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Old 11-19-2017, 4:18 PM
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Default Looking for a panel for multiple antennas

I am working on the next phase of my shack, and that is the creation and installation of a wall panel for the antennas.

I am thinking of using panel mounts like these: https://www.amazon.com/DHT-Electroni...Q7N4M3JNHNJV63

Some will be for N, others for F, BNC but the majority will be for SO239/PL259.I like these since they would present a uniform size and spacing.

Is there already a panel that will accommodate multiple connectors like this? In total I need 24 connectors but I could use multiple panels (4 6's, 2 12's etc.) if needed.

I would prefer copper but other decent conducting metal would work. I plan on connecting it to a copper water pipe ground as the panel is being mounted on the dry side of a wet wall as the washer, drier and slop sink are on the opposite side of the same wall.

If I can find such a panel I would put in the connectors, mask them and then paint the panel to match the wall. I would then use patch cords to the radios.
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Old 11-19-2017, 4:41 PM
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I always made my own out of a blank 19" rack panel. It was cheaper and easier than having something fabricated. At the time, I never researched purchasing a pre-made one since it was just easy enough to make our own.

Now, what we do is mount a grounding buss to the wall, mount the PolyPhaser to the ground bar and bring out cable in that way. I've got a "configurable" site we use for research projects that is set up this way. A large frame on the roof will support antennas for the research projects (currently an array of 24 Iridium antennas), with 1/2" Heliax coming through a "dog house" style roof penetration. Under that, the ground buss is mounted to the wall, 24 Polyphasers are mounted to the ground buss, and the researchers just connect to the specific PolyPhaser.

From what it sounds like you need, a sheet of heavy copper or aluminum would do the trick. You could probably get a local fabrication shop to place the holes for the coax connectors. Probably for a bit more, you could get it powder coated in the color of your choice.
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Old 11-19-2017, 4:47 PM
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This is for attic antennas so there will not be PolyPhasers (There is already lightening protection on the roof exterior).

Most coax lines are RG6QS, RG58 or RG8X.

This is a slightly lesser installation that yours...

I do not have the metalworking capabilities or I would make one myself. I thought of using a piece of 19inch rack and if I have to have one made that would likely end up being the source panel.
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Old 11-19-2017, 5:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N9JIG View Post
This is for attic antennas so there will not be PolyPhasers (There is already lightening protection on the roof exterior).
As I'm sure you know, induced energy from a nearby strike can still damage your equipment, but that's your option.

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Most coax lines are RG6QS, RG58 or RG8X.
Won't really make much of a difference since it's about the connector size, not the coax.
I used something similar to this:
https://www.tessco.com/products/disp....do?sku=572905
Without the PolyPhasers, you'd just install the connector of your choice. This is sized for type N connectors, which are the same size as the PL-259's.

You could also use something like this, and just have it drilled out to your specifications:
https://www.tessco.com/products/disp...o.do?sku=53564

You can also just google "coaxial patch panel" and a bunch of options come up:
https://images.search.yahoo.com/sear...panel&fr=aaplw

When it was in college, I worked in their television studios. We had the BNC panels for some baseband video patching. We also had the ADC type patch panels.
Used to see a lot of those at hamfests for relatively cheap.

Another option, although it would be BNC only, would be to get an old DS3 patch panel. We've got them in our main MPOE left over from when the phone company gave us services via DS3 circuits. Might be a few of those on e-Bay if you shopped around there. Way overkill, but something like this would work if you could manage with BNC only:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Used-Nortel...nd!95076!US!-1
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Old 11-19-2017, 5:20 PM
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And then there's this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MFJ-4706-CO...IAAOSw-jFaB57c

I used to use a lot of these in the video side. They are self patching through, and you can interrupt/repatch with a suitable ADC patch cable. They are 75Ω, but that won't matter for receiving.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/ADC-ADCP-14...gAAMXQlrxRbyjZ
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Old 11-19-2017, 6:01 PM
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I've got a 50 ohm version of the ADC panel in your link but made by Trompeter that's good to 200MHz and would be great for patching HF antennas to various receivers. These use specific green color WECO style "U links" to normalize a circuit or 50 ohm WECO patch cables to cross patch any antenna to any radio. There are also WECO to BNC adaptors so you can convert a patch point to BNC for connecting other stuff. All connections on the rear of the panel are BNC. Its probably the best and coolest way to patch radios. If N9JIG could use it contact me offline to discuss.

I'm also working on getting a couple of similar 2GHz rated 50 ohm patch panels for VHF/UHF antennas and receivers. These things cost a bundle new.
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
And then there's this:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MFJ-4706-CO...IAAOSw-jFaB57c

I used to use a lot of these in the video side. They are self patching through, and you can interrupt/repatch with a suitable ADC patch cable. They are 75Ω, but that won't matter for receiving.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/ADC-ADCP-14...gAAMXQlrxRbyjZ
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Old 11-19-2017, 6:33 PM
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Yep, used those on the video side, and they worked great. The patch to BNC were handy for rigging up temporary setups. One of those panels, some patch cables and a few patch to BNC will let you do dang near anything.

It's much handier to have all your connections standardized. A BNC will cover everything the amateur is going to do on the amateur side, unless you are running high power stuff. 200 watts up to 4GHz is pretty respectable.
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Old 11-19-2017, 6:58 PM
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I would not choose the original panel feed through connectors that you showed a picture of in the first message. That is way too much work to mount them. I would suggest that you get the panel feed through connectors that are threaded and use the nut that comes with them to mount them.

This way if you make your own panels, all you have to do is drill a hole to allow them to be fed into the panel and then just tighten them up. Much less work to construct the panels.

The choice is yours on to buy or to build to suit your location. With the connectors mounted to your panels, you can put the surge protectors right on the panels and then just ground the panels.

Good luck on your endeavor Take a photo of the panels installed so the group can see the finished results.
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Old 11-19-2017, 7:13 PM
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Only problem for hobbyists are these patch panels are expensive. I've bought dozens of ADC, Bittree and Canare 75 ohm panels for work projects in the $1k to $1.5k range but the 50 ohm 2-3GHz Trompeter panels are even more $$.
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Yep, used those on the video side, and they worked great. The patch to BNC were handy for rigging up temporary setups. One of those panels, some patch cables and a few patch to BNC will let you do dang near anything.

It's much handier to have all your connections standardized. A BNC will cover everything the amateur is going to do on the amateur side, unless you are running high power stuff. 200 watts up to 4GHz is pretty respectable.
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Old 11-19-2017, 7:28 PM
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This company is what I'm using: 3.5" x 19" Universal Master Rack Panel, Black - UPR35-6B

With N Connectors: Universal Sub-Panel, One N Type Feed-Thru Bulkhead Adapter - USP1NB
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Old 11-19-2017, 8:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim202 View Post
I would not choose the original panel feed through connectors that you showed a picture of in the first message. That is way too much work to mount them. I would suggest that you get the panel feed through connectors that are threaded and use the nut that comes with them to mount them.

This way if you make your own panels, all you have to do is drill a hole to allow them to be fed into the panel and then just tighten them up. Much less work to construct the panels.
That was what I was originally intending and what I would likely be doing when all is said and done.

I kind of like the idea of the 4-hole square mounts if there was a preexisting panel to mount them in. That would save me the trouble of drilling out the holes (which I am not quipped for) and allow future changes due to the standard size.
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Old 12-17-2017, 12:26 PM
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I think I found my solution. A friend suggested that I look at Front Panel Express (Front Panel Express: Front Panel Design Software and CAD Conversion Service: Home).

I downloaded their mini CAD program and designed a couple possible solutions. The premier one, with 27 ports for maximum flexibility and future possibilities, ends up costing about $150 all in, including custom labeling. I would have 6 F-Connector cutouts, 6 for BNC and 15 for SO239/N connectors, each engrave-labeled with numbers and my call signs engrave-labeled at the top. This would be on a panel of whatever thickness I choose, but unfortunately it only comes in aluminum. It is 24 inches wide and 8 inches tall.

I am thinking 2.5 MM thick, if anyone has any reason why that wouldn't be best please let me know. I can go thicker if needed

The price includes the material, powder coating and labeling. I chose to have the edges curved. I have a picture from the CAD program below.

Each hole is on two-inch offsets, the dots are all one inch apart from the next. I still have to add the mounting holes but I need to do some measuring to get those right. The wall this is going on has a 20 inch space between the studs so this panel is a bit wider and there is plenty of space on each end to clear and mount to the studs. I would enlarge the existing wall holes into one large one a bit smaller than the panel and put in threaded inserts into the studs to hold the panel.

In reality I will have only 4 antennas with RG6QS and F-connectors, 4 with BNC equipped RG58, 6-8 with RG8X/LMR400 and PL259's and a couple with N Connectors. All the extra connectors will give me the ability to add a couple antenna later if I want. Since we are looking forward to our next home already, this would come with me for use at the next house as well.

(If we custom build our next house I plan on a tower with all LMR400 and N-connectors. If I need more than what are already on this panel I can just drill out some of the smaller holes.)

The 6 holes in the far left side are for F connectors, the 6 in Columns 3 and 4 are for BNC and the rest are for N and SO239. I have all the panel mount connectors, they just need a panel to mount them in.
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Old 12-18-2017, 5:49 PM
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HI Rich, your plan looks good and frankly seems like the best way to go. Just for giggles, with all the consolidations @ Norcom agencies perhaps someone may have some panels for grounding bulkheads laying around or about to be trashed. If I recall they may fit the bill. Just a thought.

Last edited by W9OHM; 12-18-2017 at 5:58 PM..
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Old 12-18-2017, 6:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9OHM View Post
HI Rich, your plan looks good and frankly seems like the best way to go. Just for giggles, with all the consolidations @ Norcom agencies perhaps someone may have some panels for grounding bulkheads laying around or about to be trashed. If I recall they may fit the bill. Just a thought.
I was thinking the same idea, and the installation we had at my agency was an inspiration for this idea.

We had our tower out back with five 1-7/8" hardlines and two 1/2" hardlines coming from the antennas to a copper panel just inside the equipment room, where they terminated with polyphasers, all with N connectors. We had 1/2 hard lines as jumpers to the various radio cabinets and over the years ended up adding a couple more antennas to the tower with 1/2" hardline. Coming from a 110 foot tower and about a 200 foot cable run (including up the tower) this all worked rather well. Other agencies on our network had smaller but similar arrangements.

With the pending switch to StarCom21 looming I would be tempted to acquire this stuff but from what I hear the infrastructure is planned to remain in place for a while during after the changeover and then the phone lines disconnected but the radio stuff left in place for single site repeaters as backups. Nevertheless, I am too far away to recover it myself...
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Old 12-18-2017, 6:54 PM
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Yep. We also had about 8 lines coming in. I seem to recall @ GV with the new building we may have had a panel or two available for possible expansion, anticipating ongoing/further consolidation. Who knows if they were used. But this is all fuzzy memory now, being retired for almost 7 years!! This is Bob btw, from GV.
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Old 12-18-2017, 7:25 PM
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Quote:
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Yep. We also had about 8 lines coming in. I seem to recall @ GV with the new building we may have had a panel or two available for possible expansion, anticipating ongoing/further consolidation. Who knows if they were used. But this is all fuzzy memory now, being retired for almost 7 years!! This is Bob btw, from GV.

Oh yeah, I knew who you were Bob. I pulled the pin almost 3 years ago now myself. Hope life is as good for you as it is for me!

I am thinking BTW of reducing the panel to 18 ports, 4 "F", 4 BNC and 10 SO239/N slots. It should be plenty for here and if we do end up at the new house with a tower should be fine there too by just drilling out a couple of the holes. The panel would have the holes far enough apart to accommodate polyphazers either way
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Old 12-20-2017, 3:49 PM
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New house? Didn't you just move to where you are a couple of years ago?

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Old 12-20-2017, 6:44 PM
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Yep, it has been almost 3 years now, and while we love where we are we discovered a place we really love out a bit further. It backs up to a small airport so I can watch planes from the back picture windows and with no HOA I have a lot more latitude and altitude for antennas. I already have spoken to the airport and the area we want to build has no height restrictions under 100 feet AGL.
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:17 PM
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Good for you, Rich. Of course we all wait (im)patiently for the photos of your new set up and the antennas this time! 8-)

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Old 01-03-2018, 6:47 PM
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The panel has been ordered and should be here in a week or so.

The kids are going to be here in mid February so we are going to take out the drywall in that section of the wall, pull some of the old coax out and unstrap the rest, restore the wall and mount the panel. I made the mistake of strapping things down when I installed the original coax lines a couple years ago, this time I will leave them all loose to make it easier to pull or remove.

The wall has 6x2 studs since it is a wet wall (the laundry room is on the other side) so that should make the cable bends more palatable. I might have to use a couple right angle adapters if there are any real stiff cables but most should be OK.

Thankfully I took pictures the last time the wall was opened so I know where everything is already. Since we are already planning on repainting the entire interior of the house this summer I have no problems taking down a wall like this and, more importantly, neither does the wife. The kid is a virtual carpenter so this is an easy job for him.

Looking forward to it!
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