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Coax and an Antenna Pole

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Rosco-p-c

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I’m setting up a CB base station at home and am mounting my antenna at the top of a 24’ pipe pole. Does the coax need to be brought down from the base of the antenna through standoffs (away from the pipe) or can it be tie-wrapped to the pipe or run down the inside of the pipe?

Thanks
Rosco-p-c
 

mmckenna

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It doesn't need a stand off. Inside or outside the pipe, doesn't matter.
Tape will likely fail over time. If you use tie-wraps, make sure you use the black ones that have the UV inhibitor in them. If you don't, the sunlight will break them fairly quickly.
 

Rosco-p-c

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It doesn't need a stand off. Inside or outside the pipe, doesn't matter.
Tape will likely fail over time. If you use tie-wraps, make sure you use the black ones that have the UV inhibitor in them. If you don't, the sunlight will break them fairly quickly.
Thanks, that's what I'd hoped to hear. There's not a lot of CB activity in my neck of the woods (trying to drum up a little - hence a bigger stick), so there's not much of a local knowledge base.

I appreciate the response.

Rosco
 

mmckenna

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Use the best coaxial cable you can afford. It really makes a big difference. Getting the antenna up high is a really good first step. Getting that signal to/from the antenna is key. You really want to stay away from the RG-58 size cables. On CB, loss isn't as extreme as in the VHF and UHF bands, but cheap cable will still bite you. While some like to bash RG-8, for 27MHz and a short run, it's going to work fine. Make sure you get good stuff, name brand. Steer clear of anything from Radio Shack stores. If you can swing it, get some Times Microwave LMR-400. It's pretty good stuff and a good investment. If the CB thing doesn't work out, it's good enough cable to use for a scanner.

Good luck Sheriff!
 

KC4RAF

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Also, if you run the coax

down the inside: drill a big enough hole in the pipe so you can run at least one tie-wrap to support the cable. At 24 feet, you'll have a sustained weight pulling at the PL-259 connector, which in time will cause you a heap of signal loss, etc. DAMHIK

You can drill the hole about a foot or so from the base of the antenna.
 

Rosco-p-c

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Use the best coaxial cable you can afford. It really makes a big difference. Getting the antenna up high is a really good first step. Getting that signal to/from the antenna is key. You really want to stay away from the RG-58 size cables. On CB, loss isn't as extreme as in the VHF and UHF bands, but cheap cable will still bite you. While some like to bash RG-8, for 27MHz and a short run, it's going to work fine. Make sure you get good stuff, name brand. Steer clear of anything from Radio Shack stores. If you can swing it, get some Times Microwave LMR-400. It's pretty good stuff and a good investment. If the CB thing doesn't work out, it's good enough cable to use for a scanner.
Ow, 75ft of LMR-400 w/PL-259 connectors is pricy... about $40 over the RG8X I've been look'n at. I'll have to give some thought before committing to that purchase.

Good luck Sheriff!
That's good! Most people never got the Sheriff Rosco reference until the last Duke's movie was made. A friend pinned that on me more than 20 years ago.

rafdav said:
down the inside: drill a big enough hole in the pipe so you can run at least one tie-wrap to support the cable. At 24 feet, you'll have a sustained weight pulling at the PL-259 connector, which in time will cause you a heap of signal loss, etc. DAMHIK
Inside is my method of choice. I'll be sure to apply some strain relief below the antenna connector. I also figured I'd run a short length of Tygon Tubing over that connector and along the cable for about 6 inches and maybe into the pipe hole, sort of like a boot to help keep the weather out and protect against any chafing.
 
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mmckenna

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Ow, 75ft of LMR-400 w/PL-259 connectors is pricy... about $40 over the RG8X I've been look'n at. I'll have to give some thought before committing to that purchase.
I wouldn't get too hung up on it. A good quality RG-8 will work just fine on CB. Belden 9913, one of the better RG-8 cables, will only have 0.322dB of loss at 27MHz with 50 feet of cable. That means the 4 watts your radio should be putting out makes for 3.714 watts at the antenna end of the cable. There is nothing wrong with that.

Changing to LMR-400 would result in 0.316dB of loss, or 3.719 watts at the antenna end.

None of that will be noticeable. Trick is finding good RG-8. Radio Shack doesn't sell good RG-8. Where the LMR-400 cable will shine is if you ever decide to get rid of the CB and install a scanner or amateur radio and want to do stuff in the higher frequencies. But, even then, it's minimal.



That's good! Most people never got the Sheriff Rosco reference until the last Duke's movie was made. A friend pinned that on me more than 20 years ago.
I spent a lot of hours as a kid watching that show. I was in elementary school when it originally aired, and it was one of the more popular show.


Inside is my method of choice. I'll be sure to apply some strain relief below the antenna connector. I also figured I'd run a short length of Tygon Tubing over that connector and along the cable for about 6 inches and maybe into the pipe hole, sort of like a boot to help keep the weather out and protect against any chafing.
Weatherproofing is key, even if you run it all inside the pipe. Getting any water inside the connectors will quickly destroy things. Heat shrink is good, if it fits really tight. Better yet, if you can get the adhesive lined, it's even better.
 

n5ims

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I wouldn't get too hung up on it. A good quality RG-8 will work just fine on CB. Belden 9913, one of the better RG-8 cables, will only have 0.322dB of loss at 27MHz with 50 feet of cable. That means the 4 watts your radio should be putting out makes for 3.714 watts at the antenna end of the cable. There is nothing wrong with that.

Changing to LMR-400 would result in 0.316dB of loss, or 3.719 watts at the antenna end.

None of that will be noticeable. Trick is finding good RG-8. Radio Shack doesn't sell good RG-8. Where the LMR-400 cable will shine is if you ever decide to get rid of the CB and install a scanner or amateur radio and want to do stuff in the higher frequencies. But, even then, it's minimal.

Ow, 75ft of LMR-400 w/PL-259 connectors is pricy... about $40 over the RG8X I've been look'n at. I'll have to give some thought before committing to that purchase.
Please note that mmckenna was talking RG-8 (coax that's about half an inch thick) and not the RG-8x, mini-8 or one of the other names that the call it (coax that's about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick) that you indicated you may use. Although the names are very similar, they're two very different types of coax. 8x is just slightly better than 58 while the thicker RG-8 is way better. Don't be fooled by the similar sounding name.
 

Rosco-p-c

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Weatherproofing is key, even if you run it all inside the pipe. Getting any water inside the connectors will quickly destroy things. Heat shrink is good, if it fits really tight. Better yet, if you can get the adhesive lined, it's even better.
I hear you on the weather proofing. I've also been told that a little dielectric grease on the connector threads is reasonable. I'm in New England where the weather across a year can go from well below 0° up to 100° with a lot of wet. I hadn’t thought about heat shrink. I’ve had the cheap stuff (Radio Shack) split on automotive applications, so I tend to disregard it. It’s worth looking into.

I’ll probably pour the pole footer and tilt base-bracket in place this weekend, but it’ll be a week or two before I raise the whole rig. We’re near the top of one of the highest hills around for 4-5 miles. The neighbor’s homes are mostly below ours, so I have fairly high expectations.
 

Rosco-p-c

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Although the names are very similar, they're two very different types of coax. 8x is just slightly better than 58 while the thicker RG-8 is way better. Don't be fooled by the similar sounding name.
Got ya. The recommendation is for RG8u. I check the spec's and understand what you're saying. I'm sure glad we had this discussion. I've run miles of A/V coax indoors on industrial construction sites, but never differentiated between types (you run what the engineer provides). Sounds like my budget just got bumped up a few bucks, but all for the good.

It looks like there are quite a few shops that sell "U.S. made" RG8u w/connectors... some even through Amazon. The prices run a little over a buck a foot delivered.
 

Rosco-p-c

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Rosco,
Make sure you ground your station.
Yah, I know I need to address that, but I've yet to read up on how to go about it.

I probably sound like the guy that's got more money than brains, but I am trying to learn as I go. I started discussions with locate HAM Op's, but I think they saw me as fresh meat or a potential convert. Either way, CB wasn't in their vocab.
 
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mmckenna

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$1.00 a foot delivered isn't a bad deal. Buying bulk I can get the price on LMR-400 down below $0.60 a foot, but that doesn't include connectors or shipping. As always, make sure it's a reputable source. Some sites claim to sell "equivalent" cable, but it's sometimes low quality Chinese stuff.

Yeah, as for the additional cost, investing in better feed line is rarely a bad idea, unless you really go overboard. RG-8 or LMR-400 is a good choice for what you are doing. Going much beyond that would have very negligible benefits, and the cost goes up quick.

Sounds like a good set up. Tilt over is a good way to go. Way too many people get injured or killed installing antennas. Antenna height is really important. Having some altitude at your home is a benefit. Using the tilt over mast to get the antenna well up above the surrounding obstructions will be a benefit, too.

Yes, grounding, 100%. While you are digging the hole to sink the base, run in at least one 8' copper clad ground rod. You can get these in the electrical isle of your neighborhood hardware store. Leave a few inches up above the ground. Get the properly designed clamp to go with the rod. You need to run a heavy piece of copper wire from the base of the mast to the ground rod. Secure it well. You also should install a lightning arrestor on the feedline before the coaxial cable enters the house. This is actually NEC code, although most don't bother to do it. This likely means that you'll want your coaxial cable in two sections. One section from the antenna to the lightning arrestor, the other from the lightning arrestor to the radio. There will be a place on the lightning arrestor to attach the ground wire (6 gauge or larger). Run that direct and as straight as possible to the ground rod at the base of your mast. There are a number of rules about grounding, and I don't have space to go into them all here. It would be a good idea to take a look at the National Electric Code and see what it says.

http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/coax-cable-accessories-627/lightning-protection-628/multi-strike-up-to-6-ghz-629/bulkhead-mount-631/1-5-700-mhz-with-uhf-connector-637/

This grounding will help reduce damage in the event of a direct or even nearby lightning strike. Lightning doesn't have to directly strike your antenna to do damage, so keep that in mind. Your location on a hill is going to raise the risk. It's going to add a bit to the overall cost, but the safety side of it makes it worthwhile. Doing it now when you are doing the original install is going to save some headaches.
 

Rosco-p-c

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This grounding will help reduce damage in the event of a direct or even nearby lightning strike. Lightning doesn't have to directly strike your antenna to do damage, so keep that in mind. Your location on a hill is going to raise the risk. It's going to add a bit to the overall cost, but the safety side of it makes it worthwhile. Doing it now when you are doing the original install is going to save some headaches.
OK. My set up will lend itself well to running 25' of coax down from the antenna, an arrester w/5ft of copper ground wire to a ground rod and then 50' on into the house and basement. I'm using the far end/edge of a long raised deck (about 5' up from the ground) as an additional structural stablizer for the 3" diameter steel pole.

I'll bring the cable out of the pipe just below the decking (where the arrestor would placed inline) about 5' above the ground rod at the pole's base. The rest of the coax will run about 25' along under the deck and into the basement via a casement window fitting.

Is there typically much loss due to an arrestor inline? I've seen arrestor prices running from $7.00 to $35.00. I'm sure there's impacts with the cheaper ones. A number of shops online promote the Firestik AR-10, but it looks a bit light compared to some of the bulkier brass offerings.
 

prcguy

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I wouldn't get to hung up on running the coax inside the pipe, it may make the coax last 30yrs instead of 20yrs by shielding from the sun but in doing so you have introduced your coax to the sharp edges of the pipe, especially if you drilled a hole to pass it through. When Ty-rapping coax do not tighten them to the point of distorting the coax.

Part of the NEC grounding is to bond any ground rod to the house electrical system with #6 or larger copper wire and there are specific maximum lengths not to exceed. Google NEC article 810 and read it for the bottom line info.

After all the grounding and lightning arrestors are installed the chances of surviving a direct hit with no damage to your radio are slim to none, so if you are in a high lightning area and the antenna is the highest thing on the property, disconnect the coax from the radio when storms are on the way. You can design and build a system that will survive a direct hit but it has to be designed from the ground up (pun intended) and its not cheap.
prcguy


OK. My set up will lend itself well to running 25' of coax down from the antenna, an arrester w/5ft of copper ground wire to a ground rod and then 50' on into the house and basement. I'm using the far end/edge of a long raised deck (about 5' up from the ground) as an additional structural stablizer for the 3" diameter steel pole.

I'll bring the cable out of the pipe just below the decking (where the arrestor would placed inline) about 5' above the ground rod at the pole's base. The rest of the coax will run about 25' along under the deck and into the basement via a casement window fitting.

Is there typically much loss due to an arrestor inline? I've seen arrestor prices running from $7.00 to $35.00. I'm sure there's impacts with the cheaper ones. A number of shops online promote the Firestik AR-10, but it looks a bit light compared to some of the bulkier brass offerings.
 
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