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| | |-+  KDAY Feeder (Dayton, Ohio)
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Author Topic: KDAY Feeder (Dayton, Ohio)  (Read 11671 times)
p69
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« on: December 30, 2006, 09:24:03 PM »

The KDAY (James M. Cox Dayton International Airport - Dayton, Ohio) feeder went into service during February of 2006, and was recently upgraded. The improved system consists of a Radio Shack Realistic PRO-2006 scanning receiver, Diamond D130 discone, approximately 130 ft. of LMR-400 Ultraflex coaxial cable with an Industrial Communications Engineers (ICE) Coaxial Lightning/EMP Suppressor inline.

The D130 is 36 ft. above ground and is located approximately one mile north of the northern most point of the airport.

PC OS is Windows XP (Professional) with Intel Pentium 4, 2.0GHz processor. Sound card is a Creative Technology Audigy Sound Blaster.

Both PC and PRO-2006 are powered through an APC Back-UPS Pro 420 uninterruptible power supply.

Receiving system items identical to or substantially similar to those used (and that are still manufactured) can be found at various locations, including the following:

BNC Connectors: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/parts/bncconn.html

Diamond D130: http://www.grove-ent.com/ANT9.html

ICE Suppressor: http://www.iceradioproducts.com/impulse1.html

LMR Ultraflex Coax: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cable/3607.html

PL-259 Connector: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/parts/plconn.html


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dave
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2007, 01:23:18 PM »

Strong work p69!

Happy New Year.

Dave
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p69
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2007, 04:11:50 PM »

Thx Dave, and happy new year to you also.

Ken
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tyketto
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2007, 02:48:59 PM »

Here's a question..

With the coax and the connectors for them being based outside, how does that part handle the weather? Is it underneath an awning or something? what happens when it rains?

BL.
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p69
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2007, 04:39:41 PM »

For ease of viewing, my original post included a photo of the arrestor mounting fixture without its weather protection.

The protection consists of Coax-Seal (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cable/1194.html) covering all PL-259 and BNC connectors. The entire fixture is also enclosed in a large piece of PVC pipe (from Lowes). It’s obviously not perfectly waterproof, but should provide adequate protection, given the construction of the arrestors and the presence of the Coax-Seal. And yes, it does rest under an awning, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

By the way, the arrestor fixture is mounted to the top of an eight ft. copper rod; this rod is connected to several others via #4 copper wire (these also were a Lowes purchase).

One of the photos accompanying this post shows the finished enclosure; the other one is of the PVC pipe with a side cap off, during assembly. I’m sure there are more ascetically pleasing enclosures, but this met my needs just fine.

Thanks for asking.
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Jason
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2007, 05:01:07 PM »

Wow, great stuff, p69!

Thanks for all the photos and descriptions.  Happy New Year!
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p69
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2007, 12:54:13 PM »

You're welcome Jason, my pleasure.
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aviator_06
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2007, 10:36:56 PM »

Thanks alot for scanning KDAY. I flew my parents to urbana and went back to the archives and heard my self on the radio. I thought it was pretty cool. How much did it cost you to get setup up to pick up dayton frequencies. I live close to KILN which is DHL's main hub. I wouldn't mind streaming their frequencies on here if i could do it for a reasonable price. 

Thanks again!
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p69
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2007, 07:07:14 PM »

aviator_06,

I’m glad you had a chance to listen to the Dayton feed. I know Dayton isn’t exactly at the top of most people’s ATC listening lists, but as I can see on the Class C Live Audio Streams page, on occasion I have a listener or two. I also have used the ATC archive feature and found it quite helpful. Most recently, I listened to some of the comms related to the transport of President Ford’s body.

The cost for my feeder is probably not typical. It would certainly be possible to setup a feeder for much less expense, especially if you live within just a few miles of KILN.

I bought the PRO-2006 radio about ten years ago for around $300. In recent years some public service communications have begun using what is known as “trunking” technology, making radios like the PRO-2006 much less useful, at least for the type of listening I’m most interested in. So it was a logical choice for a dedicated feeder, as aircraft comms aren’t trunked. My discone antenna was also purchased many years ago, for $90 as I recall.

The major expenses recently for the feeder were the coax, about $165, and the surge suppressor, at around $45. Due to the layout of my home, it was necessary to have a relatively long run of coax, so a good quality line that would suffer little signal loss was necessary. I also opted for coax that is particularly flexible (it’s more expensive), to make the necessary twists and turns easier. In the last two years I have had some significant trouble with nearby lightning strikes damaging equipment; the suppressor setup is my attempt to mitigate that risk a bit.

So my feeder expense is about $600, but as I said, it’s likely you could get by for much less. I’m sure that almost all scanning receivers (new, or manufactured in the last many years) include the commercial aviation band, so it’s likely you could find something pretty cheap, as they are relatively common. New radios are available from such manufacturers as Radio Shack, Uniden and AOR.

Depending upon your proximity to the airport and where you want to place the radio in your home, you might be able to get by with just the small antenna that comes with the radio, making coax and outside antenna unnecessary.  This would probably work especially well if you could place the scanner near a window facing the airport, and on an upper floor, if possible.

Even if you live many miles from KILN, it’s likely you could pick up the airport comms with just the small scanner antenna, and that would certainly serve as a useful feeder. VHF is generally “line-of-site”, and since aircraft often contact the airport at significant altitudes, you might often be able to hear them. The outside antenna would then come into play when trying to hear aircraft on the ground or very near it.

There are obviously many, many vendors where you could purchase scanning radios and accessories. I’ve had good luck with Radio Shack receivers and have owned several, although lately I’ve purchased Uniden equipment.

You can obviously find Radio Shack radios at www.radioshack.com. It looks like Radio Shack offers an aircraft capable scanner for $99.00
(http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2036233&cp=2032052.2032072&allCount=23&fbn=Price%2FUnder+%24149.99&fbc=
1&fr=StorePrice%2FRSK%2F00000000%2F00014999&parentPage=family
). I have no idea how well it works.

There are many vendors for Uniden radios, but I typically order from Grove Enterprises, as I’ve always been pleased in my dealings with them, and I’ve had many. Their scanners, antennas and accessories can be seen here: http://www.grove-ent.com/order.html.

Of course (with a BIG buyer beware) you can find new/used radios at such places as eBay.

In very general terms, less expensive radios may be less sensitive/selective, meaning their ability to “hear” weak signals, as well as reject those that are unwanted, is not as good as in more expensive, sophisticated  radios. To some extent, sensitivity problems can be overcome with a good antenna.

As far as antennas, Radio Shack has a ground plane for $26 – it’s here: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103641. They have others, as does Grove, found at the link above. You might also consider building an antenna to save some expense, if you enjoy projects. Sites such as http://www.radioreference.com and http://www.smeter.net/ have some good information on “homebrew”, and of course there are many, many others sites on the Web with good info. I’m building a J-Pole antenna now for another radio. It’s relatively inexpensive, and could be constructed for the aircraft band – more info here: http://www.educypedia.be/electronics/antennajpole.htm. Whatever antenna you end up with, it’s probably best that it be omni-directional, meaning that it receives equally well from all directions.

Although it’s not brain surgery, there is some skill involved in installing connectors on coax. If you’re handy with a soldering iron, it won’t be much of a problem to learn. If you’ve not soldered before, you might consider contacting a local ham club to see if someone could help you, or perhaps purchase coax with connectors already attached. I would recommend good quality, pre-cut lengths with connectors from places like Universal (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cable/cable.html) or Grove (http://www.grove-ent.com/COAXCABLE.html), not Radio Shack. You’re looking for cable that loses little signal over its run, is shielded well enough to reject unwanted radio signals and noise, and weathers well so that it will not have to be replaced very often. Both Universal and Grove sell decent cable.

Bottom line, I’d shop around for an inexpensive scanner that has garnered favorable reviews (online or elsewhere), use the antenna that came with it, work with LiveATC to get a feeder going, and then listen for a while and see if you feel an outside an antenna would be of benefit. If you do, build or purchase an omni-directional antenna, mount it as high as reasonably possible (perhaps on the peak of your roof) and use good quality coax and connectors.

Hope these suggestions might be of some help.

Ken
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aviator_06
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2007, 10:42:59 PM »

Wow Ken, thanks alot for the information! I cant wait to get started with the project. I think i've also seen sporty's scanner they sell for around $99. It doesnt look too bad. I live a little over 5 nautical miles from the airport. I'd like to have both the tower and ground but I guess we'll see how good the scanner will be. Also do you run the feed to a seperate computer? I'll definetly check out all the links you sent me and do some research.

Thanks again,

Josh
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p69
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2007, 03:30:50 PM »

Josh,

No, I don’t have a computer dedicated to the feeder.  I’m able to use my computer/sound card for both a feeder and to meet my other PC needs.

Good luck on the project – I’m sure you’ll have fun with it.  Be sure to post photos here of your progress.

Ken
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aviator_06
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2007, 08:24:02 PM »

Will do  grin
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