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Outdoor repeater installation enclosure

blhar15

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Dec 12, 2014
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Waterloo, IA
Not sure if this is the right forum or not to ask this.

I have an opportunity to install a repeater antenna on a tall tower assembly. The issue is there is not climate controlled indoor structure near it. Wondering the possibility of installing the repeater in a weatherproof enclosure. I am in Iowa so temps can range from below zero in the winter to the 90's in the summer. Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks
 

mmckenna

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Jul 27, 2005
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Pt. Nemo
You'd want something like a NEMA 4 outdoor cabinet. They can be expensive, so finding a used one is a good idea unless you have a large budget. Depends on how much room you need, though. If it's a small repeater with built in duplexer and no external batteries, then a small cabinet is easy to do. If you start adding a bunch of batteries, then you'll need substantially more room and will need to address hydrogen venting.
Think: traffic light signal cabinet. We've used them at work.
Cell carriers use some fancy ones that can be set up with add on cooling/heating.
Railroad signal cabinet.

I have some repeaters that are in very remote locations that are fairly well access controlled and repeaters are in fiberglass or heavy plastic cabinets. They work just fine if vandalism isn't an issue at your location.

Keeping them warm/cool hasn't been an issue. We have a small thermostat controlled 12 volt fan to get some airflow through the cabinet. Heat buildup hasn't been an issue, but then again these are land mobile repeaters, not amateur repeaters with wind-bag users.
Cabinets are either silver or white, which helps with heat. The repeaters themselves have generated enough of their own heat to not be an issue in the winter. Usually drops down below freezing at these sites, but not much more than high 20's.

Not ideal, but I've seen some wireless internet providers use contractor style tool chests/job-box style cabinets. You can pick up different size versions of those at Home Depot.

Only issue I've had with this is dealing with bug ingress. Always seems like they find a way in.
And one good habit to get into is smacking the cabinet with a stick or something before entering it. Always polite to let any critters that have taken up residence in the box to know the land lord is there and give them a chance to escape.
 

Floridarailfanning

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Sep 22, 2015
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404
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East Tennessee
PTMW manufactures aluminum and steel enclosures for railroad signaling and communications systems. Not sure how much space you need but something like this might work for you.

ptmw_case.PNG

Most of these cases have 19-inch rails inside for mounting equipment so most repeaters should mount in them fine. They can fully customize any of their designs to fit your specifications but as @mmckenna said they are VERY expensive so buying used might be your best bet.
 

NVAGVUP

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Jun 13, 2007
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I have used cabinets from DDB Unlimited. Lockable, NEMA and you can add options such as back 19" rails, thermostatic controlled fans, etc.

You are likely looking at $2K new give or take.
 

kf8yk

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May 3, 2003
Messages
476
If you are on a budget, check government surplus auctions for used traffic signal cabinets:



Unfortunately these examples are past the auction date, but they do show up from time to time. I've used these for 4.9 GHz hops & they work well.
 

ramal121

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Sonoma, CA
I have used cabinets from DDB Unlimited. Lockable, NEMA and you can add options such as back 19" rails, thermostatic controlled fans, etc.

You are likely looking at $2K new give or take.
That is what we use. Numerous installations and I can attest they do very very well preventing water and bug intrusions. Some dust over time but that's expected.
 

WB9YBM

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May 6, 2019
Messages
1,392
I have an opportunity to install a repeater antenna on a tall tower assembly. The issue is there is not climate controlled indoor structure near it. Wondering the possibility of installing the repeater in a weatherproof enclosure. I am in Iowa so temps can range from below zero in the winter to the 90's in the summer. Anyone have experience with this?
I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but there are three temperature ranges for electronic components: consumer (i.e. lowest cost stuff) where the temperature range is a bit narrower (i.e. within human comfort levels), automotive spec (wider temp ranges) and mil spec. The majority (if not all) radio equipment will have the consumer level spec's--so yes, you'll need some kind of climate control for your repeater site. And even if it were auto spec--using mobile ham radios I've had as an example--these radios don't do well in extremes here in the midwest either.[/QUOTE]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

prcguy

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Jun 30, 2006
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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Where I live in So Cal we can get away with simple vented outdoor enclosures in some areas where its not too hot and not too cold, maybe a 45F to 95F temp swing. We also have little rain and no snow here. Radios in that environment will age prematurely with some corrosion on bare metal and if the enclosure is in the direct sun you can get 120+ degrees inside the box. Your radio equipment will need to be rated across that range.

The same box in Iowa will subject the radio equipment to a much larger temp swing and can detune duplexers and other cavity filter parts. I would only recommend an enclosure that has a heater and fan or AC that will keep the equipment more temperature stable and protect it from condensation and other moisture problems.
 

iMONITOR

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If you are on a budget, check government surplus auctions for used traffic signal cabinets:



Unfortunately these examples are past the auction date, but they do show up from time to time. I've used these for 4.9 GHz hops & they work well.



Your link produced this warning. I'm running Firefox on Windows 10.

1606502779769.png
 

buddrousa

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Jan 5, 2003
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9,372
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NW Tenn
I mounted a Uniden UHF 30 watt repeater at 350 foot in a nema box power and phone run up the tower 6 foot 1/2 inch jumper to a DB420 had better range than anything else on the tower.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
Messages
4,888
Not sure if this is the right forum or not to ask this.

I have an opportunity to install a repeater antenna on a tall tower assembly. The issue is there is not climate controlled indoor structure near it. Wondering the possibility of installing the repeater in a weatherproof enclosure. I am in Iowa so temps can range from below zero in the winter to the 90's in the summer. Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks
You might try Surplus Sales of Nebraska to see what they may have that is not in the catalog.
 

KK6ZTE

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Mar 27, 2016
Messages
807
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California
I have used cabinets from DDB Unlimited. Lockable, NEMA and you can add options such as back 19" rails, thermostatic controlled fans, etc.

You are likely looking at $2K new give or take.
DDB Enclosures are fantastic. I have some on water tanks, some on roofs, and some in a very dusty quarrys, all working fantastic.
 

AUGOLD

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Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
47
Location
Notasulga
The Macon County Sheriff's Office, AL Forestry UHF volunteer fire repeaters and the City of Tuskegee use metal storage buildings to house their repeaters, no AC no fans and they wonder why they have so many issues? in the summer the heat goes up to and above 100-105 degrees with a heat index of 110 and up!
 
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