2 Meter and 70 CM Antenna Tripod Project

prcguy

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The 1481 is twice as long as the 1480 and would have close to 3dB more gain. I have both Tram antennas but at different locations, so I have not tested them side by side. I do have other brand antennas I've tested here on a neighborhood repeater and have definitely noticed an increase in range going from an 8ft size dual band to a 17ft. I live in a hilly area and we get better distance to the horizon with the larger antenna but spottier coverage in canyons and valleys below the antenna.

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?
 

K9DWB

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So, it sounds like either is good (bigger is better) if I'm trying to reach up to repeaters or simplex straight out. And if the 1481 is available, I'll get it. I'd thought I saw it on Home Depot for $89.xx.
 

mmckenna

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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?
As prcguy said, more gain can be beneficial if you have a clear shot out to the horizon. Looking at Greencastle, PA, it looks like there are some rolling hills out there. Unless you are higher up than the average terrain, the higher gain may not make a huge difference in coverage. If you are up high and have a good clear view out to the horizon, the higher gain might be a good choice. Where I live, I have 2000' hills a few miles to my north and east, low hills to the south, and Pacific ocean to my west. Higher gain antennas don't do me much good. If I was out on the plains or high up in the mountains, a higher gain antenna may be my choice.

Consider cost, ability to safely install and properly support the longer antenna as you make your decision.
 

K9DWB

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I'll get the 1480 and see what it does. That locks in all parts for the project. When I get it assembled, I'll let ya'll how it's doing.
 

vagrant

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I have a 1480 and a 1481:
- The 1481 provides additional gain and it also moves quite a bit in the wind.
- The 1481 also went wonky. I unscrewed the coax at the antenna and...water.
- I purchased another 1480 a week ago from Amazon for around $58 plus tax delivered. Sweeps and works fine. I used Scotch 33+ on the joint, some rubber splice tape and the 33+ again. The connector also enjoyed some 33+ and splice tape. A little paint and up it went.

I still need to inspect the 1481. Perhaps I was negligent when sealing up the connection joints, or the water came in some other way. I'll probably just use the 1481 as a RX only antenna if I can fix. I don't really need that extra gain where I am.
 

prcguy

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My 1481 is in Texas on a remote control station where it gets baked, then drenched then baked all the time. I just checked the SWR and its the same as the day I put it up. I do remember gooping up the fiberglass section coupling threads with RTV so if that's where water gets in, its not getting in this one. Its also got some layers of Scotch 33+ on the connector.

I have a 1480 and a 1481:
- The 1481 provides additional gain and it also moves quite a bit in the wind.
- The 1481 also went wonky. I unscrewed the coax at the antenna and...water.
- I purchased another 1480 a week ago from Amazon for around $58 plus tax delivered. Sweeps and works fine. I used Scotch 33+ on the joint, some rubber splice tape and the 33+ again. The connector also enjoyed some 33+ and splice tape. A little paint and up it went.

I still need to inspect the 1481. Perhaps I was negligent when sealing up the connection joints, or the water came in some other way. I'll probably just use the 1481 as a RX only antenna if I can fix. I don't really need that extra gain where I am.
 

K9DWB

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Sounds like a great idea to add these to the shopping list. Probably already said it, but the 110B tripod, the 1480 Tram, and then likely 50' ABR Industries or Times Microwave LMR-400 Ultra Flex w/ UHF PL-259s and a lighter 3' coax at the HT radio.
 

K9DWB

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You know, I would have tried the 17' on the tripod if I had loads of discretionary money. Last I checked, nope I don't.

But I will go for the 8' Tram 1480 with better for this area radiation pattern/gain AND better suited physical size for a tripod. Price for the project looks more acceptable too. It has to be better than my top of the HT for my area.
 

vagrant

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I like the ABR 400UF and I use that for portable when camping/contesting away from the house for easy setup/take down and storage. I "armstrong" my mast for directivity and not having to fight the coax is a plus. I have two runs of that go up a mast for different VHF and UHF antennas. For antennas 6 meters and down, they get LMR-240UF for portable use. Perhaps a 3' short jumper of 240UF for your HT should work. Still, 3' of almost whatever should be okay.

Yes, 1480 on mast outdoors up in the air, definitely better than HT antenna.
 

K9DWB

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OK yep, I had the 3' as LMR-240 UF. I'm thinking of getting a custom coax for that as it's seeming not a normal coax build that I'll be needing for this 3' jumper. I have practice/mock configured it with a 90 degree SMA-M at the HT to see how it prices out.
 

K9DWB

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My project items were ordered. I grabbed an Ultimate Support 110B Open Box from eBay seller in Winchester, VA. Coax is from HRO, a 50' PL-259 x2 LMR-400UF Open Box and Comet 39" SO-239 to SMAM as radio end, and a Tram 1480 Home Depot. Total project is $291 minus RTV and tape, so it'll be at $300 more or less.

BTW wishing all a safe Labor day weekend.
 

K9DWB

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HRO coax received. The VA HRO store called to tell me the open box coax was already sold so he had to confirm I would authorize the order be filled with new 50' instead costing an extra $7. No big deal and very fast service. Very pleased with HRO so far. Tripod is stuck at FedEX store as they changed delivery to tomorrow when I'll be out of town. Had to divert there as only option as I am not signed as a "delivery manager". Didn't want the box on the porch till I return Monday. Home Depot Tram 1480 antenna ETA Tuesday. So if all goes well, I should be on the air Tuesday with better ears.

Still need to get sandbags for weight and tape/RTV to seal it up. Will do that Tuesday.
 

K9DWB

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Here's the coax image FWIW. ABR Industries has some great looking coax assemblies. Not being familiar with LMR-400, I'm pleasantly surprised on its thickness, and going UF was a smart move I think. It does make my Comet SO239 to SMA-M jumper look tiny in comparison.

20200904_124528.jpg
 

K9DWB

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I picked up the tripod at FedEx store today. Had to divert the delivery there as we were away this weekend.

It stands at 88 1/2 inches without extending, as it came out of box but with legs spread out. And I spread the legs apart per instructions, with cross braces parallel to ground/ floor. Legs are about 51 inches apart at the ends.

Antenna from Home Depot still enroute.
 

K9DWB

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OK, well the tripod is a very good choice. The air assist means no effort to extend, but since the antenna weighs less than PA speakers, there is a bit of resistance to collapse it. It's doable though. The Tram 1480 looks good sitting on top of the tripod. I do have to loosen the antenna mounts and straighten it a bit on the short mast stub on top of the tripod. It went a bit askew on me when locking it down. Oh well, I'll fix it tomorrow. I used RTV on the fiberglass joint and electrical tape on the antenna coax end.

The important part: IT WORKS! I hit a local repeater in Chambersburg, PA 17 miles away for a radio test on 147.12 MHz. I had a guy in Harrisburg answer back. He said it was a little quiet, but intelligible. He said he understood the slight quietness from a guy on an HT. So proven, if I hit the repeater, I am out there for others to hear it. And they also can hear me. I also heard a round table convo that must have been some wide area repeater from eastern PA. I'd not heard activity on most of these repeaters. The round table had a few guys mobile near Lancaster and the area and one guy in NJ. My Yaesu FT3D can do what I expected with 5 Watt with the right antenna. Perfect situ? No but it's good for now. Meantime, I keep looking the used ads to see if a decent mobile or base comes up. Even so, I'm not in a hurry as this is doable.

The first 2 images show the tripod fully extended, and while I must measure to be sure, it appears to have some above the roof peak. The 3rd shot is with the tripod mast collapsed. It's not set in stone that the antenna must be where pictured, but I wanted to have it somewhat close to my bedroom to get the coax inside. 50' is more than enough, but I am glad I didn't go any shorter. 73s!

Antenna-tripod 2.jpg Antenna-tripod 3.jpg Antenna-tripod 1.jpg
 

vagrant

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Check your microphone volume level. I have my FT3DR set to level 7. Also, watch you do not cover the mic hole with your finger. I have heard that in the past and recognized when a buddy did that on his.

Per the manual...
You can adjust the input level of the built-in microphone or an optional external micro-
phone.
1. Press and hold the [DISP] key, and then touch [TX/RX].
2. Touch [3 AUDIO].
3. Touch [1 MIC GAIN].
4. Rotate the DIAL knob to select the desired microphone sensitivity level.
5. Select a microphone gain level from LEVEL 1 to LEVEL 9.
Remark
The default setting: LEVEL 5
 
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