I recently put a ham radio antenna on my roof, so I could get better signal inside my apartment, which isn’t on a high floor.
As an ultra beginner without a lot of investment in the hobby, it was perfectly acceptable to have to climb onto the roof to get any signal on my portable radio’s antenna. But the benefit of this larger, roof-mounted antenna is that now we can leave the radio on all the time and listen to it inside, which leads to more opportunistic connections and overall more time spent enjoying.
What follows outlines the process we used. I have previously written a guide about getting started in ham radio, in case you’re interested.
The antenna I got is a VHF/UHF antenna that mounts on top of a pole. My friend David, my boyfriend Smokey, and I put up one of these on David’s roof and on our own roof, and the two had different mounting situations. At David’s place, we used a mounting kit with metal straps and special brackets to hold the pole to a chimney. At our place, there was an unused analog TV antenna pole that we planned to repurpose.
Important note about safety: if you don’t know what you’re doing, consult someone who does (and who knows your local regulations, too). Putting an antenna on your roof brings the risk of a lightning strike which, if not properly grounded, can cause fire and other damage, as well as loss of life. I’m not an electrician or an expert.
Everything I used to connect to my Baofeng UV-5R radio:
- Tram 1411 Broad Band Discone/Scanner Base Antenna
- Outdoor-rated PL259 coaxial cable (aka UHF SO-239)
- Coaxial lightning arrestor
- PL259 coax to SMA adapter
- SMA extension cable
- Ground wire
- Pipe grounding clamps