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Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me

JOHN SCHREINER (N2LK) on October 11, 2004
View comments about this article!

Indoor Attic Antenna's-Always Surprises Me!

I have been an active, albeit casual HAM for 15 years. By casual I mean I spend more time in the Fall/Winter DX'ing and Contesting then the rest of the year due to my sport fishing disease. I have confirmed 202 Countries, have DXCC (and on 3 bands, just need 8 more for 40 meters) and when my wife and kids let me, I can work hundreds of stations in many contests with stations worldwide on numerous modes.

In this time I have played with more wire antenna designs than you can imagine all with the limitation of no real trees or other supports available. The G5RV-Jr (52 foot flat-top) can be quite an effective radiator for 10-40 meters and I have used that and other commercial antenna's as well (Cushcraft R5 for example). All under less then ideal land conditions. They have been strung from my house to ground stakes, buried in tree's only 25 feet high and strung in attics, all bent back on themselves and curved to fit the small space available.

In all this fun of experimentation for us who cant have towers and big beams, I have come to a conclusion that although outside antenna's are nice, my attic dipoles do just as good a job, and don't pick up too much additional electrical noise to warrant me changing them. Now if I had 2-100ft. tall pine tree's on 2 acres of land I would have a full size Carolina Windom up there in a minute, but I don't and having an R5 in the backyard or stringing the shorty G5RV up 25 feet in the backyard does not improve over my attic fan dipole, much to my surprice once again this weekend.

I have a 15/20 meter coax fed fan dipole in the attic which performs well, in fact I took the R5 down since it was perhaps annoying to the neighbors, was a lightning hazard and did not do any better then my attic antenna. I took my G5RV from the attic and made a 25 ft. tall mast out of 2x4's last Fall, 03 and strung it in my backyard. Iworked alot but it never blew my ears away vs. when it was in my attic. I had the left over wire still in the attic for the G5RV, just soldered them to my existing dipole, and with my rig's tuner I had a 40 meter dipole (only 52 feet long and taking multiple bends in the attic). On top of that my HVAC is in the attic and that must add some nice lobes to my radiated patterns! During the CQWW RTTY this past weekend I worked stations throughout EU into Russia, Greece and SA as wel, all on 40 meters and 100 watts. I just keep getting surprised on how well these antenna's can be for working all the bands, not just 10-20 meters.

Bottom line if you live in a community where antennas are frowned upon (amazing such a thing could exist!) then don't give up hope on making solid DX QSO's. Use your attic and you will be just as surprised as me how effective they can be. Don't worry about wire being in straight lines, make what bends you have too to make the length of wire fit, use good coax, a balun and proper safety and you will work the world.



Member Comments:
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Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by LNXAUTHOR on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
- WoW! this article appears on the morning i'm getting ready to install an attic/garage stealth diipole!

- had to use a semi-stealth Windom at the last QTH; the townhouse condo community would not allow antennas, but i put in a $10 antenna with a 23' horizontal leg in the attic w/a 45' vertical leg down the side of the townhouse, drooped behind a tall tree...

- no one ever knew the antenna was there, and it worked great on 40 through 10...

- we're now at a new QTH where the HOA allows antennas w/the restriction that the antenna may not be visible from the front of the house... i'll put up an outside antenna eventually (too much other work to do just yet), but i do have some time to put one up in the attic over the garage...

- there are quite a few good ideas in the various ARRL antenna books, and certainly other approaches than wire in the attic, but the bottom line is that it helps to put up the best antenna you for your situation - and get on the air...

- that is, unless you're into IRLP or Echolink....

RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KG4RUL on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Attic antennas are a great idea, unless your attic is like mine.

The house is 22' wide by 60' long. The roof is supported by engineered trusses. In the middle of the house is a Great Room.

The trusses in most of the house, while difficult to manuever through, allow for passage of an antenna with adequate clearances. The Great Room trusses have only about a foot of space between the roof sheathing and the ceiling sheetrock. This space is filled with electrical wiring, a TV cable and telephone run, two HVAC ducts (foil wrapped) and insulation with foil facing.

Ah, the joys of modern construction techniques.

Dennis / KG4RUL
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by AC9TS on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I am a causal operator (~100 contacts a year) and have nothing but attic antennas. Notice I didn't say attic dipoles. I do have my original 20M dipole that I put up when I first got re-licensed. I also have a couple of MicroVerts for 40M and am going to add one today for 30M (as another thread here says it's the place to be). The MircoVerts don't take a lot of room and actually work pretty good. I work mostly PSK and CW. These modes are pretty effecient in themselves and almost make up for the lack of size of the antenna.

Tom - AC9TS

More MicroVert Info:
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by K3YD on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
While reading this article I thought of Tom Shiller's (Mr. Force-12) experiments using a lightbulb for an antenna.

Compared to that lightbulb, an attic antenna is a great radiator! We hams continually prove a tongue-in-cheek comment I once read in QST about Gooch's Paradox which states "RF gotta go someplace!"

Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by G7TMU on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My experience with attic antennas has been much the same. I am not supposed to have external antennas at my QTH and have always used a half-size G5RV in my attic. Worked 120+ countries so far with it and worked 300+ contacts in the recent CQWW RTTY contest, so can't be too bad, all with 50w of RTTY!

My attic is about 35 feet wide, so the G5RV is bent a bit at the ends to fit and is tuned with an MFJ 901B ATU. Works fine 10m to 40m, but not surprisingly doesn't like 80m much and nor does it match too well on the WARC bands.

My web site has more info on my very limited setup -

Victor G7TMU
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by K0RFD on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KG4RUL Wrote:

"The house is 22' wide by 60' long. The roof is supported by engineered trusses. In the middle of the house is a Great Room."

On the floor of the Great Room are a gold key and a small bottle.

Get key

You have a gold key

Get bottle

You have a small bottle. It is full of liquid. On the bottle there is a label written in EBCDIC

Read label

The label says "XYZZY"

Sorry Dennis, but that part of your post sounded so much like a line from "Adventure" that I just had to...

RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by WIRELESS on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In the past I have used many attic antennas (sometimes I could have put up outdoor antennas but was too lazy)and they are greatly underestimated. An antenna in a second story attic probably will work about the same as a typical dipole put up outside. Small Vhf and Uhf beams work well too. Short antennas require #8 wire for the antenna, heavy duty size open wire, and a very good tuner will produce good results.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by LID2LID on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>The label says "XYZZY"

>Sorry Dennis, but that part of your post sounded so much >like a line from "Adventure" that I just had to...

Hihi, that's hilarious!

I see no antenna here.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W9WHE-II on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have worked 256 countries with a fan dipole laying flat on top of the peaked roof of my home. Don't dismiss such low profile antennas.

Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N4ZOU on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Another type antenna to look at for attic installations is the Magnetic Loop. It's very small when compared to any other type antenna. There are drawbacks to using this type of antenna but a well-built Magloop can perform as well as a full size dipole. Recently I built a portable Magloop for the 20 and 40-meter bands to take camping. I was constantly having trouble using trees in the campground. There either were none suitable or even available or the manager would demand they come down. Once I woke up late one morning and a maintenance crew had simply removed it for me! I just had about 3 feet of coax left running out of the camper where they had cut it off. My Magloop uses two 8' ft long 1" round fiberglass poles with a 3/8 bolt in the middle holding them which allows them to swing out to form an "X" or fold up into one slender length of two poles. Bungee cord stretches the old RG-8 coax element of 20 ft, which uses the shield for the radiator. An old split stator capacitor provides tuning to any part of the 20-meter band with a drive motor and another peace of RG-8 coax used as a capacitor is attached to the variable capacitor to add capacitance for use on 40 meters. My Magloop is an example of how not to build one but I still make contacts with it while out camping. Best of all it only takes a few minutes to setup and use. Doing a Google on Magnetic Loop and Magloop will provide many sites devoted to providing information on building your own Magloop. One good one to point out is
This site has information and drawings on making your own variable capacitor!
I am in the process of making this Butterfly capacitor with copper sheet metal. I am using Aviation snips to cut the copper for the stator and rotor parts that is very easy to do; it just takes time to do it. Another good site is
This site has good information and details on building Magloop antennas for the low bands and in attics.
Here is a link to pictures of my fold up Magloop.

I just wish I had a better camera!

RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W4CNG on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I've had mine up for 5 years now, and they continue to perform well. The biggest challenge is getting the center as high as possible, and making the bends at the same point on each end. My DX-EE is a true inverted V with the center at 15ft and the ends at 5ft above the floor, my 75/60 meter dipole is roughly 6ft above the floor all the way around. The only QRM issue is on 75 meters into the phone system, but only a small issue at 100watts, it's a large issue at 800 watts. The main caution is to maintain clearance between the wire and anything up there. I am maintaining 34-36 inches from all wood, and 36-60 or more inches to HVAC piping. The attic above the second story makes for 30 or so feet above ground.
Steve W4CNG
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W0MHZ on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I've been happy with an inverted "L" I installed in my single story home. From an SGC auto-coupler at ground level, the wire goes up through the ceiling, then horizontal under the peak of the roof for 67 foot total length. Tunes nine amateur bands, not visible, not subject to wind damage, unlikely lightning target.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N4LI on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Attic antennas can be great, but there are some caveats:

1. Remember to be safe. Voltages at the ends of dipoles can get very high. Be conscious of fire hazard. Further, use of traps in an attic can be hazardous. If the traps catch fire outside, it's annoying; if they catch fire in the attic, it's potentially tragic.

2. Expect some wacky RFI. Attics are full of wiring, etc., that can be sink-holes for RF. In my case, I found out the hard way that my fire alarm was resonant to 40m. One visit from my local fire department on my first night on HF opened my eyes. Be prepared.

That being said, I have had good results with attics. In my previous home, I knocked out DXCC in about 18 months, and QRP/DXCC in about a year. VUCC on 6m came from a 3-element rotatable up there.

There is a lot to be said for not worrying about wind, ice, and to a lesser extent, lightning.

Peter, N4LI
by W8KQE on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
When I first got licensed in NJ as a young pimply teen circa 1977, my very first setup was a Heathkit HW-16 CW rig, with an HG-10 VFO (using a Heath electronic paddle/keyer) and a 15m attic dipole. I was in the throes of explaining my newfound hobby to my parents, and imploring them to let me put an antenna up on their roof, initially to no avail. So I snuck a dipole into the attic 'for now' (after about a year, they finally let me put up a small 'junior tribander'... go figure!). Anywho, the dipole was only about 25 feet above the ground sitting just under the peak of the roof, and I remember working tons of DX with it. Even got into VK and ZL, no problem! Of course the then current cycle was on it's way up and conditions were great, but I will never forget the sheer, pure unadulterated thrill my spartan setup gave me, including an appreciation for simplicity and QRP!!! Recently from my OH QTH, I have also had much luck with a simple 6m attic loop, working well over 150 grids with it over the last 2 years, before I placed it outside.
by K3AN on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Once you've had even a half-decent outdoor antenna, you willl probably be disappointed using an indoor or attic antenna. There is NO COMPARISON between the indoor wire I have now versus the 130' end-fed wire I had up in the trees at the last QTH. Can you work stations with indoor/attic antennas? Yes. Are they better than nothing? Yes. But that's about it.
by WB2WIK on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Good article!

Surely operator skill, timing and patience make a lot of difference in this equation.

But the indoor (attic) dipole or anything else still isn't much of an antenna, when you do comparative analysis.

When I call CQ and get multiple replies, I try to complete as many contacts as possible quickly so I can make comparisons between stations' signals and it never fails: The strong guy calling is using a beam on a tower, and the 20 weaker guys aren't...and often, they are neighbors so the direct comparisons are valid.

Just this weekend I worked a station in Florida who was maybe 55 (on SSB) with a lot of fading and some difficulty copying on a band with marginal conditions (as 17m was closing down, after sunset). His neighbor (literally) broke in using a 6 element beam at 70 feet and almost blew me out of my chair with a very solid "59 Plus" signal, same frequency, same time -- same locations! The first station was running a doublet (G5RV or something) at about 25 feet. Difference? When the band's open, I could hear the "little pistol" just fine. When the band was closing, I couldn't, but could continue to work his "big gun" neighbor for another 45 minutes after the first guy faded out entirely.

Everything's relative, and timing and skill help a lot!


Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N4KZ on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Many years ago I had moved into a new home during the winter. It was too cold to put up an antenna outside so I strung up about 40 feet of wire in the basement where my new shack was located. The antenna was 3 to 4 feet up from the floor and end fed. I had no trouble making lots of contacts on 40 and 15 meters. I didn't work any DX during the 3 weeks or so that I used the basement antenna but the point is it worked and much better than I had anticipated. So, attic antennas will do even better.

I am blessed to have some acreage now, tall trees and a tower but I sure wouldn't hesitate to use an indoor antenna if that was my best opportunity to erect an antenna and the only way I could operate HF.

I have worked many QRP operators on CW who are running 5 watts into indoor antennas and making many contacts. It's the same now for PSK31.

If you must erect an indoor antenna, watch the power output. Too much RF can be dangerous to you, your family and others and besides, backing the power down will keep your neighbors happier by reducing the likelihood of RFI problems.

73, Dave
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KU4UV on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have lived in an apartment with an attic now for almost 5 years, upon graduating from college and moving to another city. I have dipoles in my attic for 10, 15, 17, 20 and 40 Meters. I had to do so zig-zagging with the 40 meter dipole to get it to fit my attic space, but it works. I usually work only CW on 40, and I amazed that I can put a signal out as far as I have with the dipole as low as it is. I have snagged some pretty good DX with my 10 meter dipole antenna and a 25 Watt mobile rig. I don't expect to bust many pileups, but for now I am happy with the station I have, at least until I win the lottery and can buy that Icom 7800 with the 200 foot towers and stacked beams! There is a great article in this month's CQ about what it takes to be a succesful Dxer. Surprise, it's not all about high power and big antennas, skill and patience helps too. Hope to catch you guys on the air!

RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N6AJR on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I love the fan dipole, and they do work, even in an attic, I too had one streched across a roof held up on childrens 2 inch square alphabet blocks, but it worked.

True, it is not a 4 element tribander at 50 feet, but it ain't bad..

remember any antenna is better than no antenna at all,
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W4KPA on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I knew a guy in a restricted neighborhood in Washington, DC, who told me he had a tri-band beam in the attic. Of course, he couldn't turn it, but he had it oriented toward Europe, and he was pretty happy with it.

Years ago when I lived in an apartment community, I had a 130-foot random wire that came out of the back of the tuner and then snaked its way around through every room of the apartment. I ran a TS-520 on it for seven years. RF on some bands made the smoke detector chirp and set off the ringer on one of the phones, but other than that it worked ok. I regularly checked into the state 75 meter net, and during the top of the sun spot cycle in 79-80, I talked all over the world.

I have a 20-6 meter fan dipole in the attic here that I put up when I first moved into the neighborhood. I kept it after I got the outside antennas put up, just as a supplement and as an emergency back up. I don't think anybody would choose an attic antenna over an outside one, but they're might handy when you can't do anything else. Just last week I checked in mobile to the Maritime Mobile Service Net when K5MP was calling the net with an attic antenna. He'd lost his outside ones to Hurricane Jeanne. In a pinch they work.
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KB2HSH on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I agree totally! Attic antennas DO work...and for what others have called a compromise is better than most for less-than-ideal conditions. When I had antennas in the attic, I even had a 2-meter groundplane up there. It was enough to work U5MIR in 1997.

I am a "Loop Convert". I am amazed DAILY by the performance of mine. How about a ladder-line fed loop running around the rafters? The "average" attic has approximately 120 feet perimeter. You could load it on 40-10, 80 with decresed performance. And, it will blow a random/stealth wire AWAY!

Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by K3WQ on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I've been using attic dipoles since I started shortwave listening in the mid 1970s. My current amateur station uses an attic dipole that's nearly 60 feet long (running along the roof peak) with the last eight feet on each end bent along the attic walls. It works quite well--or at least good enough for me. I can work overseas stations on CW and BPSK with no problem. And I've worked voice and SSTV to Europe and South America with it.

I actually have a good selection of tree in the back yard that could well support an outdoor antenna. On the other hand, outdoor antennas are a bother because they require maintenance and are something of a lightening hazard.

-Dave, K3WQ
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W0FM on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I couldn't agree more. I've used attic antennas of one form or another for about 10 years. Have over 230 countries confirmed with 100 watts and an Alpha-Delta DX-EE in the attic.

This weekend, I gave a quick call to a station in Bermuda on 12M. After signing with him I heard A35RK call the VP9. When they were done I moved up a few and called CQ DX. Paul, A35RK in Tonga answered immediately and we enjoyed a very nice 30 minute chat.

Would I rather have a 100 ft tower and a beam. Certainly. But I learned a long time ago, make the most of what you've got.

As they say....Attic antennas are better than a sharp stick in the eye!


Terry, WFM
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by K1CJS on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Not to get off subject or start a "That ain't a real antenna" type of argument, but I have two Isotron antennas mounted in my attic, both a 40 meter and an 80 meter. Although I don't (read: cannot yet) work HF, the reception is good even for a compromise antenna in a compromise location, and the friends that I have over that can work HF have made some longer distance contacts.

If you need to, compromise locations can work, even with compromise antenna!
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W6TH on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

Try a slinky. They work very well indoors and placed in the attic. Some problems at times with indoor antennae and that is to hear the buzz coming from the computers or the high voltage from the television sets.
Using two slinky's can get you on 75/80 meters.

The use of good coax can reduce the noise.

RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by G7HEU on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Ditto the other posters comments about ensuring there is no risk of starting a fire in the loft.

Since I was visited by the local planning officer ( a force to be reckoned with ) I am pretty much limited to an out-side doublet for H.F. and loft aerials for all higher bands.

Not a completely bad thing though as it compelled me to learn more about coax losses, true doublets, balanced feeder, balanced A.T.U.s, T.V.I. ( ! ), ferrites and more.

As others have already said, erect the most efficient antenna that you can manage and have fun!

Necessity is the mother of invention.


p.s. You'd laugh if you could see my occasional 'zig-zag' low dipole for 80Mtrs but it works very well for what it is.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by WB4QNG on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
They work. I have had outside antenna's and yes they are better but these are not too bad. I have 4 slinkies in my attic that makes a rough 80 meter dipole. It is about 40ft long. I can tune it 10-80 with my tuner. I also have hamsticks for 10-15-20. I use them as inverted L's. They seem to be a little better than the slinkies. I even have a 5/8 wave mag mount on a coffee can for two meters. I almost forgot my 6 meter dipole. While I would much rather have a 100 foot tower and beams these work and my neigbors are happy.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by AE6IP on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Put up what you can, and work what you will.

There's probably a big kick in having a big beam and a huge amp and being able to work the world.

There's definitely a kick in getting through with 10 watts and a dipole.

Somewhere in the middle for most of us. And it's just fine.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by AD4MZ on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Have had my 20m full size attic dipole up a couple of weeks. Had lots of rain at the time so I put it in the attic to test it before putting it outside. Now decided to leave it alone. Just put together the PSK-20 PSK31 transceiver kit and with 3 watts have had much fun working almost every station I can hear or see. Last week worked a VK6 from the East Coast USA and am now a believer in the attic antenna.


RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N5BEW on October 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
At one time I lived in a 4-plex apt building that had an attic about 55 feet long. The access to the attic was through my apt. I put a dipole up made from two metal slinky jrs and fed with coax. It worked ok but I had some arcing in the tuner on some bands. I then switched to 450 ohm ladder line instead of the coax and it tuned 75 to 10 just fine. I had a Kenwood TS-520se and a small MFJ tuner and I had lotsa fun.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by AL2I on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I QSOed with an Alaskan ham earlier this evening on 3922 and he is effectively using his rain gutter as an "inverted-L antenna".

Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KB2HSH on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

I often wondered about Isotron antennas. The physics of the antenna look OK, but being a skeptic, I debated whether or not it was true. You're yet another example of "It works for me". THANK YOU for the info. (Now I can contemplate getting one for my office for 15)


RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by AC7CW on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My MFJ Loop at about 15 feet works out ok. Signals are probably a couple of S units down from a beam at 75 feet but hey, I can get out ok. Legally, where I live I can put up a tower with little problem but I may never, I'm having fun.

Is there a contest for the non-competitive among us?? Maybe we should have a contest running barefoot and allowing only attic antennas!!
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N4XO on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
About 6 years ago, I lived in a very old house with a walk-around attic. I checked the roof beams discovered that I had room for 8 foot spacing on the vertical roof members at about head height. I constructed a HB9CV twin driven wire beam out of 300 ohm ribbon for 20 meters, fed 135 degrees out of phase with more 300 ohm joining the elements (1/2 twist), and tacked it all up to the rafters, with 8 feet between the elements ...esentially an indoor 2 element, full size 20 meter beam! The whole affair was about 30+ feet off the ground, and, since the house was oriented NE/SW (conveniently), it was broadside to just the right directions! Needless to say, it worked amazingly well into Europe, etc. Using an Icom transceiver and a 2KL 500 watt amp, 20db over 9 was not an infrequent report. Many could not believe I was using an indoor antenna! Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by WA1RNE on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
You would be surprised how well a 2 element, boom-less 10 meter beam works in the attic.

The beam is set up with a single director configuration spaced about 0.15-0.17 wavelength with no boom. Of course it's direction is fixed, but at the time I was interested in working Europe and my house is set so the ridge runs NE by SW.

Whalla; you hang the elements across the roof joists using masonary string and you're off and running.

Very noticeable improvement in performance over a dipole and took all of 1/2 hour to set up.

I also have a modified Cushcraft AR-2B sitting on the attic floor with some quarter wave radials added for better decoupling. Works great....
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KC8VWM on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It's a good thing my wife can't see the inside of my attic.

She once asked, "Whatever hapened to that copper pipe thingy you were building in the garage?"

"Oh, you mean the 3 element 6 meter beam I made?"

"Yeah, that weird thing" She Replied.

"Well honey, I stuck in the attic out of our way."

She replies; "Oh Good, for a minute I thought you were actually going to start using that ugly thing."


Charles - KC8VWM
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by AE0Z on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
One of the issues I am dealing with is an aluminum sided house. The attic is only shielded on the ends. Since the shack is in the basement, I am thinking of an inverted L. Run the vertical portion up the side of the house, and then into the attic. How far do I need to stay from the aluminum siding on that vertical portion?
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KE4ZHN on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Good article. Its amazing what you can do with simple wire and some imagination. Being forced to run an attic antenna is of course a compromise, but you can still have fun and make contacts and this sure beats nothing at all.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by ON4WIX on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

my XYL always complains I put the laundry line up way too high ;-)
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by WA0RJ on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I had an indoor Slinky antenna when I was first licensed as a Novice. I lived in a second story appartment and obtained permission from the landlord to hang it between two rooms through the hallway. I conntected two Slinkies together and fed them through one end. I used a Drake 2-NT transmitter and a Hallicrafters SX-101a receiver (still have them). That was back in 1978. I made contacts and had loads of fun, too.

All this talk about Slinkies has me all fired up about stringing some up in my attic. Maybe I'll get something for 40-10 and perhaps 80. I have a foil backed insulation issue on the end walls. I'll orient the Slinkies so the ends face the end walls and radiate through the roof.

Oh boy! I gotta find how well this will work. Anyway, it brings back some very fond old memories. Makes an old goat feel young again.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by K3TIN on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
From "LNXAUTHOR" (end of his post)

"- that is, unless you're into IRLP or Echolink...."


An otherwise really nice response to the article which has NOTHING to do with IRLP or ECHOLINK. Why the need for the "troll" at the end?

Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by WIRELESS on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Another kind of attic antenna (sorta) is laying wire along the apex of the roof on the outside. The ends can take a right angle along the roof edge if more room is needed. If the wire is at all close to the color of the shingles, its impossible to see. Laying wire on the roof is just as good as a few inches on the inside. I have heard every objection to laying antenna wire this way and every technical excuse isn't valid. Its works well even when the roof is wet..
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by AB8TM on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Indoor/Attic/Stealth antennas are a lot of fun and I think they do add something else to your enjoyment of ham radio.

Sometimes us indoor antenna guys are forced to "thinking out of the box" a little bit, and it can lead to some interesting projects and days.

I for one have 5 antennas in my attic! Some how I got a 102' foot G5RV to snake around the attic and come out a part of the attic for about 25 feet. I'm not sure if it was worth but it loads on 80 and 160 with my built in auto tuner (TS 570). It also gives me an extra antenna to switch to on 20, since I also have a 20 meter dipole.

Not ideal, but all I can do. :)
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KL7IPV on October 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My attic is 60 feet wide broadside north-south. I have a Slinky antenna I made from a Hi-Q dipole center mount and two slinkies spread across that space. I tune it with a MFJ-945E tuner. It works but NOT as well as my Explorer 14 beam did on 10-20. But it DOES work as good as my 5BTV did when it was planted outside. Since the sunspot cycle has us into the good times for the low bands, it seems to do what I need it to do for now. Maybe by the time the next cycle starts, I will have figured out a way to get a beam outside.
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W0FM on October 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
And, my attic antenna has yet to blow down, ice up or fail due to birds flying into it. ;-)

RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by WW0Y on October 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I hung a fan dipole in the attic of my apartment several years ago. My first contact was during a DX contest with a station in Hungary on 20 meters. He replied on my first call. The fan dipole works on 20,17 and 12 meters. I have another dipole for 40/15 that snakes around wherever it will fit made from speaker wire. It's nice not to worry about ice or wind but I do make sure the wires are not touching anything. There is also a 10 meter magmount on a heating duct. It works great. Being on the 3rd floor is a real bonus too.
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by KG6IIR on October 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

I run SSB QRP with an attic dipole and have made contacts from San Diego to the East coast, Central America, Maui and British Columbia in the last 30 days on 17 meters. I used some spare speaker wire (30ft) and a center insulator fed with coax. I get great signal reports with only 5-10 watts. You do NOT need a 200ft tower and 500 watts to make contacts. The trick to attic antennas and hams with antenna restrictions is trial and error. I can only work 17-10 meters with my speaker wire dipole but I have built a slinky dipole which I can successfully tune 80-10 meters.

I can't wait to brush up my cw, I should be able to talk to the world!
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N9XBG on October 14, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My first expierence with an attic dipole was a 40m I put up when I first got my tech plus license. I put it up with a cast on my left foot a story in itself. Above the antenna is aluminum vent that runs the length of the peak of the house, but not above the garage roof which is at a lower level. I used this antenna with a HW-8 and worked 48 states with little problem. I have since used this antenna with low power on SSB on 40m and worked Hawaii. I have also used a loop antenna around the top of a room on 20m in a single story house with low power. Whatever it takes to get on the air....
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N5LXI on October 14, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Any antenna is better than NO antenna. It's a quick, cheap way to get started. And you can work some stations!

Here's an idea: I use electric fence insulators. Cheap and safe.
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by K3PRN on October 15, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Try the G5RV Junior, 52' long for any location that has antenna restrictions. Tie in attic or any available trees at your site . Paint or tape the white ladder line to coax transition fitting, use cameo dacron for supports,color white insulators, tie supports to trees at least 20' above grounds (people can't mess with-learned this the hard way). and enjoy. I have worked many parts of the world and most states with this rig. The antenna costs about $35, cost of coax to shack ($25 for RG8U), and abou 1-2 hours. Don't under estimate the capabilities of wire antennas in non-perfect installations!
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by WA2JJH on October 17, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Stealth antenna's DO WORK! I have had to use them at one QTH.

Even though conventional wisdom says no, you can get decent performance out of indoor antenna's.
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W0XI on October 17, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
An Attic Antenna is better than nothing. One aspect I did not see in the many responses is the fact that an attic antenna "sees" a loss of from 2 to 10 dB through the roofing material, type of roof etc, not to mention orientation limitations based on house x>y direction and roof shape.

I saw those 2 to 10 dB estimates in a report somewhere but can't remember which publication.

73s. Put up what you can and operate!
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N1XV on October 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hello! Back in 2000 at the peak of the cycle I experimented with heating/a.c. duct tape that is made of aluminum foil. I cut the tape for 10 meters and stuck it on the wall in my first floor shack. I ran 450 ohm ladder line from it to an antenna tuner. It tuned up great and I worked 40 countries on cw at 100 watts. RF exposure? Oh yeah! Thats why I would only work one or two stations on the antenna once or twice a week. It worked great and even recieved a 5/7/9 from France from here in western Montana. Less than ideal antennas can and do work! 73! de Vaughn-N1XV Helena,MT
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by N8XY on October 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Several people mentioned safety issues with attic or indoor antennas. No one was too specific. I wonder what are some of the problems that people have run into, and if there have been any catastrophic problems from running indoor antennnas, such as fires etc. What exactly do you have to be cautious of? I'd like to mount a short mobile motorized antenna with several radials in the attic.

Thanks, N8XY
Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W4LGH on October 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I too, have been using attic antennas for some time now. I loved in a condo when I got active again and couldn't have ANY antennas out side. So I got creative and strung a single band dipole in my attic. After a while I wanted more. I purchased an SGC-239 auto antenna tuner, put it between the dipole and fed it with 12 volts and BOOM, I had an almost ALL band antenna. After playing a little more with it, I foung that using 450ohm ladder line with the outside ends shorted, efectively making the wire twice as long and really came to live!! I compaired signals with other buddies around the area and they were all in teh same ballpark, both transmit and receive. Well I just built a new house, but still have some antenna restrictions, so I built the same antenna in my new attic. However I went from a 2 story condo to a single story House. However I have a very high pitch on my roof,and the attic is 12' from the ceiling joists to the roof trusses, and yes the antenna is at the top. My house is 44' wide and 67' long with the long going north and south..and guess still kicks butt! I too only run 100watts or less and have broken up a many of pile up. I am not gonna say its as good as a monoband beam on a 65' tower, but it works GREAT, and the neighboors have no idea!!!

Thats a new subject "Neighboors" that we can start a new thread about, but believe me, when they don't know about what you are are a MUCH happier HAM!! You can find out more about my antennas and equipment by visiting my website... ..

Take care, Happy DX'ing... 73
de W4LGH - Alan
St Johns Co. Florida ARES EC
RE: Attic Antennas-Always Surprises Me  
by W4CNG on November 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The problem is that at the end of a radial or end of a dipole, the voltage on the antenna is very high even at 100 watts. High voltage can make a spark or flash to a nearby grounded item, starting a fire in the process. That is why everyone needs to be very cautious of where the antenna wires go to, around what and how the ends get tied off in an Attic. Run some real power (500 watts and up), you can quickly light a big fire in the attic, where most folks do not have smoke detectors, and others do not have rate of rise heat detectors, the top floor goes a blazing, while you are comfortable in the shack down in the basement. I check my Attic antennas every month or so, and have noted that when Snow or Ice gets on the Roof of the house, the Reaonance of my antennas goes up, want to work CW with a 3:1 antenna, it's a bit hard until the ICE thaws.
Good Luck
Steve W4CNG
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