Attaching to trees . . .

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by NF9L, Jul 17, 2008.

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  1. NF9L

    NF9L Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm getting ready to mount the long leg of a Windom dipole to a couple of trees in my front yard. Since it's 90' long I have to go to the first tree, do about an 80 degree turn and run the last 30' to the second tree. I have seen it mentioned doing this type of thing, so I'm gonna do it.

    I have questions on pulleys, simple eye rings, exactly what is the best way to path thru the first tree and end at the last. I have watched the limbs during storms to see how much movement there will be. They do sway a bit, so I have to have an expanding-contracting arrangement.

    Do I go through the first tree on a pully or through a big closed ring screwed into the branch. Do I want to do something with rope to have it's proximity not actually touch the tree?

    I'm using covered 14 guage and do I have to worry about the right angle point and the stress on the wire?

    On the last tree I will have a rope ending with a weight to give and take the slack.

    Has anyone seen pictoral examples of this type of thing anywhere on the internet. I've looked around, but actual examples of mouting to and through a tree are not too plentiful . . . Hoping for some guidance from the QRZ antenna experts . . . Thanks
  2. K8AG

    K8AG Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wires in trees


    I have been using bungee cords instead of weights to handle the sway. Weights can swing and get tangled. I simply replace the bungee cords every couple of years or so.

    I also use plastic bicycle pedals (cheap and available at most sporting goods stores) instead of pulleys. I remove all of the metal parts and just run ropes through them.


    73, JP, K8AG
  3. G4ALA

    G4ALA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tree Health

    A tree is a living thing. It should be treated with respect. Most trees will outlive us by a big margin if treated properly.

    Be careful what you screw into trees. You can kill some trees, for example, simply by screwing in a copper screw or knocking in a copper nail. The process takes some years, but it happens, I am not sure what Iron does, but how would you like a spike screwed into or arm or belly ?

    Better to use a rubber or fabric strap around the branch. This avoids penetration and ingress of pests and fungi. Minimize the pressure on the outside surface of the tree so that sap can flow beneath the loop. Even so, make sure there is enough slack in any loop to allow for subsequent increase in diameter of the branch. A wire or rope loop, slack at the time of installation, can later become tight and kill that portion of the tree as the branch increases in diameter and the sap flow is cut off. When a loop is no longer needed, better to get rid of it.

    Apart from all of that, good luck in your antenna project. It sounds great. I wish I had that most enviable US commodity...SPACE. You guys, generally, probably do not know how lucky you are. We are choking in excess humanity over here.


  4. KR2D

    KR2D Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I received my ham license 29 years ago, I installed a pulley 24 feet up in an oak tree in my parent's yard. I used a standard zinc plated steel hook screw. It's still there. The tree doesn't seem to mind.
  5. NF9L

    NF9L Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm looking at a bicycle pedal in my mind and having trouble comparing it to a pulley. Exactly what parts turns with the movement of the wire passing through it??
  6. K4GUN

    K4GUN Ham Member QRZ Page

    How would I like a spike screwed into an arm or belly? I wouldn't like it at all. Then again, I'm a human being with a brain, soul and the ability to feel pain and can think in rational ways. None of that applies to a tree.

    I'm all for conservation and doing things in ways that don't damage trees, but not because of any empathy for the tree. That would be absurd. Trees are useful plants and if copper spikes cause long term damage, don't use it. I've put steel screws into trees that have survived quite nicely and continued to grow and produce without any ill effects. The tree isn't going to "feel" anything.
    KD8ZKE likes this.
  7. W4HAY

    W4HAY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been using galvanized eyebolts for over 50 years. The trees at my parent's home that I put my first antennas in were still healthy last time I saw them a few years back.

    I've been hamming from this QTH for 23 years. Same story. I do have to back the eyebolts out 2-3 turns each year as the trees grow.

    The ARRL Antenna Book has a detailed discussion of using trees to support antennas.
  8. KF6NFW

    KF6NFW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I tried killing my tree with several copper spikes, the darn thing grew bigger and better, so the copper nail/spike is not a sure fast way of getting rid of the tree either. I wanted the tree gone so I could put up a tower, after the tree grew healthier and bigger, I decided it could stay, but it would have to deal with it being topped and stunted several times to avoid climbing the tower. That tree is still there now three to four times the size I tried to kill it at, the new oweners of the house and tree love the tree, as it now covers the entire house, which is not condusive to an HF antenna of anykind.

    As for the eyebolt or other methods, I have used a garden hose sliced up the length and run the antenna wire through it and then over a tree branch when needed. Now I am in a new location again, and am trying to find a neighbor kid willing to climb my trees, so I may have an antenna up there about 75 feet, but the kids around here think its crazy to run a wire from a tree so they arent willing to climb it even if my wife makes pie, and I give them a $20.
  9. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I suspect that nothing moves - but it seems like a good idea. Cheap pedals tend to have a few features:

    • An "8" shape that has two holes, one for the tree attachment and the other for the antenna pass-through
    • weatherproof
    • smooth and rounded sufaces inside the "8" holes, allowing the antenna to move through it cleanly
    • black, so it isn't seen.
  10. NF9L

    NF9L Ham Member QRZ Page

    Now I'm getting ideas, thanks . . .

    I thought I lost this thread to caring for trees, but then it came back. The garden hose thing is great, a light went off in my head. It would be a way to have less of an angle in the dipole as it makes the turn at the first tree. I don't really think the wire would move, it would just be going through the hose. I would find a big vertical branch that doesn't move much and use a little gaffers tape to hold the hose in place.

    Then off to the second tree. It will be there at the second tree I'll do the give and take. Bungee cords sounds ok, but I still think a compact weight heavy enough to keep the dipole slack free. The dipole actually won't make it to the second tree so the heavy twine will be attached and run through the metal loop screwed into the tree. I'll let it hang down about a foot with the weight on it and move up and down at the second tree as slack is pulled or given . . . voila, but maybe someone has another idea. I'll be watching and thanks again.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
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