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Author Topic: Can't find a mounting pole  (Read 1061 times)
N5GWU
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Posts: 4




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« on: November 10, 2017, 09:42:30 AM »

I have a brand new MFJ 43 foot vertical I'm aching to get set up at the shack.  Getting the antenna and mounting bracket was easy.  I can't find a piece of pipe any where.  I need about 6 feet of 2 inch outside diameter pipe to bury 3 feet in the ground (with sacrete) and the other 3 feet sticking up for the lean over bracket and antenna.  I'm in Douglasville, Georgia.  I've been to Lowes, Home Depot,Tractor Supply and have called all the plumbing supply places in town.  If it's not PVC pipe they don't know about it.

Does anyone use metal pipe these days?  Even the local Ace Hardware just looked at me funny.  I'm not mounting my antenna on PVC pipe.

My neighbors are looking at me funny since they saw me in the front yard with my slingshot and fishing reel when I was putting up the G5RV in the tops of the trees (and they wonder why I had on a hard hat and safety glasses for when that 1 ounce sinker bounces back).

Any help or suggestions for something I can find in this part of the country would be greatly appreciated.

73
N5GWU
Cliff
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KD4LLA
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Posts: 500




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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2017, 09:56:30 AM »

Call a local plumber or well-driller and ask where they get their steel pipe from...

Also is there a nearby welding or repair shop that would "special order" it?

And lastly, try pipe used for chain-link fences.

Where I live, there are probably a dozen farmers who would have such a section of pipe that you are looking for laying around in their grove of trees.
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KL7CW
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Posts: 256




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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 10:14:59 AM »

Cliff,  One idea is to try a scrap metal yard, I have picked up aluminum and other "scraps" for nearly zero cost for various projects.  Another idea is to visit an electrical supply house, I believe electricians still use some heavy metal (galvanized ?) pipe for certain installations.  When I needed heavy galvanized pipe for a Yagi mast, I ordered directly from one of the ham antenna outfits advertised in QST...possibly array solutions or Texas towers, etc.  This was expensive and may be more than you need.  Also visit any chain link fence outfit.  I am sure they have many types of fence posts, although often the ones I typically see do not look very strong....use caution.  You could try your local recycling center and auto junk yard also.  Take along a hand hack saw with a good blade, you may need to cut off your 6 ft piece from a much longer pipe to get it into your car.  Yes it is very possible to cut a piece of heavy 2 inch galvanized pipe by hand in less than 15 minutes....I have done this many times. Shipping for something like your 6 ft long pipe, would probably be very reasonable in your part of the country and often folks will cut down a longer pipe for less expensive shipping.  Be sure to put a few inches of gravel in the bottom of your hole, set in the pole, then put in your secrete next.  Make sure you have drainage at the bottom of the pole, otherwise water inside the pole will freeze and burst the pipe.  Another option is to set a treated 4x4, 4x6, or 6x6 TREATED post in the ground...available at the box stores.  Once again set in a gravel base before you put in the concrete.
                   Rick  KL7CW   Palmer, Alaska
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K4JJL
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Posts: 815




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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 10:17:07 AM »

You'll want a stick of 2" rigid pipe.  I think the largest the big orange box sells is 1.5".  Plumbing supply houses should have it.  Ask for galvanized schedule 40 gas pipe.
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 2018




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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 10:19:52 AM »

we can find galvanized steel pipe here in the north country almost everywhere... Menards and the hardware store a mile from me both have it.  it's in plumbing "inner diameter" measurements, though. if you can fake it, you can make it.

get on the web, Google "steel pipe (yourtown)" and some metal yards close enough will pop up. it is still used for some pressure and drainage purposes, and in cast iron, in drainage and fire suppression.
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KB2WIG
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Posts: 358




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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 10:20:06 AM »





I'll assume your 'clamps' will fit the following.
 


2 in. x 10 ft. Black Steel Sch. 40 Pipe

     Its actual O.D. is 2.375 in.

1-1/2 in. x 10 ft. Black Steel Sch. 40 Pipe

     Its actual O.D. is 1.9 in.
  

  
https://www.homedepot.com/p/2-in-x-10-ft-Black-Steel-Sch-40-Pipe-GS210BTBE/202310233

The " 2 in."  is in stock at 1032 Research Center Atlanta Drive, Atlanta, GA 30331 | 404-691-2077




Ya know, you could grab some pvc and fill it up with mortar. It would get you going....

good luck,
KLC
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N5GWU
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2017, 10:24:37 AM »

Thanks for your quick response.  I checked with all the plumbing supply houses but they sell copper or PVC and nothing galvanized.  

Heck of a note, my last antenna was put up on the roof of my house in Japan and I went to the local DIY place and got to water pipes where one slid inside the other.  Stacked them with about a 4 foot overlap and air mounted a Butternut HF6-v and ran radials down to the ground and was able to work the world pretty well.

Now ask for a water pipe and they look at you like you're silly.  Plus when you say, I need  a piece of pipe so I can mount a Vertical antenna and work 80 meters to 6 meters and they start backing away.

Thanks for all the good suggestions.  This shouldn't be this hard.  I have a local Ham Radio Outlet and they offer a US tower mast that would work (a bit pricey) but they don't list the real price in the catalog and they aren't answering the phone today (maybe because everyone is celebrating Veterans Day today.

Worse part of all this is I work 8a - 8p 7 days a week and while I can get off to go to church on Sunday I don't get much time to go roaming to find good stuff.


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WB6BYU
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Posts: 17053




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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2017, 10:25:54 AM »

I'd check the chain link fence section:  either the top rail or the support posts should be
somewhere around that size.

Your U-bolts should handle a variety of pipe sizes.  If you can't find the right fit you can
shim up a piece of smaller pipe by cutting a short piece of pipe lengthwise and putting one
or both pieces around the smaller pipe before putting it in the U-bolt.
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N9AOP
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Posts: 641




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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 01:00:27 PM »

BYU is right--Use a chain link fence end post.  All the big box stores carry them.
Art
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KM1H
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Posts: 2479




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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2017, 02:07:38 PM »

BYU is right--Use a chain link fence end post.  All the big box stores carry them.
Art

Which will be 1 7/8" ID and a bit under 2" OD for the Schedule 40. Since the box stores carry only Chinese electrogalvanized it will soon rust. Go to any fence company and look for Wheatland or Allied.

Around here it is all over the place at metal recycler "junk yards" at by the pound scrap prices.

Carl
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KL7CW
Member

Posts: 256




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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2017, 02:39:35 PM »

Cliff
   Just some info which may be of help to you for your 43 ft vertical.  Forty-three is not a magic height which makes it a great antenna on all bands.  It may have "acceptable" performance on 40 meters and higher frequencies, but due to its short length, do not expect great things on 80 and especially 160 meters.  Phil, AD5X has written several articles in QST within the last 10 years which describe simple matching units you can install at the base which will greatly improve performance on 160 meters but should also help on 80 meters.  You cannot do much to make this a great antenna on these bands, but can cut way down on the coax losses between the antenna and an antenna tuner in the shack on all bands, but especially on 160 meters. 
   I just thought I would pass on this info if you are interested.  I am sure this antenna has helped many folks especially on 40 meters and some higher bands, but as you know you need all the help you can get on 80 and 160 meters, and sometimes a very few dB does make a difference.  Do spend time and effort and put in the best radial system possible.  Do not be discouraged, even with compromise antennas and QRP power, good QSO's (even occasional DX) are possible even on 160 meters.
                Rick  KL7CW
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K6BRN
Member

Posts: 452




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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2017, 03:30:10 PM »

Cliff (N5GWU):

Right at your local Home Depot:  (2 inch EMT conduit)

https://www.homedepot.com/p/2-in-EMT-Conduit-101592/100400411?MERCH=REC-_-NavPLPHorizontal1_rr-_-NA-_-100400411-_-N

Pretty strong, galvanized.  I built a 30-foot telescoping antenna test stand that has been up 2 years in my back yard, out of this.  Should be plenty strong for a vertical.

That said, I'd always prefer galvanized iron pipe, available at a professional plumbing supply house OR metal surplus yard near you:

101 Sales & Supplies, LLC
615 Industrial Blvd
Villa Rica, GA
(770) 456-6261

Brian - K6BRN

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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 14332




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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2017, 04:39:08 PM »

If your Home Depot doesn't have it, go to their contractor's desk. They should be able to order it for you with free delivery to your local store. You can also order from Home Depot on-line and get free delivery to your local store.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
W9IQ
Member

Posts: 1707




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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2017, 05:05:03 PM »

Cliff,

I would recommend seeking out a surplus pipe shop in your area. They are generally selling used pipe from drilling operations. You can acquire very heavy walled pipe at a fraction of the price of buying a new piece of thin walled pipe from a DIY store. I have driven and welded thousands of feet of this type of pipe on my ranch in Missouri. I hydraulically drive 4.5 inch diameter, 0.25 inch wall pipe 5 feet into the ground for corner posts and then weld 12' long, 2" heavy wall pipe as the cross brace. The 2 inch heavy wall pipe is tough stuff. I have hydraulically driven that more than 6 feet into our rocky ground for various projects. Ordinary DIY pipe simply crumples from the force of the driver.

None of my pipe is galvanized but due to the heavy wall thickness, it will last for a couple of generations before needing replacement. In high visibility areas, I have painted the pipe just for appearances sake.  In order to keep your pipe from rusting out, either cap the top of the pipe or provide a sufficient gravel drainage bed on the bottom of the pipe so that water cannot accumulate inside of the pipe.  This is the death of pipe installed vertically in the ground.

When installing any galvanized materials, I only use class 2 galvanization. The class 1 material deteriorates in 10-15 years (faster if in direct ground contact) and allows the base metal to start rusting. And often galvanizing is used on otherwise thin material so once the rusting process starts, mechanical failure is not far behind.

- Glenn W9IQ
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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
N5GWU
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2017, 04:59:56 AM »

Found one.  A buddy is cleaning out his dads workshop (his dad died) and he has a bunch of pipe and other metal goodies.  I've picked out a good piece for the antenna mount and some other stuff for future projects.

Thanks much for the help, information and encouragement.  I've been licensed since 83 and started off on Crete with my Elmer, Charlie Jackson, SV0AA (first American licensed HAM in Greece), now a SK but I salute him this Veterans Day as he was a Navy telegraph operator on various ships for a lot of years.  I could copy his fist, it was beautiful, and he usually loped along between 45 and 50 WPM (being an Air Force Morse Intercept operator for a lot of years, er 23 total) I could handle the code and was always impressed by his skills, his knowledge and his willingness to share that knowledge with us "young pups" as he brought us up right.

Thanks to any of you Veterans out there and enjoy the day.
73
Cliff
N5GWU (ex KA2PFV/SV9)
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