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Using pvc for antenna mast.........................

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crvickers

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Just out of curiosity, is ok to use pvc for a antenna mast? What I'm thinking of doing is using about 2 feet of 1" pvc for a small antenna mast. Just wanted to know what people thought about it.

Thank you.
CRvickers.
 

DewAddict

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Well.....

Where are you planning to mount it?

I have used PVC for a mast several times but the antenna was mounted to a 1.5" piece and then to a fence pole 10' high off the ground. It was only a temporary install. I would never trust PVC to hold up at greater heights to the winds we get here in Michigan. I have also created a telescopic mast using various sizes of PVC, but again it was only temporary.

I would not use PVC in any area that would be in falling range of any wires, power or other, and would not put a large antenna on it. So it really depends on your installation area.

Hope that helps a bit,

Dew
 

N8DV

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Why not steel tv masting? The Rat Shack has heavy duty steel masting in 5 and 10 foot lengths. Been using it for years with no problems.
 

Airdorn

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PVC sags over time, especially when exposed to the elements.. but for a very very short mast, especially if its temporary, then you'll prolly be alright.

But for a REAL man's mast, do like I did and go buy some 2" contractor's gas line and put it in a hole with some Quick-crete. ;)

Now that's a MAN'S antenna mast!!

Here, I included a pic of it.
 

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zz0468

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I've used PVC as a mast up to 20'. It was guyed, however, with the guys forming various dipole antennas. It held up for several years, and worked just fine. A short piece of 1" might be stiff enough to hold a light weight antenna.
 

Grog

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Airdorn said:
But for a REAL man's mast, do like I did and go buy some 2" contractor's gas line and put it in a hole with some Quick-crete. ;)

In my area they are using a lot of plastic (not sure of the exact composition and I won't guess to risk setting off the RR know-it-alls :D )...


I have used PVC for a VHF 1/4 wave antenna, a 10' piece with the highest support about five feet from the top. It was about 1.25" diameter.
 

pddispatcher

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Not a good idea.

I don't think its a good idea to use PVC Pipe.

Its not strong enough to support much of an antenna

Also I was helping a guy that insisted on using PVC Pipe or part of his mast with a ground plane antenna and it bent on him and folded back into powerlines and killed him on the way to the hospital.

Luckily I wasn't holding the mast when it happened.

Was a great ham other than that decision :-(
 

n8emr

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crvickers said:
Just out of curiosity, is ok to use pvc for a antenna mast? What I'm thinking of doing is using about 2 feet of 1" pvc for a small antenna mast. Just wanted to know what people thought about it.

Thank you.
CRvickers.
PVC is fine for a quick and dirty antenna mount but in a fix location you will need to replace it in a year> Most PVC pipe will not hold up to the sun UV rays and the motion even a small antenna will put on it. I also wonder what kind of mount your going to use that only needs 2ft of mast? MOst antennas take a 6inch to a foot and the mount end takes a couple of feed in most cases. If you just need short mast, Radio shack and Lowes has 5ft steal mast to do the job right.
 

Grog

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For those that insist that pvc will not hold up in the sun, the antenna I spoke of was up for at least five years. You won't be putting a db224 on it, but for something simple and light, it will work. It's the same as you would not put an 80 meter beam on 1' steel pipe either :D
 

N1BHH

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Two feet for a small antenna? Like a VHF or UHF ground plane? That would be fine except it should be larger diameter, at least 1-1/2" (that's a minimum) because a good gust of wind will come along and shake the heck out of that thing and it'll look like spaghetti in the wind. Do you remember the railroad crossing lights in Close Encounters? That's what it will look like. A simple 5 foot mast from your local Radio Shack or another local source, like Home Depot, will do much better.

If you're putting up a vertical dipole or something similar, then make sure the PVC is long enough. That wouldn't be a problem with something along that line.
 

trace1

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Well, while it certainly may not be the ideal setup, I have my Diamond X-200A mounted to a PVC mast that is about 12 feet high. I painted it with gray primer and it looks very much like any other steel mast and so far has held up very well, even in strong gust of winds during the many severe thunderstorms that have passed through my area.
 

schillin

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PVC has a very low fracture toughness, so it'll tend to break in a sudden, brittle, catastrohpic manner when tiny little microcracks in the PVC grow too big.

Sorry to sound like a know it all, but I teach this to college engineering students.

Little microcracks that are naturally present in PVC will get bigger over time, especially with UV radiation, changing temps, and so on.

This know it all learned this the hard way when I built a potato cannon out of cheap PVC instead of more expensive steel pipe. The cannon blew into a million bits after 2 years of faithful service.

Yes I know.....antenna masts aren't potato cannons.....bottom line, if the bending stresses are low and the microcracks don't grow big, PVC should work okay as an antenna mast. If it was me, I'd use a steel, because it has a higher fracture toughness.....even if it rusts a lot, it will still bend a long way before it fractures in 2. With low fracture toughness materials like PVC, there's just no warning.....it'll bend a little and then POW.....all over but the crying.

I told my wife I'd swear off of potato cannons. So many potatoes, so little time.....
 

DPD1

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I came upon some of the sunlight resistant electrical conduit PVC the other day... We were on some trails near some old windmill foundations in the desert, and each one still had a 2' piece of 1" sticking out of the foundation. As far I know, these mills had been gone for at least 16 years, with the conduit sitting unprotected in the sun of the desert and freezing nights for at least that long. I kicked the very top side of the piece as hard as I could multiple times... Nothing. Not even a crack. It's pretty robust. As long as the weight isn't real heavy and it's a short length, it would probably be OK. You can also use the more heavy schedule 80 or stick wood in the middle.

Dave
www.DPDProductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist
 

Ptreaster

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I don't think its a good idea to use PVC Pipe.

Its not strong enough to support much of an antenna

Also I was helping a guy that insisted on using PVC Pipe or part of his mast with a ground plane antenna and it bent on him and folded back into powerlines and killed him on the way to the hospital.

Luckily I wasn't holding the mast when it happened.

Was a great ham other than that decision :-(
Wow, forgot the first rule of antenna safety! total length (antenna and mast/tower) should always be 10' less than nearest power line!
 

LtDoc

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The object is to use something that is strong enough to do what it's supposed to do. There are lots of materials that could be used for a mast/support if it satisfies the mechanical aspects. Then there are the electrical aspects that have to be accommodated. If you have access to the 'right' type/size/shape of PVC pipe it should do okay for a mast, or the antenna's housing. It's been my experience that from what's available locally, PVC just isn't the 'best' thing for masts of some particular lengths. What length is that? Beats me, but it'll be shorter than you'd like.
All materials have their draw backs, the 'trick' is to weed out the ones that don't 'fit' the particular situation/circumstances/(cost).
Good luck.
- 'Doc

absolutely nothing new in this, just a different way of looking at it.
 

rwilcox1951

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I'm presently using two ten foot sections of 1 1/2 " PVC electrical conduit supporting a ST-2 antenna. This antenna is very light and offers little wind resistance. Total cost for 20' of mast about $10.00. So far so good.
 

pilotman6012

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Athens Alabama
I used PVC built only on the outside,Bought 3 Inch Pvc, buried it 2 feet in the ground,poured concrete to secure it,than put the antenna pole up about 18 feet inside the pvc,drilled a hole thru PVC and Metal Pipe and secured it with two nuts and bolts one at the bottom and one at the top,added 12 feet antenna making the total length about 25 feet off the ground.
 
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