So I finally received my helium miners. This will be as in depth of a helium mining installation as I can make it for the install at my home. I will do another in the future at a commercial property with enterprise level firewalls and internet to try to answer as many questions as possible. As a life long amateur radio operator working with equipment, antennas, computers, and tools was right up my alley. 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 decided early if I wanted to mount the miner on the mast with the antenna or run coax down the mast to the miner below. I determined the coax I wanted to use and how much I was going to need. I figured out which lightning arrestor I wanted to use and where I was going to mount it. I sorted out what the best way to get the coax feed through the wall of the house to where my miner was. Not to mention the miner setup to the home network. Let’s dive in.
What was the best antenna for my area?
I live in an area that has moderate hills but is pretty densely populated. I wanted to cover as much area as possible and have as many “witnesses” as I could. I went with a 15 DBi omni directional vertical antenna. It was 86 inches long, only two and a half pounds, and came with its own ubolt attachment bracket.
What fiberglass Mast did I use?
I used the Max-Gain Systems 38 foot MK-6-HD BLACK Stealth Mast. I DID NOT USE THE ENTIRE 38 FEET. I wanted to get that out of the way quickly before you think you can use that mast unguyed. If you wanted to use the entire 38 feet you would need to use guy lines in order to stabilize the mast. What I did was only extend each section 35 inches. Each tube of the MK-6-HD mast was 72 inches long plus the telescoping clamp (you cannot figure the clamp in any measurement as it only supports the vertical load). Only extending each section 35 inches allows for additional “overlap” at each joint going down the mast. See the diagram below:
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.
What Mount did I use?
I used a new mounting system that consists of two brackets that I installed on the roof side of my chimney. 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 first went inside the attic where I had access to the inside of my chimney and see exactly where the framing boards were. I did some measuring to determine exactly where I was going to drill into because once you get on the roof you need to know exactly what you need to do so you can always focus on your safety.
When I had that determined, I went on the roof with my mounts and all of the tools I was going to need in my tool bucket that had a sling on it. I put that around myself which allowed my to have both hands free to focus on staying steady on the roof.
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 chimney I grabbed the bracket and drilled the first hole for it to be mounted. I then used a lag bolt and ratcheted it to almost tight, but still loose. I then grabbed the level the leveled out the other attachment point. Drilled the hole and tightened up both bolts. The top mounting bracket was now set. I then proceeded to grab my plumb bob and tie it to the top mount at the point just forward of the two bolts that hold all of the pieces together (YELLOW). I then reached for the bottom bracket that has a third leg on it. When I put it on the wall to mount it I noticed my plumb bob was in front of the bottom mount and not lining up. There was a trim piece on the outside of the chimney that I did not account for (ORANGE). So I had to measure the depth of the trim piece then climb off the roof, find the correct pressure treated lumber piece to use, cut it to the lengths I needed then climb back up to continue.
I reached for the bottom bracket again with my additional mounting board I had just cut and proceeded to line it up perfectly with my plumb bob. 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 and ratchet in my other two lag bolts. 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 top bracket, but not the bottom bracket. 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 roof to prep the mast. I measured each mast section and put a black line around each section at my predetermined stop point. I wanted to be sure that I had more of the tubing sleeved back inside the mast than I had exposed. I wanted maximum rigidity of the mast when raised. Another thing I grabbed was a piece of hard black plastic that I just had lying around. This was to go under the bottom of the mast so the weight of the mast could rest on the roof itself and not be completely supported by the wall mount. The wall mounts are strong, but my biggest concern was the “builder grade” chimney and I always over engineer in order to not have future problems to deal with. With the mast prepped I started to grab everything else I would need to bring up onto the roof. This includes the antenna and coax I would be running.