How to install Aircraft Antenna System
Antennas come in many shapes and sizes depending on their intended use. Depending on the transmitter and receiver they connect to, installation and maintenance are essential to ensure they’re connecting correctly. There are a few things that airborne antennas specifically need to be airworthy. They need to be mechanically secure considering how much wind resistance it will be encountering. They also have to be electronically matched to the receiver and transmitter, be out of interference and in an optimal location to receive transmissions and be synced or polarized to the ground station it receives transmissions from.
When working with the specific model of airborne antennas, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. We are going to focus on typical rigid antenna procedures. To begin, place the template given in the manufacturer’s instructions on the fore-and-aft centerline. In other words, find the center of the length of the aircraft. Drill holes where the antenna will be mounted and where the transmission line will be placed. The next step is to install a reinforcing doubler to reinforce the aircraft exterior. Finally, install the antenna on the fuselage and tighten all the mounting bolts against the reinforcing doubler. Finish the installation by either drawing the mast tight against the gasket or create a seal between the mast and fuselage with a strong sealant (zinc chromate or equivalent).
The transmitting and/or receiving antenna connects to the transmitter by a shielded wire, referred to as a coax. The length of these transmission lines varies but the length does not directly correlate to transmitting or receiving signals. To ensure a more secure connection coax connections in conjunction with a coax cable should be installed. When installing coaxial cables, secure firmly until the length of the cable is fastened and is free from any other wire bundles.
When in doubt, check your equipment manufacturer instructions. Any unique specification for the antenna you’ll be using will be specified in the operations manual. Most installation errors can be attributed to careless oversight, which can be easily avoided. Every small part of an aircraft, down to the antenna, is important to make it airworthy. Regular maintenance and careful install procedures can ensure better overall performance for an airborne antenna.
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