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Old 09-02-2016, 12:29 PM   #1
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The nerdstick, relocated

I bought a two-foot length of steel pipe labeled "1-1/4 inches" but measured 1-3/8 inches inside diameter, just big enough to hold my antenna mast. I had a welding shop weld a square steel plate to it and drill four holes. Then after painting the assembly I mounted it onto the rear bumper of my trailer with galvanized square U-bolts.

I located the mount near the end of the back bumper in order to clear as much of the right taillight as possible. I used U-bolts to avoid drilling into the bumper, but now I'm having second thoughts, so I may drill and put one bolt through the back bumper to keep the mount from migrating off the end while I'm towing.

I secured the mast to the pipe with a hole drilled through both and a bolt through them at the bottom. There is a bit of "rattle room" at the top of the pipe. I put one wrap of Gorilla Tape there to take up some of the gap, but I might shim the mast somehow if I can think of something to put there.

The mast is at about the same height as it was when mounted on the spare tire carrier. When retracted the white WireEng cellular antenna is below the level of the trailer's A/C. The black VHF antenna (hard to see in the photo of the mast retracted) extends a few inches above the A/C, but I can easily remove it for travel. I cut off the ends of the long U-bolt that holds the Jack TV antenna to the mast, as they came close to the fiberglass body of the trailer when lowered. I put rubber caps over the ends of that U-bolt.

Please see attached photos.
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File Type: jpg mast_mount.jpg (379.5 KB, 76 views)
File Type: jpg mast_mount_2.jpg (318.3 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg mast_extended.jpg (299.9 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg mast_retracted.jpg (296.9 KB, 79 views)
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:42 PM   #2
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very nice work..
so the mast stays in the pipe holder while traveling?
you extend this section by section while in the pipe holder?

sorry for what is probably a redundant question.
the mast was purchased where?

was thinking of putting a connection box inside the curb side rear hatch on an Escape 19 or a dedicated connector port on the lower rear of the Escape
Thank for the info
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
very nice work..so the mast stays in the pipe holder while traveling?

sorry for what is probably a redundant question.
the mast was purchased where?

was thinking of putting a connection box inside the curb side rear hatch on an Escape 19 or a dedicated connector port on the lower rear of the Escape
Thank for the info
Yes, when I had the mast mounted on the spare tire carrier I left it on all the time. It has held up pretty well like that for two years, so I'll continue doing this. The mast is aluminum, and I'm pretty sure it will wear out in a few more years. I keep an eye on it.

I bought the mast at Ham Radio Outlet in Portland, Oregon. Details are in the thread "The Nerdstick, Revisited".

I run my cables through the hatch for the trailer's power cord. I wish I had a second hatch for stuff like this, but I can make it work.
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Old 09-02-2016, 01:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
you extend this section by section while in the pipe holder?
Thank for the info
Sorry, forgot to answer this: Yes, I extend the mast by section when it is in the mount. There are three sections, and when fully extended the mast is a bit less than fifteen feet long, not counting the antennas. When retracted the mast is a bit more than five feet above the trailer's bumper, again not counting the antennas. It no longer retracts fully due to the room taken up by the bolt through the end of the bottom section to hold the mast in the pipe.
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Old 09-02-2016, 01:29 PM   #5
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I am considering doing something like this as mentioned elsewhere, so taking good notes on what others are doing.

Though, mine will not be know as a "nerdstick", but an "uber kewl techie pole".

I am thinking of using an antenna holder something like this, which could be held by an outrigger.

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Old 09-02-2016, 01:52 PM   #6
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I've been using these to shut in windows and doors for cable pass-through. Match the Ohms you need tho. HRO has them.
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I am thinking of using an antenna holder something like this, which could be held by an outrigger.

Well that's interesting. I've seen antenna mounts that use a 2" hitch receiver, like the one included in the "bike rack ready" option on our trailers. But I wanted to move my antenna mast out of the rear window field of view so I could take "what's our your back window" photos like normal people do.
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:14 PM   #8
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Hi Mike, so we've both ended up with Jack antennas on a pole at the rear of the trailer.

To make the aluminum pole fit more firmly in the steel pole you might consider cutting about a 3" vertical slit with a hack saw and using either a hose clamp or muffler clamp to squeeze it onto the aluminum section.

If I might make a suggestion, it would be to have someone drive along side as you go through a range of speeds. Sometimes there's a difference in how an object behaves during static testing and what it does under dynamic conditions.

I might end up with a two pole set-up. The new lightweight, semi-rigid solar panels would seem to lend themselves to being raised up on a tilting swivel mount similar to what I already have on the front.

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Old 09-02-2016, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freespirit View Post
was thinking of putting a connection box inside the curb side rear hatch on an Escape 19 or a dedicated connector port on the lower rear of the Escape
Thank for the info
Here are the connector ends as they exit the power cable hatch. The color coding is unnecessary right now as the connectors are different, but I intend to go to all BNC connectors in the future, and I figured I could remember "RGB" in order.

The connections are two-foot jumpers that terminate inside the trailer under a dinette seat. These are all BNC connectors in "RGB" order.

You can see that I made a mess installing a 12V PowerPole socket beneath them; I damaged the veneer. I decided that it wasn't a big deal, no one would see it. But now no one will see it, except for the entire Internet.
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File Type: jpg bnc_connectors.jpg (287.2 KB, 46 views)
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I am considering doing something like this as mentioned elsewhere, so taking good notes on what others are doing.

Though, mine will not be know as a "nerdstick", but an "uber kewl techie pole".

I am thinking of using an antenna holder something like this, which could be held by an outrigger.


This is an interesting option as I was envisioning doing something like the bumper mounted pole for the jack antenna and only pulling it out when needed. Then I could justify the 2nd solar panel. Of course this is all theoretical at this point as I'm Escapeless right now.
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
To make the aluminum pole fit more firmly in the steel pole you might consider cutting about a 3" vertical slit with a hack saw and using either a hose clamp or muffler clamp to squeeze it onto the aluminum section.

If I might make a suggestion, it would be to have someone drive along side as you go through a range of speeds. Sometimes there's a difference in how an object behaves during static testing and what it does under dynamic conditions.
Ron
Both good ideas. In particular, I was at a loss on how to snug up that opening, but your slit idea would work. Thanks.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:24 AM   #12
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I like Ron's slot-and-clamp approach (as long as there isn't too much gap to close, and the outer pipe will flex enough with reasonable clamping force), and if you want hardware specifically intended to do this, you could try something like a seat post clamp if you can get the right size. They even come in quick-release.

If a nice seat post (or similar) clamp can't be found in the right size, a more general band clamp might be a decent alternative.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:43 AM   #13
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Yep, several choices in clamps. This is the one I used to keep my solar panel mast from swiveling in a breeze. I added the knob so I could tighten and release it without tools but a nut driver works fine. These are stronger clamps than the garden variety hose clamps.

Ron
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:32 AM   #14
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This thread got me wondering about doing an upgrade of my own TV antenna mast solution. I have only set it up a couple times because I found it to be too much of a bother. I am no Ham but something less clunky like what you guys did might work for me.

Found a 21 foot telescoping push up antenna pole/mast, $119.95 on sale, eBay. Has 5 non tapering sections, top section is 1" diameter. Will take on 5-10 pounds of vertical weight. Could easily drop into a bumper bracket/tube. Thoughts?
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File Type: jpg AntHam.JPG (15.1 KB, 24 views)
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:06 PM   #15
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This thread got me wondering about doing an upgrade of my own TV antenna mast solution. I have only set it up a couple times because I found it to be too much of a bother. I am no Ham but something less clunky like what you guys did might work for me.

Found a 21 foot telescoping push up antenna pole/mast, $119.95 on sale, eBay. Has 5 non tapering sections, top section is 1" diameter. Will take on 5-10 pounds of vertical weight. Could easily drop into a bumper bracket/tube. Thoughts?
like your creative use of what appears to be pvc pipe in your current design...but yeah the new fiberglass pole is a bit sleeker design but not nearly as nerdy!
not sure what might be better...fiberglass or aluminum pole, but perhaps the aluminum allows a higher vertical support weight. The clamps probably have a say in that factor as well. Looks like you are able to use a significantly shorter mast tube holder in the current design.
Perhaps this camper may have ETI mount another empty 120 vac outdoor type outlet box+ cover near the rear to be wired later for coax and connectors.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:40 PM   #16
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I am no Ham
I don't know, some of your photo captions are pretty funny.

I think it comes down to the ease of use situation. If it's a nuisance to set-up it just doesn't get used.

Having a socket that holds the pole firmly would be an improvement for set-up. And site's like TVfool seem to base coverage on antenna height so the longer pole could be better.

Ron
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:49 PM   #17
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Exactly, Ron. All PVC, and comes apart for storage. Cross brace into the awning bracket provides necessary horizontal support, allowing for short bumper tube. Works fine, except I'd like to shorten the assembly time. Coax runs around to connection on street side. (Nerdacity is the mother of invention.)
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:11 PM   #18
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I don't have pictures at the moment, but this antenna setup works fine for us on our current EggCamper (use your imagination to visualize).

Antenna Base: 18" length of 1" schedule 40 PVC pipe with PVC cap glued to bottom (drill small hole for drainage) and two stainless steel hose clamps to clamp PVC pipe to the upright square tubing of the spare tire carrier on rear bumper.

Pole: Blue Hawk 1" diameter 6'-12' telescoping pole, cut the blue plastic handle off the base end for it to fit snugly into the 1" PVC pipe (from Lowe’s, yes 1" diameter is strong enough for normal use in normal weather):
Shop Blue Hawk 6-ft to 12-ft Telescoping Threaded Extension Pole at Lowes.com

Antenna: ClearStream2V (UHF/VHF) Indoor/Outdoor antenna (the VHF wings fold down for storage; I’ve seen it on sale for as low as $40)
https://www.amazon.com/ClearStream-I.../dp/B007RH5GZI

Easy to store, simple to set up, works well for us. I'll try to remember to take pictures next time we have it set up.
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:00 PM   #19
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I think I mentioned this in my mods thread, but I have a similar setup for my wifi antenna. I bought a 15ft telescoping painters pole from here:

https://www.mgs4u.com/fiberglass-pai...e-products.htm

At first I had it mounted in a fishing rod holder on the trailer bumper. But it moved around too much while traveling because it's so top heavy. I ended up securing the pole to the spare tire mount with U bolts and zip ties, but I had to move the whole thing forward about 1 1/2" to clear the belly band around the trailer. It's much more stable now, but it still sways some because the antenna I have is so bulky. I may just get a more compact, lighter antenna.

I have a Ubiquiti bullet attached to the antenna. The POE cable goes through the inside of the fiberglass pole, so it is concealed.

It took some trial and error to optimize this setup. But now when I get to a campground I can deploy the antenna mast and turn on wifi in less than a minute.

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Old 09-04-2016, 07:01 PM   #20
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I think I mentioned this in my mods thread, but I have a similar setup for my wifi antenna. I bought a 15ft telescoping painters pole from here:

https://www.mgs4u.com/fiberglass-pai...e-products.htm

At first I had it mounted in a fishing rod holder on the trailer bumper. But it moved around too much while traveling because it's so top heavy. I ended up securing the pole to the spare tire mount with U bolts and zip ties, but I had to move the whole thing forward about 1 1/2" to clear the belly band around the trailer. It's much more stable now, but it still sways some because the antenna I have is so bulky. I may just get a more compact, lighter antenna.
thinking out loud and possibly wanting a removable mast..it might be feasible to weld or bolt the mast holder tube like others use, directly to the vertical tire mount similar to your bolt on method.
Wondering if the vertical tire mount is welded or bolted on to the Escape frame for rigidity?
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