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eHam Forums => Antenna Restrictions => Topic started by: KF7UDH on December 08, 2012, 10:34:41 AM



Title: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KF7UDH on December 08, 2012, 10:34:41 AM
Where I live there are no restrictions on antennae (though there probably will be after I put one up, but that won't apply to me.)

My problem is getting the antenna lead(s) and the ground wire out of the house. Tenants here have to ask for permission (condition of the lease) just to have the cable guy bring a coax in through the wall.

Somehow I have to figure out a way to get those wires out of the house in a way that management either won't notice, or cannot nail me for punching "illegal" holes in the wall. I have a friend who is a construction/remodeling contractor, and another who is a broadcast engineer, so any work done would be professional and safely accomplished.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

[On edit] should have said "out" of the house; cannot edit the subject line for some reason


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: AA4PB on December 08, 2012, 10:45:54 AM
One way is to make a pass-thru at the bottom of a window (MFJ makes a commercial version). When it is removed, everything is back to normal.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KQ6Q on December 08, 2012, 04:15:43 PM
Another way is a single cable adapter that you can close the window on - Comet CTC-50M - see ad on page 5 of December 2012 QST


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: K5LXP on December 09, 2012, 08:25:34 AM
Something like RG-316, 300 or 450 ohm ribbon can pass through just about any window or door seal.  Most structures already have numerous permeations for  wiring and piping.   

Otherwise, submit your request for a cable/satellite pass through.  They don't need to know it won't be used for that.  Or tell them it's for "wireless service", which can mean everything from broadband internet to spark gap telegraphy.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KH6AQ on December 09, 2012, 04:25:56 PM
I run RG-213 out through a sliding window. Foam insulation is applied to the window to deform around the coax. To keep the window from being opened from the outside a wooden stick blocks the window from sliding.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: WB6BYU on December 10, 2012, 09:18:44 AM
Re-use an existing TV cable coax or phone line for your antenna feedline.

You can splice coax into different conductors of various sorts to get through
a wall, then back to coax, without too much loss or impedance variation as
long as the length of the non-coax conductor is reasonably short.  Strips of
copper foil tape, for example, can pass under a window sash.

With older single-pane glass windows you could capacitively couple the RF
between plates of aluminum foil on each side of the glass.

With many antennas you shouldn't need a separate ground wire.

Besides windows, doors, dryer vents, or other existing holes through the walls,
my favorite method is to run the coax up through the ceiling and out through
one of the attic vents.   

I've even heard of folks running coax up the plumbing vent pipes to the roof
by passing it through a standard trap filled with water to keep the sewer gasses
from coming out.


The details will depend on the construction of your house, of course, but this
should give you an idea of some of the ways it has been done in the past.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KF7UDH on December 10, 2012, 02:16:50 PM
My Apologies:

I should have included more detail in my original request for help.

Thanks for all the well-thought out advice from all who responded; here is more information about the situation here.

First, the building I live in is a square, four-plex apartment, with each apartment taking up one corner of the square. So, there are two exterior walls and two other walls that separate adjoining apartments from mine. Three of the walls are concrete, only one of the two exterior walls is of wood construction. There is a little (25' X 17") side yard outside the one wooden wall, of which two-thirds is covered with concrete, and a four-or-five-foot strip of ground around that. So -- no ground radials and no room for a wire  antenna of any length. I have already decided that I will choose from among four commercial verticals that I have identified, that need no radials, and need no elaborate support structure.

Second, the phone, water and cable services are all underground.(Cable coax, however, comes up at one point per four-plex, and is run around the top of the exterior wall, then down and in through the wooden wall of each unit.)

Any requests for insertion of cable or phone services have to come from the service company's representative. I have thought of replacing the outside TV cable cover plate with a two-hole plate and going out that way,  but discovered that they don't use any cover plates on the outside. Also, the entire complex was repainted a few weeks ago, and all new doors and windows were installed, and any discrepancies will be instantly visible.

There are no dryer vents or any other existing openings to the outside.

The windows all have tightly-fitting screens, which makes it difficult to use any of those devices designed to go through or around windows.

I had considered the Comet CTC-50M, but am reluctant to spend the $50 until I can ascertain that it will, in fact, go out around that very snug-fitting screen.

The reason I am so concerned about all of this is that management is going to be very put out when they see an antenna in the yard, and if they can find anything about the way the lead is run, that they can label as a violation, I could be evicted, and I cannot afford to be evicted -- at this time at least.

I have been wrestling with this problem since becoming licensed about eight months ago, and would appreciate any additional ideas that anyone might come up with.

Oh -- the ground wire that I mentioned, that I have to get to the outside, is for the rig, not for the antenna.

Thanks again to everyone who chipped in with ideas -- I appreciate it.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: AA4PB on December 10, 2012, 02:25:35 PM
Operate mobile from your car? It's going to be impossible to put an antenna out in the yard with a coax that can't be traced back into your apartment.



Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KF7UDH on December 10, 2012, 04:31:59 PM
Thanks.

I'm not worried about them seeing an antenna, as they neglected to put any antenna prohibition in the rental agreement.

And If I can get the cable into the building in some way that they can't complain about too much, then I'm not worried about that, either.

I have thought about purchasing a new window screen and poking a hole or two in it, perhaps after laminating some plexiglass or other material onto each side of it, and putting their new screen away somewhere for when I move out. Then I might be able to use that Comet CTC-50M to get out around the window itself.

Again, thanks all for the ideas.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: N0BOE on December 10, 2012, 06:18:33 PM
Can you squeeze coax in under a door seal? I live in a 4plex as well and only put up my antenna (simple wire vertical) and run the coax out under the front door just when I'm using it - a night or weekend at a time, then the antenna and coax come back in until next time.
Takes me about 10 minutes to hang my vertical element out the second floor bedroom window, run the radials (5 radials over 180 degrees-since it's up against a wall, can't do a circle) and hook coax up to the radio a few feet from the front door. A little longer to put it away since I try to wind the radials nicely to make it easy to re-deploy.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: K5LXP on December 11, 2012, 06:34:22 AM
Quote
I have thought about purchasing a new window screen and poking a hole or two in it

That might be a bit visible but maybe not.  For a few dollars worth of window screen, anything is worth a try. 


Quote
Can you squeeze coax in under a door seal?

Yes!  There are teflon coaxes as thin as 1/16".  You could make a balanced or twisted line out of enameled wire as small as the hair on your head.  This is small enough wire and cable that you could lay it next to or under some trim or moulding, paint it in place and it would disappear.  Once you are past the structure far enough you can transition to something more conventional and not as lossy/fragile.  As a data point, in any house or apartment I've ever lived if you remove a piece of door or window moulding there is usually plenty of gap through the rough opening to get just about any size cable through.  Once outside and concealed you replace the moulding and no one's the wiser.

The elephant in the room is the antenna.  If you're good to go there, getting the radio connected to it is academic.  There's six ways from Sunday you can do this in a concealed manner, just a matter of picking one and doing it.  You're suffering from analysis paralysis.  Try something, anything.  Once you get started you'll see how easy this is.


Quote
the ground wire that I mentioned, that I have to get to the outside, is for the rig, not for the antenna.

Why are you grounding the rig to an earth ground from inside the building?


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KF7UDH on December 11, 2012, 07:07:21 AM
"Analysis Paralysis" -- you may be onto something, there!   :D

I did a search and found the thin teflon coax -- it's actually 0.110", but that just might work.

If it won't I just might try starting out with the magnet wire and switching to coax once I get it out of the house.

Thanks for the suggestions.

p.s. I'm new to all this, having started my studies in radio theory and practice just a few months ago. I very much appreciate everyone's willingness to help a newbie.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: WB6BYU on December 11, 2012, 11:53:54 AM
What material are your window and door frames made of?

What sort of weather stripping do you have on the doors?

If you are out and about in Yamhill County at some point I can give you a
handful of things to try out:  copper tape, thin coax, 300 ohm twinlead,
wires, etc.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: K1DA on December 13, 2012, 09:13:07 AM
I've seen FLAT 75 ohm tv coax  which a window would close upon advertised by outfits like Parts Express  for very little money and I recently saw someone trying to retail them for radio use at a big markup.  "100 watts" was the rating cited. 


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: AB9TA on December 15, 2012, 05:49:22 PM
Does this place have an attic, and can you get to it easily?
Luckily, my apartment when I was a brand-new ham just happened to have the attic entry in one of my closets. I installed a dipole in the attic (plywood and shingles) and was on my way.
Two things,
1. Don't go off the rafters and stick your leg through the ceiling..
2. If the attic is over somebody else's apartment, make sure they are gone when you are crawling around up there..
3. Don't combine 1 and 2.

73!
Bill AB9TA


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: W5TTW on December 15, 2012, 05:51:02 PM
I cut a section of garden hose to match the width of my window.  Then I cut slits on two sides of the hose large enough to pass through my ladder line, coax and ground wire.  Closing the window down on the hose creates a nice weather seal and doesn't crimp what's passing through it.  I also added a no-drill 'window pin' for security.  


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KC2ZPK on December 19, 2012, 09:54:33 AM
What kind of construction? Attic space?  Basement or crawspace?  on Slab?  Pictures might help a little.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: WO4V on December 20, 2012, 09:42:41 PM
I have sympathy for your problem. I was in a similar situation back in the early 1990's when I was renting an apartment to live in during the week while I was away from home on a job. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution, but here are some things I tried:
   
 I had an attic opening in a closet so I put a metal chair up there with a 2 meter magnet mount antenna on it. Worked fine on voice and packet, but the limitations are obvious. No way would I have been able to run an HF antenna up there in the attic.

I tried several indoor HF antennas. A zig-zag of wire on the bedroom ceiling with bulletin board tacks. Worked sorta...

My most spectacular indoor antenna was a helical dipole wound on two 8 foot pieces of 4 inch sewer pipe. I used #14 copper wire for the windings. Hung the monstrosity up on the ceiling using screw hooks. I could get it to load 80-10 meters with a good tuner and alligator clips to vary the attachment points along the antenna (I used ladder line). I could actually run a Kilowatt into this thing but it would set off the smoke detectors every time I keyed up  :D...not to mention it would "corona" in the dark on some frequencies! :o (I am not making this up!) I gave up on this one because I figured that qrp only was just too tedious...Your mileage may vary...

Finally, one night I noticed that the building rain gutter (aluminum!) was split into two equal lengths just above my front window. It was about a 40 meter dipole overall in length. So I ran a couple of pieces of enameled magnet wire out the window and attached them to the gutter with sheet metal screws. VOILA! I could close the window and the whole thing was nearly invisible. Of course, I did the installation under the cover of darkness one night...

Now, this was a REAL antenna, and it worked well. I could run several hundred watts into it using a tuner on 80-10 meters. HOWEVER, one night when in QSO with my Elmer back home (running about 300 or so watts) I heard a loud knock on my door and when I opened, there was one of my neighbors asking if I knew of anyone running a "big CB" around in the neighborhood (he had noticed my outbacker HF antenna mounted on my pickup truck). Seems as if someone was wiping out his TV and Phone service. Well, we lived by a major highway, so I stammered that it might be one of the 18 wheelers passing by...

I abandoned that setup as well after that incident...soon after, I found a house out in the country to rent where I could put up a real dipole.

If I had it to do over again today, I would opt for a rig that could be remotely controlled by another rig (such as a Kenwood TS 2000) installed in my vehicle and operated remotely. Good HF antennas are not difficult to come by for mobile use and you could even use a trailer hitch mount or some such that you could remove when needed. OR, you could use a remote base operated from a laptop. I have couple of friends that use just such a setup with great success. Of course, you have to have either a friend with a remote base location to use or arrange to have a facility where you could install a remote base...

Don't get discouraged, you will find a viable solution if you keep turning over possibilities. Actually, I had a lot of fun trying different things in that apartment, so it was a great learning experience.

Dave, WO4V



Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KC4MOP on January 15, 2013, 01:42:29 PM
One way is to make a pass-thru at the bottom of a window (MFJ makes a commercial version). When it is removed, everything is back to normal.

Really neat suggestion btw. No holes damage the structure. And maintains security.
Reading your replies seems like the buildings are not going to cooperate to let you get any coax outside. Then you mention that the landlord would probably S&*T a brick if you install anything outside. There's another thread in this Restrictions category that someone has used an indoor antenna that he built. You might want to think about that.

Fred


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KB9KQU on January 17, 2013, 06:50:42 AM
Cheap.
Secure.
Easy.     What more could you want?!

Pick up @ Lowes/Home Depot a piece of the foam insulation "tube" used for insulating a water pipe, I use the smallest available. Adjust size as you see fit.

Cut the tube exactly long enough to fit under the window including into the window channel on each side.

Cut a slit in the top about one fourth through the tube (when squeezed flat) for each coax/wire. Lay tube under window squeezing ends flat to fit in channel on each side with slits facing up. Insert coax/wire into slits. Close window on top of everything firmly. At this point in my case I'm finished. However:

1) If you need a better seal between your top & bottom sash where they lap over each other, cut another appropriate length of the insulation tube & press it in place to seal any leaks.

2) If security is a concern, cut a piece of PVC pipe to a length that it plus some end caps can be "gently forced" between the upper frame of the window & the bottom sash. Of course any old "stick" would do, but the PVC might be a little more appealing, especially if painted to match.

At this point you'll have a tightly sealed, secure window with coax,etc. in the house plus a relatively "stealthy" appearance.  Geoff S.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KF7UDH on January 17, 2013, 09:01:15 AM
Thanks Geoff --

My windows are horizontally sliding, and have screens installed (all recently replaced with brand-new) which I am not allowed to remove.

I am considering your suggestions, though, with the thought of coming up with some small modifications that might allow these ideas to work here.

I appreciate all the interest and offerings that have come up in this thread. (Hard to believe they're still coming after all this time.)



Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KD8Z on January 20, 2013, 06:41:15 PM
I am sure that others have suggested an indoors antenna, not the best solution but perhaps the only one.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: K5LXP on January 21, 2013, 06:31:04 AM
I appreciate all the interest and offerings that have come up in this thread. (Hard to believe they're still coming after all this time.)

Even more surprising is that after all this time you haven't tried one or more of them and reported back your success.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KB2FCV on January 24, 2013, 01:31:53 PM
Are the screens removable? Perhaps you could find a replacement screen that you can then do with as you please (and store theirs).. then you can go through the window.

In one of the apartments I lived in, I had a wood panel that covered the access hole to the attic. I simply stored that one and bought a similar sized piece of plywood that I drilled holes for my coax, ladderline, rotator line, etc.

Do you have trees outside? I used magnet wire and heavy fishing line in another apartment to make a long wire antenna. I was able to slip it around the screen and it was never seen. The drawback is that it's much weaker so you may have to replace it now and then.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: N0NZG on February 27, 2013, 07:44:43 PM
I have no idea what issue ,but I seam to recall a QST article about a guy that wanted to operate his Ham radio while working aboard a ship and was not allowed to make any holes to get an antenna outside.  His solution was to use the window glass of the port hole as the dielectric in a physically very large capacitor. He cut some aluminum foil I am guessing a sq foot or 2 and secured it to each side of the glass. The rig and tuner are connected on the inside foil and the antenna is connected to the foil on the outside. 

A good ground might be critical to this kind of setup.

73, Jeremy Engbrock


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: WB6BYU on February 28, 2013, 08:53:45 AM
Quote from: N0NZG

...His solution was to use the window glass of the port hole as the dielectric in a physically very large capacitor. He cut some aluminum foil I am guessing a sq foot or 2 and secured it to each side of the glass.




Doesn't even need that much size if the antenna is at a relatively high
impedance.  That's because glass significantly increases the capacitance
of the plates over an air dielectric.  (The added capacitance can be tuned
out by the tuner.)  You may even be able to put two such capacitors
on a single window and connect them to ladder line.

However, it really only works well with single-pane glass.  Dual-pane windows
with a layer of air in the middle require much more surface area for the same
capacitance.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: W7HBP on May 23, 2013, 11:36:58 AM
Easy, install the antenna, no coax at all, see how it goes with management. If they say OK, as there was no rule agaisnt it, then run coax later only when operating under your door. Remove when done. So when they initially see it, there is no holes in your building.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: W1JKA on May 23, 2013, 02:26:09 PM
Or you can check out the COMET flat coax window pass through jumper,no window retro fitting needed but only good for 100 watts.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KD0OCY on July 08, 2013, 09:37:11 PM
There should already be a few outlets for the rg6 cable into your apt already. If you are using some kind of dipole, the ohms should be near the same as rg6. I would try to use the pre existing rg6 as your feedline. Wish I coukd help you out. I install sat dishes for a living. I'm sure I could make this happen.


Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: K6CPO on September 20, 2013, 12:28:48 PM
One way is to make a pass-thru at the bottom of a window (MFJ makes a commercial version). When it is removed, everything is back to normal.


Easy. A piece of 1x4, some sheet aluminum and coax fittings.  Shouldn't take more than an hour to make.

http://johnwright.smugmug.com/Amateur-Ham-Radio/My-Radio-Gear/i-sg67g65/0/L/IMG_141-1146-G12%28%29-L.jpg



Title: RE: Getting the Line Our of the House?
Post by: KF7CG on September 20, 2013, 02:36:35 PM
I second the cable route, if you can find an unused cable TV run. RG6 has very good properties even into the UHF and it is not too difficulte to homebrew a Type F to PL259 adapter. O wouldn't run more than 200 watts through the RG6, but it is good stuff and cheap too!

KF7CG