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Remote Dish/antenna aiming

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kc3uxl's picture
Remote Dish/antenna aiming
So I have this concept/idea for part of my portable AREDN setup (still in development). It takes "inspiration" from when I worked for a local TV station.

On their live trucks was a big hydraulic mast and at the top was a dish antenna for pointing back to the station that could be aimed from the ground.. While I'd love to find one those trucks, I don't think my wife would approve, not to mention I don't have the garage space.

My question is does anyone have/know of/used something that would work and fit on a push up antenna mast? 

Jeremy KC3UXL
LOL.  For me the question is
LOL.  For me the question is if you're working a fixed site (served agency) or want a portable remote kit.

I've seen remote towers for sale that are trailers, and they are $$$$$$$.  Not in our budget, not to mention you have to be able to tow it to where you would setup.  All the AREDN nodes I have seen are not aimable remotely, you have to have hands on.  I've seen some lower priced (only about $10K) camera towers for football game film, but they are pretty flimsy and are intended to be actively aimed and would not hold up in bad weather.

A tower with sectors on it to provide coverage for an event has been discussed ... but you can accomplish much of what is needed by using tripods with some PVC pipe extensions.  A long distance connection from a beam type node needs to be stable, so if you have LOS it won't hurt it to be closer to the ground and it's a lot easier to aim from the ground rather than way up in the air.

So yes, we've contemplated AREDN on extendable mast vehicles, but never done it.  Easier, cheaper, and faster to use multiple stations with tripods in most cases.  A lot depends on the topography and what you are trying to aim at, and what type node.  Your results may vary.

kc3uxl's picture
TBH I'm looking at it for
TBH I'm looking at it for portable operations. 
The idea is to have a tower with multiple sector antennas providing large coverage. Then some smaller fixed stations (Club houses, EOCs, some QTHs) but also have a portable mast. I've seen relatively affordable push-up ones meant for antennas and flags. I was looking for a light weight Pan Tile mount that could hold say a LiteBeam M5 and have at least a little aiming.

I've seen the tv mobile masts as well.
What's unclear is "large
What's unclear is "large coverage".  What distance from a central tower do you need?  If a mile radius on flat terrain (a camp, a outdoors EOC, a festival) then stick an Omni on a very tall pole and you have it.  You say EOC, Club Houses ... this implies structures are available.  If you have structures, why not simply attach the nodes to masts on the structures?  In other words what I'm saying is that pop up things are very cool, but very $$$ and is this the best way to handle your needs?  If this is a fixed installation, you do not want a retractable tower ... AREDN needs to be installed and running 24/7 not just when someone feels like cranking up the mast.

I don't know if any of this helps.  73  Ed
K6CCC's picture
You could look at standard El
You could look at standard El/Az antenna rotor systems that are normally used for satellite operations.  Any of those could handle antennas the size of even the largest AREDN dish.  They are not overly cheap however.  I just looked, the Yaesu G-5500DC is $760.  I have the earler G-5400 for my ham satellite antennas and they work very well.

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