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Author Topic: Indoor antenna: CondoBuster or brass slinky?  (Read 12941 times)

Posts: 278

« on: June 23, 2010, 07:58:49 PM »

For when I get some HF equipment, which would be better indoors: A CondoBuster, or brass slinky? I doubt if I can fight the HOA for an outdoor antenna.

The brass slinky covers 80-10 meters, & has a built in balun, & the CondoBuster covers 20-10 meters.

Yes, I could temporarily put up a vehicle type vertical whip by the back fence, but I'd need to take it down when not in use.

Posts: 155

« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2010, 08:32:13 PM »

Use an outdoor antenna if at all possible and take it down when not in use.  You will be much happier with the performance as well as not dealing with the hastles of RF in the house.

I've used both and the outdoor antenna(s)  works the best and well worth the hastle of taking down when not in use.  The remote screwdriver antenna is very convenient and can be disguised as a birdhouse.  The indoor antenna should be the last choice if there is absolutely no chance of any outdoor antenna.



Posts: 7718

« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2010, 09:37:15 PM »

An HF transceiver, a small antenna tuner (MFJ-901B for example) and a roll of wire and you're on the air. I agree with KD6KWZ that outdoor can be better but if your condo is of wood construction I would see what you get with an indoor antenna, and if you have RFI problems. Then you can decide if you want to try an outdoor antenna.


Posts: 22


« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2010, 12:12:14 AM »

--which would be better indoors: A CondoBuster, or brass slinky?

Indoor antennas equal frustration , low performance and a good chance of RFI and TVI.

Explore ALL your other options first. !!

gregW:-)  OH2FFY

Posts: 5483


« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2010, 11:17:33 AM »

I would think the reviews here on eHam would be enough to sway anyone away from the CondoBuster antenna.  And, slinkies are just a novelty antenna.  You are welcome to try either or both if you like, just keep in mind the advice you're seeing here when all you hear are the plasma TV's in your complex, and the only ones that hear you are your neighbors' powered computer speakers.

You will read of folks that make all sorts of contacts with compromise antennas like isotrons, slinkies, loaded verticals of all types and even antennas that lay on the ground.  However, there is more to it than just the type of antenna.  Where it is, what band it's on, and propagation conditions all play a role too.  Not to mention the additional degree of difficulty there is using compromise antennas.  Would you like to struggle to make contacts once in a while and make getting on the air a chore, or would you rather have a chance working most every station on the band?

In short, it won't matter what antenna you would pick to use indoors. Odds are they're all going to suck. Even if you could fit a yagi with gain in the room, you would still be operating at a disadvantage.  Even a poor antenna like a slinky will work much better outdoors than indoors, so your challenge isn't picking a particular antenna, it's finding one that you can put up outdoors.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

Posts: 477

« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 06:11:53 AM »

I think 'LXP' pretty well summed it up (and the others too).  I'm not familiar with that CondoBuster', but have heard the 'slinky's.  Those 'slinky's are a royal PITA!  Any movement of the 'coils' of that thing result in a change in resonance/impedance, and a resulting change in performance.  They are better than nothing, but not much.

Posts: 17484

« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 09:31:14 AM »

Quote from: W5LZ
They are better than nothing, but not much.

Actually I'd disagree with that.  If you have nothing, you have no financial incentive not to
replace it.  If you have invested in a poor excuse for an indoor antenna, there is a tendency
to keep trying to make it work as advertised rather than admitting you made a mistake and
spending more money on something else.

I've tried a number of indoor antennas - at one point I had a 2-element 10m wire beam
thumbtacked to the ceiling of my apartment.  I never made a contact on them until I ran
a wire down the roof of the apartment building one night, tucked out of sight under the
corners of the wood shingles.  Suddenly the bands came alive!

It's not that you can't make contacts with an indoor antenna - though it is easier in
some buildings than others depending on the building materials.  But I've never seen a
case where a chunk of wire with a tuner, or a home-brew job, couldn't match or even
outperform any commercial offering, usually at much lower cost.

Posts: 117


« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2010, 12:13:52 PM »

I used a G5RV Jr in my attic while waiting for board approval of an exterior antenna. My antenna [EDIT: I mean the _attic_] was not as long as the G5RV and wasn't high enough for the ladder line to hang under it. So the ends of the dipole section were bent, and the ladder line was tacked to the underside of the roof for its length. This is a crippled antenna, and it worked fairly well.

It wouldn't tune on all bands, but I got it to tune on 40 and 20 meters, along with 6, so I was happy. Because of the bends, it was directional north to south, but I'm on the West coast, so I could reach from Mexico to Alaska (and into Nevada and Arizona) on my 100W transceiver. I did blow the GFCI in the bathroom when I transmitted, but no TVI and no complaints or questions from neighbors.

Attic antennas are a compromise, but the situation is that _all_ antennas are compromises. I'd suggest the G5RV in a size that fits in your attic. I think it was $35, so now that I've taken it down, it's sitting in my go to gear for HF mobile operation. Not a big waste of money. Check the dimensions of your attic and see what fits.

From my experience, I didn't let the naysayers keep me from trying it, and it worked while I had it. I have a better compromise now with an under the eaves antenna that tunes from 80 to 6 meters. Don't let the negatives keep you from trying. Get on the air and you'll be happy.

Have fun.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 11:27:40 AM by Phil Stripling » Logged

Posts: 21764

« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2010, 05:38:53 PM »

"Everything works," it's just a matter of degree.

I've worked Australia from Anaheim, CA on 20m CW using an indoor dipole strung between two pole lamps in a hotel room, and a Ten Tec Scout powered by a gel cell.

Ask my family, they'll tell you: While they went to a great restaurant for dinner without me, I completed my VK contact and then went looking for them.   By the time I found them, dinner was finished. Tongue

If you're a patient and skilled operator, all kinds of stuff works.

Posts: 1454

« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 01:39:28 AM »

When is the divorce? Roll Eyes

Posts: 4

« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2010, 05:59:52 PM »

Three words, outdoor, outdoor, outdoor. Less RFI and better radiation pattern.

A discreetly hidden narrow gauge wire antenna fed with a wide range coupler like an SGC or Icom AH-4 etc is a very good option for restricted operation. I'd also opt for a loop configuration, no rf ground required.

I have a 50ft wire loop folded around my condo balcony, fed with an Icom AH-4 coupler. It tunes up nicely on 30m thru 6m and I have made contacts on all these bands. I've added a coil to allow it to tune up on 40 & 80m but as I live in the city these bands are susceptible to local noise so I don't operate on them. I usually operate digital modes at around 30w but with solar conditions improving I've been able to make a few DX (VK/JA) SSB contacts on less than 75w.

Posts: 314


« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2010, 03:54:47 PM »

You might take a look at the YoYo-Tenna line of portable dipoles.  Or even a single reel used as an end fed.

Put 'em up and take 'em down.  Or leave 'em up.  I've had 40 & 60 meter YoYo-Vee's up for years....

Very stealth....

73, Bill

Posts: 278

« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 04:53:49 PM »

The remote screwdriver antenna is very convenient and can be disguised as a birdhouse.

Hmmm, good idea, maybe I'll disguise a Hamstick as a bird house. Using an antenna tuner, of course.

Posts: 203

« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 10:54:14 PM »

RE:Yes, I could temporarily put up a vehicle type vertical whip by the back fence, but I'd need to take it down when not in use.

What's wrong with that??

Posts: 47

« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2010, 08:06:58 PM »

I use a TW-2010 From Trans World Antenna.  Have worked Europe and South America on 10 to 100 watts.  This antenna sits about 24" off of the ground and is about 8 feet tall.  Multi band with remote switcher and can tune a lot of other bands with an antenna tuner.

I can put it up in 3-4 minutes and take it down the same. 

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