Let's try to help Patrick out here. Like me, he's trying to do the best he can with what he has to work with. While not optimal, it's not hopeless.
Patrick, congratulations on passing your General exam!
Yes, your situation will be somewhat challenging. I'm in the same boat. While I do have a small balcony, I must take down my antenna when I'm not using it.
I've had some reasonable success with a PAC-12 (www.pacificantenna.com
) on my 2nd floor apartment balcony and also with a Buddipole (www.buddipole.com
) in various configurations on a mast. I typically run a Yaesu FT-857D at about 65 watts.
I find it helpful to use an antenna analyzer to adjust my antenna instead of relying on an antenna tuner to just match the feedline impedance. I figure I can't afford to waste power heating my feedline.
I experimented with some stealth wire antennas, screwdrivers, etc., but found the best results for my situation was a simple vertical. Experimenting can be part of the fun, honest!
Good luck and don't give up!
73, -- Dale K6TTE