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Old 04-07-2016, 03:33 PM   #1
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Electric Powered RV Mast

Has anyone attempted to make or sell an electric powered antenna for the roof of an RV? Is it even feasible?

I have seen the heavy duty powered telescoping antennas for military use, but they are huge and astronomically expensive. Telescoping is cool but perhaps more complicated than a tilting / actuating mechanism of some kind. I have seen some cheap linear and rotary actuators that may serve the purpose with the right hardware, but nothing that is specific to the application of automatically raising and lowering an antenna pole.

I am trying to find the best solution to mount my 40" antenna, with these main considerations:

1. Cost
2. Modification / holes in roof
3. Equipment
4. Ease of setup / use
5. Reliability

I know there are many threads on this subject, most of which I have already read and seen other user's solutions. I am wondering if there is anything specific to unconventional setups, like a powered mast?
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:38 PM   #2
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Maybe an automobile junkyard and find one of those telescoping antennas that operate when power is applied. They may not extend 40" but up on the trailer roof they are taller than on a car. Just seal the hole very good.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:54 PM   #3
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Maybe an automobile junkyard and find one of those telescoping antennas that operate when power is applied. They may not extend 40" but up on the trailer roof they are taller than on a car. Just seal the hole very good.
That would be cool for radio signals. I was thinking for larger high-gain antennas, some that are an inch or more in diameter and several feet long.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:01 PM   #4
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Have you considered something simple and manual, that mounts to your bumper or tongue? On it you could mount various antennae, for TV, radio, phone, wifi, etc. This though is on my mind for a rear mount, with an access panel on the back of the trailer in which connections are made.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:02 PM   #5
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and use it as a flag pole when not for radio....
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:07 PM   #6
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and use it as a flag pole when not for radio....
No flags here, my trailer is not a government building.

Though, I have considered getting a nice Canadian flag decal for my trailer. Something to supplement the tire cover, and small "Made in British Columbia" maple leaf.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:10 PM   #7
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Ham setups I have seen generally use the rear bumper to anchor a tall antenna - some more than 10 ft above the top of the roof. One guy had telescopic tubing set up with a gearbox/crank that made it raise. I would NOT punch a hole in the roof for anything that could get snagged by tree limbs!

Here's a place to start: Mast Systems - BlueSky Mast
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:23 PM   #8
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I was just looking around, and saw a couple nifty ideas, I am sure some of you already knew about. One was for a base. A bunch of people us one that they park the tires on to give it stability. A good alternative to something mounted on the trailer frame. You could also put it under your stabilizer.



Fibreglass extendible masts.

http://www.mgs4u.com/fiberglass-push-up-mast.htm
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:27 PM   #9
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We were at a place in the Yukon that was hosting a ham radio event. Some of their telescoping rigs were truly awe inspiring.

I'd search for ham radio telescoping antenna mast and see if anything they use would do the job for you.

Gotta agree with others, a mount of the rear bumper or the spare tire holder would be my first choice over a hole in the roof.

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Old 04-07-2016, 04:28 PM   #10
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Leon has a nice simple plastic PVC water pipe one for his wifi antenna, carries it on his bumper. ( I just texted him to post here, but he's out with his beer pub group having more fun than posting here right now)
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:51 PM   #11
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Leon has a nice simple plastic PVC water pipe one for his wifi antenna, carries it on his bumper. ( I just texted him to post here, but he's out with his beer pub group having more fun than posting here right now)
The nerve of that fellow, opting for quaffing beer, over posting for us.

Though it sure sounds like a fun thing to do, better'n the mostly non-productive office day I am having. I think I am starting to get spring fever.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:05 PM   #12
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I bought one of these to use in the receiver at the rear of the trailer. I also bought a telescoping flag pole to go into the mount. My plan, when I'm camped for several days or in crappy weather, is to use a television antenna on the pole and connect to the coax connection on the trailer.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:23 PM   #13
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I bought one of these to use in the receiver at the rear of the trailer. I also bought a telescoping flag pole to go into the mount. My plan, when I'm camped for several days or in crappy weather, is to use a television antenna on the pole and connect to the coax connection on the trailer.
I had been thinking something like that, but we usually have a bike rack stuck in there. A good solution otherwise.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:31 PM   #14
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Jim, it's not something I'd use often. I also have a bike rack. Figured I'd just unload it and use the pole mount for those times. Shouldn't take much time to change out. I like it because I can store it in the front storage area of Ten Forward.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:37 PM   #15
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Just remember to remove the antenna before any lightning storms....
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:47 PM   #16
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If you happen to frequent the parking lots surrounding American Football stadiums on "game day" you will see a lot of team flags flying from the poles that are the put the tire on the plate style. There are telescopic poles with ground sleeves for home and the standoff for game day as an option. In my home town, a news crew deployed their telescopic mast without looking and it contacted a power line, badly injuring the engineer in the van. Be Careful with any pipe in the air.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:52 PM   #17
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I had been thinking something like that, but we usually have a bike rack stuck in there. A good solution otherwise.
If you don't want to occupy the bike rack, you could use something like this.
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Old 04-07-2016, 06:19 PM   #18
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If you don't want to occupy the bike rack, you could use something like this.
That would work. I do like the idea of nothing permanent to some degree. That is why I liked that under the tire one, though if you decided you needed it after setting up, it sure would be a pain to install.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:13 AM   #19
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Yup, I spend Thursday afternoons with my bikes and beer group -- the Blue Herons Bicycle and Hops Society. We have been gathering at various micro breweries for over three years now. If the weather is decent we ride.

I got a wifi repeater set up from JefaTech I got the high gain antenna which is 1650mm long. I got a 18" piece of scrap 2" PVC from the hardware store and attached that to the tongue jack with radiator clamps. That serves as the base of the mast when it is up. Then I got a 6' piece of 1.5" PVC that serves as the antenna pole. I attached the metal base of the antenna to a 12" piece of PVC that screws in to the mast with clamps. The antenna slides into the metal base and is secured with a small phillips screw. The cable goes from the antenna to a power cord port that is next to the storage hatch on the 21. I would have liked to find a nicer port, but decided that this was the easiest, best solution.

When traveling, the antenna slips inside the antenna pole which, intern slips into a piece of 2" PVC that is secured to the rear bumper with more radiator clamps. I have attached a photo of the antenna below.

Jefatech says that some folks who have class A motor homes have attached the antenna to the satellite dishes that fold flat for travel but can be raised when camping.

I have been pleased with the Jefatech solution as a WIFI repeater. It is based on a Linksys WRT54GL WIFI router. I considered just buying a router and flashing it with DD-WRT. But decided that for the $30.00 difference it made more sense to get jefatech's custom build. The repeater is easy to configure for most wireless networks that I have run across. Usually you just have to join the network and enter the userid and password that the campground gives you. There were a couple of campgrounds that were using older WEP encryption which were a bit more complicated. In one case, I had to enter the ASCII codes of the passphrase rather than the characters. And in one case, I couldn't get the repeater to join the network -- but that campground had a particularly complicated chicken dance to get any device on their network. We finally just used the open wifi at the nearby McDonalds (which we could get with the big antenna).
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:26 AM   #20
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That would work. I do like the idea of nothing permanent to some degree. That is why I liked that under the tire one, though if you decided you needed it after setting up, it sure would be a pain to install.
Not if you put it under a stabilizer as you mentioned in your earlier post.
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