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Author Topic: Antenna Patch Panel  (Read 3000 times)
WK0F
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Posts: 46




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« on: September 21, 2004, 06:23:54 AM »

Hi,
I have looked through past articles about antenna switches, and have decided to build a simple patch panel.  I have the bulkhead connectors, but I would like your opinion on what would be the best material for mounting them in. Obviously, the patch panel will be located inside the shack for easy switching between antennas and my two hf rigs.  Do I make it out of aluminum or copper and use it as a grounding block or do I make it out of some sort of non conductive material such as Lexan, etc for good isolation?

Thanks!
Terry
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20574




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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2004, 09:30:03 AM »

Shouldn't really matter what material it's made from.  

However, manual "patch panels" can create disastrous results due to cockpit error (inadvertantly plugging the output of a transmitter into a receiver, for example) and I personally wouldn't use one for anything unless the only possible application is one single transceiver for multiple antennas.  That way, the worst that can happen is you connect two antennas to each other!

Switches configured to eliminate the possibility of plugging one rig into another rig are a lot more foolproof.

WB2WIK/6

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AA4PB
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Posts: 12801




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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2004, 11:45:32 AM »

I've had a patch panel for years. Just organize it so that radios are on one row and antennas are on another row. Jumpers always go vertical, row to row - never horizontal between two radios or two antennas. It certainly is convenient to be able to plug one radio into an antenna, another radio into a dummy load, or a work bench test line into an antenna or dummy load. You'd have a really complex switch setup trying to have that flexibility with switches.

I'd use an aluminum panel for the strength. All of your coaxes should be bonded to a common ground at the building entrance for lightning protection anyway so there is no need to isolate them at the patch panel.

At a hamfest I found some PL-259 type adapters that just push onto an SO-239. I use those on the patch cables that I change all the time. Stuff like the VHF antennas that normally stay connected just use the threaded PL-259s.
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W7DJM
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2004, 08:51:24 AM »

To add to what AA4PB said, if you feel there is ANY chance of connecting a tranceiver to a tranceiver,  one way to do that would be to somehow "protect" one end of the patch cable.  For example, you could screw all (?) (2?) of the tranceiver connection cables on, and "safety" them.  Either construct a simple guard so that you can't get your fingers in there to disconnect the radio end of the patch, or maybe something as simple as a tie wrap around that end to remind you.

Now, all you have is patch cables connected to radios, and "open" antenna ports--no way to cross connect without some work.
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WA4MJF
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Posts: 1003




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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2004, 08:32:16 AM »

Mine is like AA4PB's, the top panel is antennas,
dummy loads, etc and the panel below that is
radios, workbench, etc.  The cables always go
vertical.  Never had a problem in many years
and I copied it from a patch panel at K4WDF/
AA4WDF at Fort Bragg.

73 de Ronnie
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9915




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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2004, 09:01:37 PM »

look at my call at qrz.. 8 antennas into 3 radios, + uhf/vhf
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WK0F
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Posts: 46




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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2004, 07:57:50 AM »

Nice shack!  Are you referring to all the antenna switches in the middle?  Can't see it very well.  
I am just looking for ideas for making a simple patch panel.  I have a sheet of plastic (ABS), and will drill some holes for the bulk head connectors and mount it.  I agree it would be a good idea to put the radios on the bottom row and the antennas on the top row.
73,
Terry, WK0F
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2004, 09:37:57 AM »

I have built an antenna transmission line pass-thru box to get multiple antenna feeds into my shack and also to provide a good grounding connection.

Since I love to play with my digital camera, I took pictures of the construction process and these can be found on my web site.  You can reach my web site via QRZ lookup with my call or just go directly there with the URL: http://homepage.mac.com/phystad/K7PEH/

Once there, just follow the link to the transmission line pass through box.

Though not a switching patch panel, the cables are actually in easy reach for me to change antennas if I need to.  I only have two antennas so this is not much of a problem.  I can actually handle 5 antennas with 4 coaxial connected antennas and one ladder line fed antenna.

Phil
K7PEH
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N3ZKP
Member

Posts: 2008




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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2004, 11:53:25 AM »

Phil:

Just took a look ...

Nice Job!

Lon

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KC2IXE
Member

Posts: 59




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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2004, 06:30:12 AM »

Another way - all radio OUTPUTS on SO-259 (just like most rigs are) all antenna INPUTS on N connectors - and every jumper is a PL-259 to N Connector.....
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