On Sunday, March 11th I upgraded thye VHF antenna at the ELSIE Mi APRS digipeater site. My brother had bought me a new 3 point climbing harness and lanyard as a gift the week before and I was itching to use it.
The previous antenna was a mobile 5/8wave VHF, attached to a “L” bracket and then mounted to the highest point of the grain leg (tower). It used about 10′ of RG-58 coax to a barrel connector, and then to the 100′ run of RG-8 going into the shack.The antenna has about 3dbi gain.
I had a VHF 5/8wave x2 mobile antenna at home, that the digipeater previously used. It has 6dbi gain. I got a 6′ long 1/2″ thick electrical conduit pipe from my step dad. He had some laying in his junk pile. that was nice, since I didnt have to use my 10′ section that I had planned for another project.
At the site I noticed that I had a long coax run into the shack and I could easily re-route it at the bottom to save some coax. Redoing it gained me about 12 feed of extra length, so I slid it up, as I climbed the tower.
At the top I disconnected the existing antenna and left it in place, for future/backup use, for my live scanner feeds at that site. I mounted the 6′ pole and new antenna to the top of the silo leg rail. The bottom of the antenna is now above head height, in case anyone happens to be working at the top, while it transmits. I happened to have almost exactly the right amount of extra coax. It has about 6-8″ of extra room, so it turned out perfect.I removed 1 barrel connector and 10′ of RG-58. This should help reduce some line loss.
Before the antenna upgrade, it was hearing a digipeater (KB8VEE-11) from 94.8 miles away. I was hoping to break the 100 mile distance. After the antenna upgrade, I am now hearing multiple stations regularly, around 103-130 miles away. This is a great improvement. Sure they are other tall digipeaters, but it proves that the extra 3dbi gain and less coax loss really helps out.
I still plan to upgrade the antenna 1 more time, to use a dual-band antenna, for APRS and GMRS. The farmer who owns the site wants to use a GMRS repeater, so Ill set one up for him. Id like to share 1 antenna, to avoid using another coax run.
Old Antenna On Left, New Antenna On Right