Well I went ahead and purchased the 43 foot antenna kit from DX Engineering during that sale they were having till the end of last year.
This is the story of how I constructed the ground mount for it.
First a related story…
The day after Christmas my son and I carefully replaced the current copper pipe 16 foot vertical with the pieces from the kit which includes a nifty tilt-base, 4:1 balun and lots of hardware. The details of the actual 43 foot antenna installation will be detailed in another post. For now, I am here to tell a story of how to accommodate the needs of the XYL.
While my son and I were assembling the antenna some 200 feet away from the house it appears the mother-in-law and my wife were not liking what they saw. The wild imagination expressed by by mother-in-law included statements like “It will take five people to carry that thing” and “they should not bend it like that” and “I would not have that in my yard” and, well… sigh.
This got my wife all upset, but her personal concern was actually valid… the antenna will spoil the view. Of course a view with any antenna in it is art to me, but we have spectacular sunsets in our backyard unobstructed by any buildings and my new extension from 16 feet to 43 was going to push her patience. So this article describes how we prepared a new location for the antenna behind the trees, but still in a reasonable location. Lessons learned from the previous installation are applied.
As for my mother-in-law it is quite amazing what folks will say about things they know nothing about to try and let others think they do resulting in everyone knowing they don’t. Foot in mouth syndrome.
When I installed the original pipe in the ground I learned several lessons and continued to hear more good ideas as time went by. Thoughts include:
- Use a 2 inch OD metal pipe for the antenna stake
- Use gravel rather than concrete
- No Weeding
Let’s explore each point in detail.
Use a 2 inch OD metal pipe for the antenna stake
DX Engineering has clamps designed for this diameter – I found black plumbing pipe 1-7/8 inch OD (1.5 inch ID) which seems to be good enough.
Use gravel rather than concrete
This is an idea learned from one of the many ham email reflectors I monitor. I considered using concrete to secure the pipe in the ground, but ran across one fellow in a post who suggested using gravel instead. His thought was gravel will continue to settle and pack ever tighter as the pipe wiggles from the load. His concern about pouring a concrete post hole pier is the dirt could loosen around the cylinder and cause antenna tilt which would be difficult to fix; Indeed a proper concrete pier involves a wide and deep foot which creates more work than probably necessary.
A hard core requirement for this new antenna footing is no weed trimmer to maintain it – mower only please. My old antenna location did pretty well in this regard, but grass did grow “into” the radial plate from the perimeter requiring occasional hand trimming. This time I want to extend the “no growth” zone to well past the edge of the radial plate.
So my son and I proceeded to create the new antenna base for this new vertical antenna.
The antenna mount is ready and shown with the bottom components of the DX Engineering 43 foot antenna system.
One good idea expressed by a local club member is to define the edge of the circle with landscaping edge material. This will help keep the rocks in and the grass out. This is a great idea and I did just that. Thanks Frank!!
Another good idea is to replace the surface gravel with landscape stone or pebbles… perhaps dark brown. This is a good idea and I will probably do it, but one has to ask how much effort does one put in to “decorating” an antenna mount when the antenna itself remains so obvious.
There is currently only one thing that might be an issue with this mount… the ground pipe easily turns in azimuth. This is not too big a deal with a vertical antenna, but could be a problem if there is some kind of directional antenna on this system. Concrete would certainly solve this. I am not too worried about this issue, but felt it wise to note it.
The final result is I have a new location for the antenna which is more XYL friendly, does not spoil the view of our sunsets and is ready to accept my new 43 foot antenna, ground radial installation and coaxial cable routing.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts.
12 thoughts on “Installing a Vertical Antenna Base with no Concrete”
Thank you for taking the time to show this great display. I used your guidelines to install my new W8AFX, Steve Sheers vertical antenna. I use a heavy gauge gray PVC schedule 80 pipe instead of
metal. I used the same methods that you did and I used pea rock. I must say it looks good. I still have a to install the radials and coax. I may purchase an auto tuner to mount at the base, which will make it very efficient system, if I can say that. HI. //… Joe WA8SIE
This needs something to prevent rotation on the axis of the antenna… perhaps a long rod thru the support pole to create horizontal resistance.
I agree. While self-rotation hasn't been a problem with this particular antenna, I can rotate it by hand. The long rod idea is what I've seen even with concrete and would likely do well here as well. Good catch, thanks.
In ground, And; with paddles, or flat's on the end. Nice!!!!
Some U-bolts and a couple of plates (at 90 degree angles to each other) clamped to the post below ground level would not only resist rotation but might even help prevent tilting since a pole would tend to shift through gravel more easily than a plate would.
Just a thought, I've never tried it myself.
i have also used sand with good results.
Whoa! Well thank goodness you posted this! I'm just at the point of filling a base hole! I have the GAP antenna mount. Good thing in that it tilts to allow easy access to the antenna, but best of all is that the tilt mechanism lies between two legs – hence ther's no rotation. With the legs needing at least 2' of depth I'm pretty sure that as long as its vertical when set, that the mount should remain vertical. I didn't really want to use concrete as my base hole isn't that big, and as suggested, a big weight of concrete could quite easily shift and tilt the antenna.
thanks for posting ths up
73 Patrick 2 E0ETF
Without regard to the construction/installation details, pro and con, my reaction is that there needs to be a fundamental agreement between marital partners with regard to personal activities, hobbies, etc. My position is, I try to stay out of things related to what "she" does, long as it doesn't adversely affect my quality of life…and I think it's reasonable to expect the same from her. It's "MY" hobby – long as it doesn't get in the way of her stuff, I get to do what I want without interference. Is THAT so unreasonable?
" but one has to ask how much effort does one put in to “decorating” an antenna mount when the antenna itself remains so obvious."
Quite an easy question to answer really, you put all the effort necessary into the project so that it not only satisfies you, but the XYL also!
Thanks for your comments regarding using gravel and dealing with possible rotation. KI7YWO
How has the gravel base held up after windy days and a couple of winters? I’m about to install the same antenna with the DX Engineering radial plate. I’m going to bolt 2 18” pieces of angle iron to the buried pipe to keep the radial plate from twisting. 73’s -NJ8L
for the lawn edge cut the bottom off a 5 gal. bucket slip it over the pipe before filling hole. keep the top of the bucket just above the grass. instant edge.. when filled