This will be as in depth of a helium mining installation as I can make it for the install at our commercial business location. I put together a post for my residential home install that you can see here “My Helium Mining Installation Part 1 – Home Edition“. At our business, we have enterprise-level internet with enterprise-level firewalls which we have also done a post on to show you what we had to do in order to get our miner to send information and receive information. See here “Configuring Your Business Network Equipment for Helium Mining“. Long before the miner arrived was I planning the other materials I wanted to use. I had already been planning what the best antenna was that I wanted to use for my area. I picked a fiberglass mast I wanted to use for that antenna to go at the top of to further elevate it. I had to make sure I had all of the materials to guy this mast as I wanted the antenna as high as possible. I decided early if I wanted to mount the miner on the mast with the antenna or run coaxial cable (coax) down the mast to the miner below. I went with the coax running method. I wanted to make sure I can get to my miner if I needed to AND I did not want to try to attach a large item at the top of my mast. I determined the coax I wanted to use and how much I was going to need. I sorted out what the best way to get the coax feed through the wall of out metal building to where my miner was. Let’s dive in.
What was the best antenna for my area?
Our business is located in a pretty densely populated suburb of Atlanta GA. Atlanta GA has TONS of hot spots, making their rewards scales just terrible, but we have a 1.00 scale out here in the suburbs. We are creating “proof of coverage” which means that we want to talk to as many hot spots as we can. I wanted to cover as much area as possible and have as many “witnesses” as I could. I went with an 5.8 DBi omni directional vertical antenna. It was short, light weight, and came with its own U-Bolt attachment bracket. I did not use the provided cable that came with it as I wanted to use super low loss LMR-400 coax for the coax run up the mast.
What fiberglass Mast did I use?
I used the Max-Gain Systems 50 foot MK-8-HD GRAY Stealth Mast. I planned out my guy points well in advance of erecting the mast. I wanted to get that out of the way quickly before you think you can use that mast un-guyed. If you want to use the entire 50 feet you would need to use guy lines in order to stabilize the mast.
Not to go off on a rant about safety, but roof safety is one thing that you cannot skimp out on. Be sure, if you can, to use proper climbing equipment where possible and DO NOT GO FAST, TAKE YOUR TIME and think out your every movement while on the ground BEFORE you even go up the ladder. One of the best rules of thumb is to always remember to have three points of contact even on a roof. If the shingles are hot, wear gloves. If you have a slick roof, algae on your roof, or debris on your roof please reconsider getting up there at all. While you are on the roof, think about each move BEFORE you make it. If something falls, or you drop something, LET IT FALL. Better it than you.
What Mount did I use?
I used a new mounting system that consists of two brackets that I installed on the side of our metal building. The Mast Wall Mount Bracket is sold in two sizes, but selecting the “HD” option, that I needed for my mast, I was able to use the larger mount. I used two sets. A MK-8-HD mast is VERY tall and needs to be very well secured at it’s base. I attached the entire bottom tube to the side of the building. I first went inside the building to see where any framing and braces were. I wanted to be sure that at least one of the brackets was attached to the steel framing that was inside the building.
Here is a list of tools that I used during the mounting process:
- Tape Measure
- Drill with drill bit pack
- Ratchet with already preselected sockets (I checked fit while on the ground)
- Small one foot long Level
- Plumb bob with string (a device you can tie on something and it will hang down to show true vertical)
When I got over to the wall on the outside I grabbed the bracket and drilled the first hole for it to be mounted. I then used a 3/8 inch self tapping screw and my impact drill to almost fully tight. I then grabbed the level to level out the other attachment point of the bracket. I used another self tapping screw then fully tightened up both. I used one of the mounting brackets that have the third leg to it for the top as I wanted to have a very secure attachment at the top AND at the bottom.
I reached for the bottom bracket and proceeded to line it up perfectly with my plumb bob tha I had attached to the “V” of the top bracket. When I had it all set I used my drill and ratchet to set one of the top two mounting holes for the bracket. I used my level to make sure the bracket was level and my checked my plumb bob to ensure I was directly below it. I then proceeded to drill, ratchet and align my other two brackets. Be sure to understand why I don’t have the u bolts installed in the mounting bracket. When you install the mast with a 2.5 inch OD tube, this is the “max” this mount can fit around. It is FAR easier to leave the mast out of the brackets, install the brackets right and make them truly level, than attaching them to a mast first and trying to eye ball it. When the brackets are full installed, putting the mast in the “V” of the brackets, putting in the u bolt in the top bracket (u bolt plate is optional) first, thread on one of the two nuts on one side of the u bolt by only a half turn. Then thread in the other side. This can be very difficult with one person holding a mast and trying to do this at the same time so be sure to have a buddy and do this all slowly and deliberately. Once the top bracket u bolt in threaded, proceed to the bottom bracket. I was able to use the optional u bolt bracket on the two middle brackets, but not the top and bottom brackets. I needed to test fit these first on the ground, which I did not do, and the difference was the installation of that third leg. What I needed to do was to loosen the two connecting bolts, which would have allowed that little additional room I would have needed to get it to fit, but I just proceeded without that additional bracket.
Time to prep for the mast to go into place
I went back down off the ladder to prep the mast. See below this link to our Mast assembly post. It is very thorough and goes over what to do AND what not to do.
After getting the mast prepared I had to get ALL of my guying materials prepared. We are going to cover guying and all of the calculations I used, in Part 2, in order to really have a good handle on just how much guy rope I was going to need.