings for such stuff so worth a scan about. (I think 'Thunderpole' does a complete kit amongst others.)

There's also a plethora of videos via the usual outlets so worth having a peruse of as many of them as you can to get some better ideas for such projects.

Sorry if none of that is very specific but as already mentioned many will have different input and opinions. 

Many may well throw planning permission out of the window whilst others will recommend caution, some will impose "coax snobbery" and recommend the most expensive coax whilst others will happily utilise whatever is to hand. (I'd upset the apple cart by recommending ladder line for vastly superior loss figures but it's not as easy to match or string up unlike coax and seldom done at VHF/UHF nowadays. Wink )


From stainless steel fittings to painted ones, weather proofing suggestions, coax routing with cautionary tales and maybe even suggesting a totally different antenna from the one that you planned on putting up in the first place it can all become a bit confusing.

Here's hoping you get some less confusing suggestions from other members but worth doing a bit of homework yourself. Such example would be contacting local aerial erectors and simply asking if they will make such installations....some will do so happily and others won't.

I wish you all the best and suggest you simply get on with it as best as you can because often if you spend too much time 'planning' such stuff you'll never get anything done.

Also the very best of luck with your Foundation aspirations. As many here will attest to the radio interest can become a lifelong passion.....and it'd take that long to try and learn/master just some of the intricacies which for me anyway has been half the fun. Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) 1f44d 


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 7:24 am

Thanks, Victor. Appreciate the response. I have indeed been researching before and after posting on here. It seems that’s all I’ve been doing (much to the other half’s disappointment and lack of attention she’s been receiving!)

Rabbit hole is correct. I’m now contemplating whether a small yagi might be a better option (and less likely to offend the neighbours).

I’d be interested to see what suggestions and guidance others come back with.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 9:16 am

A yagi would need a rotator unless you only want one direction, depends on what you want to achieve.

You could get a longer pole put on the TV one and stick the GP at the top.
Unless your good a ladders etc may be a pro installer could do it for you.
It will depend on many factors if this causes any interference being so close to the TV ant.

Sorry Victor, at VHF and above get the best coax you can afford do not use cheap coax or RG58.
If you can run to it go for Messi and Paloni, Ultraflex 7 has very little attenuation upto about 50feet
and is only 7mm wide. If not get some RG213, it's thicker, 10mm and less flexible.

As to permission, just stick it up and see what hits the fan.
A vertical will just look like a longer pole anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 10:39 am

Appreciate the response, Mike. Thanks. Ideally I’d like omnidirectional but directional would be an acceptable alternative . I know which direction I’d point if I had to go this route.
The TV aerial is right at the apex of the gables right now. From what I’ve read, the advice seems to be to position the antenna above or behind the TV aerial. Is that right?  I guess I could reposition the aerial down and towards the front of the house a bit and let the antenna take the position previously occupied by the aerial.

The other thing I’m contemplating is whether I can avoid drilling through the brickwork. Does anyone have any experience of using those flat ribbon-like cables that allow it to pass through a window at UHF? I’m somewhat sceptical.

Appreciate the coax recommendation too. I’ve never heard of it. I’ll have a look.

Having delved into the planning permission aspects I’m now thinking that a gp6 might be a bit overkill and maybe a diamond x50 might be a bit more discrete at 2 metres in length rather than 3 metres. I have one of those neighbours who comes out and comments when I cut my own hedge. 🤦‍�


Last edited by spleencheesemonkey on Sun Dec 17, 2023 11:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 10:44 am

No sorry required Mike. I certainly wouldn't suggest someone used RG213 for a mobile installation nor would I tell them they couldn't get on air with anything less than brand 'X'. It's whatever fits the job at hand. My first forays into even UHF saw me utilising good quality RG59 and later RG11 which certainly got me on air considering my limited budget at the time. (Luckily I was also using short runs. Wink )


It certainly can be the proverbial 'rabbit-hole' SCM, (sorry, still don't know your name), but better to ponder on it for a bit rather than have to take the lot down again. Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) 1f44d

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 10:53 am

The current situation if it helps:

Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Img_8512
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 1:51 pm

Victor wrote:
No sorry required Mike. I certainly wouldn't suggest someone used RG213 for a mobile installation nor would I tell them they couldn't get on air with anything less than brand 'X'. It's whatever fits the job at hand. My first forays into even UHF saw me utilising good quality RG59 and later RG11 which certainly got me on air considering my limited budget at the time. (Luckily I was also using short runs. Wink )


It certainly can be the proverbial 'rabbit-hole' SCM, (sorry, still don't know your name), but better to ponder on it for a bit rather than have to take the lot down again. Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) 1f44d

It's the dxer in me that wants every last bit of db. Very Happy

Your right of course and lesser is fine and short runs help.

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 1:57 pm

spleencheesemonkey wrote:
The current situation if it helps:

Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Img_8512

I would get a longer pole and stick the antenna right at the top, an X50 is very little load, if you go for that one.
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 2:20 pm

Thanks, Mike. By little load, I presume you mean weight/mass rather than a technical load (that I probably wouldn’t understand)?

Edit: Possibly difficult to see but do you think the existing bracket on the wall would be sufficient if I were to do that?
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 3:56 pm

Ah, just seen your gable end proposed mounting....

Mike's quite right then that with a run of 50 feet or more you'd be best to get the lowest loss coax you can afford. (Especially as the losses run to receive as well as transmit.)

I have a friend with a similar location for his setup at the gable end of his house and he used a TV antenna guy but needed him out twice. The first time he stated that the wall brackets wouldn't be sufficient for his Diamond X-50 and so a set of 'T' & 'K' brackets were purchased along with a longer pole for his return visit.

After all that the antenna worked fantastically well hitting repeaters even in the next counties over but with complaints from his better half.....everytime he transmitted the TV signal would disappear!

This was obviously from 'swamping' or RF overloading on the TV's receiver as it didn't matter if he was on 2m or 70cm.

I suggested he got onto internet/cable TV like the rest of the world which would alleviate such problems. If you're suitably installed you shouldn't have a problem also but it's a precautionary tale for you to consider.

I know, that rabbit-hole took another twist-and-turn. Rolling Eyes

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 4:32 pm

Thanks, Victor.
Back of a fag packet (not knowing the height of the house) I reckon I will need about 40’ of coax if I’m to have to rig in the living room. Probably half of that if it goes in the bedroom. I’m not sure which is less damaging for my relationship!
TK brackets are something I’d like to avoid if possible; The less attention I can draw to it the better, but at the same time, if that existing bracket doesn’t look likely to safely hold 900g of X50 antenna, you gotta do what you gotta do!

“ If you're suitably installed you shouldn't have a problem …” Above or behind the TV aerial? I can’t seem to find an answer on this. I’m guessing high quality coax may also help with this?

IPTV is something I’ve used before but not something I’m going to explore again until they switch off OTA. No cable here either.



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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 5:44 pm

spleencheesemonkey wrote:
Thanks, Mike. By little load, I presume you mean weight/mass rather than a technical load (that I probably wouldn’t understand)?

Edit: Possibly difficult to see but do you think the existing bracket on the wall would be sufficient if I were to do that?

Wind loading, X50 is a straight pole so very little wind loading.
The TV antenna will have greater wind load.

The bracket you have there I believe can hold 10kilos but there are different makes.
Going by the photo the fixings are into brick, if they are thats good.
At a good guesstimation I would think it could hold an X50 as well.
An X50 is approx a kilo and 5.5 feet long, up in the air it looks small.
I have one and at the top of a 30foot mast it looks very small.

If you run to an X50 make sure it's a Diamond and not a knock off.

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeSun Dec 17, 2023 7:44 pm

Thank you, Mike. That’s all helpful and reassuring to hear. I feel like I might be getting somewhere (famous last words),
I might just see if the pole that’s up there will do the job if I lower the TV aerial a bit. The neighbour’s tv aerials are lower than mine so I’m guessing/hoping that won’t be too much of an issue - at least until I key up!

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 5:39 am

I must admit that my friends TV brackets were of unknown rusty vintage and the pair that replaced them weren't full blown heavy load jobs but simple smaller brackets. Also he was only wiping out just his own TV due to proximity and never affected any neighbours whatsoever....he would soon have been told otherwise!

(Bit like me living in a Parish Council area, I don't have a single antenna on view all firmly hidden in my loft. Not the best but works and lets me live a quiet village life. Wink )
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 6:04 am

Loft is an option if the OP has a good location.

My only loft experience is 4/6metre coaxial dipoles.
They worked quite well in the summer Es.

I know some areas have it in with antennas but here I just put stuff up and no one ever complained.
My original setup was T K brackets on the side of the house, 2inch pole, light rotator, 2metre and 70cms yagis. When we had the 87 'hurricane' I was up the ladder lowering them down in the pitch dark.They survived but the roof ridge and several layers of tiles decided to go walk about.

I believe all my antennas and mast are now covered by the 4year rule, the 30foot Tennamast being up since the early 90s.

BTW the OPs tv mast is permitted development so I see no reason not to put an X50 up there as well. Very Happy Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 6:21 am

Good point there Mike with 'permitted development' and the small type of white stick like the X-30/50 is hardly an eyesore. (I do believe they do them in 'camo' colours too. Wink )

When I was playing VHF/UHF a while back now I could bang into at least nine repeaters with my homebrew made up of TV antenna bits Yagi-Uda beam on 70cms just sat in my first floor shack. I have a 2m/70cm four element beam I built a while ago which worked equally well but haven't come across a cheap enough rotator yet for it. I do have plans to play in the garden next summer as I have a couple of VHF SSB capable rigs now but you can guarantee those neighbourly noses will pop over the six foot panel fences the moment any antenna goes up in the air. Rolling Eyes


Where there's a will there's always a way and a good motto to undertake for any ventures especially with the radio interest. Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) 1f44d
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 8:05 am

Thanks, all for your further input. I’ve discounted the loft for now as there will be some major organisation to do on that from to make it achievable. It maybe another backup option though if Mrs Bucket across the road objects. It’s given me further impetus to get on with the foundation qualification though; I’ve read that the RSGB may assist licence holders with any disputes. (I had a dream last night that I passed 😂)
Today’s jobs will be counting bricks to get a better estimation of required coax length, making enquiries with aerial erectors and trying to source a reputable supplier of a genuine diamond X50. I’m almost afraid to ask this question as it seems to be an area of contention; N socket or SO239? 😶
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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 9:27 am

X50 has a SO239 so you will need PL 259 plug for it.

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 9:32 am

Thanks, Mike. I see Knights sell a Diamond X50-N which comes with an N socket. Wondered if there would be any advantage. I’m thinking for simplicity (always helps when dealing with a simpleton like me) that I’ll get the S0239 version. Then I can order two connectors the same for each end of the coax.

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 4:34 pm

Victor wrote:
Good point there Mike with 'permitted development' and the small type of white stick like the X-30/50 is hardly an eyesore. (I do believe they do them in 'camo' colours too. Wink )

When I was playing VHF/UHF a while back now I could bang into at least nine repeaters with my homebrew made up of TV antenna bits Yagi-Uda beam on 70cms just sat in my first floor shack. I have a 2m/70cm four element beam I built a while ago which worked equally well but haven't come across a cheap enough rotator yet for it. I do have plans to play in the garden next summer as I have a couple of VHF SSB capable rigs now but you can guarantee those neighbourly noses will pop over the six foot panel fences the moment any antenna goes up in the air. Rolling Eyes


Where there's a will there's always a way and a good motto to undertake for any ventures especially with the radio interest. Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) 1f44d


Just to pull you up on the camo antenna comment Victor, would that be green and brown for looking down, or grey for looking upwards at British skies ? 👍🏼🤣

Apologies to the op, i did write a comprehensive answer to your question as a first reply but pressed "back" on my phone by mistake and it was lost ☹
Since I'd just finished 12 hour nights I decided to go to sleep .

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 5:20 pm

Hi Nige,

I see what you mean mate.

I think it did come in a 'digital' black/grey/white 'camo' colour combination and I suppose it would visually break it up a bit from an ultra white stick against a British grey skyline or dingy property. Wink

You could always spray it, wrap it or other such. At this time of year even a bit of tinsel wouldn't go amiss and explain to the neighbours it's your new Xmas tree. Ha! Ha! Very Happy


To the OP SCM, you're opening a whole can of worms regards SO239/N-type and I've seen arguments abound regards supposed losses, waterproofness, etc. etc. An SO239 will do you nicely and just use the old trick of a bit of vaseline over it before screwing on your PL259 coax end and maybe even wrap a bit of electrical tape over it. You could use the super-sticky black-goopy tape stuff which will give you good waterproof abilities but never expect to get the black-icky mess off ever again. (Not a problem if it's never coming down again.) Seeing as the connector sits inside the mounting tube anyway you won't get direct rain splash but some might argue 'moisture', or spiders...earwigs...woodlice...or other such. Rolling Eyes

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeMon Dec 18, 2023 6:06 pm

Thanks, Victor.  I've got some self amalgamating tape which I hope would be suitable for sealing any connections.  The big caveat to your post would be "(Not a problem if it's never coming down again.)"  That's highly dependant on how much of a pain Mrs Bucket across the road is going to be.


And no worries @sharpshooter - I would have have done exactly the same.


I counted bricks today! (That sounds like a line from "Rain Man".)  Updated estimate is 37.5' of coax.  I should have been a surveyor! Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeTue Dec 19, 2023 11:10 am

I would 'future proof' the antenna installation and upgrade with TK brackets and pole.

This will allow you to install a beam and rotator or bigger antenna, now you have started your radio journey.

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PostSubject: Re: Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions)   Mounting an antenna (basic hardware/how to questions) Icon_minitimeWed Dec 20, 2023 3:35 am

spleencheesemonkey wrote:
Thanks, Mike. I see Knights sell a Diamond X50-N which comes with an N socket. Wondered if there would be any advantage. I’m thinking for simplicity (always helps when dealing with a simpleton like me) that I’ll get the S0239 version. Then I can order two connectors the same for each end of the coax.

Theoretically, N-type have advantages at UHF, such as uniform impedance, as well as better weatherproofing, etc., but in reality you will notice no difference whatsoever on a properly done home 2m/70cm setup!

IMHO, a PL-259 is an easier connector to fit, given they usually have an open centre conductor, unlike the N-type where you're terminating to a correct length and either crimping or getting solder into a small hole in that pin connector.

I have a VX-50N for portable, and my X.6000 is also an N-type, but that's because it is a triband 2m/70cm.23cm antenna.  My dual-band X.300 it replaced was SO239, and never gave any trouble.

Along with the recommendation to buy good coax (Best you can afford is the usual advice I give, along with avoiding eBay RG213 unless from a known vendor/seller) is to buy good connectors.  You don't want an antenna system failing or having issues because of a $2 connector instead of a $10 one!  Especially if that connector needs an expensive antenna guy to come out and assist because you don't want to be crawling on roofs or going up and down ladders!  Decent amalgamating tape (Like 3M) you just cut open with a Stanley knife and peel off if you ever need to check or service the connector.

On the Diamonds, the connector goes under the ally sleeve they provide to attach the mast to, so it is "hidden" from direct contact with rain, etc., but still worth sealing with amalgamating tape for sure.

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