Assembling and Installing a Grid Antenna - Part 2

Now that I have the antenna assembled it was time to put it up. I use to be a WildBlue Satellite subscriber. The dish was mounted on a tripod up on the roof. I simply removed the dish from the bracket and left the tripod attached to the house. This provided me with a vertical opening to insert a 1- 1/4” galvanized pipe with the antenna attached:
The first thing to do after installing it, and before running cable, was to aim the grid toward the strongest EVDO signal. I decided to use my Sprint Mogul as the signal meter. Mainly for portability. You could use a laptop with your connection manager open to observe signal strength instead. Using a pigtail/antenna cable for my phone I attached it to the short N/female connector coming off the antenna with a N/male to FME/female adapter, and then into the Mogul’s antenna port:
mogul with pigtail
I put the Mogul in debug mode ( ##debug# on Sprint, ##debug on Verizon. You can also set the File Explorer to show all files and navigate to the /Windows folder. There you will find FieldTest.exe ). I then selected HDR (High Data Rate) and observed the signal strength:
I already knew where the tower was – its that big tall gray thingy sticking above the tree tops!! But seriously, I’ve discussed on other posts how to find your tower. Even if you don’t have a clue where it is, this technique will show you where to point the antenna. Get your installation plumb (use a level) and s-l-o-w-l-y rotate the antenna in small increments. Pause between rotations to let the signal settle – 25 secs or so – and observe the display. Don’t stand in front of the antenna! Once you’ve found the strongest signal – lock the pole in place. I tapped a hole in the WildBlue mount, inserted a bolt and tightened it down.
The cable run for this is about 25' through an outside wall, into my garage, and then through an inside wall into my office. I wanted to keep signal loss to an absolute minimum so I used LMR-400 coaxial cable on the antenna. This stuff is fairly heavy so you aren’t going to be making any radical bends with it:
cable comparison
The antenna comes with a short length of coax that terminates with a N/female connector. The cable I bought has a N/male on one end to mate and N/female on the other. I use an adapter and pigtail to complete the connection, like this:
grid wiring diagram

Lightning Protection – well yeah, you need it. There’s a big’ol hunk of metal up there on the roof just begging for a bolt to hit it. Frying the antenna, everything connected to it …and your house. Kind of want to do something about that don’t-cha think? I bought a lightning arrestor that is inserted into the cable run and is attached via a heavy copper ground wire to the service entrance ground:
lightning arrestor
That’s what it looks like before being enclosed in a weather-proof box. Well worth the $25 I paid for it – peace of mind. This device has almost zero effect on the signal level.  More information on lightning protection is here.

Get a great price on LMR-400 cable here:

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