2 Meter and 70 CM Antenna Tripod Project

W5lz

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Comparing 'J' poles and 1/4 wave antennas is apples and oranges. The 1/4 wave is... a 1/4 wave long and has the characteristics of any/all 1/4 wave antennas. A 'J' pole is a 1/2 wave antenna with difference characteristics, one of which is a generally "bigger" radiation pattern.
Since comparisons are made using radiation patterns I would think that the 1/4 wave would come out the looser... all other things being at least equal. If you have to hide the thing, the 1/4 wave might be easier to use. Wrap plastic 'ivy' around it and plant it in a pot...
 

K9DWB

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Correct in that I'm on a list for apartments. This is one of the main driving factors of considering a "portable" tripod and base antenna. Take portable with a grain of salt as these may not be truly portable. That would be a very interesting sight, me walking around with a 5, 10, 17 or 24' dual band base antenna and my FT3D HT. :cool: Maybe I should phrase it as not permanently mounted.

My key needs are boiled down to:

big bang for the buck - I don't mind paying for quality but I also don't want to go overboard as I am on a limited disability income, so I want every dollar invested to count towards effective and efficient receive/transmit, I want my 5 watts to do all it can to get out

doesn't need permanent mounting - I will likely not be permitted to attach/alter the apartment rental to mount anything

stealth should be considered as likely without hurting effective range so as to reach repeaters
 

prcguy

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When it comes to antennas, size is everything and a big antenna will reach out a lot farther than a 1/4 wave ground plane, or (egad!) a J-pole. I think the best bang for your money these days in a 2m/70cm base antenna is from Home Depot. Yup, the depot handles a few brands of amateur antennas and they have the 8ft tall Tram 1480 for only $59. I think that is a good size for a portable base antenna, not too big but bigger than too small. I have one and also the larger 17ft 1481 and they are great for the $$, good quality and they perform well. Plus you probably have a Home Depot in the neighborhood.
 

K9DWB

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Interesting on Home Depot. Certainly, I'll have to check them out. It sounds like there's lots of directions to take on this. Yup, the Home Depot in Hagerstown, MD is about 9 miles away.
 

tweiss3

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J Poles can work but they can be problematic sometimes, interacting with nearby materials and even the feedline itself. It really can't do anything a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna can't. If you have the choice, use a 1/4 wave ground plane. Also, while the speaker tripod mentioned above are great all in one solutions, don't rule out typical roof mount tripods like those used for small satellite dishes. They can be used four ground based antennas too and are pretty cheap but quite strong.
I will second Eds Jpole, for $38 shipped, and $2 in pvc pipe from lowes, it performs really well in my attic paired with 25 of LMR400 Max
 

vagrant

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Well, if it does not need to be portable or hidden, I agree with getting a Tram 1480. I have used one for several years and it works very well. I'm probably going to pick up another because extra on hand is always good. If you do get one read the instructions and ensure you connect the rods inside before screwing the fiberglass sections together. I then used Scotch 33+ tape on the middle section and then coax tape over that. If your weather is really bad, another layer of Scotch 33+ over the coax tape should help.
 

prcguy

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I've been to that Home Depot in Hagerstown working on a job a the Intelsat Mountainside Teleport in Hagerstown. They usually don't stock the antenna and you just order it online and have it shipped to your local store.

The Tram 1480 will make an Ed Fong J-pole look like a dummy load.

Interesting on Home Depot. Certainly, I'll have to check them out. It sounds like there's lots of directions to take on this. Yup, the Home Depot in Hagerstown, MD is about 9 miles away.
 

K9DWB

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I don't need any more dummies on my station. I count for all that's needed. Guess I need to shop for fake vines for my vertical as I see Sherwin Williams is out of invisible paint. :cool: :coffee:
 

N4DJC

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I have used an Elk log periodic on a PVC stand in an upstairs bedroom for months, I have no issue hitting repeaters with 5 watts out to maybe 25 miles (or more if they're at high elevations). It's very compact, but not cheap by any standard. Needs no tuning and is pretty flat across the both bands. It makes a fine ISS and FM satellite antenna too.
 

K9DWB

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@N4DJC yes I've read and seen good things on the Elk log periodic. I'll be ground floor wherever I go due to disability, but still good info. If I can't go high myself, then I'll make a way for the antenna to sit elevated.
 

K9DWB

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So here's a twist that I'll throw out and see if it sticks to the wall. How about these Mil poles from Coleman's Military Surplus here in PA? Maybe aluminum for legs and bottom 2 verticals and topped with a fiberglass section.

Colemans Mil alum pole.pngColemans Mil Fiber poles.gif

I can team it with a tripod frame from bjbfarms. It would look something like this.

bjbfarms tripod frame.jpg

Then I suppose I'd get tank netting and throw it over the antenna and nobody would ever see it. haha :cool:
So where did that antenna go to anyway?

Colemans camo net.gif
 

prcguy

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That tripod adapter is completely wrong and its an aftermarket unit. The real military adapters have the vertical mast going up out of the adapter and the mast does not go through and hit the ground. The weight of the mast and antenna helps stabilize the tripod.

This aftermarket yellow tripod adapter thing has the vertical mast sliding through it and to the ground. There is no weight to stabilize the tripod and it will tip over very easily compared to using the actual military tripod adapter. Plus those mast sections are surplus from netting kits that hold up cammo netting and were not specifically made for antennas.

I have the actual super heavy duty thick wall aluminum 5ft mast kits and the real tripod adapters, so I know what they look like and how they work. The kit came with 8 masts and some other stuff with the masts held together by two aluminum end caps with 8 detents that held the masts together in a pattern for shipping. There was also a fiberglass mast version, just as heavy duty and those masts fit the military tripod adapter properly. I can post pictures of the real stuff if you want to see what to look for.

So here's a twist that I'll throw out and see if it sticks to the wall. How about these Mil poles from Coleman's Military Surplus here in PA? Maybe aluminum for legs and bottom 2 verticals and topped with a fiberglass section.

View attachment 90139View attachment 90140

I can team it with a tripod frame from bjbfarms. It would look something like this.

View attachment 90141

Then I suppose I'd get tank netting and throw it over the antenna and nobody would ever see it. haha :cool:
So where did that antenna go to anyway?

View attachment 90142
 

K9DWB

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Where would be a better source for a tripod and masts if I go that direction? I really would rather get it right one time than to repeat. The earliest I can buy any part of this is next month, so I figured now is the time for planning and research into doing it right.

And don't worry about hurting my feelings by telling things as they really are, like this info. I really don't want to waste money on buying something that won't work or last or if it can be done better.
 

prcguy

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The military masts and tripod adapter are not for everyone but I like them for certain things. When I'm camping it lets me get a fairly large antenna up to about 25ft with no guying if the wind is not a big problem. I usually hang a Home Depot bucket from the tripod adapter and fill that full of rocks for ballast and that setup gets used for several days to a week at a time before taking down.

I also have a trailer hitch mast adapter that will hold about 20ft of the military masts and the adapter hinges over so you can insert 20ft of mast then walk it up vertical and pin it. But assembling all the parts for a tripod and going up 20ft or more is a bit cumbersome and a self contained unit like a speaker tripod is much easier if you don't need the extreme height. I have several 6ft speaker tripods and find them adequate for most local hamster or other radio events to get a moderate size vertical in the air or sometimes a Yagi or Log Periodic. Higher would be better but 6ft has been ok and gets the antenna radials just above my head.

If I was starting from scratch and didn't have a garage full of masts, tripods, a 42ft pneumatic Will-Burt for my truck and other stuff, I would look into one of the 9ft speaker/lighting tripods and maybe search for a slightly taller version if it exists.

Are you looking for something temporary for use at home in an unfriendly antenna area or for away from home? If its for temporary home use there are some nifty mounts for masts that you can screw to a fence or wall or ?? that will allow you to stick the assembled mast in, sideways, then tilt it up and the bottom mast sits in a cup like device. These are very popular with the RV crowd attaching a tall mast to an RV or trailer.

I can't find the mount I'm referring to and its similar to this one but its made to mount to a flat surface instead of an RV ladder: Flag Pole Buddy RV Ladder Antenna Mount - DX Store

Where would be a better source for a tripod and masts if I go that direction? I really would rather get it right one time than to repeat. The earliest I can buy any part of this is next month, so I figured now is the time for planning and research into doing it right.

And don't worry about hurting my feelings by telling things as they really are, like this info. I really don't want to waste money on buying something that won't work or last or if it can be done better.
 

K9DWB

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I'm renting from Mom temporarily due to several injuries that disabled me. I'm on several wait lists to rent a ground floor apartment. Due to the near future rental, I'm supposed to be making plans that a mounted antenna would be ruled out. If I find that I am permitted to do so, then I certainly will do what the landlord allows instead. So far, I haven't got any further on these rentals than the app to qualify and then to wait in line for a vacancy. When I get to the stage of signing a rental agreement, I'll question the subject to see what they'd permit. I'll have to accept the rental restrictions and be flexible and stealthy on antennas.

So far, I've actually made the plan to build too big and far too noticeable. And I see I've gotten carried away with the considering the biggest I can make it, and that is likely contrary to going stealth. I think the antenna of choice, if I can do even this size, is the Diamond X50 at only 5 1/2 foot or so. I should pair it with a speaker tripod you mentioned, something at 9' or a little more if I can find it. I think an optimized medium antenna system would be a far more realistic goal. If I owned it, then that's a completely different story obviously.

As for me going out on a hike or similar, very light duty is a maybe and most likely rare. So field use is nil.
 

prcguy

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Even as a renter you should have some side yard or porch or balcony that you should be able to set the tripod on or even Ty-rap a short mast to a railing, etc. Maybe even a window that doesn't face the public and you make a mount to hold a short mast a few feet out from the building. Or make friends with the people above you and have them sponsor your mast and antenna from a balcony, etc.

If the building owner allows you to put up your own TV antenna or satellite dish, you can probably get something on the roof for amateur and call it a TV antenna, or modify an old DirecTV dish with instructions from QST magazine to make it into a 2m antenna.

I'm renting from Mom temporarily due to several injuries that disabled me. I'm on several wait lists to rent a ground floor apartment. Due to the near future rental, I'm supposed to be making plans that a mounted antenna would be ruled out. If I find that I am permitted to do so, then I certainly will do what the landlord allows instead. So far, I haven't got any further on these rentals than the app to qualify and then to wait in line for a vacancy. When I get to the stage of signing a rental agreement, I'll question the subject to see what they'd permit. I'll have to accept the rental restrictions and be flexible and stealthy on antennas.

So far, I've actually made the plan to build too big and far too noticeable. And I see I've gotten carried away with the considering the biggest I can make it, and that is likely contrary to going stealth. I think the antenna of choice, if I can do even this size, is the Diamond X50 at only 5 1/2 foot or so. I should pair it with a speaker tripod you mentioned, something at 9' or a little more if I can find it. I think an optimized medium antenna system would be a far more realistic goal. If I owned it, then that's a completely different story obviously.

As for me going out on a hike or similar, very light duty is a maybe and most likely rare. So field use is nil.
 

K9DWB

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OK yes that is good info as well and may be in play. Really since I don't know what the situation is going to be like, the whole spectrum from hard restrictions to more or less whatever I want is open. And to be honest, this is all speculation on my part about the restrictions or lack of them. I do want to put together some outdoor antenna of some sort to get better signal. I will say I am liking the idea of a speaker tripod like that 110B that's 9', the Diamond X50 and good quality coax just to make the radio operation better here.

The two larger towns that these apartments are located will place me within roughly 5 miles from at least one repeater per town and possibly more. And I do know these are placed on hills or short mountains. In particular, the Pen Mar, MD repeater is at 1,890' that is 5 miles from the one apartment complex in Waynesboro, PA. The other location is Chambersburg and there's several repeaters around that area.
 

ladn

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I think the best bang for your money these days in a 2m/70cm base antenna is from Home Depot. Yup, the depot handles a few brands of amateur antennas and they have the 8ft tall Tram 1480 for only $59
I agree. I also have a 1480. It's fine for a temporary or field day antenna and is a good value for the money. It's not an antenna I'd leave at an isolated site, exposed to the elements for a long period of time. Considering the time involved and general aggravation in procuring parts, I couldn't make an equivalent antenna for that amount of money. Depending on where/how I set mine up, I feed it with either RG-8X or LMR-400.
 

K9DWB

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OK very good thoughts again. Thanks for the feedback. I now have what appears as a likely candidate for the tripod in that Ultimate Support 110B. Those Tram antennas at Home Depot are on the list also.
 

K9DWB

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Revisiting: I found a seller that's an hour away on eBay that has the Ultimate Support 110B, he's listed in Winchester, VA. I think he's my source for the tripod. Home Depot and the Tram. Now for a bit of convo...When does choosing the Tram 1480 vs 1481 make sense? In what circumstance would you choose one over the other? Gain is different for each, and if I'm correct, that would modify radiation patterns. I think higher gain means elongated radiation horizontally but shortened vertically. Am I on the right track?
 
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