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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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Old 04-26-2017, 11:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
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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Quote:
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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