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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams

from John Schreiner, N2LK on August 8, 2008
View comments about this article!

"Editor's Note: Due to the popularity of some of eHam's older articles, many of which you may not have read, the eHam.net team has decided to rerun some of the best articles that we have received since eHam's inception. These articles will be reprinted to add to the quality of eHam's content and in a show of appreciation to the authors of these articles."

EASY UP MAST FOR CC&R HAMS

This is my third antenna article for eHam related to the antenna struggles of us homeowners bound by development CC&R's. Towers and beam antenna's are a NO-NO in our world and we need to make do with whatever radiator we can get away with. I have written about the decent qualities of properly installed attic dipoles (for stick built houses) and using rain gutters for working the low bands as a serious option. However, Mother Nature intended for antenna's to roam free and clear in the open spaces and this has been my goal for 4 years now, since I moved to the present QTH.

The development I live in is a series of connected Cul-De-Sacs where our small backyards all meet with each other. Mine is one of the best ones, fairly flat and about 55 wide x 25 feet deep from back of the house. Unfortuantely in new developments all the trees are taken down so all new ones are low and small, nothing to throw a wire up into. In the past I have installed my Cushcraft R5 in the backyard during the winter months and no one complained at all, and I would take it down in the Spring as I am paranoid of lightning from T-Storms. Living on top of a small mountain, lightning is a concern with a vertical.

As the Solar Cycle declines 20 meters is shutting down earlier and I depend on 40 meters more and more for DX. I have had success using a Van Gordon G5RV Junior antenna with its 52 foot flat-top in the past installed in my attic. A couple of years ago my XYL suggested we purchase a kids play house which is homemade from a set of plans you buy with all the wood. She also sold me on this as a potential base to mount an antenna, so off to work I went and Bob Villa would have been prood of me!

Last year it hit me to build and attach to this playhouse a simple wooden mast constructed of 3 - 2x4's each 10feet long. I would use a 10 foot long PVC pipe then attached to that via 2 large U-Bolts to reach a final height of 25 feet. I put an L-bracket on the top of the pipe with hose clamps and a pulley with rope and I had a short but solid mast to hold the center of my G5RV antenna. I sloped the 2 legs down to nearby trees and Bam! New aerial in the air, low but still in the clear and on top of a NJ mountain too boot!

So here it is, 2 digtital photos of my present installation. Antenna works VERY well on 20 & 40 meters with my rigs internal tuner, and my MFJ-949 external tuner gets me on the other bands. Its not a great performer on 15 meters compared to my attic dipole cut for that band, but does OK. On 20 no problems working DX and just last nite on 40 meter CW I worked 8Q7DV Maldives (that's an all time new one for me!) and 4X4FC in Israel. All with just 100 watts by the way. No neighbors are complaining of this contraption (at least not yet) so as long as it doesn't cause any rukus, its there for good.

I simply used galvanized deck screws for attaching the 2x4's together, drilled a few holes for the PVC pipe (rigid type, not the thin walled type) and put this together in about an hour. It was easy to drag up to the playhouse and mount via some 2 x 6 wooden brackets, also attached via deck screws. Has withstood 45 MPH gusts so far and hardly sways at all in a stiff breeze. I wish it was more like 35-40 feet high for 40 meters but I am not that brave to make such a big mast in this neighborhood.

So even though you may have to live with CC&R's, depending on your neighbors you may be able to get away with this mast/playhouse option to get an aerial up and in the clear. If so let me know how it turns out and see you on the low bands!

73's de N2LK

Member Comments:
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Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by NV2A on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
If I lived in a place that was that restrictive about antennas, I'd put up a 50 crank up clothes pole, the kind with a "top hat" to hang the clothes on and let them look at that for awhile.

I understand not everyone wants to live next to someone with tons of metal in the air but you should be allowed at least one tower. Flag poles are okay?
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by K5END on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

What seems odd to me is how they remove all the trees, and the houses are so close to each other that at first glance at the pictures I thought it was an apartment complex.

Yet antennas are verboten because of architectural reasons (?)

What am I missing here. Or is it the obtuse who are missing something?
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by KY6R on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
(Build or buy a short hatted vertical dipole).

You could buy a Force-12 Sigma 40 and feed it with ladder line going to an SGC remote autotuner, and you will have 40M - 10M in a 24' package.

Put a couple plastic flower pots on the capacity hats and the neighbors will complement you on your "garden trellis".
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by W3NRL on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Great article ...Being creative is all part of being a ham. I've made many contraptions that i still use today .
Just have doing your creations !!!
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by W6WBJ on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Let's see if I understand this: the same hams who continually concoct "rules" against whatever they don't want to hear now appear to advocate violating their CC&Rs.

And I didn't think the morbidly-obese ham radio community could lose any more credibility. What a bunch of hypocrites!
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by N3OX on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
"And I didn't think the morbidly-obese ham radio community could lose any more credibility."

Why do we need credibility? I can just win the argument by sitting on you ...

 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by KD5SFK on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Hey John, I'm not sure when this was originally posted, but I wonder if the mast is still up? Did the neighbors ever complain? I'm guessing that running CW you didn't cause any noticeable QRM to the nieghbors' computer speakers and other cheap audio equipment. I have found that avoiding QRM with the neighbors goes a long way toward their tolerance of such "prohibited" antennas.
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by K5END on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!

A fellow ham told me that because his antenna installation was built to fold over and disappear, it qualified as "temporary." And there is nothing in the CC&R about a temporary antenna. Home run.

More over, if there is no complaint and/or no evidence, no there is no violation.

 
Cool Mast for CC&R Hams  
by N8NSN on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
That is a pretty nice set up for a CC&R restrictive area. John must have had some really permissive neighbors (which is not the norm) it would appear.

Creative ? Yes. Lived in a few places during the years where I had to be innovative with stealth or "quick up/quick down" antenna systems. Being "stealthy" had a way of actually adding intrigue into the hobby. Studying the how & why they work aspects of antennas has become a favorite part of the hobby. The math hasn't changed. The theories remain the same. The situation that does change is that antennas perform differently from one location to another. There ARE ways to squeeze 135 feet of wire into a postage stamp residential lot AND make it work. It can become rather frustrating (in a driving way) to try out so many different arrangements until, at last, an OP finds a system that produces the desired results. Finding "the one that works" delivers a sense of accomplishment.

I always like these kind of articles (even the "re-runs") because they generate a wealth of ideas for people to roll around in. The articles with pictures are particularly interesting.

Thanks E-Ham and Thanks John if you still follow these forums
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by K5END on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
The proportion of "obesity" amongst the hams I know is no more than I see in the general population.

On the other hand, we're only one county away from the most obese demographic in the nation.

Pass the fries, and bring some more gravy.
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by WA9AFM on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Slick! Let's see.....that play structure sure looks like a ship, and every ship needs a radio shack, and if it has a radio shack, it needs a good antenna!
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by K4RAF on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Looks 'beautiful' but what do you tell the curious i.e. "What is it?"

Raf
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by KA4KOE on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I"d shove a nice TV antenna up a mast and flash the OTARD rule at that point, and then end feed the whole arrangement like a vertical.

Heh heh.

PAN
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by KE3HO on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
What seems odd to me is how they remove all the trees, and the houses are so close to each other that at first glance at the pictures I thought it was an apartment complex.

Yet antennas are verboten because of architectural reasons (?)

What am I missing here. Or is it the obtuse who are missing something?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

You are not of the body. You will be absorbed. All hail Landrew!

Or, if you are too young for that one, how about:

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

:-)

73 - Jim
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by WB2WIK on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article and photos.

If I were moving to Hackettstown I'd find a place without any restrictions -- really easy to do in Warren County!

Bill K2OWR sold his place a couple of years ago on a hilltop >1000' high overlooking Hackettstown. He had 11 acres, hilltop, 600' driveway, absolute privacy, lovely neighborhood (close to Rt. 46), five towers and nine beams for HF...all for probably about what the tract home on the 1/6 acre cost.

:-)

But for those who must live with covenants, the solution described here seems a good one and will hopefully motivate others.

Nice job

WB2WIK/6
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by N3MMH on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I use a ground mounted Huster 6BTV. After I put it up just a few months ago, I realized that the bright shiney aluminum is easy spotted from a distance. A quick trip to the paint store for some black spray paint solved that problem. It virtually disappears now.

Cheers & 73
Todd - N3MMH
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by KU2US on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, the 6BTV..I live on a small finger lake in New York State (Conesus Lake). My lot is narrrow but long. I have whack-job neighbors. No antenna ordinances, but my neighbors called the local FCC and DEC (Dept.of environmental Conservation). They complained that my G5RV was killing my 100' cottonwood tree?? Both agencies came down to my house and left laughing. BUT, I feel like I live in restricted housing because of these jerks. In comes the 6BTV..Erected it in my back yard-ground mounted, buried the cable & radials (9) under the turf, and placed a small (4'x 5') American flag on the top of it..Took down the G5RV. My neighbors complimented my patriotism and were thrilled. The IDIOTS have no clue what it is..No more complaints..
 
RE: FOLLOW-UP  
by KU2US on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I forgot-My neighbors asked me what that black cable was, attached to the bottom of the flag-pole 6BTV! I told them it was a ground wire for lightning. They believed me, and now think I am some kind of electrical guru.. :) ... (Waiting for the 1500W amp to arrive-have no answer for that one yet, I will blame it on the Chicken Banders-HiHi).
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by WX4O on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I don't have CC&Rs but I do have limited funds. 2 or 3 years ago I built a 30 ft mast from heavy duty PVC, tapering via smaller sizes. I stuck each section roughly 2 feet into the next and used 2 bolts to hold 'em. The only thing that holds the mast up is a couple of bolts in the soffit. It supports my Cobra ultralite jr. perfectly. I only wish I painted it flat green.
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by NU6A on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I like your idea of the Heavy Duty PVC and the Cobra Ultra lite (I presume antenna). Would tell me where you came upon the Cobra and please describe the PVC piping. There are lots of Home Depot and Lowe's store in my neighborhood and I would like to do some investigating of those places for the plastic pipe. Also, are you using any type of rotator (other than the Armstrong variety), and if so, which one?

By the way, I live near Seattle in a town with a 25 ft height restriction (primarily aimed at home heights) but there is nothing mentioned in the Municipal Code about antennae - NOTHING AT ALL.

de John/NU6A
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by KB2DHG on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Having to go from a house with an antenna farm to die for to an apartment with restrictions has been to say the least very depressing for me.
I was able to get a G5RV up on the roof about 20' high. My performance with this arangement has been poor. I keep calling CQ but rarely make contacts...
At times (I guess when conditions are good) I do get out but DX is impossable...

If I can only get a small beam up and one or two dedicated dipoles I would be OK...
Our hobby is an asset to the comunity and really we DO NOT cause any harm to anyone... I look out of my apartment window and see all these TV dishes and have to say to myself WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

we have just been victoms of laws, rules and regulations that have NO PLACE in our hobby.

It is ALL BS... Soceiety should never be allowed to halt our enjoyment of such a wonderful and necessary hobby!
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by W4VR on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Your mast certainly blends in with the decor! If those homes were any closer to each other, you could claim that you live in a condo complex.
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by WB2WIK on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams Reply
by NU6A on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
By the way, I live near Seattle in a town with a 25 ft height restriction (primarily aimed at home heights) but there is nothing mentioned in the Municipal Code about antennae - NOTHING AT ALL.<

::Hi John, I remember you from southern CA many years ago...think we used to chat on the BOMB Squad repeater...

::The Cobra Ultralight is not a rotatable or gain antenna, it's a dipole design intended to be strung between two supports, or installed as an inverted vee from a single higher support.

Re your town, the Municipal Code waives permit requirements for many things but does not waive them for antennas or towers. Section 14.030, 1(b) calls out the 2003 International Residential Code as the adopted standard "except for..." those things specifically waived. Antennas and towers aren't listed, but they also aren't waived. You have to refer back to IRC-2003 to get those details.

In any case, your town does seem to have a pretty loose municipal code regarding structures and I doubt you'd have a problem.

73

Steve WB2WIK/6

 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by N4JTE on August 8, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Darn, that place looks like my worst nightmare, not your installation, but the proximity of all those two story monoply houses, hope you got some good blackout curtains. I applaud you for getting anything on the air in that zero lot line development, great job and don't forget to close the curtains.
Bob
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by N0AH on August 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Looks like one of thos invisable GAP antennas-
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by AC7NA on August 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
NU6A says:

"By the way, I live near Seattle in a town with a 25 ft height restriction (primarily aimed at home heights) but there is nothing mentioned in the Municipal Code about antennae - NOTHING AT ALL."

WA state passed PRB-1 legislation way back in 1994; specifically RCW 35.21.315, RCW 35A.21.260, and RCW 36.32.600. Here is a direct quote:

No city or town shall enact or enforce an ordinance or regulation that fails to conform to the limited preemption entitled "Amateur Radio Preemption, 101 FCC 2nd 952 (1985)" issued by the federal communications commission. An ordinance or regulation adopted by a city or town with respect to amateur radio antennas shall conform to the limited federal preemption, that states local regulations that involve placement, screening, or height of antennas based on health, safety, or aesthetic considerations must be crafted to reasonably accommodate amateur communications, and to represent the minimal practicable regulation to accomplish the local authority's legitimate purpose.


[1994 c 50 1.]

I live in Vancouver, WA where the county (Clark) has adopted this into their county ordinances...there are no restrictions up to 70ft. Above that, a building permit is required.

Brian AC7NA
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by CBISBACK on August 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
N4JTE Wrote:
"Darn, that place looks like my worst nightmare, not your installation, but the proximity of all those two story monoply houses, hope you got some good blackout curtains"

The arrogance of your statement is breathtaking. Lot's of people in this country live in condo, patio home and town house developments.

Maybe you're lucky enough to have a mega lot with miles of separation from neighbors. But many of us don't have that luxury and we're proud of our lowly condos, town homes and patio homes.

 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by N5BSD on August 9, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I think the best I have heard of, was a fellow that used a tower trailer (talk about temporary HI HI ), and simply cranked up his 33 footer when he wanted to operate, he would move it 5 feet forward and back every couple weeks, and since it was A. not a permanent structure and B. was behind his fence the HOA nazis had no way to really call him to task for his structure (true I believe he was using a small tri-band 3 element so not to large when down)
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by AH6FC on August 10, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
NV2A et al,

They don't usually allow clothes lines either...

Good ideas in all! If at all possible, don't buy where there are CC&Rs...it's all bad....busybody neighbors looking for violations, boards quick to provide "warnings" and assesments, and it does nothing to protect property values.



73, AH6FC/7
 
RE: Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by W6ONV on August 11, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I did not lie to my neighbors about what I was trying to accomplish. Why should I? I needed their support in order to present my immediate neighbors with a petition to sign, explaining what I wanted to do, the possibility of EMI/RFI and what I would do if there were problems caused by my operating.

Previously I had a 6BTV hidden under painted PVC as a flagpole, but a January storm snapped the aluminum mast in half, so I did not want to go back to the flagpole idea. I raised the antenna, contacted the HOA manager and explained what I wanted to do. She said there were not guarantees, but I decided to proceed.

I presented a letter, with photos and the petition to the HOA board of directors. After answering their questions and explaining why I want to have an antenna in a CC&R community. All but one of the individuals were fully supportive. The one "nay" vote said it looked ugly and should not be erected. Guess she has not looked as some of the front yards in the neighborhood.

I won my case and the 6BTV has been raised for 5 months now without any problem.

73, Steve W6ONV
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by AC3P on August 11, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
No CC&R here but I have a Mini-Quad waiting to go up on the roof. When the neighbors ask me about it I plan to tell them it's for the new digital TV signals that take effect in 2009.
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by KC6SLA on August 20, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I like your set up. I did the exact same thing when I had a play set to attach to (it has sense been removed). I used a couple of TV antenna masts and had them attached to the top of the platform. I them used rope and some screws to tie them to to attach the mast when I wanted to get on the air. I gained 4 feet by attaching the mast to the platform and it really worked quite well. It only took a few minute to set up and was easy to store when not in use. It made everyone happy that way.
 
Easy Up Mast for CC&R Hams  
by W9LVM on August 21, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
When you move into a HOA you know that you have rules and you signed off on this issue! I moved into a HOA and put a request in for a small beam only 8 feet above house and got a okay but if they would have said no I would have had to do what they said because I moved into a HOA! No one made me move to a HOA, I did so and knew the rules! You can not cry because of rules that you knew were there!
 
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