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Author Topic: Looking for ladder line routing suggestions.  (Read 1110 times)
KK7KZ
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Posts: 464




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« on: September 20, 2009, 11:35:58 AM »

I have a 40' fiberglass mast located just shy of 100' from the window in the shack.

I am currently running coax-because of the convenience-but would like to take advantage of some ladder line but I'm at a loss figuring out a way to route it to the house in some fashion that doesn't trip somebody, look ugly, and still provide the benefits of ladder line.

I have, in the past, made 4" long pieces of 1.5" dia. PVC tubes and attached them to a fence and routed the ladder line that way about 3' above ground. Worked well but wasn't the most attractive looking arrangement against a white vinyl fence.

The new location, as far away from the house as possible to minimize noise, demands a path right through the middle of the yard and that creates aesthetic issues immediately pointed out by the XYL.

I know ladder line can't be close to metal objects, can't lay on the ground or be buried. Seems the only remaining option is to suspend it from 8' posts on the run from the mast to the shack but that got a strong 'two thumbs down' from the gardener in the house! Even after I suggested we could hang paper lanterns from the LL, it still got a big NO!

Suggestions, please, or am I to live with coax or Bury-flex?

As a last resort, I suppose I could run the line along the perimeter fencing but that would come close to about 200' of ladder line, which might be a wash compared to the accumulated losses of coax.

Then, again, maybe I am making 'much ado about nothing' as the couple of db I might save are inconsequential.

However, the advantages of a multiband doublet over a fan dipole do have some appeal.

How have you folks dealt with some of these issues?

Comments, suggestions?  Thanks!

Ron
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K0UC
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2009, 12:52:21 PM »

Ron: I don't know the answer to your question, but I am curious as well since I'm considering using ladder line.  Any hints or ideas for installation would be appreciated.

On my small lot, I need to make the best of one dipole.

73
Brady
K0UC
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KA7ZIS
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2009, 12:56:25 PM »

Check this site.....

http://www.dxengineering.com/Products.asp?ID=185&SecID=93&DeptID=36

I use these under the eaves, then into the attic and they work pretty well.
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N8NSN
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2009, 01:32:34 PM »

Hi Ron,

You could use just 42 & 1/2 feet of parallel feed line running down the mast.  The extra couple feet can be coiled (not tightly, but with two or so wraps spaced about half a foot or so apart).

Install a remotely tuned simple ATU with a bal-un, at the fiberglass mast base, to go between the coax and the parallel feeder.  You can even get fancy and set up some relays to switch between more than one balun, and/or shorting the parallel feeders to become one wire and use the antenna as a single wire vertical with a large top hat cap.  The single wire vertical arrangement will require a modest ground screen installation to make an affective antenna. Then you can keep the run of coax cable from the shack to the mast.  The only wire added would be a multi-conductor control wire to provide low voltages to your roller inductor(s), variable air capacitor(s), and the relays if you go that route.

Building the remote tuner and bal-un(s) would be a fun project. You should be able to stay in the 200 dollar range or even under if you acquire surplus parts to do the job.

Keep us informed on what you consider and/or do.

73, es 72,

N8NSN Jim
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WX7G
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2009, 01:36:49 PM »

One possible solution is to run ladder line from the antenna to the bottom of the fiberglass mast. Connect a remote tuner thru a 1:1 choke balun and run coax to the shack.
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WG8Z
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2009, 01:55:26 PM »

200' windowline along the fence -vs- 100' coax?
Not exactly a wash. Hell, I'd run a half a mile of windowline just to eliminate 100' of coax on a doublet.
Good luck
73 de Greg/wg8z
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KK7KZ
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2009, 01:58:18 PM »

On a doublet, yes.

But I am running a resonant fan dipole, so maybe 0.5 db difference? I haven't checked VK1OD's great site to get the actual numbers.

Ron
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W9OY
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2009, 02:21:45 PM »

what kind of antenna are you using?  Is this a vertical or a dipole or what?

73  W9OY
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N8NSN
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2009, 03:41:28 PM »

Ron,

On your original question you never stated that this was a "fan" dipole"...

What bands do you have the wires cut for?  How many bands, as well?

I don't understand your desire to use parallel feed wire if you're already using multi-band functions via several dipoles fed from the common feed point???

A balun at the feed point, fed with the coax, as you already have in place... you stand to gain very negligible difference with going to ladder line (IMHO).

The addition of a tuner, ladder line feed, and/or all that is a great project to learn with, but serves no real affect to make the 'system' any better.

The use of parallel feeding if it were a single doublet wire would make good improvements and offer all HF bands with one antenna, so to speak.

In essence, to reinterpret my initial conclusion, I don't see an advantage to feeding a fan dipole with ladder line over coaxial cable since you're only 100 feet away.  

(shrugs shoulders)

Long Live the Ladder Line,

N8NSN Jim
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KK7KZ
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2009, 04:43:18 PM »

Presently have a 40/20 fan dipole; looking to replace that with a multiband 80' dipole fed with window line that will tune 40-10 but need to run 100' of 450 ohm window line that is invisible and not laying on the ground.

R.
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N3OX
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2009, 10:22:25 PM »

If you really want to switch to a doublet with a tuner, I know what I'd do... I'm with WX7G and N8NSN on this one

http://www.n3ox.net/projects/servo

The only other way I can think of to run "invisible" ladder line is to dig a big trench, put in a big tube or something, and run the line down the center on spacers.

But if I were going to do that, I would dig a pretty big trench.  I'd give a couple line spacings on all sides at least... so maybe a 6 inch pipe with good centering spacers for normal "window" line?  And of course, you have to keep it real dry inside.   I'll see if I can figure out a more quantitative take on that.

But really, I think the 100 feet no-airborne-line run really calls out for a coax fed solution... ladder line is great and all, but if it were me, the difficulty of getting it out there would absolutely keep me away from using ladder line the whole way.

'Course I've got a motor driven tuner lying in the corner of the shack.  :-)

73
Dan
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
KK7KZ
Member

Posts: 464




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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2009, 04:47:34 AM »

Dan,

The idea of replacing the fan dipole was made by another ham. I voiced my concerns and he suggested floating the idea here to see if there were any clever ideas that might overcome my objections.

I agree with you guys; I think coax is the right solution here. I don't want to add any more bands to the fan because of the tuning issues involved. Single wire coverage of 40-10 sounds nice but the geography won't support it, from my perspective.

Thanks to all who have contributed. I think there is only one right answer here.

Ron
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W5DXP
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2009, 04:54:42 AM »

> KG7LR wrote: ... creates aesthetic issues immediately pointed out by the XYL. <

I had the same problem - replaced the XYL and the problem went away. :-)
--
73, Cecil, w5dxp.com
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73, Cecil, www.w5dxp.com
The purpose of an antenna tuner is to increase the current through the radiation resistance at the antenna to the maximum available magnitude resulting in a radiated power of I2(RRAD) from the antenna.
KK7KZ
Member

Posts: 464




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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2009, 06:04:58 AM »

Cecil,

Been there, done that! However, while attitude improved immensely with #2, immunity to antenna farming didn't take.

Ron
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WA3SKN
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Posts: 5443




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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2009, 09:09:57 AM »

You can run ladder line a lot closer to metal than most hams think!
It will fit nicely in 2 inch PVC pipe.  In fact, those 90 degree grey electrical outlet boxes with the screw panel access is an elegant way to bring it into the house.
And don't write off the loop!  A triangular loop with one end at the house solves that long ladder line run through the yard!  A short ladder line run from the house point attachment into the house would probably be acceptable to the XYL!  Problem solved.
73s.

-Mike.
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