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Old 04-26-2017, 07:04 AM   #1
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Antenna Mast

I have been looking at solutions into the future for a mast to put antennas on, possibly including Cell, WiFi, and TV. I have seen a few solutions by others here, and searching found a couple of them.

For me, the mast will come down and be stowed when travelling, and often while camped remain stowed if I have no reason for one of the antennas. For this reason I am looking for something light and small as possible. I will likely build a holder that will be held by a rear stabilizer or tire.

I was looking at some carbon fibre masts, and the seller asked that seeing they are conductive, would there be an issue with interference. My first thought is that there would not be an issue, as many masts and towers are made of conductive metal.

This lead me to another thought, would there be any issue with lightning if more in the open. Obviously if I knew there was any potential for this, I would not deploy the mast. It is a luxury, and not a necessity.

I am also wondering about how to attach as I would want to remove them when not in use, and if they might cause any interference with each other. There is also a high probability that only one might be used in many situations.

Anyway, just looking for some input from those of you who might have dealt with the basis of these wee concerns. Or if you had a recommendation for a good light mast, easy to deploy.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:40 AM   #2
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Jim - no experience on this for me yet, just postulation. I'm thinking mine might be used very infrequently so I want it to be cheap - maybe PVC plumbing pipe held up with one of those flagpole holders that fits into the trailer's rear hitch. One piece smaller diameter with a reducer fitting, then it could slide into the larger one and both stored on the rear bumper.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:45 AM   #3
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Jim - no experience on this for me yet, just postulation. I'm thinking mine might be used very infrequently so I want it to be cheap - maybe PVC plumbing pipe held up with one of those flagpole holders that fits into the trailer's rear hitch.
I do not want to spend much either. There are good sources for carbon fibre out of China that are not too bad. I worry that something like PVC pipe will not bear the weight, or be very tough against wind. How do you plan to extend it?

I like the holders that fit into the receiver, it is just that our bikes will be there most of the time, and I don't want to deal with removing them to put up a mast.

Another question I have, is what would be considered a good height above ground for the mast. Obviously higher is better, but withing reason, of course.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:48 AM   #4
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I've used leftover pieces of PVC for some things it was obviously never designed for (framework to hold up some of my hop plant vines) and have been surprised by its strength and durability. We've also made garden hoop hot houses out of 1/2" pieces bend completely into a loop, with both ends pushed into the soil. The first time we did one I fully expected it to snap, but those same pieces have served more than 10 years each spring.

I think Leon uses a PVC arrangement of some sort - hopefully he can share his experiences.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:04 AM   #5
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I plan on using a couple U-bolts to clamp a stainless fishing pole holder to the rear bumper and then using a 3 section fiberglass pole the will slide down into the pole holder. It will get up about 12 feet above the bumper. If I remember right I got the idea from someone else on this forum. The pole will collapse down to less than 5 feet and will fit lengthwise on the shelf of my short bed truck cap. Here's a link to the pole:

https://www.mgs4u.com/Photography-PP-4-3.htm
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:36 AM   #6
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Jim, you might want to check eBay and search for "4' aluminum antenna mast". They are military surplus and fit end to end to get to the height you desire. I would limit the height to 12-16' if deployed without guy wires. I have a 30' guyed mast system and tripod made of this stuff and it works great for our ham radio field activity. When I get my camper I plan to try to use these first and see how they work, possibly mounting a u-bolt on the rear bumper and securing to the ground using one of the military surplus ground stakes that mates with the poles. Price for eight 4' poles is around $50 or so. I forget how much the swivel stake was.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
...
Anyway, just looking for some input from those of you who might have dealt with the basis of these wee concerns. Or if you had a recommendation for a good light mast, easy to deploy.
I've been keeping an eye on these telescoping fiberglass masts for a future ham radio antenna to attach to the rear hitch receiver.

The Mast Company - Product Overview

They come in combinations of different length, wall thickness, etc.

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Old 04-26-2017, 10:54 AM   #8
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If you have the receiver on the rear bumper, then I saw a perfect Telescoping mast solution at a recent RV show. The base goes into the hitch receiver and there are all kinds of options for telescoping masts that go with the hitch base. Neat because it is very simple to deploy and take down, and very compact to store.
Here's an example of one type, but tons to choose from
http://amzn.to/2qeIIkk
Cool cause it can be used with the TV hitch as well
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File Type: jpg IMG_0358.jpg (14.2 KB, 254 views)
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by stephen99 View Post
I plan on using a couple U-bolts to clamp a stainless fishing pole holder to the rear bumper and then using a 3 section fiberglass pole the will slide down into the pole holder. It will get up about 12 feet above the bumper. If I remember right I got the idea from someone else on this forum. The pole will collapse down to less than 5 feet and will fit lengthwise on the shelf of my short bed truck cap. Here's a link to the pole:

https://www.mgs4u.com/Photography-PP-4-3.htm
That is an interesting concept for pole holder. I will look into that.

For some reason I had it in my head that it was suggested go up to near 20' off the ground, though have no idea what had me thinking that way. If just above the trailer is good enough, that changes a few things regarding what I was looking at.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironhorsenva View Post
Jim, you might want to check eBay and search for "4' aluminum antenna mast". They are military surplus and fit end to end to get to the height you desire. I would limit the height to 12-16' if deployed without guy wires. I have a 30' guyed mast system and tripod made of this stuff and it works great for our ham radio field activity. When I get my camper I plan to try to use these first and see how they work, possibly mounting a u-bolt on the rear bumper and securing to the ground using one of the military surplus ground stakes that mates with the poles. Price for eight 4' poles is around $50 or so. I forget how much the swivel stake was.
I found those, but the cheapest I could find was around $120 CAD with shipping. My concerts with these is the amount of space the take up, not being telescoping. They would certainly do the trick though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
I've been keeping an eye on these telescoping fiberglass masts for a future ham radio antenna to attach to the rear hitch receiver.

The Mast Company - Product Overview

They come in combinations of different length, wall thickness, etc.

--
Alan
I have seen those before, Alan. My concern, and maybe not valid, was how skinny they look at the top. Would I be able to support the 3 antennas if needed. I know the antennas are light, but this seems a bit precarious.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
If you have the receiver on the rear bumper, then I saw a perfect Telescoping mast solution at a recent RV show. The base goes into the hitch receiver and there are all kinds of options for telescoping masts that go with the hitch base. Neat because it is very simple to deploy and take down, and very compact to store.
Here's an example of one type, but tons to choose from
http://amzn.to/2qeIIkk
Cool cause it can be used with the TV hitch as well
As I mentioned to Eric, I do like the idea of the receiver mounted holder, I just balk at the thought of removing the bikes and rack in order to use it. I guess a flagpole is really no different and is definitely designed to withstand some winds.
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Old 04-26-2017, 03:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by stephen99 View Post
I plan on using a couple U-bolts to clamp a stainless fishing pole holder to the rear bumper and then using a 3 section fiberglass pole the will slide down into the pole holder. It will get up about 12 feet above the bumper. If I remember right I got the idea from someone else on this forum. The pole will collapse down to less than 5 feet and will fit lengthwise on the shelf of my short bed truck cap. Here's a link to the pole:



https://www.mgs4u.com/Photography-PP-4-3.htm


I bought that exact pole for my setup. It's a great pole, very sturdy. I was using a steel fishing pole holder attached to the bumper to mount the pole and a heavy omni wifi antenna. It works, but getting it at the perfect straight angle was somewhat difficult. At first I was traveling with it but soon found that I wasn't comfortable with its stability. It also depends on how much weight you have at the top. I would not recommend this setup unless you plan to completely take it down before you hit the road.

I was looking for a permanent setup. So now I have the pole permanently mounted to the spare tire holder with U bolts. I had to move the entire spare holder unit forward about 1.5" to clear the belly band. I have the Ubiquiti NanoStation attached and the POE cable runs through the fiberglass pole and into the router inside the trailer, so it is concealed. It is stable on the road and it takes seconds for me to deploy. Results have been great so far!

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Old 04-26-2017, 04:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I have been looking at solutions into the future for a mast to put antennas on, possibly including Cell, WiFi, and TV. I have seen a few solutions by others here, and searching found a couple of them.

For me, the mast will come down and be stowed when travelling, and often while camped remain stowed if I have no reason for one of the antennas. For this reason I am looking for something light and small as possible. I will likely build a holder that will be held by a rear stabilizer or tire.

I was looking at some carbon fibre masts, and the seller asked that seeing they are conductive, would there be an issue with interference. My first thought is that there would not be an issue, as many masts and towers are made of conductive metal.

This lead me to another thought, would there be any issue with lightning if more in the open. Obviously if I knew there was any potential for this, I would not deploy the mast. It is a luxury, and not a necessity.

I am also wondering about how to attach as I would want to remove them when not in use, and if they might cause any interference with each other. There is also a high probability that only one might be used in many situations.

Anyway, just looking for some input from those of you who might have dealt with the basis of these wee concerns. Or if you had a recommendation for a good light mast, easy to deploy.
Jim, take this for what it is worth, but I think you got the JefaTech wifi repeater solution. that is what I got as well, and I also got the antenna they offer. I got the long one, because I wanted it to be as powerful as possible, both for when I am in the back part of the campground, and for the occasional time that we are parked in some stores parking lot overnight. I used pvc pipe to make my mast. I think I used 1 1/2 pvc pipe, but I don't remember for sure and the trailer is away from the house right now. There are basically two parts to the mast. One part is about 18" long and is attached to the antenna mount with U-bolts. The other part is 6 or 7 feet long and is just a plain piece of PVC that I can screw the first part into. I store the smaller bit of PVC in the trailer, under the bed, along with the antenna wire, etc. The longer piece of pvc is stored in a piece of 2" pvc that is attached to the rear bumper with some radiator clamps.

When I put the whole thing together I have something that is just over 11' long. I slip it into a piece of PVC that I have mounted to the tongue Jack.

I am sure there is a more elegant way to do it, but I got all this put together on a Friday afternoon before we went away on a trip. It has been "good enough" and I haven't bothered to re-do it.

I hope this gives you a rough idea of what I have done. I will be at the rally, and would be happy to have you come examine the set up anytime. The photo below was taken a while ago, and the intent wasn't to show off the antenna. But maybe will give you some idea
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File Type: jpg escape - 1 (2).jpg (219.1 KB, 53 views)
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:14 PM   #12
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We have a similar solution to Leon's.
We used a 1¼" x 16"± piece of PVC fastened to the trailer frame with a rectangular U-bolt.
The mast is a longer piece of the 1¼" PVC, with a SxS (slip by slip) coupler (painted black) glued on. Also, there is a 12" piece of 1" dia. PVC that just slips into the 1¼", that gives extra strength and rigidity to the joint. It's screwed onto the mast piece. The bottom half of the coupler was sanded for an easy slip fit.
Storage in the front box: mast just lays inside. Antenna has a couple of 12 ga. wire loops that it rides in, within some pieces of pipe insulation that slip on, for protection.
Antenna cable passes through a slot cut in the top of the storage bin, so the bin can be closed & locked.
Cable passes through a piece of conduit from the storage bin to the trailer, then up the corner to the overhead storage and over to a shelf that has the wifi amp and a J-box with a 4xUSB, and switch & LED pilot light for the wifi amp power. Photos follow:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mast base.jpg (120.1 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg mast base u-clamp.jpg (125.0 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg mast and mast base.jpg (126.6 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg mast and antenna storage.jpg (197.2 KB, 34 views)
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:16 PM   #13
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More photos of mast & wifi amp

Here is the rest of the story! Yes, it's a JefaTech antenna & wifi amp. - Great stuff!
By the way, the bottom of the overhead cabinet is 3/4" thick. There are 10-32 x about 5½" all-thread hangers w/1/4" drip irrigation tubing over them, and fender washers/elastic stop nuts at top and bottom to hold the shelf. There's also a piece of redwood 2x4 behind the j-box/USB's for support.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Jefa antenna.jpg (124.5 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg antenna cable run.jpg (108.8 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg JefaTech wifi amp and USBs.jpg (139.1 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg JefaTech power switch.jpg (149.1 KB, 41 views)
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:20 PM   #14
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Here's my antenna mast. I keep the base piece permanently bolted to the spare tire mast. Sections are sturdy, store easily under bed, quick assembly, easily guyed and best of all, cost me under twenty beans.
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File Type: jpg mast2e.jpg (62.4 KB, 47 views)
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:10 PM   #15
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Jim, take this for what it is worth, but I think you got the JefaTech wifi repeater solution. that is what I got as well, and I also got the antenna they offer. I got the long one, because I wanted it to be as powerful as possible, both for when I am in the back part of the campground, and for the occasional time that we are parked in some stores parking lot overnight. I used pvc pipe to make my mast. I think I used 1 1/2 pvc pipe, but I don't remember for sure and the trailer is away from the house right now. There are basically two parts to the mast. One part is about 18" long and is attached to the antenna mount with U-bolts. The other part is 6 or 7 feet long and is just a plain piece of PVC that I can screw the first part into. I store the smaller bit of PVC in the trailer, under the bed, along with the antenna wire, etc. The longer piece of pvc is stored in a piece of 2" pvc that is attached to the rear bumper with some radiator clamps.

When I put the whole thing together I have something that is just over 11' long. I slip it into a piece of PVC that I have mounted to the tongue Jack.

I am sure there is a more elegant way to do it, but I got all this put together on a Friday afternoon before we went away on a trip. It has been "good enough" and I haven't bothered to re-do it.

I hope this gives you a rough idea of what I have done. I will be at the rally, and would be happy to have you come examine the set up anytime. The photo below was taken a while ago, and the intent wasn't to show off the antenna. But maybe will give you some idea
Leon, I have yet to pull the pin on it, but I definitely plan on getting the Jefa Tech. I have read a few things, and when I phoned them for a bit of help a while back, got great assistance.

That long antenna sure is lengthy at 65". Does it give considerably better reception than the smaller one, which is only 22". One of my concerns is storing with the 5.0TA. While I will have lots and lots of cabinetry inside, there is not much for outside storage. That under bed space is sure good for long stuff.

I have seen many a 'temporary' solution become quite permanent. Quite guilty of that myself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
Here is the rest of the story! Yes, it's a JefaTech antenna & wifi amp. - Great stuff!
By the way, the bottom of the overhead cabinet is 3/4" thick. There are 10-32 x about 5½" all-thread hangers w/1/4" drip irrigation tubing over them, and fender washers/elastic stop nuts at top and bottom to hold the shelf. There's also a piece of redwood 2x4 behind the j-box/USB's for support.
Which antenna did you get, the small or large one?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Here's my antenna mast. I keep the base piece permanently bolted to the spare tire mast. Sections are sturdy, store easily under bed, quick assembly, easily guyed and best of all, cost me under twenty beans.
You guys have given me lots of reason to reconsider a PVC mast. I just need to find a place to store it. Thanks for all the input.

It would seem that most don't go very high. Like I said, for some reason I was thinking I wanted to get way up there for better reception, but I guess not.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:16 PM   #16
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Leon, I have yet to pull the pin on it, but I definitely plan on getting the Jefa Tech. I have read a few things, and when I phoned them for a bit of help a while back, got great assistance.

That long antenna sure is lengthy at 65". Does it give considerably better reception than the smaller one, which is only 22". One of my concerns is storing with the 5.0TA. While I will have lots and lots of cabinetry inside, there is not much for outside storage. That under bed space is sure good for long stuff.

I have seen many a 'temporary' solution become quite permanent. Quite guilty of that myself.

Which antenna did you get, the small or large one?


You guys have given me lots of reason to reconsider a PVC mast. I just need to find a place to store it. Thanks for all the input.
I don't know if it gives better reception or not. I have never had a chance to compare the two. but after a couple of beers I decided that bigger was better. I have had pretty good luck with reception though. I bet the Jefa tech folks could give you some idea. Like you, I have gotten excellent support from them.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:51 PM   #17
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I got the small antenna. It has a snug bed within the storage box. JefaTech's website says it's good (under ideal conditions) to 2500 ft. The bigger one is 5000 ft. So, we figured the little one will do. so far, good! Whenever we've had wifi at a campground, we've been able to see (or figure out) where the signal's coming from, and it's never been as far as 1/2 mile.
If not, we didn't really need to be on-line anyway; time to fish.
We can always get the bigger one later.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:54 PM   #18
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.....but after a couple of beers I decided that bigger was better.
Methinks we have all been there, Leon.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:58 PM   #19
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I got the small antenna. It has a snug bed within the storage box. JefaTech's website says it's good (under ideal conditions) to 2500 ft. The bigger one is 5000 ft. So, we figured the little one will do. so far, good! Whenever we've had wifi at a campground, we've been able to see (or figure out) where the signal's coming from, and it's never been as far as 1/2 mile.
If not, we didn't really need to be on-line anyway; time to fish.
We can always get the bigger one later.
I am kinda leaning this way, that one could upgrade later. It is not the $50 cost, as I am sure the performance likely merits it, it is just the big size of that sucker that is of concern.

I was going to mention your router install. It looks quite good. I was planning on putting mine in a cabinet, out of sight. I don't think this would be a problem would it? After all in our homes they transmit through a bunch of thicker walls than anything in our trailers.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:07 PM   #20
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I am kinda leaning this way, that one could upgrade later. It is not the $50 cost, as I am sure the performance likely merits it, it is just the big size of that sucker that is of concern.

I was going to mention your router install. It looks quite good. I was planning on putting mine in a cabinet, out of sight. I don't think this would be a problem would it? After all in our homes they transmit through a bunch of thicker walls than anything in our trailers.
Jim,
We were going to put ours in a cabinet as well, mostly because it's secure & nobody would know. (Now, every one knows!) But, we also have ended up with a plethora of devices that need USB 5V. for charging, and a place to set them. So, we decided to have the shelf above the passenger (foot) end of the bed, with enough room to put phones, 2-way radios, cameras, etc. I had ETI run 12V DC to all the overhead cabinets, so we had power there. (I think that should be a std. feature in Escapes!)
The 4x USB (has internal voltage reg. circuit to output regulated 5.0VDC) is an Amazon purchase. They also had a 1x12V + 2xUSB one-gang device as well. We may add one of those somewhere else in the trailer.
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