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  #1  
Old 03-10-2018, 11:27 AM
mfleming's Avatar
mfleming mfleming is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Joseph, Oregon
Posts: 798
Red face Mild Panic Setting in on Antennas

So first off, I have searched about this topic but have come up dry.

When do I have to make decisions on when and where to install antennas?

I'm building a -7 and only a couple months in on working on a QB fuselage.

Looking around the forum I see QB's that are not much further along than mine with all manner of brackets and holes for electronics and antennas.

The mantra I keep hearing is wait to the last possible moment to buy avionics due to the increasing capability and decreasing cost.

So I guess the other big question is when is the last moment??

I've been hedging my bets on going Garmin or Dynon... and if I can swing it going at least basic IFR.
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Michael Fleming
Joseph, OR
sagriver at icloud dot com

RV-7 Slider #74572
Started 11/2016
Empennage completed 11/2016 (sans fiberglass)
Ailerons and flaps completed 3/2017.
Wings completed 12/2017
Started on QB fuselage 01/2018
Sliding canopy mostly completed 10/2020
Wiring and Avionics harness completed 9/2/2021
FWF Started 9/3/2021

Donated for 2021 and so should you
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  #2  
Old 03-10-2018, 11:43 AM
greghughespdx's Avatar
greghughespdx greghughespdx is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Aurora, OR
Posts: 1,034
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Don't forget to take a look at Advanced Flight Systems (which is part of Dynon). They're in Oregon like us.

Antennas are mostly the same from one system to the next (accept possibly GPS antennas, depending on what you're doing - but you generally buy those with the avionics).

Comm/Nav/etc antenna placement is done firstly to ensure a good clean antenna ground plane. Also with consideration for places where you won't knock or rub them off, I suppose. And of course places where they are not an eyesore or introduce unacceptable drag. I wouldn't worry much about antennas until you're quite a bit further along. When it's time to run wires is when this becomes more of a factor, but that's later in the project.

I went with AFS, and am still working on mine. I've had the opportunity to work on installations for a variety of systems on various levels. The AFS/Dynon "Advanced Control Module" (ACM) that comes with their Quick Panel setups is pretty darned nice and allows a level of modularity in decision making and simplification of wiring the first time around as well as when you decide to make changes, which can't really be matched. And their new ACM version with electronic circuit breakers and on-screen alerts/controls rather than fuses just makes it all that much more appealing to a lot of people. You can get the ACM with Advanced or Dynon EFIS screens. Cool stuff.

It will likely take you longer to get to the point where you need the avionics. That's one big reason waiting until you actually need them is recommended. We all plan to need them in 6 months, and then three or four years later find ourselves starting the avionics wiring. That's a lot of how things can get outdated before they fly.
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2018, 03:50 PM
E. D. Eliot E. D. Eliot is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: San Pedro
Posts: 1,017
Default Avionics

I'm building an RV-12 right now so I have little choice (Dynon or Garmin) and no choice on where the antennas go. So, it's easy for me. I'm already planning my next build. I'm going with Dynon in the 12 and my next build (RV-9 or 14) as my choice for a number of reasons. That airplane will be IFR capable using avionics as listed by the above poster.

As for waiting until the last moment, do as you choose but, for example, my Dynon system set up is amazing. My Dynon equipment was bought last August or September. It includes everything but the kitchen sink and can do a great job of VFR and in a pinch, it will allow me to land safely using the synthetic vision feature if I am unfortunate enough to need that capability - although, not legal if the RV-12 and I am not IFR certified.

I recommend that if you are considering Dynon and/or Garmin, that you call each manufacturer and ask their technical people where to place the antennas. Likely, they can advise you on that and you could install them or at least plan for the wiring to the antennae locations. Always leave these wires a little longer on both ends than you need - you can cut off excess when you install the antennas.

Also, there are probably many builders at your local airport who could help. And, google 'Electric Bob' (I hope that is his handle) - he has a series of books that will help you. Best to you.
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  #4  
Old 03-10-2018, 05:42 PM
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BrianDC BrianDC is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 289
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im Waiting till I get closer to the end of my build to install antennas or doublers for them. Just not 100% sure what I want for avionics /etc. may make life a little more difficult for me, but since it?s my first build I just don?t know what I don?t know.
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  #5  
Old 03-10-2018, 08:10 PM
tgmillso tgmillso is offline
 
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Location: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 841
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Fear not Michael. I completely forgot my antenna doublers until after I had painted and bolted the wings on. I managed to make things work, but it sure would have been easier to add them during the build. As everyone will tell you, put the avionics purchases as long as possible, however you can purchase the antennas early, as this technology doesn't change. If you don't want to go this far, you can just get the bolt template, and the radio's can take antennas from pretty much any manufacturer. The transponder doesn't take much of a doubler, however some of the belly VHF antennas are pretty long and require a more burly doubler. I only installed one VHF antenna, under the pilot's seat, however if I had done it during the build I would have installed a spare doubler under the copilot seat also incase I want to go to dual coms in the future.
Tom
RV-7
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2018, 08:54 AM
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rzbill rzbill is offline
 
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Location: Asheville, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfleming View Post
The mantra I keep hearing is wait to the last possible moment to buy avionics due to the increasing capability and decreasing cost.
Don't listen to the mantra. Do whats right for you. I purchased and installed the avionics at the end of fuselage construction prior to engine install. Firewall work was MUCH easier and engine install was no more difficult than an engine swap because all the engine connections were ready to go. All of the avionics install was done with the fuselage upside down. Very easy access for wiring. This minimised idle storage time for the engine. Don't underestimate the work required to wire avionics and 12v systems into the craft. Its tedious and time consuming. I know of one builder that has stalled for 6 years at this stage. How do you think his firebreathing custom engine is handling that for the last 8 years? In addition, avionics first may allow a smoother financial path depending on situation and choices.
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2018, 09:57 AM
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ERushing ERushing is offline
 
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Location: Molalla, OR
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If you haven't already, look on Stein's site. He has a diagram of potential/ common antenna locations.
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  #8  
Old 03-11-2018, 10:34 AM
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mfleming mfleming is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Joseph, Oregon
Posts: 798
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERushing View Post
If you haven't already, look on Stein's site. He has a diagram of potential/ common antenna locations.
Great, I'm a fan of Stein's...I'll look for the diagram.
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Michael Fleming
Joseph, OR
sagriver at icloud dot com

RV-7 Slider #74572
Started 11/2016
Empennage completed 11/2016 (sans fiberglass)
Ailerons and flaps completed 3/2017.
Wings completed 12/2017
Started on QB fuselage 01/2018
Sliding canopy mostly completed 10/2020
Wiring and Avionics harness completed 9/2/2021
FWF Started 9/3/2021

Donated for 2021 and so should you
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2018, 10:57 AM
mfleming's Avatar
mfleming mfleming is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Joseph, Oregon
Posts: 798
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rzbill View Post
Don't listen to the mantra. Do whats right for you. I purchased and installed the avionics at the end of fuselage construction prior to engine install. Firewall work was MUCH easier and engine install was no more difficult than an engine swap because all the engine connections were ready to go. All of the avionics install was done with the fuselage upside down. Very easy access for wiring. This minimised idle storage time for the engine. Don't underestimate the work required to wire avionics and 12v systems into the craft. Its tedious and time consuming. I know of one builder that has stalled for 6 years at this stage. How do you think his firebreathing custom engine is handling that for the last 8 years? In addition, avionics first may allow a smoother financial path depending on situation and choices.
That's an idea I can get my head around.
I'm not a fan of an expensive engine sitting unused for more than a year. Aero Sport recommended I purchase the engine as close to being finished as was practical.

As far as the mantra of wait for to the last possible moment for avionics is concerned, the current suit of systems seem pretty mature compared to even 5 years ago and I haven't seen any price drops. As matter of fact, things seem primed to get more expensive sooner rather than later. I'm sure there will be advances but really...How much capability do I need. My airline pilot friends say the current offering make their panels look old.
I think I would be happy with a current Garmin/Dynon/Advanced/etc. for many years to come.

I think I'll visit Stein's, get a suggestion on antenna needs and locations and start building doublers
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Michael Fleming
Joseph, OR
sagriver at icloud dot com

RV-7 Slider #74572
Started 11/2016
Empennage completed 11/2016 (sans fiberglass)
Ailerons and flaps completed 3/2017.
Wings completed 12/2017
Started on QB fuselage 01/2018
Sliding canopy mostly completed 10/2020
Wiring and Avionics harness completed 9/2/2021
FWF Started 9/3/2021

Donated for 2021 and so should you

Last edited by mfleming : 03-11-2018 at 11:00 AM.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2018, 11:17 AM
mfleming's Avatar
mfleming mfleming is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Joseph, Oregon
Posts: 798
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E. D. Eliot View Post
.................Also, there are probably many builders at your local airport who could help. And, google 'Electric Bob' (I hope that is his handle) - he has a series of books that will help you. Best to you.
Thanks for the advice on wiring

I wish there were some RV builders near me
I'm living in rural eastern Oregon. I'm lucky to have someone who built a -9A a few years ago to mentor me but he's almost 2 hours away. That's probably why I ask so many questions on VAF...

Hats off to all those who built RVs (or any homebuilt) before the internet.
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Michael Fleming
Joseph, OR
sagriver at icloud dot com

RV-7 Slider #74572
Started 11/2016
Empennage completed 11/2016 (sans fiberglass)
Ailerons and flaps completed 3/2017.
Wings completed 12/2017
Started on QB fuselage 01/2018
Sliding canopy mostly completed 10/2020
Wiring and Avionics harness completed 9/2/2021
FWF Started 9/3/2021

Donated for 2021 and so should you
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