An Easy Antenna Project
for the Tower Owner
Over the years that I have owned antenna towers, there has always been a problem that I have never been able to solve. What does one do with five or six runs of coax coming down the tower? Most hams I know have a bundle of coax cables coming into their shack, usually through a hole in the wall that has been filled with canned foam insulation to stop the outside air from coming in. Some use one or more remote antenna switches where they have multiple antennas going to one radio. At the present time, I have eight LMR-400 coax lines and one 16 ga. 450 ohm ladder line. I cured the problem of the ladder line having to be fed through a specially cut hole by using an MFJ 4:1 balun on the outside wall of my shack and then bring in a short run of coax. It works quite well with my FT-1000d. However, I have had a number of problems over the years with bringing the ladder line down the tower. I have had to replace worn ladder line a couple of times and I have had to climb the tower several times when the ladder line broke loose at the solder joint of the antenna because of the winds we have whipping the line. The answer to these problems proved to be simple and inexpensive.
Tractor Supply Company (TSC) is where I purchase my fencing supplies for my livestock fence. A while back, I needed to run an electric fence to hold some livestock. I made a trip (35 miles) to the nearest TSC and purchased my electric fence components. I chose to use fence posts made by Gallagher. They were called the Gallagher Double Foot Treadin Posts for electric fencing, SKU 1095787. They are available in white and black. Before attaching these to your tower, cut the nail ends off using a large bolt cutter. This will help to prevent you from becoming tangled up with the nail end and receiving a nasty puncture wound. After tie wrapping the fence posts horizontally to the tower legs (use one side of the tower and not just one leg of the tower), simply feed the ladder line behind one of the retainer bars. I used the bar at the top (or the farthest out from the tower) of the post. For coaxial cable, I broke the bars off closest to the tower and cable tied the coax to the fence post. Be sure to record the position number of the coax and which antenna it feeds and to keep the coax in the same position on the fence posts. (see photos)
In order to bring the coax inot the shack, I used four (4) inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe with end caps. I cut a hole in the wall that slightly larger than the pipe. I then pushed the pipe through the wall leaving about two (2) inches of pipe on both sides of the wall for the end caps. I then mounted eight (8) PL-258 bulk-head connectors in a circle around each cap and made jumpers to go inside the pipe. This completed the feed through pipe. In order to have some lightening protection and good grounding, I mounted a piece of 1/4" aluminum plate with 8 holes cut to match the outside end cap and I hold in on using large nuts on the bulkhead connectors that I purchased through http://www.buxcomm.com/. I also obtained the bulkhead connectors from Buxcomm. I have forgotten where I obtained my lightening arrestors. I believe it may have been from http://www. jefatech.com, the same place I purchased my 400 type cable in a 500 ft. reel. I have an lightening arrestor on each coax connector. The last thing to do is sink an eight (8) foot copper plated ground rod below the wall feed thru and run a number four (4) double lugged battery cable from the feed thru grounding plate to the ground rod. (See photos)