Station Installation
Motus Pro Tip - Do not take short-cuts. Any short-cuts or sloppy workmanship drastically increases the chance that some kind of problem will occur and the station won’t be operating when you need it to.

Antenna and Coax Assembly

Several varieties of antennas exist of which only a few will be covered here. All antennas should come with their own assembly instructions which are more or less easy to follow so we will not go into great detail here. Please see antenna anatomy for more details on parts.
Note: The driven element and the attached connector are the most sensitive parts of a Yagi antenna; pay special attention to prevent damage to these parts and any connections. Damage to the driven element may cause the antenna to no longer be tuned to the desired frequency resulting in an ineffective antenna.
    Coax seal. This is a type of soft rubber or silicone which is used to seal antenna connections. This is typically purchased separately from the antenna. Marine Goop (with UV protectant (link), and electrician, or plumbers puddy (with link).
    Coloured electrical tape or markers. It can be difficult to keep track of which antenna corresponds with which cable once a station has been set up. Bring a few colours of electrical tape so you can colour code the antennas and coaxial cables.
    Zip ties, cable ties, zap straps. These are indispensable for coaxial cable organisation. Used to support the coax cable along the antenna boom and mast.
    Hex nuts and bolts. We use ¼” x 2” bolts for tripod assembly and ¼” x 1” bolts for affixing solar panels to the tripod. Use zinc-plates steel unless the station is deployed in a marine area where stainless steel should be used.

Antenna mount

Antennas are usually attached to a metal pipe or mast using a type of mounting bracket. Small antennas, like 434 MHz Yagis, all omni antennas, and 3- to 5- element Yagis for the 150-166 MHz band can be butt-mounted using a bracket which fits onto one end of the boom. Large antennas, like 6- to 9- element Yagis for the 150-166 MHz band need to be mounted along their mid-point to even out the lateral force on the mast. Larger antenna can be butt-mounted, but usually require support wires attached to the mid or end point of the antenna.
Nearly all antenna mounts use a metal plate with 4 u-bolts; 2 for the antenna boom and 2 for the mast. For most antennas, the boom is mounted perpendicular to the mast, but omni antennas will often be mounted pointing straight up, meaning both the antenna and mast will be in the same orientation.

Coax connector

Most antennas will have a connector on the driven element for the coax cable to be connected. The driven element and this connector are the most sensitive parts of a Yagi antenna; pay special attention to these parts so they are not impacted by anything. Damage to the driven element may cause the antenna to no longer be tuned to the desired frequency.
Connecting

Storage Container Assembly

What’s the purpose of the storage container - primarily to store and protect battery and charge controller.
Include recommendations to mount receivers on the mast or outside of a box on the ground where possible, or if there is any remote risk of flooding. It will also reduce potential damage from rodents and insects.

Heavy-duty Container

Motus Pro Tip - DO NOT USE cheap plastic rubbermaid, or other plastic storage boxes that are not meant to be kept outside for extended periods of time.

Supplies

    90L Rubbermaid Action Packer or equivalent heavy-duty, waterproof container.
      If using an alternative, ensure the container is actually
      waterproof and the lid is not concave such that water pools on
      top. Handles will need to be closed securely either with zip
      ties or a lock.
    To prevent water ingress:
    Zip ties
    Wooden blocks or table for container to sit on (e.g.: 2-foot blocks cut from a 2x4).
    Wood screws.
    [Optional] To prevent insects and rodent ingress
      Plastic bags and/or steel wool.
      Aluminum window screening.
      JB Weld epoxy or equivalent.
      Container and stir stick for epoxy.
      Tool to cut into underside of container (e.g.: exacto knife).

Tools

Instructions

    1.
    Drill 2” hole on one end of the Action Packer
    2.
    To prevent water ingress:
      1.
      Place the 2-inch pipe bushing through the hole from the inside of the bin.
      2.
      Apply a single layer of electrical tape or ABS cement to the exposed end of the bushing on the outside of the bin.
      3.
      Attach the 2-inch pipe elbow to the bushing and force into place with the open end of the elbow pointing down.
    3.
    To prevent insect and rodent ingress
      1.
      Cut a hole in the bottom of the container to allow water to drain.
      2.
      Cut a piece of aluminum window screen about 1 inch (2.5 cm) larger than the hole.
      3.
      Prepare the epoxy
      4.
      Place the piece of aluminum window screen over the hole and apply a generous amount of the mixed epoxy around the entire edge, ensuring no gaps remain.
      5.
      Once you have inserted all necessary cables into the bin, including your GPS and SensorGnome, you will need to pack the remaining space in the elbow with plastic bags (insects) and/or steel wool (rodents).
      6.
    4.
    Insert cable into the case
    5.
    To prevent insect and rodent ingress through the elbow, you will need to pack the remaining space in the elbow with plastic bags (insects) and/or steel wool (rodents).

Power Assembly

Solar Power

Supplies

Tools

Instructions

    1.
    Prepare your cables by crimping 14 AWG spade connectors to the ends of all your cables.
      For the battery, prepare one fused battery lead and one length of the 14 AWG stranded automotive/speaker wire.
    2.
    Carefully inspect the charge controllers and note the positive and negative terminals for: the Solar Panel (input); the battery; the load (output).
    3.
    Ensure the power rating on the back of the solar panel does not exceed the ratings of the charge controller.
    4.
    Loosen the positive and negative terminals of the battery and attach the battery cable one at a time, using a fused battery lead for the positive terminal and 14 AWG stranded automotive/speaker wire to the negative terminal.
    5.
    Loosen the positive and negative terminals for the battery on the solar charge controller and attached the battery cables, beginning with the positive side.
    6.
    Proceed to connect the solar panel cables to the solar charge controller, again beginning with the positive side.
    7.
    Finally, connect the load (receiver) to the load terminals of the solar charge controller, positive first.
Motus Pro Tip
Sometimes the charge controller may indicate the battery level is low, or will cycle through different levels when first connected. This is normal as it is calculating the average voltage over time to gain an accurate measurement.

Pop-Tower Assembly

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 trippod foot to support the weight and movement and to provent sunking (‘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.
      Foot for mast (optional)
      Guy wires
      Quick links and/or carabiners (max 3/16”)
      [Optional] Turnbuckles and stainless steel wire (snare wire)
      In-line wire tensioners.
      Anchors
    Antennas

Tools

    Impact driver and/or ratchet
      7/16” socket
      ½” 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

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 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.
        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.

Mounting Antennas

    1.
    With antennas assembled w
    2.
Last modified 7mo ago