6-BTV Antenna Installation
Fitting a Hustler 6-BTV into my new QTH
After moving house from somewhere I could only fit a small antenna on the roof without upsetting the neighbours to a property with slightly more space but equally restrictive deeds and the potential for upsetting those around I chose a 6-BTV because of its low visual impact and that I could install in and it’s radials where it would give the lowest chance of upsetting those around. So I bought one through DX engineering whilst I was in the US along with the radial plate which after paying duty etc was cheaper than getting one from a UK store, $100 to get the parts and $35 duty and admin fees to bring it through as oversized luggage so all in all better than £220 in the UK!
Where to put it
As you can see from the picture my garden is small and overlooked, it’s obviously a new estate where there is nothing really to block views yet (click on the photo to see a larger view)
My original choice was as far from the house as possible and the gravel area was chosen but after a trial installation I decided after some gentle persuasion from ‘er indoors that it was a little obtrusive and that I should move it closer to the decking.
I know that the more radials the better and the longer they are the better but as with a lot of radio gear there is a compromise and so I settled on 18 radials in the end after laying out as many as I could on the ground up to lengths of 20 metres (1/4 wave of 80m). This equated to just a shade under 200m of cable.
So after cutting the cables I crimped and soldered on tinned earth crimps and heat shrunk using adhesive heat shrink). The crimps were to water-resistant as living near the sea it doesn’t take long for the salt to corrode everything. That took an evening to do along with coiling up the cables, ready for installing the next day
There are two methods of getting the radials in the ground, you can dig them in or pin them to the surface and let the worms do their bit. I chose the former as it was a November day and there really wasn’t much to be gained in not making sure the radials were well located. With this in mind I can thoroughly recommend an edging tool and a stick. Mark out where the radials are going just by laying them on the grass and ‘edge’ away into the grass to the full depth of the tool, in my case around 50mm. Your garden does look like a maze but good preparation is worth it in the long run.
Using the ‘stuffing stick’ push the cable into the ground and after n hour or so the radials are in their rightful place. As the ground was damp but not soggy I could simple walk over the cables to close the gaps in the soil. If all this has worked then there should be no need to sort out a rats next and a simple installation can be done. Quite a few of my radials went under me decking so I spent some more time crawling around under there just to sort them out, there wasn’t too much room but enough not to be too uncomfortable.
I connected all the cables loosely with the plate secured about 75mm off the ground on a pole that I sunk 1 metre into the ground. it would have been nice to get more pole in but there was something rather hard in the ground and it wasn’t going any further and was actually bending. Back to the radial plate. Once everything was very secure I covered the bolts with a high modulus sealant (I used a B&Q roof and gutter sealant) so to protect these connections. Lower the plate and bolt the clamp tightly and the radial plate is in the radials are in the ground and all that’s left was assembling the antenna and installing.
The instructions for the antenna were good enough for me so I wont go into them here as I don’t think I can add anything extra. Below are a few photos to help but feel free to contact me on PSK31 or SSB or post a comment below and I’ll fill in the gaps. Altogether I can recommend DX engineering products, especially the radial plate and their helpful staff. Find them at www.dxengineering.com