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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Hidden Vertical

Frank Graves (K5OX) on February 4, 2013
View comments about this article!

I set up a vertical antenna in a rather unusual way and it seemed to make a difference.

I have been using a Hamstick mobile vertical inside my shack which happens to be in the master bedroom.

The cathedral ceiling peaks at about 15 feet. This allowed me to screw in the desired hamstick for the band I was operating. I used a heavy duty photo tripod for getting the base of the antenna up about 4 feet. I also made a counterpoise for a few bands and let them dangle almost to the floor.

This is a one story house and I didn't expect the counter poise to really couple to ground through a foot of concrete.

I used it this way for a month but found it a bit touchy to match especially if I move any of the counterpoises.

I didn't want to put it outside due to the usual CC&R situation but I felt that getting the radials outside would help.

My windows were 8 foot high and had Dacron solar screens installed. I tried enlarging some of the mesh holes just a little to get my 18 gauge insulated hookup wire fished through the holes. Next I went outside and pulled the wires through and hid them in the bushes about a foot or two off the ground.

Then back inside I shut the window on the whole thing.

Turned on the radio and noticed that my auto tuner found a match quickly and I could move frequency more without the match changing. So it seemed to help bandwidth.

On receive I had a noticeably higher noise level but the stations heard were longer distances than before.

It seems I used to hear mostly loud stations that were 700 or 800 miles away. More like a low dipole. But now with the radials/counterpoises outside it sounded more like a vertical. Higher noise and longer range. Lots of 1400-1500 mile stateside coming in. I havenít tested it for DX yet I haven't been on when the band is open or early evening or morning to see what I can find.

I can now run as many radials as I want and longer not restricted by inside space. The only headache is changing bands. I have to screw in another Hamstick.

For those not familiar with Hamsticks. They are base loaded verticals with a 3/8 inch stud that screws into a variety of mounts. I bought MFJ sticks but there are other brands. I like the MFJ and they are only $15.

This could take many different forms. But if you are on the first floor and have a window in the right spot this type of indoor/outdoor setup may be for you.

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Hidden Vertical  
by W4MMR on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting idea with the vertical. I am also in the CCR thing and have an attic dipole and a crappie pole with an end-fed 6-40 that I use at night. Between those two, the dipole is much better, I can use it 24/7, and tune it to 6 - 40m including WARC with my radio's tuner. Recently, however, I tried a delta loop cut for 15M hanging from a shelf with the flat of the triangle on the floor and have had great luck with that in the house. As ean example, I worked Fredericksburg TX from Myrtle Beach, SC ~1200 miles on PSK31 with 5 watts--not such a great feat but still very good for an antenna compromised by using it in the house. Good luck with your experimentation and thanks for the article.

mark
 
Hidden Vertical  
by K1WJ on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am using a MFJ-1979 17ft vertical, set up for 20m with 1 elevated 20m 1/4wave radial 4ft off the ground.
Retracts to 2ft+- when not in use. Can set up for 6m-20m. Great for HOA. Many contacts. See pic on QRZ under K1WJ call. 73 David.
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by VE3FMC on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I really admire the effort those hams go through to get on the air when they have restrictions on outdoor antennas.

It amazes me at what you guys do, and what you can make work so you can get on the air and make contacts.

Plus by reading threads one can always learn something important.

Again my hats off to those who operate under stealth conditions and make it work.

Rick VE3FMC
 
Hidden Vertical  
by AB1LT on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
MFJ makes a dipole mount for their hamsticks so you can mount 2 hamsticks and have a short, rotatable dipole with no ground needed. Anyone ever try that?
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by K1WJ on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yes I also have used the MFJ 20m sticks & their dipole mount - elevated about 27ft up - good for 100khz below 2-1 swr. This antenna would beat out a Hustler 4btv ground mounted with 32 ground radials by 1-2 s units on most days - in MI at the time. Also used MFJ dipole mount for 2 6m MFJ sticks - worked good again about 25ft up. 73 K1WJ David
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by W7AIT on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
YEAH, its called the BUDDIPOLE.....!
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by W7AIT on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
YEAH, its called the BUDDIPOLE.....!
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by KE7WAV on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have used a norcal doublet made of small gauge stranded speaker wire under the eaves of the house and right into a bedroom window. Its about impossible to see and I worked 40-10 with my tuner and had good results.
I don't have antenna restrictions but my dipole was damaged and I needed a quick and easy antenna until the weather cleared and I could get up to fix my fan dipole. It did much better than I expected and I left it up there a longer than originally planned because it was doing so well. The wire only cost me a couple of bucks and the design is simple and straight forward.

http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm

Give it shot sometime.
KE7WAV
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by WA8MEA on February 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I haven't used the MFJ whips. But I have used the Lakeview whips along with their own brand of dipole mount.

It worked fairly well. But....still doesn't work as well as my FULL SIZE portable dipole.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
Hidden Vertical  
by W7MJM on February 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"... I could move frequency more without the match changing. So it seemed to help bandwidth."

Wider SWR bandwidth often indicates increased loss in your antenna system. In the extreme case, a dummy load has great bandwidth but turns most of the RF energy into heat; SWR may be 1:1 from 3 to 30 MHz but hardly any RF power is being radiated.

Isolating your vertical system from earth ground by using above-ground resonant radials and an RF choke balun (coil of coax or W2DU-style balun) at the antenna feedpoint may actually improve radiation efficiency, as opposed to using a small number of radials that are on or in earth ground. Only if you have a significant number of in-ground radials (at least 16, 32 would be better), will such a system become more efficient than a vertical system using a smaller number of above-ground radials.

None-the-less, any antenna is better than no antenna. If you're getting on-air results that are acceptable to you, that's good. Just don't confuse increased SWR bandwidth with improved radiation efficiency or antenna performance. In any case, kudos to you for getting on the air and experimenting with your antenna system.

73, Martin, W7MJM
 
Hidden Vertical  
by YL2TF on February 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
What really amazes me, that even in the Soviet Union there was special exemption passed through the legislature, on the "Federal level" allowing Amateur radio antennas to be installed, regardless of any restrictions or prohibitions, but Red White and Blue Glory still treating HAM radio as redheaded stepchild. Ironic or profusely exemplary illustrative of real state of affairs in regards of these matters?
 
Hidden Vertical  
by KB4QAA on February 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
1. Radials/counterpoises are not suppose to couple to earth. They are an alternate lower resistance path for flux return current. Copper is over a thousand times better conductor than earth.

2. A more stable impedance and flatter SWR curve is exactly what we should see by adding radials/counterpoises. Nothing wrong with your antenna system!
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by G3LBS on February 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I use a Transworld loaded vertical dipole at ground level between the crowded houses and consistently work Canada from South Carolina, SSB 100 watts, 20 and 15m.
It is about 8 ft high and black in color.
www.transworld.com
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by KC2GUY on February 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I use a transworld also. Its a vertical dipole so it is essentially radial independent. Performs better than my
dipole in different directions. Its really amazing performance. I was going to sell it as I moved my QTH, however I am keeping it in case I ever need a stealth
antenna. It is expensive...but worth it !
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by K9MHZ on February 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
That's an interesting point, Oleg. I remember working a number of Soviet stations "back in the day", and they did have nice signals, so presumably some nice antennas to go along with(?)

Hopefully without igniting a politics furball, I'd say that most U.S. hams are very independent-minded, and deeply distrusting of most things federal or centralized. The irony is that we'd probably rejoice over some kind of federal decree as you described.

But what we have short of that is a very convoluted mess of local laws and HOA restrictions, ie. decisions made at the local and even neighborhood level.
 
Hidden Vertical  
by TTOMAS59 on February 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My experience with hamstick type antennas was they only worked well with a magnet mount on vehicles. They never worked well with wire counterpoises. Probaby they already had the disadvantage of having coiled radiators.
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by K1WJ on February 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I also ran a 20m MFJ-stick mounted 2ft above the ground with a single 20m 1/4w radial also 2ft above the ground - made many contacts - used that for 1yr in rented HOA house in backyard. Worked just as well or better than mag mounted on roof of my truck. 73 K1WJ David.
 
Hidden Vertical  
by NQ4A on February 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations on operating behind closed doors.
My first thoughts would be how much RFI do you have in the shack? I had a GAP TitianDX antenna up close to the house and had to move it out away from the house as I was tripping ground fault devices, setting off smoke detectors and getting into TV Audio. So you must be experiencing some RFI. How do you deal with that?
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by G0EVA on February 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why not mount such a dipole vertically and get relly low angle DX antenna?
 
Hidden Vertical  
by KQ6Q on February 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
You 've done a good job optimizing for the situation. A way to simplify band changing - rather than a hamstick, use a 54" hustler mast, and their multi-resonator adapter - that way you can have three resonators on the mast, and they all work. Or you can have two of the adapters, and put four resonators on it. I tried with five, but I couldn't get enough spacing. I do also have a hamstick dipole on 40m, which works well. I have five triple magmounts on a metal mobilehome roof, with counterpoise wires on each for the bands that match the resonators. I use an Ameritron RCS8V to switch the antennas on the roof, so only one coax feed for the whole setup. I use Cat3 indoor/outdoor network cable to link the pieces of the RCS8V.
 
Hidden Vertical  
by TTOMAS59 on February 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My read is civil war is coming - the relatively responsible vs the hoi polloi. Though the hp out number us 70/30 half of them fear guns and most lack commitment or self discipline. Homeland dept and police will side with hp while the military sides with resps. Military prevails and some leaders disappear.

I hope my Omni C and 70ft EF work well the duration of 6 weeks.

Tim
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by W5WSS on February 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have built and am using an indoor elevated vertical with sets of two elevated radials per band from 20m to 10m., isolated from the Earthing ground and symmetrically routed around the baseboard.

Elevated horizontal radials serve better when they can all be traveling in 4 opposite directions for best system symmetry, and I suspect that when the measures taken to include the missing direction out the window and etc. balance restored and tuning became more suitable.

Symmetry within this kind of antenna system involves proper routing of elevated radials from a central point of origin relative to the feedpoint and outwards.

Holding all the radials to horizontal orientation will help the system balance because the radials will not radiate to the extent that pattern deviations beyond the system norma will be prevented.

Careful control of the radials produce a completion to the vertical radiating element.

Elevated horizontally oriented Radials will only cancel each other leaving only a remnant of their horizontal radiation occuring along with the vertical radiation.when they are placed opposite each other and traveling in opposite directions in their entirety.

I have mine working reasonably and expect no more than the antenna system can produce.

Thanks for posting your experience with one.

Enjoy and 73

 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by KE4KE on February 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, I have done that with the original Hamsticks. That worked very nicely outside. Inside I tried mounting it on the wall of the apartment. 40 meters worked, but 15 meter sticks ended up tuning on 17 meters and 10 didn't tune anywhere. There was too much coupling with the walls. The MFJ version stinger sags considerably and needs support. They are also longer than the old Hamsticks and just barely fit along the long wall of the room.
 
Hidden Vertical  
by KF7YDL on February 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm also HOA restricted. My CC&R's (rules) say "No Amateur radio transmissions without the unanimous consent of all property owners within a 500 foot radius of the transmitting site". Very difficult as 500 feet is about 200 homes. Impossible due to "unanimous". I think if you didn't get a response from just one owner that you haven't achieved "unanimous consent".

So, after temporally erecting a G5RV mini dipole in my downstairs (worked ok but not great). I gave the problem a lot of thought. My criteria was either a store bought or home brew made from hardware store or otherwise easily obtainable parts. It had to be reasonably stealthy as my yard is fairly private. It had to be able to be taken down easily in case I got busted.

I settled on a 20 foot fiberglass mast made from Army surplus 2 inch diameter 4 foot sections available from ebay for $50 for 12. The stuff is strong and very light. It turned out that the 4 foot sections were great for adjusting the height to "just right" for stealth. The mast is supported by two pick up truck nylon ratcheting load straps from my hardware store's "bargain bin". $9.99. I does need one additional guy.

I mounted a home brew 6 meter PVC dipole so that the top visually projected about a foot above the roof. This was painted primer red to match my tile roof and appears to be a vent pipe. This works great for our weekly 6 meter net. I can't wait until the band opens up.

For HF I have a 33 foot long end fed wire terminated with a ERAC matchbox (http://www.ebay.com/itm/251188649705?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649). The wire extends from the top of the mast and slopes down to the top of a 6 foot high property line concrete block wall. I had my doubts but it works great. Its no beam but when 20 meters was open last week I had QSOs to Brazil and the Caribbean. East coast of the US and all of Canada everyday. Great signal reports using 100 watts and a lot of the guys can't believe its only 33 feet of wire. The only setback is that its deaf to the South due to my home and to the West due to 1000 foot high cliffs a mile away. I may stick a wire up a tree on the South side of my home to fix this, but no hurry.

The 33 foot length was no accident and it works very well on 20 through 10 meters and OK on 40. ERAC says not to use a counterpoise or a common mode choke with the matchbox and that a tuner is a must. The wire extends directly over my pool and my next project is to ground the transceiver to the re-bar cage in the pool structure and create a huge ground plane. Might work and easy to try.

I left a provision on the mast to hang a discone for 2 meters and scanner use but haven't hung it yet.

So the bottom line was under $200, multipurpose and if I get busted no big deal to take down and go to plan B a store bought vertical on a tilt up mount.

I'll post a pic on my QRZ.com page.
 
Hidden Vertical  
by NT4G on February 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am always surprised by HAMS that move into exclusive neighborhoods and immediately attempt to suborn the rights of all the other people in the neighborhood who moved there specifically to get away from ugly steel and aluminum monstrosities and RFI that in any other area we beat our chests and tell them all about part 15. We find these antennae pretty. I do too but ..
Just move out in the country next to that 30 year old trailer and put up what you want. Or shut up.
 
Hidden Vertical  
by NT4G on February 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am always surprised by HAMS that move into exclusive neighborhoods and immediately attempt to suborn the rights of all the other people in the neighborhood who moved there specifically to get away from ugly steel and aluminum monstrosities and RFI that in any other area we beat our chests and tell them all about part 15. We find these antennae pretty. I do too but ..
Just move out in the country next to that 30 year old trailer and put up what you want. Or shut up.
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by K7FD on March 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Another option to a hidden antenna is to operate internet remote from your home to another location. Don't rule out finding a 'non-ham' somewhere to 'sponsor' a location for a simple ham antenna in a non-restricted antenna area. If you are creative, strike a deal with a non-ham friend, relative, or acquaintance that has a great antenna location and internet access. Ask them if they would mind being part of your hobby; maybe your aunt or uncle wouldn't mind you setting up a remote station in their garage or in an out of the way nook or cranny. $50 a month rent or a dinner out once a month might seal the deal...

The 'Remote Rig' black boxes from HRO make remote operating super simple while maintaining 'real radio' feel with a detachable faceplate radio such as a Kenwood TS-480...

73 John K7FD
 
Hidden Vertical  
by KB6PJU on March 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have always wanted a Sterba Curtain, and Christmas lights left up are an excellent way to start one,draped along the eaves,and left there all year.
As long as you don't use the neon Christmas lights........they would light up like a closed gas station and CB Whip antennas w/power.
Might make a neat display,until someone asks how you make them "dance".............
 
Hidden Vertical  
by K5JOA on March 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The Transworld 2010 antenna is an amazing vertical antenna. If any ask just tell them it's a fancy TV antenna.
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by KB2HSH on March 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KQ6Q:

THANKS for the idea! I am in an efficiency apartment, and I have basically the same problem here. Using the Hustler mobile resonators along with the triple-mount...and the dipole bracket...this could be what I'm looking for. (Before everyone mentions a random wire or a dipole...there are no trees close enough...and I can't afford an AlexLoop or similar). But this just might work!

Thanks again!

John KB2HSH
Elma, NY
 
RE: Hidden Vertical  
by NZ5L on March 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm glad you found a solution that works for you. My overriding big question is: Why do hams buy into developments with CCR and HOA restrictions in the first place? Surely there are places to buy where you can have antennas without limit, although they may be further from a job or shopping area. Housing developments are a relatively recent phenomenon (to me) and most older, single-family homes have no such restrictions, although they may require some maintenance work. If Ham Radio is a big part of your life, why voluntarily limit yourself to a hidden dipole or other minimalist solution? Not saying we should all have a 70' tower and tribander, but a backyard dipole in the trees would certainly make ham radio more viable, and still not bring down the wrath of your neighbors.
 
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