Dual-band (UHF/VHF) Mounting Ideas

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Aaron Boushley

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Nov 1, 2021, 9:01:41 PM11/1/21
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Hey,

I'm new to the group, so feel free to let me know if I shouldn't be asking questions like this on this list.

I'm trying to come up with a good antenna strategy for my house on Squak Mountain. I've been looking at the Diamon X50NA, but my wife vetoed the chimney mount. Does anyone have experience with mounting UHF/VHF antenna in some of these big trees we have around here? I know the tree will impact the antenna's performance, but I'm just trying to get something that'll beat out the stock antenna on my cheap radio while I'm sitting in my basement office.

Again, if this isn't something we want to get into on this list that's fine, just let me know :)

Aaron


Bob Stephens AF9W

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Nov 1, 2021, 9:13:48 PM11/1/21
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I have an Ed's Antennas dual band antenna in a tall fir tree and it works fine. See https://edsantennas.weebly.com/  I put a ring in the top cap. 

Bob AF9W



From: issaqu...@googlegroups.com <issaqu...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Aaron Boushley <aa...@boushley.cc>
Sent: Monday, November 1, 2021 6:01:15 PM
To: issaqu...@googlegroups.com <issaqu...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: [IARC] Dual-band (UHF/VHF) Mounting Ideas
 
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Jim Potter (W7JNP)

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Nov 1, 2021, 9:20:47 PM11/1/21
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I have an Ed’s dual band on edge of roof connected to a HT radio and am pleased how well it works.

Sent from my iPad

On Nov 1, 2021, at 6:13 PM, Bob Stephens AF9W <bob...@gmail.com> wrote:



Joe Decuir

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Nov 1, 2021, 10:08:36 PM11/1/21
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IMO: this is a perfectly reasonable question to pose to the club on this alias.

 

A Diamon X50NA is a dual band (2M & 70cm) antenna, with a coax antenna coupling on it.

You will need coax cable to connect between it and your radio.

I assume your radio has a coax connect on it, correct?  What kind of radio is it?

Have you thought about how to connect your ‘radio shack’ via coax to that antenna?

 

Is this question (to the club) only about WHERE to mount the antenna, or also to choose the antenna?

Which way does your home face?  Is the mass of Squawk Mtn behind your house to the south?

 

Meantime, I have some dual band 29” antennas that directly attach to my handheld dual band radios.

My favorite: Diamond SRH789, which is extensible.

I attach it to my i-Com T90A triband radio: 70cm, 2M and 6M.

 

Joe Decuir, KF7BMD

Issaquah Amateur Radio Club, W7BI.com

Issaquah CERT 0015, Zone 14

E: jde...@ieee.org

E: jde...@uw.edu

M: 425-985-1562

 

From: issaqu...@googlegroups.com <issaqu...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Aaron Boushley
Sent: Monday, November 1, 2021 6:01 PM
To: issaqu...@googlegroups.com
Subject: [IARC] Dual-band (UHF/VHF) Mounting Ideas

 

Hey,

Rod Johnson

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Nov 1, 2021, 10:29:12 PM11/1/21
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Aaron (KE7VNQ) ,
 Congratulations on getting your license . 
  What have you been with your radio since getting your license over three years ago...much of anything?  You are only a few blocks from IARC club members.
 
Your question is certainly a very legitimate and relevant to ask here. Questions do not even have to be radio related; but for best results, it helps.

 The following is my opinion, and others may ( probably will) disagree.
  As a practical consideration, getting the antenna outside on a relatively short coax run, even if it is laying on the roof, would be a bonus.  Getting it vertical would be even better.  Height, spacing, coax quality is all relative.  Some is more relative is one case, and another might be more relative at another installation. 
 
I am not particularly concerned about the trees causing issues at 2M, and even at 440 MHz., it is not particularly significant.  The big dirt pile to the south and west of you is probably more of an issue, but you cannot do much about that.
  The outdoor antenna mounted tight to the tree would be less desirable, but probably would still be an improvement, as long as you keep the coax run to a reasonable length. A simple and inexpensive  J-pole design ( five feet tall)  made from common wire (or 1/2" copper tubing), can be stapled to the wooden siding of most houses with good results.
  100 feet of good quality RG-8X has a lot of loss ( about 8.5 dB) at 440 MHz, so a 10 watt signal going from the radio, in will result in about 1.5 watts coming out at the antenna.
  100 feet of good RG-8 sized coax,  (9913 or LMR400)  would be between 3.0 and 5 dB loss resulting in roughly 5 to 3 watts out to the antenna.  Good coax seems expensive at those frequencies, but it is worth the expense and will last a very long time if properly installed.  Mounting the antenna on a simple bracket at the back edge of a roof or near the peak of a roof fascia board is just as good as a chimney mount for all practical purposes.

 
  Simple antennas like J-poles and even HF vertical antennas are fine hung in trees.  The Diamond series antennas should not be an issue. If you can get it spaced out a foot or so from the tree trunk, that would likely be better if you had the instrumentation to properly test it, but I am not sure you could determine any significant difference without special gear.
 Try it either way you can. You should experience a significant increase in operational distance with almost any full sized outdoor antenna, relative your stock antenna ( I assuming you are referring to a whip on an HT).  Even an extended whip on the HT will be some improvement.   A mobile mag-mount setup on the top of a filing cabinet ( your wife might not like it sitting on the top of the refrigerator or washing machine) is also a decent improvement for indoor use.
 Rod Johnson
  part way up Tiger Mountain ( so two large and significant dirt piles in the way)  



-----Original Message-----
From: Aaron Boushley <aa...@boushley.cc>
To: issaqu...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Mon, Nov 1, 2021 6:01 pm
Subject: [IARC] Dual-band (UHF/VHF) Mounting Ideas

Mihai Manolache

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Nov 1, 2021, 10:44:06 PM11/1/21
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Congratulations Aaron! 
No question is a bad question, in my opinion. Regarding the antenna, I like to experiment, so a tripod in your yard, made from anything, wood, plastic or even on a shed could offer a good support for your antenna. 
I subscribe to the idea of a J-Pole, inexpensive. We have a fellow ham radio in Redmond, K9JEB, https://k9jeb.com/ that used to build these antennas. I have one for 6 years now and works great. 
As a final thought, as shorter the cable the better. For tree, LMR-400 high recommended. I have a spare one if you are interested. It is stif, not flexible as RG 8x.

73, 
Mihai (W4MHI) 



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Aaron Boushley

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Nov 1, 2021, 11:02:57 PM11/1/21
to Mihai Manolache, Rod Johnson
Wow, thanks for the great responses!

I'm definitely looking for whatever advice people are willing to give. I got my technician license about 17 years ago in college and used it for some basic simplex chatting while hiking. Then sat in a box until I parted with it in one of my many moves. In the last year I figured I'd give this a try again and picked up a cheap Baofeng handheld to get started. So I really have minimal equipment at this point. My thinking is that getting a better antenna is the first step, and then I can start looking at upgrading radios from there. I'm a software engineer and am definitely going to be looking into getting one of the USB radios so I can interface with a SDR at some point.

I'll try to answer the questions I spotted in the thread:

House situation. I've got a daylight basement with the backyard to the east. I'm on the north side of squak mountain just south of hillside park. I'm hoping that with the outdoor antenna I should be able to hit a couple of the repeaters in the area[1].

There was a question about what specifically I'm asking about, and the answer is whatever advice you have! :)

After the research I've done I'm thinking of doing a 100' run of LMR400 from my yard into my office, and then setting up a short length of coax that I can connect to my handheld (or other pieces as I acquire them). I'm planning to use N type connectors and then acquire the adapters necessary to convert that to SMA for my HT.

Thanks for the idea of a tripod in the yard Mihai, I can certainly give that a try as it'd be much simpler than trying to make it up any of these giant cedars to start.

Overall my goal is to get something where I can reliably call into the local repeaters from my office as sitting in the yard is becoming less feasible as the rainy season comes back upon us :D

Thanks again for all the responses so far!

Aaron

[1] How do people usually refer to repeaters? By call sign? Frequency? Something else?

Joe Decuir

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Nov 1, 2021, 11:41:20 PM11/1/21
to issaqu...@googlegroups.com, Mihai Manolache

For adaptors, try VETCO on Northup near 124th Ave SE in Bellevue.  https://vetco.net/

They are the ONLY competent electronics component store in the state.

I get RF adaptors there, and wire.

 

Good luck,

 

Joe Decuir, KF7BMD

Issaquah Amateur Radio Club, W7BI.com

Issaquah CERT 0015, Zone 14

E: jde...@ieee.org

E: jde...@uw.edu

M: 425-985-1562

 

PS. I own a J-pole antenna, but I think it has a continuity problem.

I don’t use it; you are welcome to it if you can fix it.

Do you have a soldering iron and other wire handling tools?

 

From: issaqu...@googlegroups.com <issaqu...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Aaron Boushley

Rod Johnson

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Nov 2, 2021, 12:06:52 AM11/2/21
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replies embedded within


-----Original Message-----
From: Aaron Boushley <aa...@boushley.cc>
To: Mihai Manolache <mihm...@gmail.com>; 'Rod Johnson' <issaqu...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Mon, Nov 1, 2021 8:02 pm
Subject: Re: [IARC] Dual-band (UHF/VHF) Mounting Ideas

Wow, thanks for the great responses!

I'm definitely looking for whatever advice people are willing to give. I got my technician license about 17 years ago in college and used it for some basic simplex chatting while hiking. Then sat in a box until I parted with it in one of my many moves. In the last year I figured I'd give this a try again and picked up a cheap Baofeng handheld to get started. So I really have minimal equipment at this point. My thinking is that getting a better antenna is the first step, and then I can start looking at upgrading radios from there. I'm a software engineer and am definitely going to be looking into getting one of the USB radios so I can interface with a SDR at some point. You do not need a radio with a USB port to interface with SDR.  There are inexpensive interfaces available for that task for nearly all radios, and they are fairly easily moved from one radio to another Depending upon the radio,they plug into the microphone and speaker ports, or a DIN (standard) DATA socket if the radio is so equipped

I'll try to answer the questions I spotted in the thread:

House situation. I've got a daylight basement with the backyard to the east. I'm on the north side of squak mountain just south of hillside park. I'm hoping that with the outdoor antenna I should be able to hit a couple of the repeaters in the area[1].
 Aaron is located just a couple blocks down the hill ( to the north) from M. Crossley (KF7BIG), and sort of between between Laura, and Gerrard. 
You should have no difficulty hitting a few repeaters to the west and north from there, but Tiger might be somewhat difficult.

There was a question about what specifically I'm asking about, and the answer is whatever advice you have! :)

After the research I've done I'm thinking of doing a 100' run of LMR400 from my yard into my office, and then setting up a short length of coax that I can connect to my handheld (or other pieces as I acquire them).
 Yes, you will definitely need a short flexible connection to the HT. LMR-400 does play well with an SMA connector on the end work well on the end, and the Baofeng antenna connector is not designed to support the radio on the end of a stiff coax.
 I'm planning to use N type connectors and then acquire the adapters necessary to convert that to SMA for my HT.

I would not even bother with the 'N' connectors for this application.  It is another adapter to purchase, and even when you buy the very good quality ones ( expensive)  it will add some loss and another place for something to come loose or corrode.  If you were doing very long distance weak signal work, then it is justified.  A properly terminated length of LMR400 with good PL259 connectors will be about as good as you can use, without getting crazy expensive.
  I think 100 feet should be quite unnecessary, particularly if you re willing to try  tri-pod mount. As Mihai mentioned " the shorter the cable the better'!  You do not gain the 3-6 dB lost in the long coax, by putting the antenna 50 feet higher or farther from the house.
  If your office has a window, getting a coax to an outdoor antenna might be as little as ten feet, and maybe 20 or 25 at the most.
 
  I have an extra heavy duty tripod. You can borrow it to experiment with one.  Another thing that works well is a simple weighted base for a patio table umbrella I love the cast iron ones, unless I am going portable.  Just insert a section of PVC or electrical conduit in the base and attach the antenna to that. Or stack and strap a few concrete blocks together and set the mast among them.  It takes very little to hold up a dual band vertical.
 
 Rod J

Thanks for the idea of a tripod in the yard Mihai, I can certainly give that a try as it'd be much simpler than trying to make it up any of these giant cedars to start.

Overall my goal is to get something where I can reliably call into the local repeaters from my office as sitting in the yard is becoming less feasible as the rainy season comes back upon us :D

Thanks again for all the responses so far!

Aaron

[1] How do people usually refer to repeaters? By call sign? Frequency? Something else?
 Usually by either Frequency or Organization, but sometimes location could be more than one.  Tiger mountain is not specific enough, but K7NWS or 'BEARS' or 145.330 is often heard.
  You might hear 'Fire Repeater' or or a frequency mentioned.  It varies a lot.  The IARC has a canned file, and can arrange to get your Baofeng preloaded with a lot of local frequencies, including some 'secret' ( obscure simplex) ones <grin>. There are a lot of Baofengs floating around the area.

Aaron Boushley

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Nov 2, 2021, 12:20:00 AM11/2/21
to Rod Johnson
Joe, thanks for the pointer on Vetco, I'll definitely have to drive up and take a look around.

Rod, thanks for the tip on being able to use my existing radio through the data connection. That hadn't even occurred to me, even though I've already gone through the process of getting Chirp setup and have loaded a bunch of local repeaterse off of repeater book into my radio. I'll have to experiment with some SDR programs and see if I can get that setup working.

Good point about starting with a shorter run as well. I had been thinking of doing an upright attached to my chimney and had been planning along those lines until I got vetoed. Adjusting to a simple tripod and placing it closer to my office would definitely let me get away with a much shorter cable.

I do have a soldering iron, multimeter, etc for doing some electronics experimentation / repair. Been putting together some kits with my daughter recently, although it turns out at 6, she just likes soldering wires together and couldn't care about the rest of it :D

Rod, if you're open to me borrowing a tripod that would definitely be interesting to me as I could try it out and figure out if it's a reasonable longer term solution for me. If you want to arrange that directly feel free to email me at aa...@boushley.cc

Thanks again for all the help folks!

Oh, and I'm definitely interested in what frequencies people in the area use :D

Aaron
KE7VNQ

Bruce Helbert

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Nov 2, 2021, 1:25:31 AM11/2/21
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Ok a tree is not usually the best choice. Could you get away with a roof mounted wire whip?  Nearly invisible. Thinking about a dual band mobile.  Decent antenna and way way above a ducky or inside antenna. 

de KG7OI

On Nov 1, 2021, at 18:20, Jim Potter (W7JNP) <w7j...@gmail.com> wrote:

 I have an Ed’s dual band on edge of roof connected to a HT radio and am pleased how well it works.

Bruce Helbert

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Nov 2, 2021, 1:41:28 AM11/2/21
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Couple other comments. 
A j pole is a great antenna and there are many build it yourself options out there as well. But remember a 2 M jpole will tune and load up just fine on 440 but will in fact be not much better radiator than a dummy load.  For a dual band setup you could do it with two antennas   For a single feed line you would need a duplexer at the antennas as well v

Second be very careful hanging adaptors and coax off a handheld antenna jack. Its a lot of stress. A little flexing and you can easily break the connector or crack the solder Joints. 
Much better is to use a short pigtail lead from the radio to the heavier cable. If you want to do this we can help get you setup. 



de KG7OI

On Nov 1, 2021, at 21:20, Aaron Boushley <aa...@boushley.cc> wrote:



Bruce Helbert

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Nov 2, 2021, 2:01:13 AM11/2/21
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Yes. I am thinking about a mobile whip. 

Ok this may get a bit deep. 
Some antennas are really only half an antenna. These need an electrical reflector called a ground plane. Not a big deal just a few wires or rods at athe base. (Ok wire rods not club member rods). 
Better might be a half wave antenna. Standard  alone. I don’t know current offerings but have seen online offers that would work great. 
The part of the antenna that sticks up is a length of stainless steel wire. It would be invisible from a few feet away.   

Keeping the feed line as short as possible is a good idea. Vhf and especially uhf you will get a lot of loss and/or end up using some really expensive cable. 

The club can make available some lengths of RG8 that would work fine out to 50 feet or so.

 Editorial follows:
Type N connectors are great but a lot of hams get over exciterd about them. At these frequencies UHF connectors work great. N connectors a a pita to install and easy to get wrong.  Uhf are cheap work fine. 


de KG7OI

On Nov 1, 2021, at 22:41, Bruce Helbert <kg...@msn.com> wrote:

 Couple other comments. 

Bob Stephens AF9W

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Nov 2, 2021, 10:06:36 AM11/2/21
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Bruce is right about mobile antennas for fuxed station use. I used one for 10 years in AZ to reduce the footprint so the HOA would leave me alone. Most mobile antennas that advertise 1/2 wave on 2M don't need a ground plane to operate. These antennas are around 38" tall. I still use this for EMCOMM portable setups. 

He is also right about J-poles not radiating well on 440. The Ed's Antennas are designed to operate well on 2M abd 440. 

Bob AF9W

Aaron Boushley

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Nov 2, 2021, 11:43:50 PM11/2/21
to Rod Johnson
Thanks again for all the input on this.

I think I'm going to go with a whip antenna, like the Diamond NR770HB. I'll mount it with something like https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EXIFYCI and on something like https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076TKYR42/ to give it some separation from the facia on the back of the house.

Then I'll need a 40-70' run low loss coax with UHF connectors, and a 4-6' coax cable that goes from UHF to SMA that's also thinner coax so it won't cause problems connecting to my HT. Any recommendations on acquiring quality runs of coax? I'm guessing I can get the shorter jumper cable on Amazon as the quality isn't as important, but not as sure about the longer run of RG-8 or LMR400.

My final question, see any glaring holes in that plan?

Thank for all the help!

Aaron
KE7VNQ

Rod Johnson

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Nov 19, 2021, 6:02:45 PM11/19/21
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Aaron,
  Have you made any decisions on your antenna plans?
   Let us know if we can help.
  I have the tripod if you would like to try out that option.
  Rod Johnson

Aaron Boushley

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Nov 19, 2021, 6:49:52 PM11/19/21
to Rod Johnson
Hey,

I have made some decisions. I have an Ed's antenna and my spool of LMR400 just arrived this afternoon.

So hopefully this weekend I'll be drilling a hole in my wall and soldering/crimping some ends onto the cable.

If there's any tricks to attaching UHF and N-Type connectors let me know :D I'm currently planning to follow the quick video from Show Me Cables[1].

Aaron

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