[OT] HAM Radio Folks?

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This is not beer-related, obviously, but it might keep me alive to continue brewing. :)

I have moved to rural Kansas and last week's tornadoes were close (the north side of my land close.) I have a weather radio but in the camper where I am staying while we build, I have zero reception. If I walk outside I get the expected signal. Of course, I turned to Amazon for a solution, but the recommended Midland 18-259W Through Window Mount Weather Band Antenna did nothing for the reception no matter which way it faced.

The radio I have is the Midland WR120B/WR120EZ - NOAA Emergency Weather Alert Radio which has an RCA-plug-looking external antenna connection on the back.

Does anyone know of anything I can use without buying random promises online? I don't have a lot of options to run cables through the walls here, but I can figure it out if I need to. If it matters, the local broadcast is on 162.550 MHz.
 

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Just get yourself a cheap Baofeng from Amazon, and an easy mag mount or mass mount vertical. Most of us hams build our antennas for VHF, such as J Poles or a beam from tape measures. The rubber duckies are poor antennas obviously.
 
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Just get yourself a cheap Baofeng from Amazon, and an easy mag mount or mass mount vertical. Most of us hams build our antennas for VHF, such as J Poles or a beam from tape measures. The rubber duckies are poor antennas obviously.
Uh ….. almost no idea what you just said. :)

A J-pole seems pretty simple, I found a few designs. Weather.gov also has a design for a ground plane antenna. Not sure what’s best but I’m not going to be talking, just listening.

I searched “baofeng” on Amazon and found a crap ton of radios. This one for instance seems to receive alerts - would that have a severe weather alarm (as in: wake me up with a heart attack) like the Midland does?

Icom 7300
That seems sorta expensive and still leaves me needing to figure out an antenna unless I’m missing something?
 

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The reason why I suggested buying the cheap radio on Amazon is I’m not sure if the weather radio you listed is capable of using an external antenna. If it is you can just stick with it, and get a better antenna. If you purchase the Baofeng, you would simply tune it to the frequency of the nearest weather repeater.

As for antennas you could buy a magnetic mount antenna, and use a cheap cake pan or something as a base, you can use that right inside your house. You could buy something like this, and mount it on an antenna pole (a mast).


Here is an example of a magnetic mount. You need something marketed for 2 meters or the 144mhz band.

 
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The reason why I suggested buying the cheap radio on Amazon is I’m not sure if the weather radio you listed is capable of using an external antenna. If it is you can just stick with it, and get a better antenna.
It does, it has an RCA connection on the back.

As for antennas you could buy a magnetic mount antenna, and use a cheap cake pan or something as a base, you can use that right inside your house.
I am pretty sure the metal frame is killing any chance of reception inside. The telescoping antenna works fine outside. Inside I get nothing.

You could buy something like this, and mount it on an antenna pole (a mast).
Now that I know what I am looking for there, the last part I am concerned about is making it a lightning rod. There seem to be solutions for that from $8 to $500 so I am not sure what I need.
 

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Welcome to life in a Faraday cage. If the recommended external antenna didn't help, then you'll have to get the antenna outside the walls of the camper somehow. If you put the external antenna on with the receiver outside, does it at least increase the signal strength? Could be a faulty external antenna.

If it does increase the signal, then you are going to have to find a way to mount the antenna outside (insulated from the metal of the camper) and route the cable inside (also ensuring it is insulated from the metal, so no nicks or cuts in the insulation of the cable)

Marine radio VHF whip antennas are probably the best option. They are designed to take weather exposure and have often have through-panel mounts that bring the signal connection through the mount point.
 
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I have some TV coax connectors that pass through the walls which I am not using. There are more than a few so I need to get a tone chaser to figure out which goes where. The way I understand the theory, I can "balance" the 75-Ohm, or just not worry about it. I like the "not worry about it" approach. :)

I've done a little more research this morning on lightning arrestors, so far I think I need a "DC-pass" device, and the wattage can be low since I am not transmitting.

This guy sells a J-Pole specifically for the Weather band:

KB9VBR-NOAA-Weather-Band-J-Pole-Antenna.jpg


I'd like to figure out a good way to mount this to my ladder, and then figure out the ground, then I should be fine. I think.
 

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One of the nice things about the dedicated WX radios is the ability to alert based on geographic location. I'd think that a random wire, plus RCA connector might solve your metal frame issues. Maybe.
 
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How many bars do you get with the receiver outside using the built-in antenna? An antenna like that feels like massive overkill unless you're only getting one or two bars in open air.
I am getting 1-2 bars out in the yard, depending on how I turn/point the antenna. I'm in somewhat of a fringe area where I am, with the station being dependent on which side of the rise you are on.
 
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bracconiere

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wouldn't DVB-S be better then land based ham?

i'm sure you could find a bird in orbit to point a dish at? if all you want is the weather report? ku dishes aern't the bahemoth C-Band ones of old times....

check out lyngsat.com, see what's free, and available in your area, and what size dish....
 
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wouldn't DVB-S be better then land based ham?
I need a weather alert radio, and these are ~162MHz run by NOAA. These will wake you up from a coma if there's a warning in your area. So yeah for signal fidelity there are lots of better choices. What I need is that alert feature which is only on the seven NOAA bands.
 

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I need a weather alert radio, and these are ~162MHz run by NOAA. These will wake you up from a coma if there's a warning in your area. So yeah for signal fidelity there are lots of better choices. What I need is that alert feature which is only on the seven NOAA bands.


ahh...sounds scary! so you just want to wake up so you don't find out you're not in kansas anymore. didn't realize tornadoes formed, and moved that fast!
 
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didn't realize tornadoes formed, and moved that fast!
They do, man. And because I'm in an RV I need enough time (hopefully) to hook up and get out of the way.

I was thinking I might make a ground-plane 1/4 wave based on the SO-239 and copper rod DIY's would be fine - but honestly, once I buy all the parts it's not much cheaper than the J-Pole.
 

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Seriously all you really need is a 1/2 or 5/8 wavelength vertical wire that is outside your RV. Elevation is good. You could attach it to a painter's pole and lean it against the outside of your RV.
 

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They do, man. And because I'm in an RV I need enough time (hopefully) to hook up and get out of the way.

I was thinking I might make a ground-plane 1/4 wave based on the SO-239 and copper rod DIY's would be fine - but honestly, once I buy all the parts it's not much cheaper than the J-Pole.
The Spider on a SO socket could be done with coper wire, no need of rod.
Just 1mm or big wire will do.
Mount it on a pvc pipe and adjust the impedance matching with the ground radials vertical angle.
I have done many of them for 144Mhz band. QRV for help.
 
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Lalo_uy

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How does one do that with a receive-only setup? I thought SWR was a transmit function?
That’s no true. The energy the anntena put into the transmision line goes with the same rules.
If part of the wave is reflected, this is energy that do not reach the reciver input.
Try to connect a tv antenna with the wrong impedance cable and you will see.
 
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That’s no true. The energy the anntena put into the transmision line goes with the same rules.
If part of the wave is reflected, this is energy that do not reach the reciver input.
Try to connect a tv antenna with the wrong impedance cable and you will see.
So how does it get tuned with no transmitter?
 
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That’s no true. The energy the anntena put into the transmision line goes with the same rules.
If part of the wave is reflected, this is energy that do not reach the reciver input.
Try to connect a tv antenna with the wrong impedance cable and you will see.

I know what SWR is. You're right, but so what. The receiver is well equipped to deal with non-ideal matching. They have gain to waste. Impedance matching is a waste of time for receivers.
 
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Well to close it up:

I didn't have parts and pieces to build a "spider on a socket." When you have nothing to start with, a "cheap and easy" project starts to add up. So I purchased one of the J-Poles I linked to above. The guy selling them was pretty quick to get back to me (within reason) and for $46 for a proven solution, it was a good deal for me.

Today I'll actually put it up on the RV's ladder, as soon as I find my coax.
 

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Well to close it up:

I didn't have parts and pieces to build a "spider on a socket." When you have nothing to start with, a "cheap and easy" project starts to add up. So I purchased one of the J-Poles I linked to above. The guy selling them was pretty quick to get back to me (within reason) and for $46 for a proven solution, it was a good deal for me.

Today I'll actually put it up on the RV's ladder, as soon as I find my coax.
Cool news. Hope you never have to be saved by it.
 
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