Author Topic: DIY: Antenna mast with pics  (Read 18026 times)

tash

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DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« on: November 13, 2008, 08:23:59 AM »
I've always wanted a portable antenna setup. Something I could take with me in the field or even use at home. The best thing I could come up with for raising the antenna was a collapsible flag pole. It's light (about 6 pounds), portable, cheap and relatively durable.

This is a short write-up of a mast i built for my amateur ratio antenna. It is a proof of concept and definitely needs more work and refinement. My main goal was to determine if elevation equals range. For my antenna mast, that does seem to be the case. The base is poor but works. I made it out of scrap fence board I had laying around my garage after I build my fence this summer. I plan on building a tripod of sorts that will hold it and can be adjusted to different terrain all the while still being portable and light.

This setup is not great but it works pretty well actually. I was able to hit a repeater with good send/receive that I could not in my vehicle.
 
I bought the 16 foot telescoping flag pole from Harbour Freight on sale for $29.99.  I had the rest of the equipment. Like I said, this is a proof of concept and it will function quite well given some modifications. And I need to build a long cable. Mine was a 12 foot cable and barely reached when I set my rig up next to it. For 20 bucks I can build a 50 foot cable that should do just fine.






In any type of situation I can only believe that better range is the most important thing. This helped me get there.

-Tash

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2008, 02:05:03 AM »
Dang, that's a great idea.  I can see all kinds of ideas for a portable rig with that extending flagpole as the basis.  All you'd need is a few various lengths of cable & you could literally be in business anywhere.

Put together a Pelican case with the radios rigged inside & some batteries, maybe a solar cell or two.  One man commo unit.

tash

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2008, 07:16:53 AM »
That's exactly that path I was going down, DeltaEchoVictor.

Great minds... Great minds....

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2008, 10:02:10 AM »
OK, you guys already know I'm a dreamer, and I come up with some pretty off the wall ideas, but hey, if it makes people think, then I figger (Southern verbage) I'm doing some good.  Nice pole Tash!  Well done.  Here's some of my midnight dreams about antenna poles and such...

Tethered balloon antenna:  Take one weather balloon, enough helium to raise it and about 150' of lightweight coax and you'd be head and shoulders above most.  I've even tried to figger out how to eliminate the coax and shoot the signal from ground transmitter to balloon antenna, without much luck though, balloon moves around too much.

Vehicle 2" Receiver Hitch Antenna:  Let's face it, you gotta be pretty hardcore to actually "want" a 25' antenna mount on your vehicle, and something tells me "Momma" ain't gonna think it's too pretty on the minivan either.  So, make a receiver hitch mount, pull a pin, out comes the trailer hitch, in goes the antenna mount, ROCK SOLID!  No blowovers, etc.  Just remember to take the thing out before heading off to the Handy Pac for smokes!

Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2008, 10:24:23 AM »
That's exactly that path I was going down, DeltaEchoVictor.

Great minds... Great minds....
Indeed! ;D

Though my greatness is probably way overstated. :D

Vehicle 2" Receiver Hitch Antenna:.....So, make a receiver hitch mount, pull a pin, out comes the trailer hitch, in goes the antenna mount, ROCK SOLID!  No blowovers, etc. 
Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!
Exactly, but don't stop there.  You could power the antenna from your mobile in your vehicle but then it could be man portable too if you needed it to be.  The extendable pole really makes this thing versatile. 

I checked harbor freight after I saw tash's original post & they have a 20' foot extendable flag pole for $56 also.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2008, 10:25:56 AM by DeltaEchoVictor »

tash

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2008, 10:42:05 AM »
The solution I think I'm gonna try for holding the mast is an under-tire base. Basically, its a flat piece of metal that your auto sits on and holds the base steady. With the weight of your vehicle on it I don't think it would go anywhere.

As for the 2 inch hitch idea, I really like it and almost went down that path but decided agaist it because if I'm out in the field I'll, which I'll probably be if I'm thinking about extending the mast, then I usually have a cargo basket or my trailer attached to the hitch. Also, if it is attached back there, I can't open the back door of my vehicle which would kinda stink.

tash

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2008, 10:46:46 AM »
I just came across this webpage which shows the base i was thinking about making.

http://68.107.217.60/westsat/LUXpole/index.html

John Q Public

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2008, 07:00:04 PM »
+1 for Tash, Delta, and Tim......

These are great ideas. I love the idea of the portable commo station on the trailer hitch. FANTASTIC idea!

Offline NC Rifleman

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2008, 08:17:51 PM »
I just came across this webpage which shows the base i was thinking about making.

http://68.107.217.60/westsat/LUXpole/index.html

I have been wanting to get a base for under the tire for about a year now.  I was thinking of a metal one.  For whatever I never thought of using wood.  I am using army surplus aluminum poles for my masting.  They sell them at hamfests and I am sure you have seen them.


tash

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2008, 07:09:13 AM »
I just came across this webpage which shows the base i was thinking about making.

http://68.107.217.60/westsat/LUXpole/index.html
I have been wanting to get a base for under the tire for about a year now.  I was thinking of a metal one.  For whatever I never thought of using wood.  I am using army surplus aluminum poles for my masting.  They sell them at hamfests and I am sure you have seen them.

I have been thinking of making a metal one myself. I think it would be quite easy. Plus, I already have the welder et all. Building a wood one would be just as simple and probably more lightweight.

My main issue is trying to come up with a way to make it dual purpose though. What can I use it for when it's not being used under the tire. I always do this when I'm building something. It helps to consolidate all my gear and keeps my mind engaged while trying to be resourceful.

Anyone have any ideas of practical ways to use an under tire mount (metal or wood) for any other purpose?

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2008, 08:25:50 AM »
WORD OF CAUTION:  With all the talk of metal extending poles, I HAVE to throw out the mention that metal poles and POWER LINES are greatly attracted to each other, like flies on a cow pie.  NSACAR just this year banned extendable aluminum flagpoles in all of their areas after some guy's pole setup blew over into the power lines at a campground at Talledega Raceway and turned him into an unsuccessful CPR dummy.  I suppose lightning could be an issue as well.  And I know all of you know metal poles and powerlines don't mix, but sometimes we're having so much fun building these things that we might just want to try it out in the driveway and Z A P

Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!

tash

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2008, 09:31:33 AM »
WORD OF CAUTION:  With all the talk of metal extending poles, I HAVE to throw out the mention that metal poles and POWER LINES are greatly attracted to each other, like flies on a cow pie.  NSACAR just this year banned extendable aluminum flagpoles in all of their areas after some guy's pole setup blew over into the power lines at a campground at Talledega Raceway and turned him into an unsuccessful CPR dummy.  I suppose lightning could be an issue as well.  And I know all of you know metal poles and powerlines don't mix, but sometimes we're having so much fun building these things that we might just want to try it out in the driveway and Z A P

Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!

You're exactly right on that one.

That actually happened while my old boy scout troop was at a jamboree a couple years ago. A group was setting up a big canopy and a storm came up and blew it onto the power lines. Luckily, quite a few were saved because of the scout training and their immediate response.

Lucky for me I have underground utilities :)

John Q Public

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2008, 10:07:28 PM »
Great catch on the lightning issue.....

One question though...If the antenna was built onto a rig that attached at the hitch point on the vehicle, wouldn't it be grounded through the tires?

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2008, 09:01:31 AM »
Great catch on the lightning issue.....

One question though...If the antenna was built onto a rig that attached at the hitch point on the vehicle, wouldn't it be grounded through the tires?

I played little league catcher, thanks for noticing! <grin>  Yes, one would think that it would be "insulated" from the ground by the vehicles rubber tires, not "grounded.  But, when it comes to a 300,000,000 volt of lightning coursing through the air with a temperature 3 times greater than the sun itself, trying to find a sweetspot to hit, well... all bets are off!  And it's my understanding that lightning originates from the ground, though it is hard to see, it has been captured on film showing little dancing tails emanating from the tops of tall things like trees and poles, which is why we are told to crouch low to the ground "if" we feel our hair tingling in a thunderstorm (that's the little dancing - tail emanating out of the top of your head trying to shake hands with a + cloud charge).  And let's also say that the coax to the antenna at the top of the pole is hooked to your radio set, which is either plugged into AC (also pronounced GROUNDED), or maybe just sitting on your little ham shack table under the shade of yonder sycamore tree.  Either way, something tells me your gonna have curly hair, a real bad tan and a limp the rest of your life if lightning hits yer pole! 

Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!

Here's some "facts" about lightning courtesy of   http://www.thecomputerwizard.biz/lightning.htm

Lightning strikes the Earth 1,800 times at any moment.

Lightning puts 10 million tons of nitrogen into the Earth each year.

The Earth has 100 lightning strikes per second - 3.6 trillion per year!

The Earth has 2,000 thunderstorms at any one time!

Without thunderstorms, the earth would lose its electric charge in less than 1 hour.

Rwanda, Africa is the lightning capitol of the world, receiving nearly 2.5 times the amount of lightning as Florida
(Source: Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission Satellite, 2002)

Florida is the Lightning Capital of the U.S.

Central Florida, from Tampa to Titusville is "Lightning Alley" in the U.S.!

The central California coast has the least lightning activity in the U.S.

Lightning is the #2 weather killer in the U.S.

Lightning is the #1 weather killer in Florida - more than all other weather deaths combined!

Florida leads the U.S. in lightning deaths, injuries, and casualties

Texas is #2.

Pennsylvania leads the U.S. in lightning damage.

The U.S. has 20 Million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year - up to 70 Million lightning flashes aloft are also counted!

The U.S. has 100,000 thunderstorms per year.

The Odds Of An Individual Being Struck By Lightning Each Year In The U.S. Is About 300,000 To 1

Lightning injures many more than it kills.

Lightning often causes life-long severe debilitating injuries.

Lightning kills about 100 people in the U.S. each year.

Lightning injures about 1000 people in the U.S. each year.

In the U.S., lightning kills more than Hurricanes and Tornadoes, combined. Only floods kill more!

Lightning causes $5 Billion of economic impact in the U.S. each year.

Most lightning strikes occur either at the beginning or end of a storm.



Lightning is 50,000° F - three times as hot as the Sun.

Lightning is only 1 inch in diameter.

Lightning has been observed over 100 miles long.

An average lightning flash has the energy of a 1-kiloton explosion.

Lightning voltage can be up to 300 million volts.

Lightning current averages 30,000 amps, but ranges from 10,000 to 200,000 amps - 100 To 1,000 times as strong as a steel welder.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Corded telephones are not safe and should not be used during thunderstorms. The usual way that current enters a telephone is through the wire. Cloud-to-ground flashes tend to hit tall objects such as utility poles. When a pole is struck, its current enters a building through the wiring, then to the phone, and then straight to your head. Cell phones and cordless phones are safer, but be sure to stand away from the cordless phone's base as a strong current can possibly arc a few feet from the base to the handset. There is still a risk of ear damage from loud static and "pops" associated with cell phone and cordless phone use during thunderstorms.
(from lightningstorm.com)

Lightning damage to home electronics usually occurs when lightning strikes to nearby utility poles or wires, then enters the building through power, phone, and TV wires. For direct or indirect hits, the only sure way is to pull the power, phone, and cable plugs on sensitive electronics before thunderstorms threaten. Never touch wires during a thunderstorm, even to unplug your equipment. People have been electrocuted while unplugging their electronics during thunderstorms. Better your computer than you!
(from lightningstorm.com)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jul 10, 1926: Lightning Exploded A Navy Ammunition Depot, Mount Hope NJ. 19 People Died, 38 Wounded, And Cost $81 Million To Rebuild.

May 6, 1937: Hindenberg Airship Destroyed By An Electrostatic Discharge 36 People Died.

June 1998: Lightning Struck An Outdoor Rock Concert With 35,000 People In Baltimore, MD. 13 People Were Injured, Despite The Installed Lightning Rods.

July 1998: 5 Firefighters Were Injured When Lightning Struck Their Firetruck In Las Vegas, NV.

October 1998: Lightning Killed 11 Soccer Players In Congo, Africa (All On The Same Team)

Dec. 8, 1963: A Pan Am 707 crashed in flames in a Maryland field in 1963 after lightning hit the Boeing jet and ignited a wing fuel tank. All 81 people aboard were killed.

The NTSB believes lightning caused the in-flight explosion of an Iranian Air Force 747 in May 1976 near Madrid, Spain.

May 9, 2001: HONG KONG –According to media reports a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 was struck three times by lightning close to Chek Lap Kok airport today. The airline confirmed the event and said a cockpit window was damaged. Nobody was hurt in this incident. Cathay Pacific Flight 250 from London Heathrow with 245 passengers on board was still approaching the Hong Kong airport when suddenly the series of lightning strikes hit the Jumbo Jet. One of the lightning strikes cracked the right side cockpit window, said the airline. The crew informed the control tower at Chek Lap Kok and then safely landed the aircraft.



Florida meteorologist Mike Lyons tells WPBFChannel.com in West Palm Beach a man has reported seeing what only about 1 percent of the population will ever see -- the rarest form of lightning called ball lightning. "It was a bright, glowing orange ball about the size of a basketball," the man said in the report. "It entered my house through the glass in the front door. It went right past me or possibly even through me into the living room. Then, it left the house through a large window where it hit a tree in the backyard." Lyons says ball lightning has "scared the pants off folks" as the bright spheres seem to appear out of nowhere. They've been seen in buildings, coming through solid walls and in airplanes. Lyons says science may never be able to explain ball lightning -- all researchers know is that it's real.


LONDON - Two women were killed by a bolt of lightning in Hyde Park when their underwired bras acted as conductors, a coroner said Wednesday. "I think this was a tragic case, a pure act of God," coroner Paul Knapman told an inquest into the deaths. He recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. The two women, Anuban Bell, 24, and Sunee Whitworth, 39, had been sheltering under a tree in the park during a thunderstorm. Pathologist Dr Iain West said both women were wearing underwired bras and had been left with burn marks on their chests from the electrical current that passed through their bodies. Death would have been instant, he said. The bodies were not discovered until the following day because passers-by thought they were vagrants.


Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2008, 06:36:26 PM »
Nice Job. Good looking homebrew!!!

I use some of those fiberglass camoflague net support poles to make a mast for my G5RV on field day, and backyard Dxpeditions. They work great. I used a MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass pole on a trip but it FAILED as it seems to only be able to support magnet wire :( Have used painters poles for VHF antennas and they work good as well

Offline creuzerm

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2008, 07:16:45 PM »
As for the 2 inch hitch idea, I really like it and almost went down that path but decided agaist it because if I'm out in the field I'll, which I'll probably be if I'm thinking about extending the mast, then I usually have a cargo basket or my trailer attached to the hitch. Also, if it is attached back there, I can't open the back door of my vehicle which would kinda stink.

I want to get a hitch put on the FRONT of my trucklet. You can put a trailer into some really stupid spots when you can see what your doing. The maneuverability is much better too. I also want to put an electric winch on a drawbar, and keep it on the front of the trucklet. I can always put it in the back if needed. I could also put my hitch haul in the front if I was towing a trailer or boat. Even put a bike hauler in front if you wanted to.

Having a receiver on the front would be A GREAT place to put this antenna. You can SEE that it's up, and run it down when you go to dash off  down the road. Still have access to all your doors, can even have a trailer on the vehicle if needed.

I like this idea. Run the truck up to the top of a local hill and park it and you have a good mobile repeater even.

millerized1

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2008, 07:29:14 PM »


One thing I've done, and had I not replaced literally dozens of them while working cell towers I'd have not believed it, is tie pigtail leads for antennas in a single loop or knot.  Wrap the knot or loop against the tower or at least the grounded part of the antenna and tape or fix it to hold it in place.  I'd replaced lots of pigtails that were blown out the side, but the radio was still fine and the antenna was still fine. 

I've also heard, but not seen it first hand since I'd not had the house hit yet, that tying a knot in a power cord is a possible preventative measure for local lightening strikes. Everything from the main panel to the power strips have MOV's on them, so a power cord knotted is surely a last resort.

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2008, 09:54:59 PM »
As for the 2 inch hitch idea, I really like it and almost went down that path but decided agaist it because if I'm out in the field I'll, which I'll probably be if I'm thinking about extending the mast, then I usually have a cargo basket or my trailer attached to the hitch. Also, if it is attached back there, I can't open the back door of my vehicle which would kinda stink.

I want to get a hitch put on the FRONT of my trucklet. You can put a trailer into some really stupid spots when you can see what your doing. The maneuverability is much better too. I also want to put an electric winch on a drawbar, and keep it on the front of the trucklet. I can always put it in the back if needed.

Creuzerm, WARN makes a winch kit that is already set up on a 2" drawbar rig.  And I think either Northern Tool or Harbor Freight has one as well.  I'll try to find a link fer ya!

Tim.


djturnz

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2008, 01:28:28 PM »
In order to gain clearance from the tailgate/ rear doors, Harbor Freight sells a "bed extender" for less that $30.  It plugs into the hitch, and extends out about 3 feet, then 90 degrees up to a 'T'.  It is for short beds to be able to haul a full sheet of plywood.  It also comes apart in two or 3 peices.  It would be a good mounting point.

Offline cmxterra

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2008, 02:00:01 PM »
very nice.

tash

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2008, 08:39:30 PM »
In order to gain clearance from the tailgate/ rear doors, Harbor Freight sells a "bed extender" for less that $30.  It plugs into the hitch, and extends out about 3 feet, then 90 degrees up to a 'T'.  It is for short beds to be able to haul a full sheet of plywood.  It also comes apart in two or 3 peices.  It would be a good mounting point.

That is a great idea. Here's to using your noggin +1

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2008, 10:46:40 PM »
As for the 2 inch hitch idea, I really like it and almost went down that path but decided agaist it because if I'm out in the field I'll, which I'll probably be if I'm thinking about extending the mast, then I usually have a cargo basket or my trailer attached to the hitch. Also, if it is attached back there, I can't open the back door of my vehicle which would kinda stink.

I want to get a hitch put on the FRONT of my trucklet. You can put a trailer into some really stupid spots when you can see what your doing. The maneuverability is much better too. I also want to put an electric winch on a drawbar, and keep it on the front of the trucklet. I can always put it in the back if needed. I could also put my hitch haul in the front if I was towing a trailer or boat. Even put a bike hauler in front if you wanted to.

Having a receiver on the front would be A GREAT place to put this antenna. You can SEE that it's up, and run it down when you go to dash off  down the road. Still have access to all your doors, can even have a trailer on the vehicle if needed.

I like this idea. Run the truck up to the top of a local hill and park it and you have a good mobile repeater even.

Putting the antenna rig on a front receiver mount is an excellent idea!  Solves most of the problems associated with the rear clearance issues for truck or SUV.

Tim.


Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2008, 10:48:14 PM »
In order to gain clearance from the tailgate/ rear doors, Harbor Freight sells a "bed extender" for less that $30.  It plugs into the hitch, and extends out about 3 feet, then 90 degrees up to a 'T'.  It is for short beds to be able to haul a full sheet of plywood.  It also comes apart in two or 3 peices.  It would be a good mounting point.

I've seen these in use, and I don't think they are going to be steady enough without modifications like adding feet or sawhorse type legs to them.

Tim.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2008, 10:52:34 PM »
In order to gain clearance from the tailgate/ rear doors, Harbor Freight sells a "bed extender" for less that $30.  It plugs into the hitch, and extends out about 3 feet, then 90 degrees up to a 'T'.  It is for short beds to be able to haul a full sheet of plywood.  It also comes apart in two or 3 peices.  It would be a good mounting point.

I've seen these in use, and I don't think they are going to be steady enough without modifications like adding feet or sawhorse type legs to them.

Tim.

I know what your saying. They wobble a little at 3 feet, that is an aweful wide swing at 30 feet. Although, I doubt the radio  waves really care if the the antena is blowing in the wind, it may be more of an asthetic issue then a functional one.

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2008, 11:01:31 PM »
In order to gain clearance from the tailgate/ rear doors, Harbor Freight sells a "bed extender" for less that $30.  It plugs into the hitch, and extends out about 3 feet, then 90 degrees up to a 'T'.  It is for short beds to be able to haul a full sheet of plywood.  It also comes apart in two or 3 peices.  It would be a good mounting point.

I've seen these in use, and I don't think they are going to be steady enough without modifications like adding feet or sawhorse type legs to them.

Tim.

I know what your saying. They wobble a little at 3 feet, that is an aweful wide swing at 30 feet. Although, I doubt the radio  waves really care if the the antena is blowing in the wind, it may be more of an asthetic issue then a functional one.

The majority of the ones I've seen on trucks parked at Home Depot had already bent.  But, with a little extra support, could work, and give the needed room behind a SUV to still use the rear door/hatch.  Or just make your own version, extra "beef" please.

Tim.

Offline DIM TIM

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Re: DIY: Antenna mast with pics
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2008, 12:12:37 AM »
Great catch on the lightning issue.....

One question though...If the antenna was built onto a rig that attached at the hitch point on the vehicle, wouldn't it be grounded through the tires?

I played little league catcher, thanks for noticing! <grin>  Yes, one would think that it would be "insulated" from the ground by the vehicles rubber tires, not "grounded.  But, when it comes to a 300,000,000 volt of lightning coursing through the air with a temperature 3 times greater than the sun itself, trying to find a sweetspot to hit, well... all bets are off!  And it's my understanding that lightning originates from the ground, though it is hard to see, it has been captured on film showing little dancing tails emanating from the tops of tall things like trees and poles, which is why we are told to crouch low to the ground "if" we feel our hair tingling in a thunderstorm (that's the little dancing - tail emanating out of the top of your head trying to shake hands with a + cloud charge).  And let's also say that the coax to the antenna at the top of the pole is hooked to your radio set, which is either plugged into AC (also pronounced GROUNDED), or maybe just sitting on your little ham shack table under the shade of yonder sycamore tree.  Either way, something tells me your gonna have curly hair, a real bad tan and a limp the rest of your life if lightning hits yer pole! 

Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!

Here's some "facts" about lightning courtesy of   http://www.thecomputerwizard.biz/lightning.htm

Lightning strikes the Earth 1,800 times at any moment.

Lightning puts 10 million tons of nitrogen into the Earth each year.

The Earth has 100 lightning strikes per second - 3.6 trillion per year!

The Earth has 2,000 thunderstorms at any one time!

Without thunderstorms, the earth would lose its electric charge in less than 1 hour.

Rwanda, Africa is the lightning capitol of the world, receiving nearly 2.5 times the amount of lightning as Florida
(Source: Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission Satellite, 2002)

Florida is the Lightning Capital of the U.S.

Central Florida, from Tampa to Titusville is "Lightning Alley" in the U.S.!

The central California coast has the least lightning activity in the U.S.

Lightning is the #2 weather killer in the U.S.

Lightning is the #1 weather killer in Florida - more than all other weather deaths combined!

Florida leads the U.S. in lightning deaths, injuries, and casualties

Texas is #2.

Pennsylvania leads the U.S. in lightning damage.

The U.S. has 20 Million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year - up to 70 Million lightning flashes aloft are also counted!

The U.S. has 100,000 thunderstorms per year.

The Odds Of An Individual Being Struck By Lightning Each Year In The U.S. Is About 300,000 To 1

Lightning injures many more than it kills.

Lightning often causes life-long severe debilitating injuries.

Lightning kills about 100 people in the U.S. each year.

Lightning injures about 1000 people in the U.S. each year.

In the U.S., lightning kills more than Hurricanes and Tornadoes, combined. Only floods kill more!

Lightning causes $5 Billion of economic impact in the U.S. each year.

Most lightning strikes occur either at the beginning or end of a storm.



Lightning is 50,000° F - three times as hot as the Sun.

Lightning is only 1 inch in diameter.

Lightning has been observed over 100 miles long.

An average lightning flash has the energy of a 1-kiloton explosion.

Lightning voltage can be up to 300 million volts.

Lightning current averages 30,000 amps, but ranges from 10,000 to 200,000 amps - 100 To 1,000 times as strong as a steel welder.



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Corded telephones are not safe and should not be used during thunderstorms. The usual way that current enters a telephone is through the wire. Cloud-to-ground flashes tend to hit tall objects such as utility poles. When a pole is struck, its current enters a building through the wiring, then to the phone, and then straight to your head. Cell phones and cordless phones are safer, but be sure to stand away from the cordless phone's base as a strong current can possibly arc a few feet from the base to the handset. There is still a risk of ear damage from loud static and "pops" associated with cell phone and cordless phone use during thunderstorms.
(from lightningstorm.com)

Lightning damage to home electronics usually occurs when lightning strikes to nearby utility poles or wires, then enters the building through power, phone, and TV wires. For direct or indirect hits, the only sure way is to pull the power, phone, and cable plugs on sensitive electronics before thunderstorms threaten. Never touch wires during a thunderstorm, even to unplug your equipment. People have been electrocuted while unplugging their electronics during thunderstorms. Better your computer than you!
(from lightningstorm.com)



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Jul 10, 1926: Lightning Exploded A Navy Ammunition Depot, Mount Hope NJ. 19 People Died, 38 Wounded, And Cost $81 Million To Rebuild.

May 6, 1937: Hindenberg Airship Destroyed By An Electrostatic Discharge 36 People Died.

June 1998: Lightning Struck An Outdoor Rock Concert With 35,000 People In Baltimore, MD. 13 People Were Injured, Despite The Installed Lightning Rods.

July 1998: 5 Firefighters Were Injured When Lightning Struck Their Firetruck In Las Vegas, NV.

October 1998: Lightning Killed 11 Soccer Players In Congo, Africa (All On The Same Team)

Dec. 8, 1963: A Pan Am 707 crashed in flames in a Maryland field in 1963 after lightning hit the Boeing jet and ignited a wing fuel tank. All 81 people aboard were killed.

The NTSB believes lightning caused the in-flight explosion of an Iranian Air Force 747 in May 1976 near Madrid, Spain.

May 9, 2001: HONG KONG –According to media reports a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 was struck three times by lightning close to Chek Lap Kok airport today. The airline confirmed the event and said a cockpit window was damaged. Nobody was hurt in this incident. Cathay Pacific Flight 250 from London Heathrow with 245 passengers on board was still approaching the Hong Kong airport when suddenly the series of lightning strikes hit the Jumbo Jet. One of the lightning strikes cracked the right side cockpit window, said the airline. The crew informed the control tower at Chek Lap Kok and then safely landed the aircraft.



Florida meteorologist Mike Lyons tells WPBFChannel.com in West Palm Beach a man has reported seeing what only about 1 percent of the population will ever see -- the rarest form of lightning called ball lightning. "It was a bright, glowing orange ball about the size of a basketball," the man said in the report. "It entered my house through the glass in the front door. It went right past me or possibly even through me into the living room. Then, it left the house through a large window where it hit a tree in the backyard." Lyons says ball lightning has "scared the pants off folks" as the bright spheres seem to appear out of nowhere. They've been seen in buildings, coming through solid walls and in airplanes. Lyons says science may never be able to explain ball lightning -- all researchers know is that it's real.


LONDON - Two women were killed by a bolt of lightning in Hyde Park when their underwired bras acted as conductors, a coroner said Wednesday. "I think this was a tragic case, a pure act of God," coroner Paul Knapman told an inquest into the deaths. He recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. The two women, Anuban Bell, 24, and Sunee Whitworth, 39, had been sheltering under a tree in the park during a thunderstorm. Pathologist Dr Iain West said both women were wearing underwired bras and had been left with burn marks on their chests from the electrical current that passed through their bodies. Death would have been instant, he said. The bodies were not discovered until the following day because passers-by thought they were vagrants.


Great idea !!!  I like this one a lot.  ;D  timsuggs has this part of the whole thing pegged. I'm an Electronics Technician, and yes lightning does strike from the ground to the clouds. The electron movement flows from the ground (- charged potential ) thru the atmosphere ( conductive path of free electrons ) to the moisture laden clouds in the upper atmosphere (+ charged potential ). The flash of the lightning is the ionization ( ignition arc ) of the gas ( HYDROGEN & OXYGEN ) molecules in the atmosphere. Also, the electron flow will seek the path of LEAST resistance ( OHM'S LAW ) to allow the flow of the free electrons thru the atmosphere ( completion of the circuit ), and as the  gas (HYDROGEN & OXYGEN molecules ) is ignited (lightning flash), the sonic wave ( thunder ) from the displacement of the air molecules as they are suddenly released to create the electron flow, radiates outward at the speed of sound ( sonic boom ).  This is why you see the lightning flash first, and then hear the thunder ( Speed of Light  vs.  Speed of Sound ).   ;D

WHOA !!! Clasroom flashback.  :o  By gollly, I guess I did learn something worth remembering after all.  ;D

Anyway, nice rig for sure.......lightweight, portable, what a deal !  ;D
As for the ground from the vevicle, this is an isolated electrical circuit ( vehicles electronics )  using the rubber tires ( insulator ) to isolate the electrical system from True Ground ( THE EARTH ) itself. Some vehicles use a length of metal chain welded to the vehicle frame, cut to allow a few inches to contact the pavement and bleed off any static electrical charge that may build up in or on the vevicle.

I used to talk on the citizens band  of radio frequencies ( 11 Meter Band ) back in the 70's. There were lightning arrestors that were placed in-line with the coaxial antenna cable, and had a length of large diameter solid wire, attached to it and the free end was grounded to the earth with a 3 ft. grounding rod, that was drove into the ground, or clamped to a cold water pipe,to allow any lightning discharge to pass thru it, and not the coax to the radio equipment at the other end. I'm sure that ham operators had them as well. Never did use one myself, so I can't attest to the fact of whether they did work. The principle is sound, so I would have to think that they did work as intended.

I love the idea of the hitch mount in the front, and agree with creuzerm, that if it was in the front, you would see it right in front of you, and take it down before taking of down the road.  ;)  ;D

By the way, one last thing before I go, tying a loop in a cord or cable does not really prevent the lightning from going thru the equipment, the lightning will arc across the weakest point in the rubber or plastic insulation jacket of the wire or coaxial cable ( remember the path of least resistance in the OHM'S LAW equation ) to complete the electrical circuit path, and will sometimes blow out thru the cable instead, but NOT ALWAYS !  ;)