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Ancient Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

Observe that I still wear the same size of Wranglers as I did in high school back in the Johnson Administration.
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
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Re: How to align antennas?

Observe that I still wear the same size of Wranglers as I did in high school back in the Johnson Administration.


goo.gl/vjtwh ?
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Re: How to align antennas?

I really want to comment on this topic, but it will end up bring a three page explanation about how an old army artillery soldier does it, and then I would branch off and touch on the signal mirror deal.
instead, I'll just bypass all that and see if anybody else has an interesting method I haven't thought about, used, or been taught yet. Man Very Happy
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Regular Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

here's a device no one has mentioned yet.
www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,22303255
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Re: How to align antennas?

The alignments I've done have all been under 5 miles, and those can be done by eyeball alone. The moon subtends an arc of 1/2 degree. It is easy to hold a pencil tip on first the left edge of the moon, then the right edge, so eyeball and hand can get you within 1/2 degree with no problem. A LOCO2, or anything with a similarly-sized antenna, has a half power beam width of 60 degrees, so doing that by eyeball is easy. With a parabolic relector (24dBi gain), the beam width is about 7 degrees, so even that can be achieved by eyeball. All this assumes you can actually see the other end. The discussion on survival signaling mirrors for that purpose was good.
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Re: How to align antennas?

You can't do any alignment accurately by
'eyeball' alone. Antennas aren't made like
precision equipment; there is a variation
between individual units.

And differences in terrain, height and nearby
objects have an indeterminate effect too.

Eyeball is fine to start, but you need to
swing the antenna and check signal levels. Dave

> HQ in Seacoast region New Hampshire U.S.A.
> Ubiquiti Certified Trainer [UCT] for:
     UBWA [AirMax] / UEWA [UniFi] / UBRSS [routers]
UBNT.NH@gmail.com
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Re: How to align antennas?

Hmmm. I'll accept your experience. What I've found from the ones that I do, is that the Ubiquiti alignment tool doesn't get me anything better than eyeball alone. Maybe I've just been lucky. The problem I repeatedy do have is spotting the other end, so the discussion on signal mirrors will be useful, I hope.
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Re: How to align antennas?

As long as the stations are in the beam,
it doesn't matter how you align. In many
cases, the beam is plenty wide enough.

You hardly need to aim NanoStation; a
NanoBridge is often fairly easy. It's
the 30 and 34dBi dishes that demand
precision alignment.

In most cases, don't waste your time trying
to spot the other end. On a Google map,
determine a prominent local element that is
aligned with the target that you see. Dave

> HQ in Seacoast region New Hampshire U.S.A.
> Ubiquiti Certified Trainer [UCT] for:
     UBWA [AirMax] / UEWA [UniFi] / UBRSS [routers]
UBNT.NH@gmail.com
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Antenna Alignment

Maybe this will help some of you out there with alignment.

1. Take a small laptop with you to help in the alignment.

2. Program the board for 10 mhz. (This gives you an additional 3db of power, every 3db gain,
doubles your power output.)

3. Using the Freq. Usage, check and see where your antenna is more usable generally a -96 or higher is best. The lower the number could be a sign of traffic or an antenna is not tuned for that particular freq.

4. Using the Scan feature in the Station WDS side, choose the freq. that looks best for you. Program in the Scan feature with a freq. above and below the one you choose. This makes for a real fast hook up. If you choose not to use it, it will usually take 6 seconds for the station end to lock in on the other end.

5. On the Bridge side, check frequencies, put in the 10mhz mode. If you choose not to use the scan mode, then you can choose any of the available freq. available. But keep in mind, it generally takes 6 seconds for the Station WDS side to find you.

6. When at the top of the tower hook up your small laptop to the routerboard. If it is a multi-port
card, choose one of the spares. If it is a 411 board with single port, then you will have to rig up a 12v power pack with a 3.5mm plug to and the appropriate poe adapter and cables.

7. Point the dish or panel in the direction of the station wds side. Remember it generally takes 6 sec. for the unit to scan the freq. Move 1/4", wait 6sec. move until you get a R for Running indicator. Once this is acquired, toggle the Registration and toggle the box below, then toggle the signal or status button. Now when you should see the actual signal levels and tx/rx ccq levels. Tweek the antennas for max. signal. Get on the cell phone or handie-talkie and get the person on the other side to move the antenna +- for max. signal. Remember, be very slow in adjustment of antennas, sometimes, especially if signal is very marginal you can loose it and it can take several minutes to find it again. If you are fortunate to get a signal as soon as you turn it on I take a Scripto black magic marker or a pencil and mark the initial setting. For instance I will put a mark on the clamp and then straight across to the tower leg. Once the best signal levels are found with the best CCQ (sometimes the signal might loose a db or two to max. CCQ, this is ok) I take a marker punch and permanently mark on the clamp and tower where the setting will be a alignment mark. By doing this, if the antenna gets blown out of alignment, you got a reference point. That should do it. When done go back to the settings needed for your particular requirement. If you go back to 20mhz, be sure not to leave the station end or bridge end in a 10 mhz freq. It will not work. Choose the freq. in the darker black lettering. Be sure to look again in the freq. usage for the best freq. I have used this method for many years, its quicker, you get the highest signal possible. Leds fire at certain signal levels and it is possible a few db can be lost because you are not quite at the other led's threshold to fire or you have all fired up and will not see the max. because you have no more leds to fire. Downside, you need a small laptop and portable battery power pack to use it. A good deep Klein tool bag is very handy to carry the laptop and battery in.
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Re: How to align antennas?

I like a lot of this a lot. There is one point
I disagree with: how to physically align.

Instead of aligning for maximum signal, find
the edge of the beam and then set the center.

Consider that the beam is a big 'blob', that has
a fat center, where changes in signal strength
are very very small; it's very uniform for several
degrees. That means it's nearly impossible to
locate the true center by checking signal strength.

Turn the antenna in small increments (as described),
but note when the signal goes way down fairly
quickly at both ends of rotation. For example, if the
signal in the center is -50dB, the signals on each
side may suddenly reduce to -65dB.

When you find those angles, split the angle in half
and rotate the antenna to the middle. That will
provide by far the most accurate center, with
the best margin for error or wind torque.

Of course, you also need to be careful not use
a side-lobe, but these are fairly easy to spot,
because the signal goes back up with rotation. Dave

> HQ in Seacoast region New Hampshire U.S.A.
> Ubiquiti Certified Trainer [UCT] for:
     UBWA [AirMax] / UEWA [UniFi] / UBRSS [routers]
UBNT.NH@gmail.com
Established Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

A rifle scope works good for us. For our PTP dish Installs we remove the feed then "Optically" align the dish with the scope held firmly against the hole on the dish. Amazingly enough optically is usually within 3db of perfection.


We have done this also, It actually works really well.
Veteran Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

We have done this also, It actually works really well.


no one has called you in yet? Seeing the sniper on the water toward might cause some commotion.
Senior Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

Sounds more like a Baconator induced phenomenon. :-P But hey if it works why not !


You haven't lived until you eat the Jack-In-The-Box bacon shake. It's glorious.
Established Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

no one has called you in yet? Seeing the sniper on the water toward might cause some commotion.


So far so good. that's why you wear cammo on the tower! Man Happy
Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

anybody use this ?
www.wickedlasers.com/arctic
maybe good at night
shot to the top. as reference
or use the safety google
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Re: How to align antennas?

We work in an urban setting, and our links are rarely longer than 15km, so we usually eyeball the target and then align more precisely once connected. One tool that has really been helpful when we cant clearly see the target is an app for the iphone by Sice Radiolink - we can set our tower locations in it once, and then just select one to automatically have the iphone point to it, with a beeper to help locate if you cant keep your eyes on the compass.
"No Guts, No Glory!"
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Re: How to align antennas?

Lasers, telescopes and the like are not
a good idea. Again: align for the mid-line
between the edges--not the center.

And that laser is absolutely dangerous--
it's a foolish thing to have around. Dave

> HQ in Seacoast region New Hampshire U.S.A.
> Ubiquiti Certified Trainer [UCT] for:
     UBWA [AirMax] / UEWA [UniFi] / UBRSS [routers]
UBNT.NH@gmail.com
Ancient Member
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Re: How to align antennas?

Calibrate your compass first by pissing in the wind.
WHT = Short Form Acronym for "You couldn't handle me even if I came with instructions!"
Well engineered projects are indistinguishable from crazy ideas.

Speed, distance, reliability, cost...Pick three.
...World's First Ubiquiti AirMax WISP....
Veteran Member
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Registered: ‎02-09-2010
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Re: How to align antennas?

do not under any circumstances use a laser to point at something that is above the horizon. If there just happens to be an aircraft in that general direction you are committing a felony.
New Member
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Registered: ‎05-14-2013

Re: How to align antennas?

For fine tuning, I modify the software in the option (advanced) ---> (Signal LED Thresholds) are those who light the LEDs on the antenna, from (-94 -80 -73 -65) to (-82 -80 -79 -78) for a received signal of-80db. That allows me to see if it improves or worsens the signal in steps of 1dB when I move the antenna.

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