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Author Topic: Apartment Antennas?  (Read 718 times)
KY6O
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Posts: 6




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« on: June 15, 2005, 07:55:33 PM »

I've been searching the web, and can find very little information regarding operating HF from a 2nd story apartment building. My lease prohibits attaching things to the balcony railing, and access to the roof is likewise impossible. What options do I have? I've seen antennas like the "Outbacker" with a ground kit, but I doubt that I could get a decent ground from the balcony. I also worry about causing TVI with the neighbors. Am I reduced to QRP for the rest of the time I live here?

-Rich
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20547




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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2005, 10:47:48 AM »

The MFJ "Super Hi-Q Loop" products work very well for their diminutive size, tune to a perfect match remotely, and can be hung just about anywhere, including inside the apartment, next to a window.  They also don't look anything like antennas and as such can often be hung outside, over a balcony or patio, and called a bird feeder or a plant hanger or anything you'd like to call it -- nobody would know.

WB2WIK/6
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WA9FZB
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Posts: 171




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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2005, 11:47:52 AM »

You could try the HamStick dipole.  Make a temporary mast for it from something like a patio umbrella stand and a 5-foot length of TV mast.  Put it up when you're operating, take it down (or just lay it down on the deck) when you're not.  It wouldn't be "attached" to the rail, just would be out standing on the patio. . .

Maybe?

73 es Gud Luck!

Steve  WA9FZB
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2005, 07:29:12 PM »

Steve, WB2WIK, as usual, gets it right by recommended a magnetic loop.  Once upon a time I had the old AEA IsoLoop and it worked well.  It is, however, extremely narrowbanded, so tuning even a short distance (as in a few kHz) up or down the band required retuning.  Again, considering the size and unlikely appearance, it may be a good choice.  These antennas generally work on either 30-10m or 20-10m.  A 40m or 80m mag loop won't fit on your balcony and would require you to homebrew in any case.

Another possibility would be a something designed for portable use since there would be no permanent attachment to the balcony.  Take a look at the Yaesu ATAS-25 for 40m-70cm coverage for a good example of something small enough to use at your QTH.  It's a 7' 2" high vertical that sits on a camera tripod.  Please note that, again, you'd have very little bandwidth and very poor performance on 40m.  20m and up should be OK.  You'd be vertically polarized which is fine for 6m/2m/70cm repeaters and *may* work a little for Es openings on 6m or 2m SSB/CW.  For local VHF/UHF SSB/CW it'd be pretty close to useless.  On 20m and above an ATAS-25 will give you more usable bandwidth without retuning than a mag loop.

Hamstick dipoles are OK for a single band and can be suspended from the balcony ceiling but I think for a multiband solution you'd be better off with a small vertical or mag loop.

One other thing to consider:  if you run any significant amount of power (evern 100W) you may interfere with your neighbors' cheap electronic toys.  Apartments, even with minimal antennas, are places to run QRP to minimize interference.  I've never had a complaint running 10W or less.  Oh, and yes, with 5-10W and the sort of antenna I am recommending you will get out and have some really enjoyable QSOs, but you will most certainly NOT work everyone you can hear.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
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K0RFD
Member

Posts: 1368




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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2005, 11:54:56 AM »

Put a mobile antenna on your car.
Park your car outside your apartment.
Drop a coax to the car and use the mobile antenna when you want to get on the air.
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KA2JIZ
Member

Posts: 105




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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2005, 07:58:45 AM »

Your post is old and you have probably made your decision by now. However, the MP-1 antenna has a tripod base that would get around the balcony mount which you say is not allowed. Read the MP-1 reviews on e-ham. Mostly positive.
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VE3TRU
Member

Posts: 27




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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2005, 12:41:54 PM »

I have a 10 20 40 75 meter 25$ mobile hamstick on my balcony.(use a good tuner) These work good for the price. I use a vice grip mount, they seem to be better than a mag mount.
All I can say is 10 & 20 is fine, but 40 & 75 have problems, you cant get a good ground 3 stories up.
Dipoles won't work, I’ve tried don't waste your time.
The MFJ artificial ground is a must if you want to work the higher freq. The longer the antenna the better, don’t be fooled with all the balcony scams.
You will spend a lot of money and be no better off.
I'm still looking for something better and if anyone knows of something let me know
ve3tru@yahoo.com
peter
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