Friday, December 10, 2010

Antenna Install Video

My father-in-law helped* me install four antennas in my attic and terminate them in a outlet box in my bonus room. I've passed both my Technician and General exams this year, but have zero practical experience, so I learned a lot. (I would draw a parallel between my General license and those guys that go to a MCSE boot camp to get certified. They spend a week to pass several exams and become what we call a "paper MCSE." They've got the creditials, but no experience. That's me when it comes to ham radio.)

We were lucky that the back side of the wall in the bonus room was unfinished. It made it easy to mount the box and run the cables into the attic. It was interesting to me that my father-in-law didn't use a lot of fancy, single-purpose tools. He scored the drywall with an exacto knife and did all his cable striping with his pocket knife.

He had made the 2M quarter wave ground plane antenna some time ago. He brought the PFC pipe and just trimmed it to fit. He also made the termination fixture from aluminium angle he had in his workshop.

He had some insulators laying around that he gave me for the HF antennas. He pulled the wire from his collection of random bits he has acquired over the years. We went to the ARRL Handbook (1999 Edition) and got the formula to calculate the lengths for the dipoles on the three bands. It was simple math (468 divided by the frequency to get the length of the antenna), but it was neat to do the calculation along with the hands-on work.

I really made out like a bandit since he provided everything... wire, connectors, outlet box, outlet cover, coax, insulators, solder, etc. He even loaned me his wattmeter and SWR meter. (More on those later.)

* Helped = means he did most of the work and had all of the know-how.

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