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Author Topic: Operation location question  (Read 8273 times)
KA2ZEY
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Posts: 78




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« on: April 10, 2014, 07:49:31 AM »

I recently moved to the 15th floor of an apartment building in Brooklyn, NY. I assumed this would give me a great advantage for HF operation but as I discovered, a building made of steel and concrete is not kind to HF operation no matter what height. I do have a balcony which permits some small station operation. I used to own a KX3 and Alpha Loop but the Alpha Loop did not like the balcony and was very difficult to tune with the metal railing surrounding the balcony. I sold both. Given that a Loop, Buddipole (too long to set up and attracts too much attention), a dangling random wire or supported dipole (flag pole) are not an option, I'm thinking of trying something like an FT-817 and Ham Stick with radial. Can anyone predict how this might work? What kind of results I will get given the altitude? Will this help the otherwise lackluster performance of a Ham Stick?
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N6PG
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2014, 08:00:14 AM »

How about the Buddistick? It's not that big and you can put it up and take it down quickly. Attach it to the railing. It's a bummer how much noise there is these days. Plus your investment in the buddistick allows you a trip to the park!
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KA2ZEY
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2014, 08:02:50 AM »

Yeah that sounds like a great idea. On the one hand the KX3 was too much radio given my situation. On the other hand, it sure had some great noise fighting tools.
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NO2A
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2014, 08:03:51 AM »

A Hamstick might work with a good enough ground plane,like a big chunk of metal base underneath. You`d also need a counterpoise wire to your ground lug or screw on the rig. A tuner would help too. I know that can be a difficult situation to deal with. For better efficiency I`d stick with 20 meters and above. 17m would give you daytime and some night operation.
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KA2ZEY
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2014, 08:08:28 AM »

Looks like the Buddistick is pretty tall. There's a balcony right above mine. Perhaps I could angle it out a bit.
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NO2A
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2014, 08:09:23 AM »

Or that smaller Outbacker "Joey."
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KA2ZEY
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2014, 08:37:27 AM »

The Joey looks really interesting.
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N6PG
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2014, 10:54:27 AM »

You could just angle the buddistick out a bit. They aren't cheap, but it's a great company here in the US. You can also build it up, so in the park it won't be such a compromise antenna. You can defy physics... So anything you setup will most likely be a compromise.
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KA2ZEY
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2014, 10:58:45 AM »

I guess what I'm wondering overall is will the height advantage help me? Will it give more possibilities to an otherwise weak antenna?
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WB0FDJ
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2014, 12:13:17 PM »

I empathize with your situation. I spent 3 yrs in an apartment and no amount of experimenting sent any RF out of the building. I'd probably would have donated body parts to have a balcony.  Grin

Maybe you might want to expand your thinking a bit. The really great thing about the FT-817 is that it's practically DC to daylight and the one area where height is an advantage is VHF/UHF. A small beam on 2M or 440 might net you some SSB contacts in some direction. When I was kid my friends and I used to drive up to high hills and use a short, essentially hand held,  2M beam, we were surprised at our results. Six meters is a thought, an efficient antenna on that band wouldn't be out of reach and it's a great QRP band. (One of my first 6 M contacts with on my FT-817 and an indoor slinky dipole, MN to ME.) Obviously HF antennas are more of a challenge but my favorite is still a remotely tuned mag loop. Yeah, as you point out, they react to their surroundings but I know of a few guys over the years that moved them around on a balcony until they found a sweet spot where they could set one up with reasonable SWR. And while they tend to be expensive they have reasonable efficiency on higher frequencies.

Good luck.

WB0FDJ Doc
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AA9SD
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2014, 12:41:38 PM »

I have an FT-817nd and a Buddistick.  It is a good combo for portable ops or in your case balcony ops.  You can attach it to the railing and angle it out a bit.  Another option might be an LNR Endfed.  I've got their 40/20/10 antenna and it really works well.  You would probably have to let it hang off the balcony but the wire is so thin you could probably get away with it.  If not then the Buddistick is probably the way to go.

--Sherman
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-- de AA9SD
K8AXW
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2014, 04:55:34 PM »

Has anyone had a problem with a dangling antenna with it moving in the wind?  Or is that minimized by using a weight on the end?
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KI5WW
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2014, 07:03:46 PM »

Yeah that sounds like a great idea. On the one hand the KX3 was too much radio given my situation. On the other hand, it sure had some great noise fighting tools.

Yer guna be sooooo glad you got those tools. Excellent envestment. GL
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KI5WW
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2014, 07:10:25 PM »

I recently moved to the 15th floor of an apartment building in Brooklyn, NY. I assumed this would give me a great advantage for HF operation but as I discovered, a building made of steel and concrete is not kind to HF operation no matter what height. I do have a balcony which permits some small station operation. I used to own a KX3 and Alpha Loop but the Alpha Loop did not like the balcony and was very difficult to tune with the metal railing surrounding the balcony. I sold both. Given that a Loop, Buddipole (too long to set up and attracts too much attention), a dangling random wire or supported dipole (flag pole) are not an option, I'm thinking of trying something like an FT-817 and Ham Stick with radial. Can anyone predict how this might work? What kind of results I will get given the altitude? Will this help the otherwise lackluster performance of a Ham Stick?

If you havnt yet, be sure and check out the Antennae Restrictions forum here on eham. Goos stuff in there. GL
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K0OD
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 12:51:46 AM »

I've posted here several times about my 7 years of operation from the 18th floor of a 23 story highrise in St. Louis. Similar building to yours. Concrete and reinforced steel. Impervious to RF.

Fortunately I also had a balcony. It was identical to the one in this photo (That's the dome of St Louis Cathedral across the street). My apartment was probably higher than the unit in this photo. Fabulous view. Terrible operating location!

I used the sturdy metal balcony railing to anchor all sorts of antennas including a 10-element 2 meter yagi which worked nicely but only in the one direction I could point it... South. For HF I experimented a lot but nothing radiated well. Radio was a Kenwood TS430 running 100 watts. Eventually I mostly used a Hustler mobile whip clamped to the railing and interchangeable resonators for 10-40 meters. The mobile whip arrangement was lower profile and about as good as anything I tried.

GL!



 
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