The SDRs Are Now Outside

Today, I was able to move the SDR box outside with the antenna.

As you read earlier, I had done a test mounting of the discone antenna and tripod, and everything seemed fine. It finally stopped raining today, so I went out to get everything set up.

First, I tried to run a cable up the mast. Unfortunately, the swedging on the end made it impossible to pass the PL-259 through; the mast is wide enough, but the swedge was too deep.

The deep swedge and the PL-259 that wouldn’t fit.

I tried bending it out, to no avail. So I decided to take a Dremel cutting wheel to it and cut off the swedge.

The cut-off end.

The side effect of this is that I can’t use both masts. I bought two so I could get the discone around 15ft/5m up in the air. But, for now, it’s just about 9ft/3m up in the air, using one mast and only using the top two tripod mounts (which lifts it a couple of feet more).

With that done, I dragged an Ethernet cable out the window as far as it would go. It’s a 50ft cable, so it didn’t reach as far as I’d like. But it’ll do for now. I move the tripod to that location. Then, I boxed up the SDRs, Pi, splitter, and cables in an IP65 weatherproof box I bought off Amazon and moved it outside.

The SDR Box and its contents.

I connected the antenna with 15ft/5m of LMR-400 (thick, but much lower loss at VHF and UHF, even for such a short piece). Then I connected the Ethernet cable and plugged that into the power-over-Ethernet injector in my shack. Then I closed up the box.

The time of truth had arrived. I plugged in the Ethernet cable in my shack, providing network and power to the equipment. After a minute, it had booted and both SDRs were up and working. I even got a good GPS lock even though its antenna is inside the box.

The box containing the PI and SDRs and the discone antenna.

In the picture above, you can see the Ethernet cable running to the box and the LMR-400 running out of it to the discone. (The gray mount with the PVC pipe is my Ed Fong dual-band J-pole.) I haven’t mounted the Outernet stuff yet, but I hope to get to that soon (see my next post about that).

This isn’t perfect (is anything?), but it’s running for now. Future improvements will include mounting the Outernet stuff, placing the antenna in a better location, and maybe adding another SDR or two. For now, feel free to give them a listen!