Antenna Farm Growth in my attic

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N9JIG

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OK, I know I am an outlier but I enjoy it. I got a few new antennas and a friend helped install them in my attic. Well, in reality he did the work and I watched... Thanks Joe!

Due to my HOA I cannot have outside antennas (I knew this before moving in...) so I have an attic full of various antennas. Since I have dozens of scanners and other radios I like to have a variety of antennas to allow me to experiment and get the best results for the desire of the day.

I have about 2 dozen antennas in the attic, including 4 ST-2's, a few ST-3's, 2 discones, a couple MON-51's, some CenterFire's, a couple wire dipoles for HF and some two-way stuff for ham, GMRS or monitoring. Depending on the antenna I have either RG8x or RG6QS with a couple RG58 leads. Each of the cables is labeled at each end with numbers. Cables with no antenna connected have a red tape stripe on the close end. Most cable lengths are 25 or 50 feet and some of the RG6QS's we trimmed down from 50 to what was needed, about 25-30 feet.

When we added a couple CenterFire antennas (they work pretty good BTW) we also replaced a couple of the cheaper RG6QS cables and trimmed down a couple others. Since I had bought pre-made cables and I wasn't sure of the lengths I would need a couple of them turned out to be way too long. I also have a few spare coax cables in place in case I need to replace one or add yet another antenna down the road. We also relocated a couple antennas to get them further away from the HVAC stuff.

The OCD part of me led me to compare each of these antennas on a variety of frequencies to see what antenna would be used for what purpose. I picked out what I thought would end up being the best antenna and found as many constant transmitting stations as I could on my R8500. These included mostly trunked or other data signals. For HF I chose a fairly weak AM station in town as well as WWV on 3 freqs (5, 10 and 15 MHz.). I programmed all of these into the R8500 and created a database in FileMaker to record the results. I know this is not the best way, but it is the way I had available to me. Without a calibrated monitor I had to rely in the relative indicated signal strength with a little bit of fudging for voice quality.

Reading the indicated S-meter readings I entered them into the database. I reduced the number a bit based on perceived quality if it was scratchy or difficult to read. For each of the bands I then created a calculation field that added each of the scores for that band and then divided it by the number of channels in the band, then rounded it to the nearest 10th. This provided me with the antenna that provided the best results for that band.

I then started parcelling out the antenna assignments based on these results. First I assigned the HF and transmitting antennas. The remaining antennas available for scanners and receivers were then assigned. I used the best antenna for the R8500 and the next two for my 2 8-port multicouplers that feed 7 scanners each. I had an 800 MHz. two-way antenna that was assigned to a PRO197 to be used for data collection with PRO96Com and Unitrunker.

There were several antennas that I chose not to use at this time but may end up using them for something down the line. I am still thinking about a flagpole antenna for HF down the road as well as a couple hidden antennas like random wires along the tile line on the roof or vent-pipe antennas.

This works well for me and it allows me to change things around as needed. If I have a need for coverage in a specific band I can select the antenna that works best on that band.

I have often thought about setting up a patch panel and may end up doing so at some time down the road. I worry however about the loss involved with adding another set of connectors and jumpers. It might neaten things up though.
 

toastycookies

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You do understand that your HOA is bound by .gov rules to allow you a TV antenna/sat dish?

You have a lot more options than you think.
 

N9JIG

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You do understand that your HOA is bound by .gov rules to allow you a TV antenna/sat dish?

You have a lot more options than you think.
We can have dishes, so they are compliant. I suppose I could put up a fake dish style antenna but I don't think that would help me much. We cannot get OTA TV without substantial towers here due to our location. The city is 50 miles away and there is a mountain range in between. All the TV transmitters are 20 miles further. For that reason the HOA provides basic cable as part of the assessment.

Right now there is no law that allows me outside antennas other than for TV if the HOA prohibits it. PRB-1 doesn't apply to HOA's and it doesn't look like that is going to change any time soon.

I am not complaining however. I knew when I bought the house I wouldn't be allowed outside antennas, I had the same issue in the last house as well. The HOA here is tough but it is worth it. The neighborhood is spotless, the homes are all neat as a pin and I don't have to deal with ugliness. It is what I signed up for.
 

KG7LER

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ok, so here is what you do, bring all your scanners and antennas to my house and I can stream the feeds to you :p
 

N9JIG

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Be nice to see pic of your roofline, there is no way I could stuff that much in my attic
The area I live in is all single-story homes of fairly large footprints. They stuff the furnace and AC units in the attic along with the venting. While it makes for a huge attic the antennas have to be placed as far away as possible from the appliances and ductwork.

When we were shopping for homes out here the new ones had cathedral attics with optional flooring and attic stairs. The insulation was on the underside of the roof instead of the floor of the attic. This makes the attic cooler and reduces the AC use and as a side benefit makes it much more usable for antennas and storage. We decided to buy a resale home instead a couple years old and built just before they started with the newer models due to the much larger garage (full 3-car garage that I can pull into, U-turn and pull out of with my Expedition) and other considerations. This house has typical blown-in insulation so it gets dusty and messy to work on the antennas.

We are already looking at some new home models in the same development. They are going to have full 1-acre lots and walk-in attics but I might have to give up my huge garage in favor of a 2-car with a separate casita garage. If we do this I can set up a row of antennas in that attic. It will be a couple years before they are ready for sale and it might be a couple years after that when we are ready to move again. If we do buy a new house I want to have them build a cable chase for me so I can just drop the coaxes in.
 
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