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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller

Dick Melcher (WA6MDI) on October 2, 2011
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HF Operation in a Restricted Home Owners Association.

Several years ago we sold our home and downsized. Part of that decision meant giving up trees and a non-restricted area where I had a tower, beam, dipole and a large closed loop antenna mounted on trees in a little over ½ of an acre.

We have now moved into a gated community and while I appreciate the lack of maintenance, there is a longing for getting back on HF. How can I get back on the air? Having the good fortune of having a friend on the West Coast, I can operate his Internet based HF remote. That is OK but part of the problem is others, including the owner use this system. So I try to limit my operations to early in the morning and for a short time in the evening.

Another option is a UHF repeater with an HF remote base. I have done that in the past, still have the repeater and HF gear, but again the problem is finding a site that will allow HF radio.

My third option is to use the screwdriver antenna on the back of my truck and operate from the third front bedroom which over looks the driveway. I chose this option, ran some coax from the radio room, down the hallway, across the living room floor, through the laundry room and into the garage.

OK….. I was on the air, but it was still a pain to run all the way into the garage and have the tail end of the truck sitting in the driveway while I tried to tune the antenna with the controller in the car while watching the field strength meter. Several ideas were tried including running a pair of number 14 wires taped to the coax, but the voltage drop was too great and the antenna did not tune from inside the radio room.

Cruising across eBay one afternoon I came across a neat description of a “Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller”. My first thought was it was just another standing wave sensor controller, but I was wrong. This thing actually is a receiver which when one uses the transponder (similar to the lock/unlock remotes for your car) will allow you to remotely, tune the antenna up or down by pushing the appropriate button.

This controller is manufactured by Carlos Aguirre, KD7WJZ. It consists of a little black plastic box and a pair of transponder key packs all for under $60.00. I filled out the eBay purchase and several days later this little package shows up on my doorstep. A video is available on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5kVF5hdQHw

For over 3 months now I have operated this way and have a great time being able to move from 20 to 80 meters with out having to head out the door. The box lies on the front seat of the truck on top of the Icom 706 which I leave in the vehicle.

The attached pictures show the unit and how the output wires (green) can be connected to the screwdriver motor and in my case I used a pair of two pin connectors.

One additional feature is I can adjust the antenna from the front seat of the truck and do not have to remove the controller. It is fairly easy to hold the controller in my hand and listen for the high pitched whine generated by the controller when the unit is keyed indicating the power is applied to the antenna.

I have been operating this way for over three months now and the unit has performed more than satisfactorily. Give this unit a try and I do not think you will be disappointed.

Dick, WA6MDI

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by M6GOM on October 2, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
This video has been removed by the user.....
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by W8JI on October 2, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I was a little confused at first why a wireless system would be better than wires, but now I understand. :-)

The power source for the antenna motor is right at the antenna, while you are a long distance away.

That would have made you run long heavy wires. Wireless is a good solution.


Here is another solution for your unique problem. Add two relays, one up and one down, at the car that run off coaxial cable center conductor voltage. Make one relay + sensitive and the other - sensitive.

Then you just inject voltage - or + into the center to operate the right relay. Two RF chokes, two diodes, a few capacitors, two relays, two push button switches, and one wall-wart.

Seems like someone could build or author a project like that for about the same price as wireless. Same principle as the RCS4 antenna switch. :-)

Or just use a cheap CAT3 cable into the house and two relays in the car. :-)

You have a unique problem with the power source for moving the antenna at the antenna, and it looks like relays of some type offer several solutions.
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KB2SDR on October 2, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v79pP_jStwM




73
KB2SDR
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KG4RUL on October 2, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Or you use ready-made components to do the job: http://www.kg4rul.info/RemoteCoaxScrewdriverControl.bmp
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by N6DMR on October 2, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
No pictures attached...
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KD7WJZ on October 2, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
YOU CAN SEE VIDEO HERE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v79pP_jStwM 73 KD7WJZ CARLOS
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by AD5VM on October 3, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
You can do the same thing for $20 with this device. I bought a bunch of them and use them for raising gates (applies current to the coil on the big contactors) , turning on lights etc. They work great and they are rated for 7 amps. You can order single channel up to four channel and you can configure them to work in three different on/off modes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-2-Way-Remote-Control-Switch-f-motor-forward-reverse-/260820592169?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cba1e6629#ht_2829wt_852
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by AD5VM on October 3, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
correction, they are rated for 10 amps.
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by W0FM on October 3, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Clever solution you have there.

Another approach: I purchased the 50ft extension coax for the SGC-230 coupler. Within the sheath of the coax was a run of RG-59 plus a few color-coded low voltage (22Ga?)wires. All in one simple run. Later, I found someone who sold the coax/power cable combo in bulk and bought a few hundred feet. I've used it in a number of projects. DC bias voltage injectors are also an inexpensive alternatives these days.

73 de Terry, WØFM

 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KB3MDT on October 3, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Hi,
While there may be multiple ways to remotely control your Screwdriver Antenna, I think the most important thing is you came up with a way to leverage your truck's antenna and transceiver to stay on the air. Job well done.

73,
Ken
KB3MDT.
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by K5LXP on October 4, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
> a pair of number 14 wires taped to the coax, but
> the voltage drop was too great

What does a screwdriver antenna draw, an amp or two max? A 100' run of 14ga wire pair is .5 ohms, at a couple amps draw would be a 1V drop. That should be well within the operating range of any screwdriver antenna made. Seems even if drop was the problem, a 15V supply in the shack would be a lot cheaper and simpler to implement.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by N6JSX on October 4, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
This is interesting but the wireless control referenced in the article on eBay is $79 +ship....

Devices that you can buy for under $25, at:
http://www.dinodirect.com/DC-12V-2CH-Wireless-Remote-Control-Switch-System-AK-RK02DS-AK-BF02.html

http://www.dhgate.com/315-433mhz-wireless-remote-control-switch/p-ff8080812a4d5335012a55fbc9a35afb.html

Since we are suppose to have technical ability, the above items, should be "easy" to wire up to a two wire screwdriver. The bigger issue is running out to the car to turn off all vehicle battery drain or find a dead battery in the morning when you want to go to work.
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by G3LBS on October 5, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Are there then still people who want to go to work?
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KD5NVC on October 6, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
We are both operating in a restricted and substantially limited situations these days, your solution is a good one and I may have to give this option a try. I'm using a direct DPDT switch but the advantage of a remote controller would clean up the install without cables in the cab!!

73 my friend

 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by K7JQ on October 9, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I have a High Sierra HS-1800/PRO screwdriver (HOA/CC&R restrictions), ground-mounted high on a hill behind my house, with 450 feet of coax and control line (rotor cable with 2 wires on each side twisted together to make a larger guage feed). The power to run the screwdriver comes off my Astron RS-35M, and that moves the screwdriver just fine.
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by W3CE on October 9, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
The YouTube video has been removed.
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by W3CE on October 9, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
The YouTube video has been removed.
 
RE: Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KD7WJZ on October 9, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
HI YOU CAN SEE THE VIDEO HERE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v79pP_jStwM 73 KD7WJZ
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KC2MIB on October 24, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v79pP_jStwM

Nice article. Take a look at the above YouTube video and you might see the video.


KC2MIB
 
Wireless Screwdriver Antenna Controller  
by KK0DJ on November 6, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
WA6MDI de KK0DJ (for memory sake N6DUQ).... great article Dick. Still remember vividly the sailplane ride over Fremont so many years ago. THis is a great article for a lot of us who will opt to toss the riding mower, the yard tools and figure out how to ham without towers and places to put wires for 160m. Hope all is well with you.
73
Dennis
 
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