Jump to content

Base Camp antenna mast recommendations


Sbsyncro
 Share

Recommended Posts

Does anyone have a good recommendation for a "base camp" type portable mast?  Something that will collapse down to 6' or less, but extend to 15 to 25 feet and be portable enough to stow on a small camping trailer (my storage tube is about 6' long).  My plan is to mount both a GMRS antenna and a Yagi directional antenna for a Cel-Fi 4G LTE signal booster while remote camping.  It seems based on my bit of research that aluminum will be better than fiberglass. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fiberglass tends to be lighter and more compact.

The yagi is going to want to be on a metal pole.

Recommendation.
Roll up slim jim, sling shot, fishing line and sinkers.

You shoot the weight up as high as you can get into a tree. Then pull up the cell repeater antenna and the slim jim.

Of course only works when you arent in the middle of the desert.

Why the yagi?

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, kidphc said:

Fiberglass tends to be lighter and more compact.

The yagi is going to want to be on a metal pole.

Recommendation.
Roll up slim jim, sling shot, fishing line and sinkers.

You shoot the weight up as high as you can get into a tree. Then pull up the cell repeater antenna and the slim jim.

Of course only works when you arent in the middle of the desert.

Why the yagi?

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

Thanks.  I frequently camp in the desert and or places without a lot of trees (or with very dense tree coverage) so I don't think this approach would work.   In addition, when setting up a mobile cell signal booster, to get the greatest boost, one needs to turn the antenna to face the nearest tower, so having a mast that can be rotated will be important.

I'm thinking about something like this:

https://www.signalbooster.com/products/telescoping-pole-and-mount-for-antenna?variant=32153211764821&msclkid=768774ae3be91187fed4143a19480207

 

The reason for the Yagi is that it is the recommended directional antenna from the company I'm buying the cell booster, and seems to provide the best directional signal gain for this particular type of setup.

For those curious, the setup will be a booster and interior dome antenna that will be moved back and forth between my Jeep and my camp trailer.  The Jeep will be outfitted with this antenna:
https://4thdsolar.com/products/rfi-lte-antenna-cdq7195-4g-lte-cellular-mobile-antenna-698-2700-mhz-black-radome-black-chrome-spring?_pos=1&_sid=82b1d3553&_ss=r

on this mount:
https://4thdsolar.com/products/rfi-folding-bull-bar-mount-black-stainless-steel-fbbm-b?_pos=1&_sid=9dfe4b742&_ss=r

For the trailer, there will be a mast and the Yagi A32-V32-100

When traveling I will have the booster and interior antenna in the Jeep (probably with a 12v ciggie mount and a velcro mount for the dome antenna and then when I arrive in camp, part of the trailer setup will be erecting the mast, moving the booster and interior antenna to the trailer, and then tuning the signal using the phone app (and OpenSignal).

Why go to all this trouble?  I'm one of those folks lucky enough that I can do what I do from anywhere in the world, as long as I have Internet.  I frequently visit family in places where the cell reception and/or data connection is close but not quite good enough. I also like to hunt/fish/camp and I'm hoping that this setup will allow me to extend my trips by a few days (or more) being able to check in and do a bit of work from camp or other family members' homes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Military surplus antenna mast might be sturdy enough for the yagi, unfortunately won't work in the size department.

Spiderbeam makes wonderful but pricey fiberglass push up mast. Weigh the yagi before you call to see if it can support it. Keep in mind with a fiberglass pushup pole you don't have to use all the sections just up too the highest strongest section you can use.

A drive on pedestal mount for the mast may speed deployment up quite a bit.

Sounds like satelite phone or a mobile starlink (for wifi calling) are right up you alley. Minus the $$$.

Ever thought about your ham ticket? Aprs with the use of smsgate allows you to text and email via winlink. Limited yes, but better then nada.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Starlink's coverage area is pretty limited at the moment from what I've heard.  

I would at least look at military surplus camouflage poles.  I'm happy with mine in a permanent setup, but I could see it being pretty easy to set up and take down for 20' or less. Very easy to store in 4' sections too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, kidphc said:

Military surplus antenna mast might be sturdy enough for the yagi, unfortunately won't work in the size department.

Spiderbeam makes wonderful but pricey fiberglass push up mast. Weigh the yagi before you call to see if it can support it. Keep in mind with a fiberglass pushup pole you don't have to use all the sections just up too the highest strongest section you can use.

A drive on pedestal mount for the mast may speed deployment up quite a bit.

Sounds like satelite phone or a mobile starlink (for wifi calling) are right up you alley. Minus the $$$.

Ever thought about your ham ticket? Aprs with the use of smsgate allows you to text and email via winlink. Limited yes, but better then nada.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

I began researching Starlink and coverage isn't there yet.  It also requires registering the receiving antenna to a "zone" and it will only work in that Zone where the satellite network expects it to be.  So for now, its a non-starter.  

I have a sat phone and my experience with it is that it is fine for texting short messages (with up to 5 minute delay) but thats about it.  and $$$

This Cel-Fi solution will work in places where there is LTE coverage (or Edge) and I need to take it from 1 bar (unusable) to three bars (usable).  I'm not expecting to have crazy fast internet, but should be able to "check in" periodically.  It will also boost signal to my phone for Gaia maps while on trails in remote areas with weak signal strength. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a good recommendation for a "base camp" type portable mast?  Something that will collapse down to 6' or less, but extend to 15 to 25 feet and be portable enough to stow on a small camping trailer (my storage tube is about 6' long).  My plan is to mount both a GMRS antenna and a Yagi directional antenna for a Cel-Fi 4G LTE signal booster while remote camping.  It seems based on my bit of research that aluminum will be better than fiberglass. 

I use a HD pushup fiberglass mast for semi-permanent use. Capable of 46’ AGL. Purchased from DX Engineering. It is available in shorter lengths with smaller vertical sections so it will collapse to shorter length. Here is a picture of mine un-guyed at max height (with antenna) located in my backyard during testing (56’ to tip). Amazing how plumb it stayed, of course it was not side loaded as would be the case with a Yagi.

Anchoring in this picture consisted of (4) 18” long screw-in earth anchors plus 4 adjustable straps from Harbor Freight.

I would have no problems taking this or a shorter one camping. Would take about 10-15 minutes to assemble, anchor and raise with antenna and coax once you know your system down and all parts on are hand. This one was put up solo. It has gone up and down about a dozen times thus far. It now sits next to the house.

6101e1c1a9504ac213930855246fc8ce.jpg


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all!   Some great suggestions here, and some look very heavy duty if I ever need to go that route.  I went ahead and ordered this one based on some reviews and the fact that it comes with "wall mounts" with a quick-detach setup that looks pretty good.
 
Now I need to do some noodling/research to determine antenna placement (for the mobile not the mast!) on the Jeep.  Wondering if it needs to be separated from the GMRS antenna that I have in the center rear of the hard top.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 5/11/2021 at 4:24 PM, mbrun said:


I use a HD pushup fiberglass mast for semi-permanent use. Capable of 46’ AGL. Purchased from DX Engineering. It is available in shorter lengths with smaller vertical sections so it will collapse to shorter length. Here is a picture of mine un-guyed at max height (with antenna) located in my backyard during testing (56’ to tip). Amazing how plumb it stayed, of course it was not side loaded as would be the case with a Yagi.

Anchoring in this picture consisted of (4) 18” long screw-in earth anchors plus 4 adjustable straps from Harbor Freight.

I would have no problems taking this or a shorter one camping. Would take about 10-15 minutes to assemble, anchor and raise with antenna and coax once you know your system down and all parts on are hand. This one was put up solo. It has gone up and down about a dozen times thus far. It now sits next to the house.

6101e1c1a9504ac213930855246fc8ce.jpg


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM

That has to be the sweetest mobile/field based antenna I've seen to date!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That has to be the sweetest mobile/field based antenna I've seen to date!

Glad you like it. I sure do.

I just completed the side-arm mount for attaching an amateur radio dual band vertical antenna at 30’. Once it is in place I will post photo(s) in another thread.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/21/2021 at 3:37 PM, mbrun said:


Glad you like it. I sure do.

I just completed the side-arm mount for attaching an amateur radio dual band vertical antenna at 30’. Once it is in place I will post photo(s) in another thread.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM

I'm very curious about your setup; partially because I'm thinking about something similar.  :)  How much separation do you have between the antennas?  And how many watts does each radio put out?  Have you had any issues when running on Ham UHF bands causing issues between the two radios?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm very curious about your setup; partially because I'm thinking about something similar.    How much separation do you have between the antennas?  And how many watts does each radio put out?  Have you had any issues when running on Ham UHF bands causing issues between the two radios?

I will be running 50w UHF and VHF, 50w GMRS.

I will let you know once it is operational. I may not have it installed for two weeks.

I do expect some desensitization of the listening receiver while I am transmitting on the other service, but nothing that I expect will affect my operations. I will have ferrite chokes on the GMRS feed-line to cut down on the noise and reduce ingress from the 2m/70cm since that line will be running parallel to the amateur antenna.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/11/2021 at 11:43 AM, Sbsyncro said:

Does anyone have a good recommendation for a "base camp" type portable mast?  Something that will collapse down to 6' or less, but extend to 15 to 25 feet and be portable enough to stow on a small camping trailer (my storage tube is about 6' long).  My plan is to mount both a GMRS antenna and a Yagi directional antenna for a Cel-Fi 4G LTE signal booster while remote camping.  It seems based on my bit of research that aluminum will be better than fiberglass. 

I've experimented with a thin walled fiberglass mast in a heavy duty speaker tripod mount for a temporary setup. There is an AL-800 dual band telescoping antenna on the top. The top tubing section was a bit thin so I removed. As it is now I get the antenna up about 20 feet when mounted on the tripod. If its a bit windy a few 6 inch tent stake spikes with some nylon cord works to guy the mast so it doesn't blow over.

https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/mfj-1911

The antenna seems to match up OK on the GMRS channels when the coax is attached. No ground plane is needed thus reducing the wind load.

https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/pry-al-800

The mast pops out of the tripod and will collapse to about 4 feet. The tripod folds up to about the same dimension. Without any guy wires I can setup the whole thing in about 10 minutes.

I ran RG-58 cable up to the antenna. While a bit high on losses it is light weight and I'm not running the cable far anyway. I made the trade off with higher losses to get a light weight easy to setup and transport portable antenna system. If I have to I can use a 30 to 40 watt FM only amp that needs 4 to 5 watts drive power from an HT while drawing maybe at most 6 to 7 amps DC current, low enough to supply from a modest sized 12 volt battery.

For Ham use a Mirage dual band BD-35 amps works. For GMRS a wide band amp is necessary. One from BTECH will work, however it is not Part 95 certified.

https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/mir-bd-35

https://www.miklor.com/COM/Review_DMR-Amps.php

https://baofengtech.com/product/amp-u25d/

If you look around you can find good deals on the above used. I picked up a BD-35 and a U25D for $100 total at a recent Ham Radio flea Market.

Mast.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines.