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Condo Life - Attic Antenna's

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#1 Corey

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 06:32 PM

In several posts I have mentioned my attic antenna's and have promised to elaborate at a latter time, so here goes. Almost a year ago I decided to purchase a condo and with that realized an HOA would now be a fact of life. During my search I fond the perfect place, 2400 sq feet of space, 10' ceilings, and the attic hatch in my walk in closet! We made an offer with the listing agent and it was excepted the the next day! I now had 3 months to remodel and move in, this included home networking and my antennas. My first venture into the attic was a surprise, the amount of space was incredible! I attempted to find some info on attic antennas without much luck, so with my knowledge this is what i decided on. I hope this helps anybody that's been thinking about doing something like this.

 

My UHF antenna is a DB404-B 450MHz -470 MHz configured for a 5dB elliptical pattern North to South. I took 2 hose clamps and used a deck screw to attach them to the 2x4 support, once tight the antenna is plenty secure for the mild conditions of the attic. As you can see from the photos I used 1/2" Helix for my feed cable. More about that latter. Performance from the dipole is excellent, no measurable SWR using a bird meter and I am able to work repeaters 40 miles away.

 

uhfbase2.jpguhfbase3.jpg

 

I don't talk VHF often but I do have a few people I talk to on MURS and I monitor some other Marine channels as I live close to Lake Michigan. This one is a Browning BR-6051 146-167, not at all impressed with it, it did have a nice mount for use on the 2x4. I am replacing it with a Browning BR-6050, the 6051 was discontinued for a reason..... Again this antenna uses 1/2' Helix.

 

 

vhf2.jpg

 

For my office scanner i decided on a MP Antenna Super-M 25-1300 MHz. This is a simple yet effective wide band scanner antenna. I can not be more pleased with it and most likely will never replace it. I was able to crawl rather high in the attic structure, I am guessing 30' from the ground. I also used 1/2" Helix to maximize the return loss to pull in the weak signals. It is connected to a Uniden BCD996P2 for causal monitoring in the office.

 

scanner2.1.jpg

 

 

For the last 10 years I have been streaming the local police scanners. It has evolved over the years from a single old base scanner and my computer streaming to a rented shoutcast server to the dual feed system I have in place today. This uses 2 BC355 scanners and a pair of BARIX audio over IP encoders that convert the audio to mp3 format and stream it to a dedicated shoutcast server. The streams can handle 400 listeners total. If you want to know more about that you can check it out at http://racinescanner.com. Because i don't listen to them I tucked them away in my utility room with the rest of the network and video system. These scanners share a common antenna, I am using a Laird Technologies B1443 mobile antenna on a NMO base mount. this feeds into a Telewave AS-1502 power splitter to isolate the receivers. Each scanner has a LMR 195 cable connected to the power splitter at the antenna.

 

scanners.jpg

 

scanner2.jpg

 

Because I was remodeling and I did purchase the condo I had no reservations for cutting holes in the walls. I figured any holes could be patched and the entire place was getting painted so out came the tools! Remember I said I would get back to the 1/2" Helix, well here yea go. BTW after the drywall repairs you can not see any traces of the 7 access holes i had to cut to run speakers, Cable and Network around the condo. I hope this helps anybody that's been thinking about doing something like this.

 

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I tried to use a 2 gang box but had to change to a 3 gang box, I used Decora blanks and female N bulkheads to make the termination plate.Yes that's my blood on the wall.......

 

Wallplate.jpg


  • Logan5 likes this

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#2 mellowcream

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 06:54 PM

I also have a dualband Jpole in my attic. Works great.

 

 

I really like the switches and server rack.  Looks really nice. 



#3 Corey

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 09:15 AM

I also have a dualband Jpole in my attic. Works great.

 

 

I really like the switches and server rack.  Looks really nice. 

 

That's a pair of Cisco RV325 Routers with Built-in 14-port Gigabit Ethernet switch. I have 2 internet connections at the house, one is my personal 60MB x 10MB and the other is a business class supplied by my employer 20MB x 5MB with 5 IP addresses. The networks are isolated with individual wireless for each. I installed 2 Ubiquity UAP wireless access points that use power over Ethernet, one access point for each network.


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#4 mwaggy

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Posted 15 April 2016 - 11:35 PM

That looks really slick! I, too, live in a condo and have been thinking about doing the exact same thing. I have a desk upstairs, so I could just pop through the ceiling and into the attic. I was nervous about cutting holes or leaving cables snakes all over the place, but your setup looks super-professional and gives me something to strive for. I can run them through the walls and patch it up, terminating them in wall ports. I like that!

 

I have the added wrinkle of a big ol' fire sprinkler pipe running through the attic. I think I can get the antennas far enough away that it won't entirely interfere with their pattern... But I have a perhaps-irrational fear that it's going to carry a lot of my RF into the building's fire alarm panel and cause them to go off. Hopefully that's an irrational fear.



#5 mainehazmt

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 08:22 AM

Very nice. And very neat install

#6 Corey

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 09:47 AM

That looks really slick! I, too, live in a condo and have been thinking about doing the exact same thing. I have a desk upstairs, so I could just pop through the ceiling and into the attic. I was nervous about cutting holes or leaving cables snakes all over the place, but your setup looks super-professional and gives me something to strive for. I can run them through the walls and patch it up, terminating them in wall ports. I like that!

 

I have the added wrinkle of a big ol' fire sprinkler pipe running through the attic. I think I can get the antennas far enough away that it won't entirely interfere with their pattern... But I have a perhaps-irrational fear that it's going to carry a lot of my RF into the building's fire alarm panel and cause them to go off. Hopefully that's an irrational fear.

 

I was able to pull all of this off with access to the attic. Home Theater, Computer Network, Wireless Access Points (the flying saucer thing) and cable. I also installed cable, network and power behind the wall mounted TV in each bedroom. I own my place and nothing in the agreement stopped me from doing what I did.

 

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#7 Logan5

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 11:49 AM

This would only add resale value to the property. Smart homes are in. and the wiring is the most important part.


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#8 Corey

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 07:17 PM

I just want people to see that choosing a condo is not the end of any radio hobby. I have a few more things I plan to put in the attic. I recommend reading any of the owners agreements before installing an antenna farm in your condos attic and if you decided to be quiet and don't tell other residents. The best part is you can remain stealth.


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