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What would you do 3 acres & some antenna wire?


#21

You’ll be thrilled with your improved ears no matter what antenna you use. Put up something simple while you work out the remote setup. Later you can improve your ears even more while experimenting with antennas.

My new QTH has a much lower noise level than my prior one did. The difference is truly amazing!

Paul - KB9ILT


#22

It might be worth spending a couple of afternoons putting up with the cold, treating it like a summit and trying temporary versions of the antennas. I’m not sure how much RF may leak from the powerlines ( Despite living in the middle of nowhere - well the North Pennines I am surrounded with overhead mains, Overhead High Voltage ( 11KV? ) overhead telephone wires ( some of which radiate adsl ) and overhead optical fibre :slight_smile: . My antennas are a compromise - low visible impact, hung from trees. Getting rid of noise for rx has been the challenge, solved mostly woth lots of choke baluns and positioning of antennas at right angles to the things that make the most noise!
Paul ( Currently with inverted L for 160 and ZS6BKW for 80-10 but shortly to attempt 160m doublet… )


#23

I think a guyed mast is going to be visible from the road no matter where you put it in the field. As you say, further away from the boundary is probably better.

However, too far from the boundary and you start to:-

A. Get close to the power lines.
B. End up with long feeder runs to the radio (and the associated losses).

If going for a dipole arrangement (either in the form of a standard dipole or a off-centre-fed) it would make sense to bring the mast closer to the gate, and also bring the box containing the equipment along the fence line towards the gate.

Working on Ian’s suggestion:-

I’m thinking to get the centre point up as high as possible (10-15 meters above the ground shouldn’t be too difficult, may get 20 meters above ground at a stretch?) and use much smaller masts (probably 3 meters or so) to support the ends.

One of my friends also suggested a fan dipole to give multi-band capability without having to worry about switching antennas. Just needs a single 1:1 balun fed with 50 ohm coax.

Just considering all possibilities, which is why I posted this up for people to suggest ideas, as several people have chipped in with some very good points.


#24

No need, I can drive across the field because because I’ve got a 4x4. I’ll be sitting in a nice warm car!!!

Seemed very quiet when I tried 20m on a 1/4 wave vertical (S0-S1).

Granted that a vertical is 90 degrees out of phase and the horizontal wire antennas will run parallel to the power lines.

I’m not sure how valid that test was on 20m because really I’m more interested in the 80m & 40m bands (which I haven’t really tested properly).

I suspect that it will still be better than my home QTH though.


#25

Thanks Ed. Very interesting reading.


#26

Of course there was also the Dynamic DNS route where you have a constant host name and the telco can change the IP address you have to your router - the router in turn has a built in client that then updates the database at the company supplying the Dynamic DNS service. There are several of these companies most are free.

73 Ed.


#27

Hi Ed, we did try this (probably the first thing that we tried).

Unfortunately it didn’t work because all of the UK mobile networks use CG-NAT which issues users with private IP addresses (as opposed to public ones).

The dynamic IP address isn’t the problem. As you quite rightly point out, you can work around this with a Dynamic DNS service. The issue is the CG-NAT & the private IP addressing used by all mobile networks in the UK.

Even the manufacturer of the RemoteRig control boxes says that this won’t work and you must have a public IP address.

Apparently it is supposed to be possible to work around this problem with a VPN and/or some kind of a proxy server. Unfortunately I couldn’t get this to work, even with the help of a computer engineer.


#28

SSH server at home, SSH client at remote end, remote end connects to home and you forward and reverse forward the ports you need over the SSH tunnel. Works fine over Three in the UK and when roaming.


#29

Hi James,

I think most remote stations are assumed to be receiving and transmitting, and the responses above assume (I think) that your plan is to do that. But have you considered using the station as a remote receiver only, and continuing to use your current location for transmitting?

This would reduce the complexity of the remote access task, reduce the value and risk of loss for the remote radio equipment and give you a taste of what a transceiving option may give you as a phase 2 of the project.

I noted some comments about radial requirements for verticals. When the radials are buried they are operating as capactive couplers to the earth, and their length is not critical, but the number of them is. (As many as you can install). When radials are elevated, they need to be quarter wave resonant and insulated especially at the ends, where there is a high voltage point.

On the matter of security, you could use the concept of security through obscurity. Make the whole thing look like the dipoles are holding up the pole, rather than the reverse. Hide the feedlilne by burying it. The wires then look like guy wires, and with a small tv antenna at the top, it looks like you use it to receive tv when you visit. If you have a tractor, that is presumably on site, possibly in a shed? That too can be made to look very casual and ordinary. Whereas a gleaming dynamic beam on a crank up tower would look very obviously different… :wink:

Best wishes on the project, a lot of people would love to be able to do it themselves.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


#30

Yes, that’s correct. Exactly what I am trying to do.

I considered it and I have tried using a Web SDR to receive whilst transmitting from my home QTH.

My decision to go for both transmit & receive at the remote station was driven by several motivations:-

  1. There has been significant discussion on other threads about the ethics of using Web SDR’s when chasing (see the thread “Using Hack Green - with Web SDR”. Although technically within the rules as things currently stand within SOTA, relying on radio receivers that someone else has set up just didn’t seem (in my opinion) to be in the spirit of things.

  2. I wanted to achieve both my SOTA chasing goals and the DX goals that I set for myself using infrastructure that I personally had installed. Although I am technically using the internet and mobile phone networks to separate the control head from the radio to control it remotely, ultimately I am still using a system that I have engineered & built. This seems to be more in the spirit than using an SDR that someone else has set up.

  3. Space is limited at my home QTH. The antennas are very much a compromise and not particularly efficient. With the amount of space at my remote site, I can put up antennas that are far more effective on both transmit & receive.

  4. I would quite like to remove a couple of antennas at my home QTH. Partly to maintain good relations with my neighbours, but I also want to free up space on the mast & roof to try other experiments. I would like to put my 2m beam with a rotator on the mast to try a couple of the 2m ssb contests (2m doesn’t seem to be plagued with noise here). I also would like to try some wifi/internet experiments on the 2.4 ghz band

  5. I’ve looked at other people’s remote stations with great interest and I see it as an interesting educational project which I would like to try for myself.

I think that we are both on the same page here, hence wanting the antennas to be as discrete as possible and hiding the box with the radio equipment against the hedge out of sight from the road.

Unfortunately not. No buildings on site otherwise I would have just locked the radio equipment in a building (much easier than trying to build it into weatherproof boxes to keep it dry)…

The tractor (or at least we call it the tractor) is very small. Frankly it’s more of a lawnmower than a tractor. It gets transported to the site on a flat bed trailer behind the Jeep as & when it’s required. It doesn’t get left on site.


#31

Hi James

I would try to get planning permission for 45 houses. Then sell the land and retire to Southern Europe where even a modest station will work better.


#32

There is the End-Connected Windom:

It could be connected at the corner of the field and still give all the advantages of a multiband antenna.
73 de EA8/OE6FEG/P
Matt


#33

But doing it yourself, so it’s your own remote receiver, would not offend any of those conventions.

However I understand your other aspirations to scale down the home station, and that is a good reason to make use of the remote site for transmitting and receiving.

I think you have received a number of very good suggestions in terms of general purpose multiband wire antennas. Combined with the casual appearance of a mast or two and a feedline and interface box that is relatively invisible, you have some useful solutions.
Good luck. Let us know how it goes…
Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


#34

Unfortunately, I don’t think that I would get permission for that at the moment.

Having said that, it is on a fairly major road. There do seem to be several roundabouts with roads leading off to new housing estates popping up further along the road.

Perhaps not an option straight away, but maybe 10 years down the line.

It might provide a nice retirement package. Who knows?


#35

Hi James,
I’ve been busy and haven’t finished reading all the comments in this thread until now.
As you know, I have recently set up my own remote station. It’s still a modest one.
I’ve been reading with interest all suggestions posted and the delta loop is one that I like and I also was thinking about as a possible multiband antenna for my remote QTH in the village.
Another antenna I was thinking about is a multiband endfed half wave with traps, as many traps as bands you want the antenna to work on, so it can be used without needing an antenna tuner once it’s being properly adjusted.
An antenna tuner is another thing to remotely operate and I’d prefer not having to.
At the moment, my remote station has a multiband folded dipole in inverted vee position and it doesn’t require antenna tuner as the SWR is less than 2.5:1 on all the bands. It’s very good to be changing bands to chase SOTA activators here and there without having to care about SWR and adjusting the antenna tuner.
The fan dipoles are a really cheap option. Only thing is they are sometimes a bit tricky to adjust for low SWR on all bands, but it can be done.
My advise, as other told you in this thread, is to go for something simple and easy to set up and operate, the simpler the better. You will surely be delighted with all the things you can hear and work from that low noise QTH. Start with that and start enjoying ASAP. You will always have the time to start making changes, improvements, variations, testing, etc…
Good luck.
Keep us informed, please.

Note: my main motivation when I decided to set up my remote station was to be able to chase North-American activators, which is something I very rarely was able to do from my rental appartment in the city with the endfed antenna in the balcony. I’ve chased a good number of North-American activators with great pleasure over the weeks I’ve had the remote station running, but unfortunately the strong winds are often and stubbornly turning my yagi out of the right azimut position for me to chase North-Americans. Being my rotator currently out of service, I’ve had to climb twice to the tower to correct the antenna beamming in the last weeks of 2018 and I have today found that the recent strong winds have turned it again. It’s pointing to JA now. I’m amazed and furious. No matter how hard I tighten the rotator-to-mast clamp nuts that I’m always finding to my frustration that the wind has again turned it off position.
This is why I currently have the multiband folded dipole connected to my remote station and not the yagi. I don’t know when I’ll get a chance and the mood to climb to the top of the tower again…

73,

Guru


#36

Hi Guru,

As you say, simple is key.

Yes the tuner can be an added complication, but it is one that I’ve found a simple solution to.

I use a Yaesu FT-857 and have recently purchased a mAT-30 tuner from a Chinese supplier on eBay which is CAT controlled.

There are no controls on the tuner itself as it is controlled from the front panel of the FT-857. As you know, with the RemoteRig setup the front panel is at the control location.

I was a bit dubious about buying a cheap tuner from a Chinese eBay seller, but it seems to tune most mismatches that I’ve thrown at it to an acceptable value. I’ve actually been very impressed with it.

The only thing to watch is the power output when using digital modes as the manufacturers reckon 30 watts is your max with modes like FT8 & PSK. It will take the full 100 watts on SSB (technically up to 120 watts I believe, if you read the manufacturers specs, but the radio will only do 100 watts).

It was a consideration but personally I’ve never been keen on traps. Since getting my licence, numerous people have warned me that traps can be quite lossy. I don’t know how well founded this advice was but I’ve found my Diamond CP5 trapped vertical to be fairly inefficient.

I have a trapped dipole for 40m/80m which I bought a very long time ago. I might just stick that up (certainly for the first couple of weeks) to get me on the air, with a view to putting something better up at a later date.

I had planned to put it in my garden at my current address, but found that I couldn’t get it to fit as I didn’t have enough space,

You would think that common sense would have prevailed and I would have measured the property before buying it. I was at a amateur radio convention and it was about 50% off. Basically it was an impulse buy.

It ended up being thrown in the spare room and never used again. Sticking that up seems like the easiest and cheapest option (there’s nothing cheaper than what you already have).

That will then give me more time to think this through before putting up something more permanent.

I like Ed’s full wave loop idea for 160m. I also want a vertical for DX on 20m (& 40m if possible). Depends if I can find a way of installing it without it being too obvious.

Adding more than one antenna would also require antenna switching. I believe that there are antenna switches specifically designed for this (switching over the internet) but it’s added cost & complexity which I need to figure out.

My main issues to solve now before I can get the system on air are:-

  • Powering it (solar chargers on order, I still need to order the solar panels and leisure batteries).

  • Protecting the equipment from the damp conditions (which I think I have a plan for).

I will update once the system is ready to go. I anticipate this being at the end of January or the start of February (as I think I will have to wait until my next payday before I can afford to splash out on the solar panels & leisure battery).


#37

I’d plant 1 1/2 acres of Chardonnay and 1 1/2 acres of Shiraz and use the antenna wire to make a trellis for the vines.

Now if you insist on an antenna farm you will have to accept compromise. Inverted V dipoles on 80 m 60 m and 40 m will give you best all round performance. The more dx you want to work the higher you need to have the dipoles. You could get away with one 40 ft mast and the 80 and 40 dipoles at right angles and the 60 m dipole at 45 degrees.

Then there is the lowest profile option. Erect an 80 m dipole and feed it with open wire line. With a balanced tuner you will get good results on your target band and it will work all the way to 6 m albeit with lots of notches and peaks in the pattern.

Align the dipole to be at right angles to the power line.

If you then want a decent signal on 160 m that will be heard in the antipodes, then you need a second 40 ft mast with capacitance top hat and 20 buried radials. they need only be 0.2 wave long.

73
Ron
VK3AFW


#38

I would buy (and read) a copy of “HF Antennas for all locations” by Les Moxon.

It’s my favourite ham radio antenna book and includes lots of good advice and suggestions.


#39

I have been setting up (playing) with my new remote station the last couple of months. Just spent a week over new years there. But I am going full out and and someone lives on the farm (250 Acres), so I have a lot of antennas going up and no real concern for security (lightning is a different matter).

First off what sort of radio do have?

Matt.


#40

Yaesu FT-857D