Sixteen foot antenna pole - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-08-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Liberty Deluxe
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I have found an extendable wash brush handle at Lowe's that extends from about 5 ft. out to 16 ft. It is aluminum, with four sections each with twist locks. At 5 feet collapsed, it will easily fit in the truck, and at 16 feet extended, it would get a TV antenna well above the trailer.

I am considering mounting a short metal tube on the bumper/sewer hose tube, and fabricating a support bracket for the belly band to hold the brush handle, and mounting a TV antenna on the top.

However, I will leave it to the electronics/electricians to tell me if such a metal pole will act also as a lightning rod?

If there is no concern about lightning strikes, then it might make a great extendable TV antenna without any new fiberglass penetrations.

Otherwise, I will use it to scrape the moss off of our house roof without actually getting up on the roof, which was the initial intention.


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Old 07-08-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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I mounted my digital camera on a pole like that and set the self timer and took over head shots.

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Old 07-11-2010, 04:49 PM   #3
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I'm not an expert, but since no one else has tackled your question I'll have a go at it.
Yes, I think it would act as a giant lightening rod. I know there are ways of grounding and isolating, but think it would probably be more effort than it's worth. I would stick with an indoor antenna or perhaps try finding a fiberglass pole. The antenna and cable might still attract lightening, but not as much as with a huge aluminium pole.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:18 AM   #4
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How many sail boats are instantly evaporated due to lightning?

In all the marinas around your home town there are thousands of sail boats docked and moored with masts a lot taller than 16 feet and of a lot larger cross section too and spreaders with standing rigging that must look like a huge cone to lightning.

For me, I'd worry more about snagging a tree limb or power line because I forgot to take it down before setting off!

On the other hand, doesn't Lowe's or Home Depot or one of the paint stores have the something similar in fiberglass?

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Old 07-12-2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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Since you will also have a (metallic) feedline for the antenna running into your RV the support pole material is unimportant. You will still have a path for lightning through the feedline.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
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In fact many sailboats are damaged yearly by lightning strikes. Most damage is to any installed electronic/electrical devices found aboard. However it is certainly not unusual to see rigging and associated fiberglass damage as well. Those with hull damage above the water line are blessed with good luck.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:20 AM   #7
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When I had a sailboat I was told that many of the larger ones have a grounding line leading directly from the mast to an underwater plate that would discharge most of the lightening into the water. Yes, it does seem to be a major problem with sailboats.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:29 AM   #8
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I did a quick Google search for "lightening and sailboats" and came up with this link from the University of Florida:
I would think this information would apply pretty well to an aluminum pole on your egg. All in all, it doesn't look like a good idea when so many boats are hit each year.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:30 PM   #9
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I have been working on a similar project last year, a 3 sections galvanize tubing fix on my Casita rear bumper to install my solar panel and a solar tracking system (about 12' from the ground), I change my mind after a friend ask me if I like my "EGG" well fry!

I suggest you forget this plan but who I am to tell you what to do with your rig?

Ho I came with this genius idea.... Fix a big ground wire to the pole, a rod and "Ground" the system every time I camp somewhere....My body look at me and say....Don't forget to pray before sleep...
Gilles & Josy
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"The EGGxile"
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:32 AM   #10
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maybe a length of PVC pipe, (something heavy, like schedule 80+) will work for ya
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:30 PM   #11
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maybe a length of PVC pipe, (something heavy, like schedule 80+) will work for ya
But you'll still have a conductor - the antenna cable - running up from the TV in the trailer to the airborne antenna element anyway. The big risk with this mod is going to be accidentally brushing against a powerline, not lightning, IMHO.


Planning our next Escape!
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:17 PM   #12
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I wouldn't worry unless there is active lightning in the area. Then just use an indoor antenna until the storm passes. I have a 50 foot steel crankup tower in my backyard for my ham radio and in over 35 years it has never been hit by lightning. There are several 200 foot light towers at the high school stadium nearby that would do a better job of catching a hit. Ligtning is usually going for the path of least resistance and a taller structure is going to present a shorter path. If you are camping in an area with large trees your pole will not be the short path for the lighting. If you're camped in the desert or dry lake bed than just standing up is going to be risky.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:13 AM   #13
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Well my 55 foot tower took a direct lightening strike the third year it was up. Blew the fiberglass top off the omni antenna and vaporized half the wire inside. Blew all the fuses in the house and fried several ham radios and household electronics. Didn't hurt the electronic control for raising or lowering the tower, but arced to the rotor control box it was sitting on, and fried it's circuit card. Frustrating thing is it is surrounded by 100 foot trees. Partially my fault because I didn't ground it like it should have been. It is now!!

Put your antenna up in good weather and take it down if there is lightening in the area. If lightening hits the antenna when it is down, it was your turn to get hit regardless.

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1989 Award 730, 30'
2003 PT Cruiser
1998 K2500 Chevy Silverado 6.5 Turbo Diesel, 4X4, ext cab, short bed
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:14 AM   #14
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There are many RV antenna solutions on the market that aren't obtrusive, work great, and are easy to install. I've used a Winegard amplified standard crank RV antenna or my laptop around the AZ mountains and been fine when I wanted some TV.

A simple spare direct tv dish and tripod like the full-timers use and take your home box with you when you go camping so you are only paying for one subscription solves the cost issue.

If you have to have TV you can always book campgrounds with cable service as another option.

Just some rambling thoughts, but I think there are enough simple options to not have to rig something that could cause a problem.

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