My Rooftop Ham Radio Antenna

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:

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3D Printed Dust Port Adapter

Here’s a quick guide to making a 3D printed adapter to connect your power tools to your shop vac if they’re not naturally compatible.

For this example, I’ll be using my Ryobi planer and sander and my Festool shop vac hose, but these general instructions should work for any two tubes that are close to the same size as each other.

For this project, you will need:

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Meow Meow Mini: First Look

Today I want to introduce you to a new board, the Meow Meow Mini. It’s basically a capacitive touch keyboard, which makes it easy to turn any almost anything into a controller for games and other apps.

Meow Meow is created by my friends at Electronic Cats, a Mexican open source hardware company headquartered in Aguascalientes.

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Electronic Affirmation Mirror

Written for HackSpace magazine issue 30

When you look in the mirror, who couldn’t use a few words of encouragement? Build a display inside a mirror to scroll custom affirmations you can read over your own reflection. This polished project comes together easily with a store-bought shadow box frame and some see-through mirror material. You can build a simple version with a basic Arduino or compatible, or level it up using a NodeMCU (ESP8266 WiFi board) in order to add more positive quotes to the mirror over the internet.

For this project, you will need:

Read the full tutorial on HackSpace.

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Hakko Wire Strippers Review

Many pairs of wire strippers have come and gone in my life, but these wire strippers by Hakko has remained throughout. They’ve stayed sharp over years of frequent use, and this flared part of the handle makes them a joy to hold and use.

The rubber grips have a powder mixed into the rubber to give them a sturdy, really nice feeling grip, even if your hands are slippery with motor oil.

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Fabric Scissors (Watercolor Speedpaint 12)

The 12th watercolor in my Tools series in a pair of fabric scissors.

In case you are interested, I’ve made a post cataloging all the supplies I use to create watercolor paintings.

When I’m done painting, I scan it in, touch it up, and upload it to my print shop, in case you are interested in owning a copy of this design. I’ve also made a poster featuring all the tools in this series so far. You can get a discount to my print shop by signing up for my email newsletter or joining my Patreon.

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Heavy Duty Scissors (Watercolor Speedpaint 11)

The 11th watercolor in my Tools series in a pair of heavy duty scissors.

In case you are interested, I’ve made a post cataloging all the supplies I use to create watercolor paintings.

When I’m done painting, I scan it in, touch it up, and upload it to my print shop, in case you are interested in owning a copy of this design. I’ve also made a poster featuring all the tools in this series so far. You can get a discount to my print shop by signing up for my email newsletter or joining my Patreon.

Please enjoy the timelapse and let me know what else I should paint in a comment below.

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