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102" on fence post....Disaster waiting to happen...

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Cruiseomatic

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Trying to get a base setup after years of not having one. Only have one option though, 102" on a galvenized fence post that is attached to a chain length fence. Will it work? I hope I don't have to repeatedly go and check, drop down, clip, put back up, check, repeat. Never used a fence as a ground plane before, What all am I needing to do to make this work? Also, Im trying to get a 3 ft. steel whip as my PRO-164 antenna on the same pole with a mounting bracket. Can I use the same ground plane for both antennas' or will they need to be seperate?
 
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krokus

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What are you trying to listen to, on the Pro-164? That whip will not work very well on some frequencies, like 800MHz.

As for the fence, it can work as a ground plane, but your best signal will be oriented along the fenceline. I can only guess how well it might work, or not work.
 

Fast1eddie

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Yeah, it will work-fence is one hell of a groundplane, but don't expect too much range because there is no significant height. After finding a mounting location, make sure the paint is scrapped away for a nice metal-metal connection to the mount. Bang a 4 foot ground rod in next to the fence and make a good ground connection to the fence then coat generously with RTV.

Same ground plane will work for your scanner antenna. This setup (aside from being physically larger) is the same as if the two antennas were mounted on your vehicle.

Remember, antennas are pretty dumb. They know they are resonant in a certain band but have no way of knowing if they are mounted on a Chevy van or on a fence. Just use good installation practices and do a good job. You'll be fine. The CB's range will be comparable to a mobile install.
 

gewecke

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IF you do this, DO NOT forget that a chain link fence is also a magnet for lightning!!
Be sure to attach an adequate ground to your antenna.


73,
n9zas
 

Cruiseomatic

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IF you do this, DO NOT forget that a chain link fence is also a magnet for lightning!!
Be sure to attach an adequate ground to your antenna.


73,
n9zas
Heh, Already grouned the fence. Did that years ago. 4 ft. copper rod into the dirt.
 

Fast1eddie

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There ya go. Our grounding rods would become the official piss pot when we were in the field, you would be surprised at how effective a moist ground is. Only problem was some poor schmuk (usually me) would have to remove them when the exercise ended. All that good German beer.....
 

Cruiseomatic

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Moist ground? Haha. I'm in Houston. Closest thing we see to rain now is a water main break which has been happening alot lately. But I do need to check it for conductivity. Trying to install a CB setup that can be upgraded to amature in the near future without much work although I feel new, better grade coax that is solid and not with a barrel connector. I currently have RG-58/U-95 Foam That is approx. 40ft. long and to short by 20 +/-. Using a fence as a ground plane "should" help with TX and RX to a point, should'nt it?
 

LtDoc

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Using a fence as the 'other half' of an antenna (groundplane) will work, it's not that unusual at all. Does it make for a good groundplane? Not particularly, chain-link fence parts ave very seldom ever 'solidly' connected to each other, post, fence segments, etc. But it will work. How about for scanning purposes? Not so good there. Not because of how much 'groundplane' you have, but how much height you don't have.
There are 'catches' though! If you are going to use that fence as part of a transmitting antenna, you just put your antenna as close to your neighbor's (and your) house as that fence runs. The whole neighborhood surrounded by that fence? Oh boy! You'll make everybody mad at you about RFI. That ought'a be fun, don't you think? (That's what I did with the fence around my yard, and neighborhood, as part of a station ground system. Found out real quick that it isn't the smartest idea in the world.)
That "take it down, trim it, put it back" thingy is the normal way of tuning an antenna. If you only have to do it once or twice, you are very very lucky. Get used to it. That's not just 'home-made' antennas, but all of them, they all require tuning, there are no "one size fit's all" situations antennas. That's sales 'hype'.
Can you put more than one antenna on the same fence? Sure, why not. Got more than one antenna on a car? Same thing just different way of looking at it.
Need to extent your feed line? Okay, do it. It's done quite often with no particular problems. Barrel connectors work. Sealing a connection like that if it's exposed to the weather isn't a bad idea. Probably several dozen ways of going about it, pick one.
Will a fence as a ground help with transmitting or receiving? Only in that it is a substitute for putting in a good 'dirt' groundplane, AKA radial system. There's no particular benefit to it, other than it's already there, sort of. If that's all you can manage right now, then do it! Nothing says you can't do it some other way later.
- 'Doc
 

Cruiseomatic

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Once I get all the needed parts, Can someone explain how I can make this the "best" (Most efficient) setup I can? Got some SERIOUS rain thats supposed to come in this weekend so I'm trying to get this done before it happends.
 

mtindor

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I concur with LtDoc. The only time your fence is likely to be attractive to lightning is if it's the highest thing around your general area. Lightning is looking for tall objects. If you've got a 5' fence, a 30' tall house and a 40' tall tree, it's going to prefer the tree.

Of course, if you stick a 102" whip on your fence, it's now about 9' taller and could be more attractive than surrounding objects. That's unlikely though, since you probably have something taller than that in the nearby area.

I can honestly say that I've never heard of a fence being a primary target / attraction of lightning,

It's also important to note that lightning doesn't hit your general area simply because you have a 40-ft tall tree there. If lightning strikes within a square mile of you, it was going to do it no matter what object was there. If the only thing that was available in that square mile was flat land and absolutely nothing else, the lightning is still going to strike there. But, IF the lightning was going to strike in that square mile already, then you don't want to be around the highest object in that area if you can help it.

You hear of golfers getting struck often. It isn't because they are carrying a golf club. It's because they happen to be in an area where lightning was already going to strike and they happened to be near a tree or be the tallest thing in the area. Let's face it, if there is lightning, there is probably rain. If there is rain, it's probably nice and wet on the golf course. Lightning doesn't even have to strike the golfer directly to kill them. It can strike a tree nearby and the golfer standing in the nice wet green is going suffer.
 
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gewecke

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Oh, one other thingy.

Metal fences are NOT lightning magnets.
Figuratively speaking, YES they are!! They fall into the same category as a freestanding tower if it's tallest vertical structure in the area, Or the largest tree in a meadow, Or the only large metal perimeter object surrounded by nothing on elevated ground or near a large body of water.
Have you ever seen a cyclone metal fence struck in a t-storm? I have!!! The lock on the gated was welded shut, and the grass on both sides was charred.
So I beg to differ. :wink:

73,
n9zas
 
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LtDoc

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It's called keeping things in perspective. Being struck once, to your knowledge, doesn't make metal fences a lightening 'magnet'. I won a lottery once. Does that make me a lottery 'magnet'?
- 'Doc
 

gewecke

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It's called keeping things in perspective. Being struck once, to your knowledge, doesn't make metal fences a lightening 'magnet'. I won a lottery once. Does that make me a lottery 'magnet'?
- 'Doc
It does if you win again! :)

73,
n9zas
 

ab2ms

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Rule of thumb here & I'm not trying to argue with anyone.. Lightning will strike ANYTHING!, it doesn't matter how high the object is...
I responded once to a lightning strike that followed a peculiar path:

Bolt struck tree with a PA speaker in it. Ran along PA wire to the main garage, jumped into a beam in the wall splitting and pushing nails out along 8 or so feet of the beam, jumped into a filing cabinet then to the one sitting against it welding the 2 together then into the cement floor leaving a burn mark. Anything and often many things are game. It may not be the tallest thing, but can still be part of the path. Lightning can be strange, not always following standard rule of thumb.

So I second N4UYV
 

Cruiseomatic

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Got it mounted to a 10' post with a mirror mount. Not even on the fence yet and checked it. Getting between 1.7 and 1.8 on all channels. Anyway to lower this? Add stinger length? Longer running radials maybe? Total length from tip to mounting is 103". Would like to get it under 1.5 since I'm not running "Fire Power" and every little bit helps. BTW, It won't be using the fence as a ground-plane, The galvanizing on it will not allow it unless I grind some off and that isn't going to happen. I've gotten better SWR readings when I was using a small outside central air unit...Mag mount at that.

Thanks.
 

LtDoc

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The easiest/quickest way of finding out which 'way' to go for lowering that SWR is by adding a short piece of wire to the tip of that whip. Just wrap it on the metal tip and extend it a couple of inches. If it lowers the SWR then you know you gotta extend the antenna's length. If it makes it worse, then you know the thing's too long. Solder works just dandy for that extension, easy to manipulate.
That SWR is within the 'possible' normal SWR for a 1/4 wave antenna. It's also certainly possible to lower that SWR a bit.
Have fun.
- 'Doc

Oh, there's nothing wrong with using RG-8. The 'biggy' with the type/size of coax used is the losses for the length of run that you use, at the frequency of use. If the amount of loss doesn't exceed something like 3 dB per 100 foot for different coax types, it just isn't going to make any practical difference (except in the contents of your wallet). Fractional losses are meaningless unless there are a huge-a-mongus number of them.
 
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jj394

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102 on fence post

Its not the lightning you need to worry about its the power line that falls on the fence just think all that juice going Thu and into your house
 
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