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Author Topic: HF antenna choices for apartment  (Read 870 times)
KE7NGM
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Posts: 6




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« on: February 18, 2008, 09:22:37 PM »

I live on the first floor in a two story apartment complex, roughly in the middle length wise facing the north parking lot. We have a brutal no antenna policy, and if that isn't enough the apartment is located in radio purgatory. ( surrounded by a steel parking cover)
This gives lots of multi path issues.
Okay, here are my questions and ideas.
1) How to hide antenna.
2) how to comply with RF safety guidelines, as well as avoid causing RFI.
3) How to get the antenna up high enough to work half way descent.
4) What kind of antenna should I use Wire, Vertical ?
Note I have no roof access, or trees or garden. Just a small vertical channel to possibly hide a mast in.
Oh, yes..no flagpoles allowed.
Please help, any suggestions would be very appreciated.
Thank you.
Kevin
KE7NGM
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N3OX
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2008, 09:43:18 PM »

Change units to the 2nd floor near one of the trees?

If you're talking about HF the steel parking cover is a total non issue.  Are you talking about HF?

Vertical channel to hide a mast in... tell us more.

When I was in an apartment, third floor of a low rise with a couple of trees within 50 feet, I just flung some very fine magnet wire into each of them and fed that in the middle with a remote tuner as a doublet antenna like a G5RV.

Hard to do from the first floor ...

When you say you "don't have trees" what do you mean?  It looks like your complex has several trees... are any of them close to a window of your apartment?

Maybe I'm looking at the wrong set of buildings, I was thinking you're in the big white (in aerial view) ones?

http://tinyurl.com/2tz6bp

Anyway, magnet wire is going to be *invisible* to just about anyone unless you actually run it in front of their balcony.

Dan
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
KD6DXA
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 12:15:24 AM »

I am having great success in a similar situation using an indoor random wire antenna.  I strung up 50 feet of 24 gauge uninsulated bus wire from Radio Shack, connected it to my MFJ tuner, and bingo! I'm on the air!  During the recent CW DX contest, I managed to work New Zealand, Hawaii, and Japan using this indoor antenna at 75 Watts or so.  And so far, RFI has been extremely minimal.  Plus the antenna is made from such narrow gauge wire that my wife did not even object to it running through our bedroom!  hi hi!  Just throw something similar up and give it a go.  CW will probably be best for beating RFI and for actually getting through with a compromised antenna, but think of it as forcibly intensive CW training!  
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PD2R
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2008, 03:18:12 AM »

Maybe this is something to consider?

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/174
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AD5VM
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2008, 03:45:01 AM »

WOW! I thought I had antenna problems...

Well, I've got to say that if playing radio is really important then I would consider moving. Even if it's to a higher floor. I lived in an apartment for two years but I was on the top (third) floor and had an access hole in a closet to the attic. I had an antenna farm in in the roof of that complex that rivaled some of the big guns! (Triband yagi, 40m loop, 80m Isotron, 2m/440 GP)

If moving is not an option... Once I had a QSO with a guy in your situation. He was using an SGC coupler which sat in his balcony with a short lenght of wire with an alligator clip connected to the base of the rain gutter! He had an awesome signal!

Otherwise the MFJ tuned loop might work, if you have somekind of patio or balcony you could hang it on a plant hook with a piece of rope, or a Par EndFedz (end fed dipole) going up the wall or to a nearby support of some sort or that TW2010 / Force 12 Sigma-5 antenna just sitting indoors or on your porch/balcony.

Good luck!
-Larry
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AD5VM
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2008, 03:56:43 AM »

I almost forgot, I bought and used one of these on a 6 week business trip.

http://mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-935B

I bought a roll of 1/4" copper tubing (the kind connected to your ice maker) I cut a length for each band (75% of 1/4 wavelength ie: 12.5ft for 20 meters) and made tons of contacts with that thing just sitting on the coffee table in the hotel room! Some good DX when the bands were open. One thing you need to be aware of is the high current that exists on a tuned loop like this when you are transmitting. I was using a TenTec Argo V with 20 watts output.

Oh yeah... Use CW or PSK31! That will increase your chances tenfold!
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2008, 05:37:43 AM »

Try to use that "steel parking cover" as a ground plane.  I find "stainless steel" fishing line practically invisable, (but you don't solder it).
You can even try metal foil tape on a window (the burglar alarm stuff).
Plan on getting a tuner soon.
Indoor antennas are your last choice.
Good Luck! 73s

-Mike.
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K5AF
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2008, 09:34:58 AM »

Do you have a nice big glass window with no screen?  I've taped a copper tape magnetic loop to a window and it has worked very well.  If you have a window big enough for a 4' by 4' loop, try it.  A circular or square shape works best, but rectangles work also!  You can buy half-inch copper foil tape on eBay for only a few bucks. It will stick to the glass, but will peel off quite easily when you need to take it down.

Paul, K5AF
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2008, 04:29:54 PM »

Time to go mobile and save your money so you can move.
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KE7NGM
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2008, 04:35:12 PM »

No trees near my unit. if you are looking at it on google earth I am in the top left building, north side facing the parking lot. I have zero foliage. As for the channel I spoke of, it is a recess where the CATV wiring goes up the building. ( hence the concern about RFI). Elevation at roof top is approx. 20 ft.
Ideas ?

Thanks, Kevin
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N1LO
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 07:58:15 AM »

Hello Kevin,

 Invest in a nice mobile setup that allows you to easily take the radio out of the car and indoors. Run coax from the mobile antenna into your apartment.

 This gets you the ability to operate anywhere, really, and if you design your antenna feed arrangement with a strategically located connector, you can easily connect a full-size portable antenna at a scenic park or overlook.

--...MARK_N1LO...--
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K3ANG
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2008, 12:36:18 PM »

One man's solution for an indoor antenna.
YMMV
http://www.comportco.com/~w5alt/antennas/index.php?pg=3
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KB8UUM
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2008, 06:11:50 PM »

Have any luck yet?

Geoff
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KE7NGM
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2008, 09:27:14 PM »

To all who responed, my thanks.
I have decided the only logical thing to do given the seeming 20 million restrictions I have is to go with a QRP (or close) unit and portable antenna.
This way I can work out of the apartment with the antenna by a window, (5-10w) isn't much RF to worry about !
It will also allow my to go portable, something I would like to do. Now I am trying to decide between the FT-817ND and the IC-703+. I'm kinda leaning towards the Icom. I have an IC-91AD and really like it.  Opinions about rig choice are more than welcome !

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KC0QBP
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2008, 05:52:50 PM »

Exactly what setup did you end up using?

I've got a little radio (Elecraft K2) and tuner (KAT-100). I'm also on the second floor, and in my apartment the only thing out my windows is the building across the way with other apartments. There is no good tree or such to throw a wire into.

I've considered a loop, but the high current makes me a little nervous. I'd also have to get a balun to connect it to my tuner (if I understand right).

A simple wire strung through my apartment seems good, but I'm a little worried about ground. I'm close enough to the ground that I was thinking I may not need one (the ground on the power socket may suffice), but I'm not sure.

Just what exactly did you end up doing?
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