HAM radio and a new house build

Spooky68

Private Parts
PX Member
Minuteman
Aug 24, 2014
166
86
Fulshear, Tx
I’m looking for some advice on wiring for a new home build to accommodate future Ham shenanigans. I still have several months before wiring and cables/ low voltage stuff is run so I need to think of a plan now. I currently am studying for my tech. I have a couple of HT’s (vhf/uhf) and was thinking of picking up a IC7300 or maybe even a yaesu 991A. I haven’t thought much about antennae’s yet either but I am severely HOA restricted. Shoot me some ideas.....thanks guys and gals.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
PX Member
Minuteman
Jul 9, 2002
7,926
10,761
Alabama
eHam.net
Well being in an HOA I'd be looking at many options. There are flag pole, attic., ridge vent, and gable end, antennas. A NVIS antenna over a chain link fence with the fence as the reflector is a great one for many things. Will you have a garage/shop if so will it be attached or detached? Any large trees around? Most wire antennas are hard to see done right, but you need to watch where the feed points are. I installed a Hex beam in a HOA for a bud in Fla years ago an convinced the committee it was a clothesline. It was on a push up pole and at night he would push it up an talk DX everywhere. You looking for Regional, National, DX, or NVIS for local emergencys?
 

mgrs

Sergeant of the Hide
PX Member
Minuteman
Feb 18, 2018
471
445
VA
Since you are building new, it'd be good to at least think about where you are going to bring your antenna in and how you are going to keep lightning out.

Think also and do some research on what you really want to do. VHF/UHF is nice if you have a local net you like to interact with, and HF is just more fun in general but brings with it a higher learning curve.

On the VHF/UHF note, there are some local peculiarities that can come up, like a preference for digital modes like DSTAR, Fusion, or DMR. Worth looking into because radios that do one of these and analog are common,

If under an HOA, you can do some very useful antenna designs stuffed into your attic. You'll be a bit more limited, but it is better than nothing.

On HF equipment; HF-only radios are often much easier to learn than heavily menu-driven UHF/VHF/HF/everything boxes.
 

Spooky68

Private Parts
PX Member
Minuteman
Aug 24, 2014
166
86
Fulshear, Tx
Ok... so I suspect that about 75% of what I will do is listen. Local, regional, National are all in play. I currently listen in to local repeaters/Nets and simplex traffic on my HT. Transmitting on HF will obviously require a lic upgrade which I may or may not do.
There can be no clothesline’s or chain link fences. Attic is about the only thing I can see getting away with. So I guess I just need to make sure there are runs of coax to the shack and attic?
 

missed

nothing
PX Member
Minuteman
  • Feb 21, 2013
    1,834
    974
    TEXAS
    I would run a 2" conduit from the shack to the attic. Then you have plenty of room to get cables pulled with connectors. I ran 2 1" conduits from office to attic, it sucks. Not enough room for connectors. HOA's can not legally place restrictions on communication antennas BTW.....

    My buddy that lives in a HOA he put wire antennas up 6" above his tile roof, you can only see the wires if the sun hits them just right. One of his neighbors did actually notice it and he told him it was part of the lightning protection system....
     
    • Like
    Reactions: E. Bryant

    Spooky68

    Private Parts
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 24, 2014
    166
    86
    Fulshear, Tx
    Ahh...good call on the conduits. Yes the hoa bylaws specifically say that they abide by the telecommunication act of 1996.... so I guess I need to go read that!
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 9, 2002
    7,926
    10,761
    Alabama
    eHam.net
    Oh.. do you see any problems with having comm gear in a reloading room?
    Nope my com gear is just above the loading bench. Most of the time I'm RX & TX'ing while reloadiing, via a foot switch an boom mic.
    Can you have a flag pole? Also you can build an antenna running the full length of the eaves an get on 80 meters an down quickly.
     

    Spooky68

    Private Parts
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 24, 2014
    166
    86
    Fulshear, Tx
    Nope my com gear is just above the loading bench. Most of the time I'm RX & TX'ing while reloadiing, via a foot switch an boom mic.
    Can you have a flag pole? Also you can build an antenna running the full length of the eaves an get on 80 meters an down quickly.
    Thanks! Technically I think we are allowed to have a flagpole but getting that through the comptroller and chief design guru (aka my lovely wife) is a whole different matter... running it down the eaves sounds more realistic.
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 9, 2002
    7,926
    10,761
    Alabama
    eHam.net
    Thanks! Technically I think we are allowed to have a flagpole but getting that through the comptroller and chief design guru (aka my lovely wife) is a whole different matter... running it down the eaves sounds more realistic.
    There are well engineered verticals that also double as flag poles, they require radials but those are easy an hide. Just tell the wife unit she can fly the flag of choice for the coming holiday or season,...
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Sean the Nailer

    Spooky68

    Private Parts
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 24, 2014
    166
    86
    Fulshear, Tx
    There are well engineered verticals that also double as flag poles, they require radials but those are easy an hide. Just tell the wife unit she can fly the flag of choice for the coming holiday or season,...
    I floated the idea of a flagpole. I got less than an enthusiastic response.
    How about something like a broadband terminated dipole (square, butterfly...whatever) for HF and a Jpole for 2m.....all in the attic. Do I need to worry about interference? Fires? Exposure?
    Can you recommend a power supply for the 7300 and maybe a cheapy 25W mobile unit for vhf/uhf connected to the jpole. Would something like a Astron RS 35 be enough?

    Didnt you already create a HAM help thread? All of this probably belongs there but for the life of me I couldn’t find it.
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 9, 2002
    7,926
    10,761
    Alabama
    eHam.net
    Most any antenna will work to a point in an attic, the j-pole is a good choice for 2 & down.
    Power supply depending on your wants needs down the line the Astron series, is a very good choice. Your radio requires 21 amp's @ 100 watts out, the 35 is 25 continuous & 35 ICS. For just the radio the 35 will do that, however if you plan to expand later I would step up to a 50. I went with a VS-35M an now I am about to pick up a VS 50m as I'm against the 35's rating at times, and I don't like to run my gear stuff at rated that often. I do a lot of different DC voltage testing which is the reason I went with the VS series. Just installed a double pole double throw switch to the bench test leads,..it's real handy for that. I would not use a switching power supply, but they may be just me.
    Yes, there was a help thread but it went away some time back.

    You going to use a tuner, or make/cut your antennas for a single freq, or use relays, or tuning stubs on HF?
     

    Spooky68

    Private Parts
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 24, 2014
    166
    86
    Fulshear, Tx
    Most any antenna will work to a point in an attic, the j-pole is a good choice for 2 & down.
    Power supply depending on your wants needs down the line the Astron series, is a very good choice. Your radio requires 21 amp's @ 100 watts out, the 35 is 25 continuous & 35 ICS. For just the radio the 35 will do that, however if you plan to expand later I would step up to a 50. I went with a VS-35M an now I am about to pick up a VS 50m as I'm against the 35's rating at times, and I don't like to run my gear stuff at rated that often. I do a lot of different DC voltage testing which is the reason I went with the VS series. Just installed a double pole double throw switch to the bench test leads,..it's real handy for that. I would not use a switching power supply, but they may be just me.
    Yes, there was a help thread but it went away some time back.

    You going to use a tuner, or make/cut your antennas for a single freq, or use relays, or tuning stubs on HF?
    Awesome... Thanks Gun’s. The 7300 has a built in tuner but I think it has some limitations. I suspect I will get a tuner sometime down the road.... your questions are good ones but starting to get out of my comfort zone. This stuff doesn’t come second nature to me.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Sean the Nailer

    Alpine 338

    Lumberjack
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jun 26, 2010
    1,625
    687
    NW Colorado
    Don't forget about grounding, get a 6-awg or 8-awg ground wire run to where you plan on having your radio set-up. Best to have it at least 20-ft in your footers before they pour the concrete, or buried outside along the edge of the footers.
     

    Spooky68

    Private Parts
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Aug 24, 2014
    166
    86
    Fulshear, Tx
    Don't forget about grounding, get a 6-awg or 8-awg ground wire run to where you plan on having your radio set-up. Best to have it at least 20-ft in your footers before they pour the concrete, or buried outside along the edge of the footers.
    Ok this may sound stupid but do I need to do that if all my gear including antennas are inside?
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 9, 2002
    7,926
    10,761
    Alabama
    eHam.net
    Jeezus.... I swear I need my hand held through this shit. I thought the third prong on the plug would be sufficient.
    That is only the equipment ground, you still need an RF ground for safety. If you have antenna issues the RF will ride the outside of the coax an will bite the shit out of you or anyone that touches or gets very close to it. RF burns are about 5 times worst than a sun burn. If your antennas are properly built you will never have an RF issue, however if you ever get bite by RF you will remember it for life. Also when your not using your antennas they need to be grounded, so they are the same value as objects close by, encase lighting is banging around. Many a Shack/home have been set afire do to antennas not being grounded an being hit by lighting. Many a antenna switching device has a ground port for this issue. Plus depending the coax/fed line your using the outer jacket can be grounded to prevent lighting running that conductor as well.
     

    Sean the Nailer

    Sergeant
    PX Member
    Minuteman
  • May 20, 2006
    5,054
    6,544
    Winnipeg, Mb.
    That is only the equipment ground, you still need an RF ground for safety. If you have antenna issues the RF will ride the outside of the coax an will bite the shit out of you or anyone that touches or gets very close to it. RF burns are about 5 times worst than a sun burn. If your antennas are properly built you will never have an RF issue, however if you ever get bite by RF you will remember it for life. Also when your not using your antennas they need to be grounded, so they are the same value as objects close by, encase lighting is banging around. Many a Shack/home have been set afire do to antennas not being grounded an being hit by lighting. Many a antenna switching device has a ground port for this issue. Plus depending the coax/fed line your using the outer jacket can be grounded to prevent lighting running that conductor as well.
    Very well explained, and definitely worth repeating.
     

    rockmyglock

    Sergeant of the Hide
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Apr 3, 2011
    222
    69
    Idaho
    I’m looking for some advice on wiring for a new home build to accommodate future Ham shenanigans. I still have several months before wiring and cables/ low voltage stuff is run so I need to think of a plan now. I currently am studying for my tech. I have a couple of HT’s (vhf/uhf) and was thinking of picking up a IC7300 or maybe even a yaesu 991A. I haven’t thought much about antennae’s yet either but I am severely HOA restricted. Shoot me some ideas.....thanks guys and gals.
    Shielded cables.

    We had a fella out here spend a PRETTY PENNY like real pretty penny building his SHTF dream home. Full solar, off grid, gorgeous home that was custom built.

    He didn't discuss any of the technical considerations for comms on anything.

    Guess what, all those fancy LED lights with their fancy switches and miles of unshielded cable runs caused?

    A hum. In everything.

    Every one of the low volt cables in that house turned into an antenna and magnified the issues.

    He was pissed at the builder, the electrical contractor and all the engineers. Never told them how important HAM or AM radio was.
     

    Campguy308

    Gunny Sergeant
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jun 26, 2018
    862
    568
    NE Texas
    I have been thinking about getting back into ham radio. I abandoned it a few years ago due to life. Glad to know there are others here with the same interest.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Sean the Nailer

    Ravenworks

    Semper-Fi "80-84"
    PX Member
    Minuteman
  • Feb 8, 2019
    2,611
    4,094
    North Coast
    Don't forget about grounding, get a 6-awg or 8-awg ground wire run to where you plan on having your radio set-up. Best to have it at least 20-ft in your footers before they pour the concrete, or buried outside along the edge of the footers.
    Or use a regular ground rod in a horizontal position
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Spooky68

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 9, 2002
    7,926
    10,761
    Alabama
    eHam.net
    Or use a regular ground rod in a horizontal position
    Depending your type of soil install it were water hits that area all the time. I have my RF ground rod drove below where the washing machine drains. In the last home in Fla it was drove where the A/C condensate drain was. There are places in the US where a std ground rod or ground ring will not work at all. In those places Chem rods are king but that is a high maintenance item compared.

    One last thing on all rods or rings, they can get coated with glass over time if working properly an hit often, so testing your grounds once a year an keeping a log of same, is a good idea. Went to a home in Pasco co Fla years back that was getting hit about 2-3 times a year. The rods had better than an inch of glass on all of them. Once I started digging deeper I found the root issue on the attic. The way the house was wired technically met code of the build completion day, but when the owner added his radios he compounded the issues the E/contractor caused. Not a cheap fix at that point in time. Installing every thing correct when bringing it out of the ground may cost more up front but it's a huge savings on the back side. If your going to be building/installing in a lighting prone area, consult folks in that area prior to pulling any wire.
     

    rockmyglock

    Sergeant of the Hide
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Apr 3, 2011
    222
    69
    Idaho
    Testing grounds is a smart idea. The meters aren't cheap and not everyone has the knowledge base or equipment to do it.

    If you're wanting some reading on the subject, search: "fall of potential" testing.

    Ideal makes a meter that runs ~$600 and I have used that in the past to have a Field Evaluation done to get some custom equipment listed by one of the NTL's.

    During that project, the importance of good grounding (earthing) was made abundantly clear.

    Inspectiom and tightening your ground rod clamp periodically is also a part of a good practice.

    Consider an exothermic weld (e.g. Erico One Shot CADweld) for a permanent option.