Now for the final chapter in the antenna mounting.
The final assembly. The mast is 10 feet long, with the digital TV antenna about 8 feet up. The J-Pole antenna (which I’ll confess to buying instead of making my own, but with a good plug for Michael’s antenna) is about another 5 feet above the top of the mast.
Getting the thing up on to the roof would have been a lot easier as a two man job. Instead, I climbed up the metal ladder, pole in hand, and was able to place it on the roof without it sliding. Then I went out the second floor window at the front of the house, out onto a landing, climbed up to the top, and then took this photo. (You can forgive the thumb and shoe for being in the photo, right?)
The chimney mounting brackets were enough of an ordeal to get their own blog post. After that, mounting the antenna was a piece of cake!
Although the mounting bracket for the TV antenna is serrated to “grab” onto the mast, in the past I’ve had antennas rotate on the mast due to the wind. So I drilled a hole in the back of the mounting bracket and put in a set screw for the TV antenna. The TV antenna is a ChannelMaster CM-3010 STEALTHtenna.
I also added a set screw to stop the mast from rotating.
Here’s a wooden block where the mast sits on the roof.
Another view of the antenna, it’s high enough to make it over the neighboring houses!
The coax cables didn’t have to go too far, just straight into the attic for a few feet and down a wall to the “shack” on the second floor. (Fishing them through was a bit tricky to do solo. From inside the attic, I stuck a 1/2″ copper pipe through the hole, went back outside to tape the coax to it, then back into the attic to pull it through.)
I bought 50 feet of Belden 9913 cable (the good low loss stuff from Ham Radio Outlet) but had about 10 feet left over.
Rather than cut it right now, I rolled it up into a coil and plugged it into a wall plate with a BNC connector.
Later I found a wall plate with bristles in the middle, made for pulling cables through but leaving no visible hole. So I got rid of the wall plate with the BNC connector and pulled the extra antenna cable through the new wall plate, up behind my computer monitor, and directly connected it to the Kenwood TM-241A mobile underneath my monitor.
The J-Pole is high enough to get me out of the shadow of the neighbor’s house. The new TV antenna (red circle in center) has an unobstructed view of Mount Wilson (facing to the right of this photo) about 35 miles away and 6000 foot elevation, and so digital TV reception is crystal clear. The old TV antenna (red circle on the right) also had good reception, unless I parked the van in the left parking space, causing reflections which canceled out the signal.
I think my antenna looks pretty good compared to another one in my tract! 🙂
The acid test for the new J-Pole antenna was to see if I could hear the 2 meter Keller Repeater about 50 miles away. This is key for me, as it is the only direct radio link from my home to the mountain cabin in Wrightwood. I was able to hear traffic from the repeater, which was a pleasant surprise, as the line of sight is blocked by some nearby hills.
Although the antenna is designed for 2 meter band operation, I also had improved performance on the 440 MHz band with the Mount Wilson and Santiago Peak repeaters (see yet another blog post), possibly because any antenna outside is better than being inside the wire mesh under the stucco exterior.