Thinking outside antenna years later

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corbintechboy

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Years ago I talked about adding an outside antenna here. My wife and I decided the risk from lightening was to high because as you can see, there is no trees anywhere around the house.This is 5.5 acres. I tried to explain all this with colors so I hope it works.

Black line: Property line
White circle: Swampy area thanks to pond across street draining under street
Blue line: home is on a hill and the property slopes out front
Blue circles: Ponds
Red line: Property is flat but lower then home
Green circle: highest spot I have on property (hill)
Light green line: Where house ground and power meter is located

I just got back into scanning and also have an SDR for HF. My home has a metal roof so the inside is not the best place for signals (although I do pick up stuff would just get more outside). What I would like to do is get the safest, most cost effective setup I could get. The hill is a decent amount higher then the house but it would be a long way to run a ground and the pond would make it a challenge. Doing something at the house is fine as the house is on the second highest hill. Now the swamp would be great for ground conductivity I would think but that side of the property gradually goes up (and get drier) towards the road.

Any ideas for this situation here? Thanks for looking.
 

popnokick

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LOTS of possibilities here... you have many more options than most who are looking to put up antennas. You posted originally in the "Scanners, Receivers, and Related Equipment" Forum. Can we assume you will not be transmitting, and not a ham? A metal roof can be ideal for HF vertical antennas, but you have so many possibilities for HF antennas on your property that a vertical might not be your first, best choice. Scanner antenna: Mount at the gable end of the house nearest your listening post (shorter coax cable run is VERY important at scanner freqs).
 

corbintechboy

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I am not a ham so no transmitting. I'm trying to get the scanner antenna setup first and after that is all grounded move on to something for HF. Like perhaps run a sloper from where the scanner antenna ends up. My biggest issue is safety here and I want the most safe thing I can do here. Whatever I put up is likely to be a lightening rod I'm thinking. Not wanting to break the bank but wanting as safe as it can be.
 

iMONITOR

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I agree with popnokick, all those locations are quite far from your home and would likely result in substantial signal loss even using the best coax so I would rule them out and simplify your options immediately.

What bands/frequencies are you wanting to monitor and how far are they from your home? Landscape looks very flat where you're located. How about between your home and what you want to monitor, is it also flat or do you have mountains in between? If you're getting by with an indoor antenna it wouldn't take much on the outside to see a big improvement.

Does your home have any kind of lighting protection installed?
 

corbintechboy

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I agree with popnokick, all those locations are quite far from your home and would likely result in substantial signal loss even using the best coax so I would rule them out and simplify your options immediately.

What bands/frequencies are you wanting to monitor and how far are they from your home? Landscape looks very flat where you're located. How about between your home and what you want to monitor, is it also flat or do you have mountains in between? If you're getting by with an indoor antenna it wouldn't take much on the outside to see a big improvement.

Does your home have any kind of lighting protection installed?
No lightening protection here other then the ground coming into my house from the electric entrance. My major concern is lightening and why I am asking here. I'm sure I would have no issue just throwing up an antenna. My desk (and the radio) is located at just follow the light green line straight to the other side of the house.

The land here is nowhere near flat. Trying to monitor all local stuff to me (Corbin,KY) and as far as I can.
 

iMONITOR

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Are you planning on installing a antenna tower and if so how tall?
 

prcguy

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It would be nearly impossible, or really expensive to retrofit your house and electrical system to survive a direct hit on an antenna. Just go into this knowing that and follow the NEC at the very least for any grounding. If you have trees around the house that are a lot taller than the roof then they can provide some protection from a direct hit but that's never guaranteed.

Otherwise you want as much height and in the clear as possible for any VHF/UHF antenna and there are formulas for distance to a taller tree or conductive object for providing a "cone of protection" for antennas that are lower than the tree or wind mill or whatever will be the main lightning rod near your antennas. You could put antennas up at a modest height outside the house then install a nearby well grounded metal pole sufficiently high enough to be the main lightning rod and provide some protection to the lower antennas. Again, its not a guaranteed fix but can lower the chance of lightning hitting the lower antennas by a significant percentage when done right.

I'm not going by any formula for this but as an example, if you have a single story house and the antennas are up in the clear at 20ft high, a 50ft tall metal pole properly grounded would provide some protection for the lower antennas. There would be a certain distance you would have to keep between the metal pole and antennas for this to work and you should be able to find more specific info about this on the Internet.

I would be fine with just a pipe with the antenna mounted slightly above the roof line. My main concern is lightening.
 

mmckenna

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If you have a utility power connection and don't have a substantial protection system on that, then you are already at risk for lightning issues.
It doesn't take a direct strike on your home to cause issues. A strike to the power lines can get into your home. A nearby strike can induce enough energy on power, phone, cable TV, TV antenna, satellite antennas, etc. to cause damage.

You'll never protect yourself entirely from a lightning strike, even without the scanner antenna.

Following the NEC will be a good step, and the advice from prcguy is wise. If lightning is a big concern, you probably need to have lightning rods on your home anyway.
 

corbintechboy

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It would be nearly impossible, or really expensive to retrofit your house and electrical system to survive a direct hit on an antenna. t.
Thank you for this. I wish I had trees near the house as the nearest one is about 120 feet away and this is why my main worry is lightening.

I read something today that was saying the main cause of lightening strikes is when a cloud goes overhead it builds voltage at objects, is this true? Then my goal becomes to remove the voltage at the antenna as it comes? I was looking at Lightning Protection Systems by Nott Ltd and the GS-1.

What that device does is remove the voltage as the voltage rises. (This is an edit, I should have put that)
 
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popnokick

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Anything is possible with lightning but I think your concerns surpass statistical reality for the type of antenna installation you are contemplating. Following NEC recommendations will serve to reduce dire consequences from nearby lightning, and do so at a reasonable cost. One of the recommended factors in getting as much lightning energy to ground safely is to run a large diameter conductor as straight (no bends, curves, corners, or kinks) to the earth ground rod as possible. The type and methods are specified in numerous Internet websites by NEC, NFPA, LPI, and UL. Something that can help you achieve this "straight to ground" routing of your grounding conductor is a "gable end / eave mount" supporting your antenna. You'll want to keep the mast short (likely 10 ft or less) and the mast material fairly lightweight (not cast iron pipe, fence toprail, or other heavy gauge material). Unfortunately, good 'ol lightweight TV mast has become hard to find. The idea is to reduce the weight and wind loading on the gable mount. But the gable end mount readily facilitates a straight path to ground run for your main ground conductor. And if at a later time you would like to raise the antenna you can add side wall standoff mounts and more mast to extend the mast all the way to the ground... and at a greater height above the roof. Here's what a gable / eave mount looks like. This was before the installation of the ground conductor, which comes straight down from where the mast meets the longest cross-brace of the eave mount. 88391
 

corbintechboy

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Anything is possible with lightning but I think your concerns surpass statistical reality for the type of antenna installation you are contemplating. Following NEC recommendations will serve to reduce dire consequences from nearby lightning, and do so at a reasonable cost.
I have a really bad habit of being over protective in instances like this.

I will follow guidelines and hope for the best. Thank you all.
 
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