Remote attic setup question

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Ok...I'm newbie...in several ways.  First post here and only got my tech and general 8/25/19 and my extra on 9/14/19.

Looking into a base station and I feel and SDR is the way to go.  However, because of HOA and also running cables, I was thinking of how the Flex Radios work remotely.  Has anyone do a remote setup of a Flex Radio to their attic?  I was thinking I can put an antenna(s) in the attic but I could also just have the Flex Radio place there as well.   I could operate the Flex Radio from a Maestro on PC or iPad from remote in my house.

I felt this could also help with having to run any new cables in or outside my house as well.

Any issues to consider doing this?
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Warren

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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Gary NC3Z

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What environmental controls will you have to keep the Flex happy within it's operating temp range of +32 to +122F?
(Edited)
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Roy - W5TKZ

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Issues?....a bunch! In addition to Gary's note about the temps in an attic, you also have to consider your antenna being too close to the station (RFI). 

Also humidity in an attic is about the same as outside. Condensation and dust over time will not be kind to your radio.

Even though you would be operating remote, you will, at some point, have to do hands on work on the radio. Cold hands or sweat in the eyes is not my cup of tea.

You are doing the right thing by asking questions on this forum. 

Welcome to the hobby.

Roy - W5TKZ 
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K3SF

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just saying
....

may not be best idea to place the radio in its own high rf field next to the antenna's in the attic.....

the there is environmental temps to deal with also....

Paul K3SF




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Ed, K0KC

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Warren,

I have owned a Flex-6700 (and other rigs) for several years and operate successfully with antennas in the garage attic. I did have to drill some holes to route the coax cables from my home office to the antennas, however. Depending upon where you live, an attic can become unbearably hot in the summer and/or extremely cold in the winter. Moisture and condensation could be a problem as well. Please consider the comments by others above.

My antennas are relatively close to the radio but I do not have RFI issues...I do sometimes worry about the RF exposure and its effect on my health but as long as I stay in the "far field" of the antennas, I think I am ok. Keep in mind that you are exposing other members of your family and any pets to the RF as well. The far field distance depends upon the frequency and aperture of the antenna...check any good antenna reference to see how to calculate this distance.

Good luck and welcome to the hobby!

Ed, K0KC
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James Skala

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Do you have a friend or family member that is not HOA restricted you could co-locate yourflex at that location and do remote operations from there.

I have a station 21 miles away from my primary station that is a remoted station with a fan dipole it works great.
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Warren

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Thanks for all the comments.  Guess I was worried about posting a question like this but I'm glad I did.  I didn't consider the unit itself being close to the antenna to be a problem.  So I guess this is not a great solution that I was envisioning. 

Let me ask this part about one reason I was thinking which is regard to cabling.  First, I think the antenna in the attic seems like what I read some people have done with success.  So, that seem ok.  However, running cable would be.  But I do have I believe a run of RG6 coax to the attic already and I was thinking this wasn't the best coax.

Anyone have experience with RG6 coax and would this be ok to use?   If so, this would help me keep the system out of the attic.

Thanks,
Warren - AJ6LZ
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Gary NC3Z

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I know others will disagree, but I use RG6 Quad shield for my receive antenna array, and I use it for one of my transmit antennas. Yes there is a impedance mismatch, but it's minor and very workable. But you have to make sure you are using high quality RG6.
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Warren

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I'm wondering if it's worth just to try to use my current RG6 wiring and see how it goes before running new coax.

Is there a good way to do this?  Is there where those analyzers would be handy?  If so, any one have a good link for doing something like this?

Thanks,
Warren
AJ6LZ
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James Skala

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I would shy away from RG6 coax as it is 75 ohms. Stick with the good 50 ohm coax like rg213. I have 50 foot of the following coax and I find it quite excellent.

DXE-RG400R006
Coax Cable, RG-400, 20 AWG Stranded SPC Center, PTFE Dielectric, Double-Braided SPC Shield,
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Greg - N8GD

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You can't use the RG-6; it's for cable TV and is 75 ohm impedance, not the 50 ohm you need for the Flex.  I would replace the RG-6 with RG-8X (about the same diameter), and it will easily handle the 100 Watts output from the radio.  You could have multiple antennas in the attic, too, and utilize a remote antenna switch which could be operated over the coax.  You have a lot of possibilities, but keep the Flex in your nice air conditioned shack!
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N9VC

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That's not true and is a misconception about RG-6.
I learned that years ago when I was doing moonbounce.
I use RG-6 exclusively here in half wave or multiples
of halfwave on all bands. An electrical half wave of
RG-6 cut for your band of choice will yield on the
output what it sees on the input. I use compression
fittings and adaptors and run 500 to 600 watts on
80/75 meters.
True, if you run random lengths of coax, it can act
as a transformer and yield undesirable results. But
it can also occur with 50 ohm coax also.
The reason I use RG-6 is it is less costly for the
same losses and if a woodpecker causes havoc (many
times over) is less expensive to replace than say
50 ohm coax of the same length.


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George

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Attic? Forget it!

Find a nice place in your home where you can have a good ole' ham shack where you can love and enjoy it!

73, George K5KG
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Congratulations Warren AJ6LZ on your licensing achievements!

Would like to suggest that you might find an area Flexer who could look over your situation with you?

Tend to agree that keeping your radio dry and cool makes it worthwhile keeping it inside your conditioned space.  With the short runs most quality 50-ohm feed lines will do well for you.

It is very cool that you have a RG6 line in place, as you could use it as the pull-line to pull in a 50-ohm cable of the same physical size or smaller.  

As you have already pick up on, the Flex-6000 doesn't actually need to be right where you operate from, so provided you are reasonably clear of the antenna field you could locate it wherever the feed line, power and internet are available.  

GL and congrats again!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com  


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Warren

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Thanks Steves and others for the info and ideas.

I'm already starting to rethink my plan.  First, I can't easily pull the RG6 out since I'm in a 2 story house that I believe is not a straight run.  Second, I'm come up with a plan to run either RG8 or probably RG-213 from my attic thru an attic window vent, along the outside wall, then to the craw space under my house, where I think I can pull up from a closet.  I'm guessing it should be under 100ft in length and it could be closer to 75ft.

Warren
AJ6LZ
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Charlie Rubenstein KB8CR

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Warren:
If you are in a HOA with antenna restrictions, your best bet might be to find a friend or family located without those restrictions, and put the station there, but operate it remotely via internet connection. That's the beauty of the Flex system. 

Charlie KB8CR
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K1UO - Larry

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Remote is definitely a consideration but, then again, brings with it a whole new level of complexity to overcome.  A simple run of rg8x would be all you need (even with a small KPA500 type amplifier) to handle the Flex 100 watts.  Get a Flex with built in tuner if you are not using an amplifier and go for a multiband antenna that will fit in your attic space.  Nice and simple start to your Hamming career. Congrats on the license.

73,  Larry K1UO
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Mark - WS7M

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I would STRONGLY suggest you look for other solutions than attic antenna/radio.

First the radio can sit in a closet where you can get it power and ethernet and a coax.

I have mine install in a HVAC closet, outside!  I rarely see it and it runs just like a server should.

Now on antennas.  Yes you are in an HOA.  So am I.  But you can do a lot of things WAY better than an attic antenna.

Can you put in a flag pole?  Almost all HOA have an exclusion for flag poles.  In fact I think it is illegal to prohibit you from putting a flag pole.  I don't own one of these but I've heard they work great:

https://zerofive-antennas.com/product-category/flagpole-antennas

You do something like this, route coax to your radio in the closet you will have more fun than you know what to do with and your neighbors will solute your patriotism!

If the flag pole is out of the question then a simple dipole from a tree to a stake in the ground as a sloper will give you great results.   40m is the band to be on these days.  With the conditions as they are the only other band worth working is 20m.

I'm sure many will say, hey wait, 80 is hopping. 160m is great.  But those antennas to be effective have to be huge.

If you want to work 40 and 20m make verticals.  The 40m vertical is 33 feet tall. You can support it with some fishing line from a tree.  No one will know it is there.  The 20m vertical is like 1/2 the size.  Give either a good ground radial field and you will work the world on 100 watts!

On an attic antenna you will be lucky to work your neighbor on 100w and you probably will with RFI alone.

I recently managed our wwv100 event at the WWV radio sight north of fort collins.  For 40m we had a simple vertical, 33 feet tall, with 16 radials.  We regularly got 20 over signal reports just about everywhere we worked on this simple wire antenna.

The 40m vertical cost $15 to make.  The 20m vertical was like $10.   Find a place for them, use good coax, buy a switch or route them to ant 1 and ant 2 on your radio and you will be a happy ham!

Mark - WS7M
(Edited)
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Bob- W5TX

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Warren, first what impedance coax you use is dependent on the antenna you are using. If you are using a dipole, the impedance is 72 ohms and RG6 is a perfect match. The rig will see 72 ohms at the coax input and an antenna tuner can/will transform this to 52 ohms. So there is no reason to avoid the RG6 at least from a theoretical point. The attic antenna will in all probability not be 72 ohms or for that matter 52 ohms. If you have an ATU in your rig it will match a fairly wide range of antenna impedances. In short use either. The results will probably be similar.
Bob W5TX
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Warren

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Thanks Bob.  That's good to know.  I was thinking of using dipole antennas.  Seems like I should just try out the current RG6 wiring to see how it goes.  And it has undesired  results, I then could figure out trying to run a cable from my attic to a lower room from the outside.

Warren
AJ6LZ
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Reggie

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I lived a condo which had an HOA, and I installed a screwdriver antenna and some radials.  The antenna was expensive, but it worked well on 10-80 meters.  I installed it on a tilt base and actuator that I could lower and raise remotely from my shack.

Reggie N3OP
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Warren

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Hi Reggie,

Can you tell me which screwdriver antenna you are using?

Warren
AJ6LZ
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Reggie

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Warren,

I used a Hi-Q-5 antenna.

Reggie
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Dave - WB5NHL

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Warren;
Checkout my website for experiences with a middle unit townhouse with station in the basement and antennas in the attic.
http://oldcyberdude.com/sample-page/antennas/restricted-space-antennas/


(Edited)