Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

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xdavidx
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Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by xdavidx » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:28 pm

I'll be mounting my 15 dBi directional panel antennas on a pole on my roof on a side facing gable. My plan is to use a j-pole mount and probably 10 feet of pole. I might mount the antennas on top of each other or I might put a T on top and mount them side by side. I'll most likely be setting up guy-wires too.

What are other people using for j-pole mounts and the actual poles themselves? The panel antennas are relatively heavy compared to an aluminum yagi style antenna, so I'm a little leery of aluminum poles, but if others have made these work, I'd love to hear about it. I'm curious if people are buying poles made for antennas or just going to the hardware store and getting some galvanized steel pipe?

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JimHelms
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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by JimHelms » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:44 pm

I have seen a lot of people use Schedule 80 (the grey) 1.5" PVC pipe--including yours truly. I do not think it will slide over the J-pole, but you can use a small piece of tubing (i.e., fence top rail, etc.) that fits inside both, and use screws to lock them in place. You can also use a T on the top to mount them side by side.

xdavidx
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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by xdavidx » Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:49 pm

JimHelms wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:44 pm
I have seen a lot of people use Schedule 80 (the grey) 1.5" PVC pipe--including yours truly. I do not think it will slide over the J-pole, but you can use a small piece of tubing (i.e., fence top rail, etc.) that fits inside both, and use screws to lock them in place. You can also use a T on the top to mount them side by side.
I've been using solid core schedule 40 1.5" PVC pipe for my initial tests. The problem is that I live in Minnesota and I think the freezing temps in the winter would crack it when it flexes in the wind. I guess with guy-wires, it wouldn't be able to flex like that, so maybe it would be okay. I'll check out the wall thickness of the solid core 40 vs schedule 80 at the hardware store and see how they compare.

I was also thinking I'd have to really glue the side pieces coming out of the Tee well, but they do make snap on Tee adapters that would remove that concern and provide even more support for that horizontal piece that needs to support the weight of the antennas.

I was thinking I would use some sort of U-bolt/clamp to attach the vertical pipe to the J-mount (side by side) so that I could twist the pole for alignment and be able to change the orientation if I need to later.

How long is your PVC pole that you are using? Do you do any type of grounding?

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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by JimHelms » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:48 pm

Mine is configured a little different and I only use mine about 5 foot off the roof line (which can be raised to 8 feet). It is mounting through the roof and into the attic where I can fine tune it without crawling on the roof.

My cables are fun through the PVC and into the attic as well.

I did run a ground wire. Antenna < Lightning Surge Protector > Cable and ground wire, through the attic and ground wire runs outside to a ground wire.
House.gif
Ground wire with surge.jpg

xdavidx
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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by xdavidx » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:11 pm

JimHelms wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:48 pm
Mine is configured a little different and I only use mine about 5 foot off the roof line (which can be raised to 8 feet). It is mounting through the roof and into the attic where I can fine tune it without crawling on the roof.
VERY nice! And caps on the ends of the Tee to keep the rain and critters out of the attic. :D
JimHelms wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:48 pm
My cables are fun through the PVC and into the attic as well.
Fancy.
JimHelms wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:48 pm
I did run a ground wire. Antenna < Lightning Surge Protector > Cable and ground wire, through the attic and ground wire runs outside to a ground wire.
Thanks for that info and for the pictures.

How does a Tee set-up help with foliage? Is it just that they are at the same level, so they both get maximum height to overcome the foliage, or is there some other property at play?

When I was up on the roof today, my PVC stand wasn't cooperating and pieces were coming loose. I finally started looking at my unused, small satellite dish and its mount, trying to think of some way to strap the pole to that. As luck would have it, I realized that I only needed to loosen 2 nuts and the dish and its bracket slid right off, leaving me with a J-mount. It isn't something I would use permanently, due to the stresses on the roof and no idea if the bolts for that mount are into something solid on the inside (it was there when we bought the house). However, as I went to slide the long pole over that mount pole, it wouldn't fit, as you said. It was just barely the wrong size.

I went back inside and happened to find a 2 to 3 foot piece of thick wall aluminum pipe that was a perfect size for doing what you suggested -- putting it inside the J-mount pole and sliding the PVC over the top of it.

satellite_j_mount_with_aluminum_pole.jpg


This also made it super simple to twist when aiming the antennas. In fact, it was too easy. The slightest breeze would twist them too. :lol:

satellite_j_mount_with_10_foot_pvc_and_antennas.jpg



I'll go back up after a break and bring a rubber clamp with me to keep them from twisting when I don't want them to during testing.

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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by swwifty » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:08 pm

do you really need that height to get the signal/performance desired? I considered at one point mounting my entire setup at the top of the mountain on the back of my property (200+ ft) higher, but decided it wasn't worth it and found the performance I got at my house was plenty.

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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by JimHelms » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:44 pm

Yeah, I agree with swwifty. That is sort of tall if it is not required, especially if you get high winds.

For securing it, drill holes and put screws though it. On the PCV part, you can screw a couple of screw thru the PCV to lock up against the inner post that will temporary secure it in place. Once positioned, drill it on through and secure it in place with stainless steel screws.

They do make some antenna mount tripod styled support arms that clamp to the mask and then screw into the roof. I forget the correct name for them they are easy to find on eBay.

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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by xdavidx » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:43 pm

swwifty wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:08 pm
do you really need that height to get the signal/performance desired? I considered at one point mounting my entire setup at the top of the mountain on the back of my property (200+ ft) higher, but decided it wasn't worth it and found the performance I got at my house was plenty.
How tall is your mast? This is 10 feet. It may look taller due to camera angle.

The answer to the question is that I don't know. I am still testing and dealing with variables. There are a handful of trees on my property and the neighbor's that this height helps to get to the less dense upper branches. A 5 foot pole would need to deal with denser areas of those trees and many more trees on the way to the tower.

I am also dealing with a lot of reflected signals that getting higher helps with.

However, that is not to say the signal will be worse 5 feet lower. I want to get the best speeds I can and then back off from there. I'm not at my best speeds yet. I'm dealing with one or some combination of:

- My tower being congested (either just users connected or also heavy data use from streamers, etc.).
- Me being deprioritized by AT&T.
- Interference from other towers on the same bands that have a strong signal too (and may or may not be congested, compounding the issue).

I'm testing from the roof as I write this, between 9 and 10 PM. I'll be testing again at midnight to see if the data users going to bed changes things.

Besides a not insignificant RSRQ, I am only being given 20 MHz out of the 30 MHz that the tower provides (of the bands the EM7565 supports...no Band 14 support, and I don't know if the tower carries that band). I get 15 MHz of B2 and 5 MHz of B4. I sometimes get 10 MHz of B12, and a commensurate speed bump when I am in 3CA instead of 2CA for obvious reasons.

I am not sure if B12 is being withheld by the tower due to normal load balancing due to congestion or if it is deprioritization. I don't know if AT&T deprioritizes by withholding bands or by throttling withing each band, or both.

B12, when I do get it, has an RSRP a couple points higher (better) than B2 and B4, so it isn't a matter of reduced gain at that frequency from the panel antennas. The greater natural range of 700 MHz over 1700 and 1900 MHz is making up for their advantage in gain with these antennas. At least it looks that way on paper. All 3 bands are coming in between about 88 and 92 RSRP, between both antennas.

Anyway, once I've figured out the best speeds I can get, and why, I'll look at whether the mast can be shorter. I have considered putting the antennas and router in some 50 foot evergreens or some even taller pines, or other trees on the highest hill of the property, but figured that would be overkill. If I do decide to go with a 10 foot mast, I'll have it supported with guy-wires. A 5 foot mast might avoid that.

Until I figure out which tower to target, I can't make a permanent mount. I can lower the antennas far enough to where other, closer, towers get better signals than the farther, apparently more powerful (or better aimed at me), towers when up high. If those closer towers have a higher capacity, and less variablity, and I can get faster speeds from a lower quality signal from one of those, then I may lower for that reason as well. My upload speeds will suffer, but I'm not as concerned about that.

I am considering narrower horizontal beam width antennas if tower interference seems to be limiting me too much. Lots of variables to wade through before I'm done. :-)

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Re: Pole mount product/hardware recommendations

Post by swwifty » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:36 am

xdavidx wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:43 pm
How tall is your mast? This is 10 feet. It may look taller due to camera angle.

The answer to the question is that I don't know. I am still testing and dealing with variables. There are a handful of trees on my property and the neighbor's that this height helps to get to the less dense upper branches. A 5 foot pole would need to deal with denser areas of those trees and many more trees on the way to the tower.

I am also dealing with a lot of reflected signals that getting higher helps with.

However, that is not to say the signal will be worse 5 feet lower. I want to get the best speeds I can and then back off from there. I'm not at my best speeds yet. I'm dealing with one or some combination of:

- My tower being congested (either just users connected or also heavy data use from streamers, etc.).
- Me being deprioritized by AT&T.
- Interference from other towers on the same bands that have a strong signal too (and may or may not be congested, compounding the issue).

I'm testing from the roof as I write this, between 9 and 10 PM. I'll be testing again at midnight to see if the data users going to bed changes things.

Besides a not insignificant RSRQ, I am only being given 20 MHz out of the 30 MHz that the tower provides (of the bands the EM7565 supports...no Band 14 support, and I don't know if the tower carries that band). I get 15 MHz of B2 and 5 MHz of B4. I sometimes get 10 MHz of B12, and a commensurate speed bump when I am in 3CA instead of 2CA for obvious reasons.

I am not sure if B12 is being withheld by the tower due to normal load balancing due to congestion or if it is deprioritization. I don't know if AT&T deprioritizes by withholding bands or by throttling withing each band, or both.

B12, when I do get it, has an RSRP a couple points higher (better) than B2 and B4, so it isn't a matter of reduced gain at that frequency from the panel antennas. The greater natural range of 700 MHz over 1700 and 1900 MHz is making up for their advantage in gain with these antennas. At least it looks that way on paper. All 3 bands are coming in between about 88 and 92 RSRP, between both antennas.

Anyway, once I've figured out the best speeds I can get, and why, I'll look at whether the mast can be shorter. I have considered putting the antennas and router in some 50 foot evergreens or some even taller pines, or other trees on the highest hill of the property, but figured that would be overkill. If I do decide to go with a 10 foot mast, I'll have it supported with guy-wires. A 5 foot mast might avoid that.

Until I figure out which tower to target, I can't make a permanent mount. I can lower the antennas far enough to where other, closer, towers get better signals than the farther, apparently more powerful (or better aimed at me), towers when up high. If those closer towers have a higher capacity, and less variablity, and I can get faster speeds from a lower quality signal from one of those, then I may lower for that reason as well. My upload speeds will suffer, but I'm not as concerned about that.

I am considering narrower horizontal beam width antennas if tower interference seems to be limiting me too much. Lots of variables to wade through before I'm done. :-)
The reason I mentioned the lower pole is because I found after I installed my 10ft mast that I really only needed a 5ft one. In fact, the signal is stronger the lower I go on the pole (go figure). I'd suggest testing at the top and the bottom to see if there is any difference. You might be surprised.

I wouldn't worry about inter-cell interference, LTE handles this quite well. You can read all about it here: https://www.sharetechnote.com/html/Hand ... _ICIC.html

LTE networks typically will assign you the higher frequency band if they can. Carriers want to preserve those lower frequencies for UEs that actually need it due to coverage restrictions (shadowing in buildings, crappy antennas in phones, etc.)

Keep in mind, over the winter your signal and performance will get much much better due to all the leaves falling off.

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