Yesterday saw the arrival of a package from Alton Antenna Arrays! Today’s project was to get my Alton Antenna Arrays 728HFA 40m to 10m ‘special’ out of it’s box and out into the big wide world where it could do its thing.
So at about 0900hr I ventured outside to be greeted with an air temperature hovering just above 4 C and light drizzle/sleet! Not ideal antenna installing weather that’s for sure, but unless I wanted to wait until the spring it was time to “Man Up”.
Any author of guides or books which talks about installing things at height would have had kittens but to be honest if you take things slowly and minimise the chance for calamity a solo install can be done. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have a problem with heights, but I do have a good understanding of the Law of Gravity and the idea of being the next case study in advanced stupidity on 24 hours in A&E was not top of the agenda! You know exactly what I mean don’t you?
“Barry, aged 56 years from Ilford was admitted to A&E after falling from his 20th floor balcony after over reaching while trying to abstract the electricity from his neighbours external power socket. He was putting up his 11 kilovolt Christmas light display dressed only in flip flops and a pair of boxer shorts at the time. Barry was discovered 4 hours later by his recently “purchased” wife Ting Tong, laying on the pavement in a pile of McDonald’s food cartons which miraculously broke his fall and saved him from any lasting damage.”
We digress! The plan for the antenna was to conceal it beneath the facia board on the rear south facing aspect of the house, so as to keep the domestic and social peace. I’ve got exposed roof joists beneath the weather boards and these made ideal attachment points.
I used 75mm vine eyes screwed into the joists and attached the antenna using cable ties.
I piloted the thread holes with a bradawl and gently wound them into the woodwork to the depth of the thread which gives a 50mm clearance from the structural woodwork.
Cable ties were used to attach the antenna to these anchor points
I was anticipating the length of the antenna to be much longer and was pleasantly surprised when the overlap at the other end was 4-6 inches. The dog bone insulator attached nicely with another cable tie to the plastic downpipe of the guttering to stop it slapping around in the wind more than anything else.
I was hoping that 3 attachment points would be sufficient, but looking at the bird droppings beneath the eaves it was apparent that the local avian crowd used this as a hang out and the weight of a bird on the wire wouldn’t do it much good. As such I dotted a few more vine eyes along the eaves and made supporting loops from more cable ties.
The only need for power tools came when the matching box needed to be anchored to the brick work
I make no apologies for the quality of the photos, it was cold, grey and miserable out there, but hopefully you get the idea. All that was left was to neatly cable grip the feeder wire down the building so it joined the bundle of other TV and satellite aerial cables running along the back of the house and all was done.
At the minute the cable is simply looping through my room window which is on a vent setting and can happily accommodate the 6mm cable without issue. Once I’m happy I’ll make a hole through the wall and feed the cable into the shack permanently. 3.5 hours work and no injuries! It’s hardly visible except for the small matching unit. Plugging the antenna into the SoftRock gave a nice wide spectrum and lots of extra signals which had been alluding me up until now. Happy days!