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Author Topic: Antennas for apartment dwellers  (Read 1511 times)

Posts: 187

« on: December 03, 2000, 11:48:31 AM »

Can anyone provide me with ideas to construct an antenna and RF ground for my apartment.  I live on the ground floor.  My lease specifically states "no ham antennas", which I consider a violation of PRB-1.  I'll address this with apartment management in the near future.  Until then, I'm looking for ideas from hams who can relate to my situation.  I own an antenna tuner, so matching an unconventional, non-resonant antenna should not be too much of a problem.  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Tom Schmidt N8EUI

« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2000, 09:08:18 PM »

I would look into the Bilal Isotron antennas.  You can read reviews of them on this website, and link directly to their site for more info.

Posts: 63


« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2000, 05:12:30 PM »

Go to Radio Shack and get the wire. Run as much as possible around the tops of your walls. Even go in and out of other rooms( the longer the better!). You could use it as a long wire,random wire,or.....Run it all the way back to your tuner and you now have a horizontal loop! As long as you are running qrp rf safety shouldn't be a problem, but do the math just to be safe.  

« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2000, 05:20:35 PM »

The lease provision is probably not in violation of PRB-1 or any other law.  As a lawyer, I have looked at the existing and some proposed ham radio legislation and it got a big yawn--won't help hams much.  If you bring this up with your manager/landlord you are just alerting him to your situation and all future rfi will be blamed on you, no matter the real source.  Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.  Be inconspicuous and don't create rfi, you can probably get away with it.  

anonymous lawyer

Posts: 17482

« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2000, 04:49:06 PM »

There are a lot of options, depending on what bands you want to
operate and the building itself.  

You can use metal rain gutters as an antenna, but it works best if
all the sections are well bonded together.  If the gutters are plastic,
run a wire through them.  (This works best if your apartment is near
a downspout.)

The indoor loop is probably one of the best solutions.  Run a wire
around the top of the walls near the ceiling.  Bring the two ends
together near the radio and feed with balanced line.  This has the
advantage that, unlike an end-fed longwire, it doesn't need to be
fed against an RF ground.  (One variant we tried on a two story
condo was to run a wire out one window, over the building, and
back in the window on the other side.  We used brown wire to
blend in with the building color.)

You can also make a capacitively loaded dipole:  imagine a
standard dipole with the feedpoint in the middle of one wall near
the rig.  One wire goes up to the ceiling, then around the wall until
you run out of wire.  The other wire goes down to the floor, then
around the wall until it runs out at about the same place.  The
fedpoint impedance will be low, but you could match it with a tuner,
and/or use two or more wires for the vertical section with the coax
connected to only one of them (like a folded dipole - this increases
the feedpoint impedance.)

For 10m DX, try a half-square:  The feedpoint is at the ceiling
level.  One side of the coax connects to a single quarter wave
radial (8.5') running down to the floor.  The other side connects
to a wire which follows the ceiling for 17', then bends and goes
8.5 feet down to the floor.  The top wire can be bent to go between
rooms as needed.  Maximum radiation is in the plane perpendicular
to the two vertical elements.

You can often drill small holes through the walls to pass wires from
room to room near the ceiling, then seal them with a bit of spackle
when you move out.

Good luck!   - Dale WB6BYU

Posts: 187

« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2000, 01:21:24 AM »

Thank you to all for your comments.  Your ideas give me plenty to consider as I decide what kind of antenna to construct.    
Tom, N8EUI

Posts: 18


« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2001, 09:52:12 AM »

1. Consider joining the "FULL DUPLEXERS" club.  This puts the transmitter outside your apartment.  Full details on

2. Read the posting on e-ham regarding portable operation from motel rooms.  There are several there, and the one I use is a vice-grip to the window frame or balcony railing + a ham stick or other mobile antenna of your choice.  Be sure only to put it up at night when it can't be seen.

Both of these should render you "invisible."

Good Luck,

Very 73,

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