Tripod and Pop-up Mast

A pop-tower is a type of standalone station that uses a tripod + telescopic mast assembly to mount the antennas. The tripod can be used to mount a solar panel if necessary.

Prerequisites

Location

  • Must be flat and void of obstructions so antennas have a clear line of site.

  • Cannot be near any elevated power or telephone lines for safety reasons.

  • Tripod feet will sink into soft ground - use gravel or choose a hard/dry location to install. Also affix pieces of wood to each tripod foot to support the weight and movement and to prevent sinking (‘snow-shoe).

  • Ground must be soft enough to insert anchors (1 m/3 ft. or more, depending on hardness).

  • Choose a well-elevated site to avoid any risk of flooding during heavy rains or tidal surges.

  • Footprint of a pop-tower with guy wires has a radius equal to 70% of the tower’s final height.

Hardware

  • Pop tower

    • Tripod

    • Wooden blocks (optional)

    • Mast

      • Height will depend on location, desired detections. 40-feet is maximum suggested height.

      • Comes with a mast collar and spare guy ring and 1x 3-inch bolt for each mast section.

    • Foot for mast (optional)

    • Guy wires (1/16 galvenized for inland sites; 3/32" stainless for marine areas)

    • Quick links and/or carabiners (max 3/16”)

    • [Optional] Turnbuckles with nuts or stainless steel wire (snare wire)

    • In-line wire tensioners.

    • Anchors

Tools

  • Impact driver and/or ratchet

    • 7/16” socket

    • ½” deep socket

  • Ratchet with ½” drive

  • Drill

    • Cobalt drill bits (or equivalent) for metal drilling.

      • 3/16" and 1/4"

    • Phillips/Robinson’s screwdrivers for screws

pageParts list and suppliers

Instructions

Tripod + Mast Assembly

  1. Assemble the tripod according to instructions provided by the manufacturer.

    • It is easiest to install the TRM-10L with it lying on its side.

  2. Insert mast into the center of the tripod. Bolts on the tripod's centre brackets may need to be loosened to allow space for the mast to slide through.

  3. Attach foot to base of mast.

  4. Attach lower guy wires to the lower guy ring using quick links or carabiners.

  5. Place tripod + mast assembly upright.

  6. Position the assembly so the mast stands level and the tripod legs are on stable ground.

  7. Screw on wooden blocks to the tripod legs to prevent them from sinking into the ground. This is suggested for most installations as the ground will soften in the spring and fall.

    • Alternatively, you can bury cement blocks filled with sand for

      each foot to stand on.

  8. If you are mounting a solar panel, rotate the tripod so that the ‘ladder’ side with four crossbars is facing south.

  9. Place three anchors 7 feet (2 m) from the base of the mast such that once the guy wires are attached they are between the tripod legs.

    • If using angle iron

  10. Attach the loose end of the lower guy wires to each anchor.

  11. Tighten the guy wires with:

    • In-line wire tensioner:

      1. Remove tensioner lock.

      2. Place guy wire in the slot of tensioner.

      3. Insert ½” drive ratchet into square slot of tensioner.

      4. Use the ratchet to tightly spool guy wire until taught, but not too taught.

        • Tripod legs will lift off the ground if too tight, or

          the mast will bend.

      5. Insert tensioner lock in opposing holes to keep guy wire in place.

      6. Multiple tensioners may be necessary if there is too much excess guy wire.

    • Turnbuckle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz_nS79_JDg&t=386s

      1. Before all guy wires are taught, loosen the turnbuckle until only 2 full turns remain.

      2. Tighten guy wires, either with in-line wire tensioners or another method.

      3. Use turnbuckles to finely adjust wire tension until all sides have equal tension.

      4. Use stainless steel wire to immobilize the turnbuckle using the double-wrap method.

  12. Confirm tower is being held securely in place by guy wires by inspecting each end of all guy lines to ensure it is properly attached.

Mounting Antennas

  1. Assemble antennas according to manufacturer instructions and attach mounting brackets that come with the antennas.

  2. Finger-tighten the U-bolts which attach to the antenna boom such that it can still rotate.

  3. Loosely-attach the second set of U-bolts.

  4. Coaxial cables should already be attached, sealed, and zip-tied to the antenna boom (one tie by driven element, a second tie by the mounting bracket).

  5. Ensure the tripod is securely guyed at the base and is safe to climb.

  6. Climb the tripod of the tower and pull out some of the top-most section of masting from the telescopic mast.

  7. Slide the U-bolts of the antenna mounting bracket onto the mast and allow it to rest on the guy ring at the top of the tripod.

  8. Rotate the antennas such that the elements are horizontal and then tighten the U-bolts which affix the boom to the mounting bracket. Don't tighten the U-bolts attaching the antenna mounts to the mast - this will be done later.

  9. Slide on all other antennas in a similar manner (steps 7 and 8) except for the top-most.

  10. Securely attach the mast collar approx 30 cm (1 foot) from the top of the mast and then slide on the spare guy ring and attach the top-most guy lines (they don't need to be anchored yet).

  11. Slide on the last antenna and attach it securely in place approximately 15 cm (6") from the top (~15 cm above the guy ring).

  12. Mark out planned antenna directions on the ground using visual markers so you can easily point antennas in those directions.

  13. Determine the height of each antenna based on our guidelines for stacked antennas and then colour-code each antenna and coax cable so that they can be identified when plugging them in to the receiver.

    Our convention: port 1 = top (red or 1 stripe), port 2 = middle (yellow or 2 stripes), port 3 = bottom (green or 3 stripes).

  14. Before raising the mast, ensure all guy lines and coax cables are uncoiled, and that the antennas and coax are colour-coded.

  15. While holding the top-most section of masting with one hand, loosen the top-most L-bolt and then begin raising the mast.

  16. Once there is adequate space between the upper-most antenna, tighten the L-bolt so the mast stays in place and then fix the next antenna to the mast, ensuring that both the top and middle antenna are pointing in the intended final direction.

  17. Repeat steps 15 and 16 until all antennas have been fixed to the mast.

  18. Continue raising the mast section until the hole below the L-bolt no longer shows metal on the inside.

  19. Once the mast section has been raised, slide a 3-inch bolt through the hole below the L-bolt for that section and then allow the top section to rest on top of that bolt.

  20. With the top mast section resting on top of the bolt, rotate it until it locks in place and starts rotating with the section below it. Tighten the L-bolt.

  21. Continue raising mast sections (following steps 18-20) until the desired height has been reached. Don't worry if the angles aren't perfect - you can adjust the whole mast at the end.

  22. If at the final height you cannot fit the 3-inch bolt into the hole below the L-bolt (because the inner masting is in the way), you can drill through the masting to insert the bolt. Make sure you lock the L-bolt in place!

  23. Ensure the bolts on the tripod's centre brackets are loosened and then rotate the entire mast to it's final position (you may need 2 people to do this).

  24. Tighten the centre bracket bolts, being careful not to dent the mast.

  25. Place guy wire anchors at a distance from the mast that is approximately 70% of its height on the mast.

  26. With each guy line, follow steps 10-12 in Tripod and Mast Assembly.int

We recommend using rubber tubing around the antenna boom where the mounting bracket attaches to help reduce slippage. A bicycle inner tube is the perfect diameter to fit around the 1 1/2" boom.

It's easier to mount antennas when the coax cable is mostly coiled, uncoiling it only after it has been attached to the mast.

Measure your antenna directions at least 5 meters from the base of the tower and any other large metal objects, otherwise your measurements will be inaccurate.

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