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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

What Antenna Restrictions?

Tom Garrisi (W8BNL) on August 24, 2009
View comments about this article!

Living - Antenna Restricted"?

I live in a "Mobile Home Community" (I guess if they called it a Trailer Park, they couldn't charge as much for lot rent.) Anyway, they got down-right nasty with me last year when I tried to put up an Inverted Vee antenna over my trailer with a pole at the front and back and a higher one in the middle. I guess some neighbor said it made my trailer look like a sailboat and then there was some discussion that went like, "Well, didn't you read the community Rule Book?" - at that point I knew there was no sense in protesting. So there I was, frustrated and taking down my wire. I searched the Internet to see how others have coped with similar situations and found that I am not the only Ham in the same (sail) boat. Some have hidden wire around the perimeter of their stationary mobile and others have used various "screwdriver" antennas set up on tripods that can be taken down during the day. Being on unemployment also has forced me to get a little more creative. Thanks to the kind helpfulness of some local hams, I managed to put my hands on 3 Hamstick antennas. They are for 75 meters, 40 meters and 20 meters. Using a triple Mag-Mount, and a bracket made from some scrap in the toolbox, I now have nearly all band coverage of those three bands through the fantastic internal auto-tuner on my Kenwood TS-850SAT. It will even load up on 12, 15 & 17 meters, but I haven't tried a QSO on those bands yet.

\


\


For now - I was quite pleased with the arrangement and have made contacts out to 835 miles. Not too shabby for some donated hamsticks and a little ingenuity. Using the 20 Meter Hamstick alone (and some better propogation) I even managed some DX with contacts in France, Italy and Ireland.

\


Never being quite satisfied as most of us Hams are - I just knew that there must be more I could do and still keep things "Out of Sight" from the "Mobile Home Community" do-gooders. So back to the drawing board and internet I went in search of a better solution. I came across an article about a guy who hid wire under the edge of his mobile home skirting and up each corner and across the top of the vinyl siding. His antenna was used as a long random wire and he did a lot of CW mostly QRP. Being the "Side Band Fan" that I am, I wanted something that would cover the phone portions of the bands and hopefully do a fairly good job of it. Since my mobile home is fabricated with vinyl siding and a wood/shingle roof, I decided to elaborate on the QRP antenna I read about on the internet. My first attempt was based upon another concept I read about called a "Bent Dipole". Now mind you, whatever I came up with had to be "nearly" invisible so nothing up in the air. I measured out the wire needed and then placed an 80 Meter Bent Dipole around the perimeter of my roof with the wire tucked about 3/4" under the edge of the shingles. It looked sort of like this.

\


This worked (sort of) and I was definitely not impressed with the performance. The peak of the roof is about 15 feet and the long edges of the roof are at about 12 feet. So back to the drawing board I went. The perimeter of the roof was too short for a full size 80 Meter Loop so I fabricated some coils to add some "electrical length" to the loop. I used the "Rule of thumb" that it is a 2:1 ratio for the amount of wire in a coil. In other words - 100 feet of wire wound around a "coil form" will equal 50 feet of electrical length. This concept loked like this:

\


The problems encountered with this design were two-fold. Although it resonated well at the prescribed 3.8 MHz it was nearly impossible to load up on 40 Meters or anywhere else. Additionally, the coils I made were very visible from the street since they protruded from the edge of the roof line like a sore thumb.

\


FInally a concept that is working for me very well. I lowered the side opposite the feed point to the level of the skirting which allowed me to add more wire to the loop. This gave me a resonant point of 3.77 MHz and although it would load up better on 40 Meters - I decided to add a 40 Meter OCF (Off Center Fed) dipole which has it's 4:1 balun painted Flat Black with black wire that just lays on the roof right near the 15 foot height of the house. The final design looks like this:

\


And the Coils I fabricated look like this:

\


The wire that passes through the center of the coil, allowed me to test what would happen if I took the coils out of play and by-passed them. (Not a good idea - signal reports were down without the coils.) Results were checked on the loop with an MFJ Antenna Analyzer, producing the fololowing results:

\


\


So there you have it! I may not be a DX chasing Antenna Farm - but I am "On the Air"! Like I say on my web page http://w8bnl.webs.com, "I'll take a 55 signal report any day over NO Signal Report! The important thing is to enjoy your hobby and experiment. Not everyone can have the available real estate to put up a tower with beams or dipoles at more ideal heights. But you can still get on the air. For me - when I want to go out and get some long distance stuff, I also have a full size 80 Meter "Home Brew" OCF Dipole 130 feet long which I set up portable from a vacant parking lot near where I live and I do that sometimes more than once a month. I even fabricated my own drive on mast stand. Who says that "Field Day" is only once a year. Perhaps I will write another article showing how I set up portable within walking distance of the comforts of home.

73 to everyone - Keep Smiling - Keep Experimenting - And above all else - HAVE SOME FUN!!

I would also like to add a very Special thank you to my "Ham Friends" who helped me struggle through the design and build phases of this project. Without their patience and guidance, I am sure that I would still be struggling with things. I used the design and the "Mobile-Mobile" (Mobile Home-Mobile Antenna) with an antenna switch to obtain numerous signal reports from my friends. Finally - they aren't telling me, "Switch back to the hamstick!!!"

Tom Garrisi
W8BNL - Traverse City, MI

Member Comments:
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What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N2RRA on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom,

Now this a presentation worth looking at and recommending. Great ingenuity and ambition purely shows in the work you put into this. All though of course not the right way to get in the air it's the only way for some and any thing is better than nothing.

Hope it inspires some to stop making excuses not to put work into their solution to the problem.

73's
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K1TN on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom: A fine little article! Nice photos and drawings, too. Yes, the whole point is Don't Give Up.

One thing about using Rube Goldberg antennas is that you have to go with the propagation, i.e., call and work the stations you can hear. That can be frustrating but it's better than not being on the air at all and just whining about it.

I'm in my third year in a second-floor apartment with a balcony. I went through the indoor antenna phase (pretty hopeless), then the wire tossed into a tree phase (pretty effective).

A couple of months ago I decided to get brave and put a Hustler 4BTV trap vertical on the balcony railing, with a handful of radials hanging off in bushes. My landlord, a regular guy who owns the apartment I'm in, has seen it and couldn't care less, as far as I know. I pay my rent on time and the checks don't bounce!

Nothing yet from the Condo Association weenies, either. At this point, if they told me "no antennas" I would just say "screw you" and move out.

I get out pretty well, between the vertical and the Tree Wire. I work CW contests only. I have even sneaked out a 130-foot "snake" receiving antenna into the adjacent woods, and at the same time I put up the vertical I pounded a copper pipe into the ground below my window and ran some 3/4 inch tinned copper braid up to the rig. I wrapped the braid with tape that's a color that matches, sort of, the siding on the building. You do what you can.

My main concern here has never been the esthetics of my antennas, but rather RFI into neighbors' electronic gear (I am in a frame building with eight apartments). Zero complaints so far. My identity was concealed until I put up the vertical; now anybody with half a brain and getting interference could put two and two together. Still no complaints, knock on wood.

There's plenty of RF in the vicinity, that's for sure. Both my transmitting antennas are less than 10 feet from the rig, and I've gone to great lengths to keep RF out of both the transceiver and the old p.c. I use for contest operating. $150 worth of a.c. line filters, grounds both to earth and the plumbing system, toroids everywhere. And I wear a tin foil hat when I operate.

I am not a techie, but I have nearly 50 years experience at this, and would be glad to help out anybody facing the dreaded "restrictions" problem, with free advice if nothing else.

Cheers,

Jim Cain, K1TN
Pomona, New Jersey
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N2UGB on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations on your achievement and a very well writted piece.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W0XX on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good for you and I hope it works really well and for a very long time..hope you submit it to ARRL as well so they can add it to a QST Article in the near future. Others could benefit from this....
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB2DHG on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
A very nice and detaled article!
It is just a shame that we living in a so called FREE NATION are subject to so many rules and regulations.
To us hams, a tower and multi beam antennas are a beautiful sight but I can understand how others can see it different. BUT a wire or 2 strung up over your domain should not be any concern of ANYONE!
i too have been victom of HOA's and involved with tons of red tape and fights to finnaly get one G5RV antenna up.
Your antenna set up looks like a winner but I shair your frustration on the restrictions you had to deal with to enjoy this wonderful hobby.
I can tell you that if and when this solar cycle comes around you will be pleased of the DX you will be working. i remembr when i first got started in this hobby and conditions were at their best. my first antenna was a silmpe dipole and with 100 watts i worked ALl continents and all states... Some times 20 watts got me around the world... So I would say continue your quest for the best performing stealth antenna and keep enjoying this fantastic hobby.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KE4BIW on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom, congrats on not being a "victim". You actually put your thinking cap on and got busy. And because of that you have a very workable ham station. I admire you for your effort and choosing not to sit around wringing your hands over the terrible injustices HOAs!
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KY4TS on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom, way to go!
Just curious, will the crusaders let you have a flagpole? If you can put up a flagpole, you could have a fairly decent vertical antenna. A little landscaping around the base will hide any matching network or radial attachment. Good luck!
73
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KW4JX on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
You have nothing to fear but fear. Just open your window and shout 'I am not taking any more of this!'
Your neighbors will respect you if you are proactive, particularly the wives who are largely neglected I have found.
Buffalo Gil W2/G3LBS
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N4CQR on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice job and contribution!

73 N4CQR
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WY3X on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom, you ARE what being a ham is all about!!! Great article, great job on the antennas, and I wish you many enjoyable hours of using the product of your ingenuity! Instead of sitting on the sidelines and wringing your hands fruitlessly, you found a way to overcome your obstacles. You should get some type of award for your hard work, determination, and imaginative use of wire in constructing your antenna!!! I hope to work you on the air sometime. You, sir, could teach a lot of folks the meaning of "never give up"!

73, -KR4WM
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K5END on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
.
.
EXCELLENT article, drawings, figures, photographs and resourcefulness.



73
Larry K5END
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KF4HR on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article and congrats on staying on the air. Two suggestions. First, consider adding an external antenna tuner with a wider impedance matching range. Typically internal antenna tuners are limited in this respect. A good external antenna tuner will provide you a much wider impedance tuning range to perfectly match just about any wire antenna configuration you can come up with, (even on 160, assuming you select the proper antenna tuner).

And second, if your property space permits, consider running some ground radials out from your house, linking them all together at one central point near or under the house. The radial wires will disappear into the grass in a short period of time.

KF4HR
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KM3K on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Very nice article and presentation; what did you use to make your drawings?
Jerry, KM3K
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KW6B on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom,

Very well researched and executed!

Believe me I've felt your pain - I also live in an antenna restricted area, and after long research I put a Spider dipole antenna up in my attic which tunes up on most of the bands.

Excellent work and 73's
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K8YZK on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice Article Tom;

I would recommend it to those that are antenna restricted and new hams also. Shows that you don't need the latest, greatest multi-element, highest tower to get on and enough the bands.

Now living in TC and seeing the one picture, how does the snow effect the 80 and 40 meter antenna?

73
Kurt
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KC6YFR on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom,
Nice article, gives us all w/hoas hope and plans. I'm glad you're getting to enjoy your hobby even in these hard times.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K4DPK on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Very good article, Tom.

Congratulations on your out-of-the-box thinking and your resourcefulness.

Effective use of available resources is a core quality of ham radio as it should be.

Newcomers can learn a lot from articles like this one.

Phil C. Sr.
k4dpk
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KJ6ETL on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good article, nice work. Now get of the couch and put all your energy into getting a job.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W4VR on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article, but you don't mention anything about RFI. Do you have any into home electronics, etc?
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by NA7I on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great work, Tom!

I guess you just built it, so you have not yet used it when the snow covers the roof, as in one photo. I'd be interested to know how that works out. (We have a good bit of snow here in Montana, so I'm thinking any kind of surface antenna might be problematic in wintertime.)

Disregard the snipes like PA1ZZ. I'm sure that you would have a job if it were there to be had.

JRC NA7I
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N6AJR on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
excellent article. reminds me of my first antenna , a 10-80 meter fan dipole laid on the shingle roof of a 5 plex appartment I lived in, made with painted magnet wire and added a 5 beand ground counterpoise to get rid of the mic's "bite".

another option is a long wire as high as you can get it as high as you can get it with a tuner like the SGC 237 or similar.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by QRZDXR2 on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
dang fine article tom...

Of course you can always go with the 'AMERICAN FLAG POLE' or put up some other countrys flag on it... to be politically correct.. no one dare tell you take a other country flag down in this country... but, you can use the good old flag pole for a vertical antenna. Check the water system in the park and see if its plastic or metal.. metal and you have a great ground plane... of course you could use the electrical ground that goes over to the mobile homes... but it gets noisy..

some time back we helped a senior dig a 12 inch casing hole down 6 ft... put a pre-made rebar base in it and filled it with concrete (all with the blessing of the park manager).. to which then we added a 1 inch thick insulator plate gasket...on the bottom of the flag pole (alu 35 ft) some bushings and insulation washers on top... and bolted it down.

the people who sell the flag poles (also yard and street lights.. or you could have a welding shop make you one out of steel) even came and installed it.. fed the rope up to the top pully... and under our supervision tightend up the bolts... with comments about they had others who wanted the same.. so they took pictures...

After they left we drilled and tapped the bottom plate for the connectins to the coax... again we submitted drawings so that "LIGHTS" could be place at the bottom and light up the flag at night... grin So the coax was not even mentions except as a electrical connection.

What all this does is makes the mobile home frame a big size mobile vehicle ham antenna...

I understand that they now also sell fiberglass ones.. which would work out better.. as you could run the rope down inside it and pull up a length of wire equiv to a 1/4 wave... and no one knows the difference... if they ask .. just tell 'em your an american adjusting the flag.. grin...

Just don't run a linear amp on your radio.. and use headphones instead of speakers... n you should do fine... our friend used a amp.. and every little old ladies electronic piano and organ started talking to aliens..and dead people... which brought out the manager.. who then drove up and down the street... hearing the whisles and beeps from the ham radio speaker outside.. resulted in bad JU JU...ops big time...

cost of his project was not that much... and it worked well when he was not nailed to the cross... grin
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WB8UHZ on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great work and ingenuity.

Tim
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WI7B on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom,

Thank you for the fine article with illustrations. I think you can be a role model for alot of hams who only see problems and not solutions in their own activity.

73,

---* Ken
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K3JLS on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Tom,

Thanks so much for sharing (in great detail) your very clever approach to stealthy and workable antennas. My wife and I are planning to buy a 'double wide' about 70 feet long and I'll happily include your design if I have any problems with the 'park police'.

Were there ever a need for ham radio emergency communications (like a flood, some other natural disaster or even a nuclear attack), we amateurs would probably be one of the few communications links remaining. God forbid that this should happen, but you can almost imagine the rapid change of attitude to those nay-saying neighbors who thought a fiberglass mast, standing aluminum, or even a small VHF beam were 'unsightly' or un-eco friendly.

As a final thought, you might want to consider the use of an automatic antenna coupler at the feedpoint of the antenna outside (under your home). These have a wider matching range than most manual or rig based tuners, can be powered over their coax, work very quickly, and are easily installed.

For example, I use an SGC-239 here with an indoor attic loop of about 130 feet in length that runs along the periphery of both sides of the roof, and then down the center where the tuner is located. While not a 'barn burner', I can use it for 160 meter (usually CW) and up to 10 meters.

Thanks again for sharing. I'm sure that your ingenuity and spirit of generosity will help you find work real soon.

God Bless.

Joe Burch - K3JLS
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WD9FUM on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Gerat article, Tom. Good ol' ham ingenuity comes through again!
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WD9FUM on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
BTW Tom, I went to school at NMC. I sure miss TC!
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K8VF on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great Article , Tom.
Your story should help many whom have restrictions to overcome.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N3JQD on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great documentation and narrative. I too live under the ruling of the HOA Gestapos. I installed a stealthy wire antenna behind our home in the trees. It works well, in fact so well that I'm inspired to install an even taller one now. I hope that your article will inspire others to get on the air.
I learned don't ask the HOA, just do something that they can't detect. If you ask, they will watch you.
P.S. We're not even allowed a flagpole. No patriotism allowed. Verboten.
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K7LA on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice job! Don't EVER give up!
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K3AN on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Any antenna is better than no antenna. But hopefully you can eventually move to a place that will allow you to put up taller and larger antennas, even if you have to hide them like you're doing now. Mature trees, #26 "stealth" wire, and a remote autotuner are a great combination in neighborhoods where HOA enforcement is oppressive.
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB6QWJ on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I also live in a neighborhood with restrictions. My solution was to paint my antennas black. I have a dual band Diamond (2 Meter/70 cm) antenna that I painted black. I painted the 30 foot mast and installed the antenna on it at the back of my house.

I also installed a multi-band dipole (80, 40, 20, 15 meters) in my back yard, using black plastic covered copper wire from Home Depot.

Lastly, I put a Maco 5/8 wave ground plane for 10 meters on a short mast (15 ft) at the back of my house, and painted the mast and antenna flat black.

All of the coax was run underground in PVC tubing to the side of my house - then through the wall to my station.

When you stand at the front of my house, the antennas disappear into the trees and sky. Black is a great color for hiding antennas. No one has bothered me about the antennas since I installed them 3 years ago.

-Tom
K4TMN
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by AF6GL on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom,

Great article. Even I could understand it! KE4BIW said it best when he applauds you for not becoming a "victim". Based on the photograph I would assume that you like to rag chew because it looks to me like the alligator got you.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K5END on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
.
Again, fine article.

As far as the comments, I think it's great to see so much interest in stealthy antennas.

What I've noticed is that as long an antenna isn't waved in their faces, they tend to not see it.

We received an HOA Letter recently, after I'd put up a camouflaged 32' mast.

Fearing the worst, I opened the letter. Can you believe they were writing because we had set out our garbage cans too early on the day before garbage pickup!

They see what they look for.

Now I know the garbage cans make a great diversion!

I mostly operate CW because of the chance the SSB "fone" will get rectified or show up in some audio equipment in the neighbors' houses.

Thanks again for a fine article.

Larry
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K9CTB on August 24, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Couldn't help but make a comment. As this land becomes more socialist in its government, and the tail continues to wag the dog, we'll see more of these examples of freedoms lost. The upside however, is that it encourages innovation within the amateur community. That is certainly what you've done here, Tom! After all, that's what hams have been doing since the amateur radio service was created!

73 and enjoy the hobby, regardless.
K9CTB
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KH6JIM on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Take a look at the Par Electronics end-fed antennas. I travel for work and with only a 100 watt Kenwood ts-50 OR a kenwood ts-480 AND a Par antenna strung up all the room I am amazed....good luck.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KI4SDY on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I was thinking about this the other day, since my living arrangements may be changing in a year. The flag pole antenna would be my first choice, since that lawsuit has already been won. The homeowner's association lost a ton of money in the case and they are still looking at a "giant" vet's flag pole. Most folks don't want to argue over a flagpole anyway, especially if you let them know you are a slightly crazy vietnam veteran.

I also thought that if I end up in a condo building, I would try to get on the top floor and install a double bazooka coax antenna in the attic. Most maintenance men, at first glance in a darkened attic, would think it was cable TV coax and ignore it. That is assuming it was ever found. If I could run two of them in a cross pattern broadside North/South and East/West with a switchbox, I could even change antenna directivity which would help offset the signal loss from being inside.

However, I have always said, look before you leap! Don't move into a controlled socialist environment and them complain about the restrictions. I am going to do everything I can to avoid the problem in the first place. If I can't, then I will have to work around it. Many hams I know are in this pradicament and have outside low profile antennas that have not been detected. I am already in the habit of painting all of my outside antennas with flat black spray paint anyway, which, like the other ham said, makes them disappear in the trees. It also cuts down on corrosion.

As a last resort, if you get into a fight, use the federal communications law on them. As added legal leverage, almost all ham antennas will receive UHV TV transmissions!
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K8AI on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Super job!

It's crazy why those restrictions would even be there for a "manufactured home community"... What the stink are they so hot about?

BTW, I'm sure you know you're not gonna find a job here in MI. Maybe it would be better to go back to "more antenna friendly" AZ.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by NA7I on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom - painting antennas black -

Black paint has a high percentage of carbon, which is a very lossy material. At very very high frequencies the carbon might seriously disrupt transmission or reception (commonly used for absorption at 1 Ghz and above).

A guess would be that black paint will not interfere with our HF frequencies much, if at all. But for EM transparency in general, black is the very worst paint to use (except metallics, of course). I would avoid black if possible, at high VHF and above.

It should be an easy matter to estimate the loss thru a thin coating of black paint, given the thickness, percentage of carbon, and reasonably accurate dielectric constant and loss tangent. One just uses the transmission line expression for impedance transformation, with a shorted load, and with complex 'propagation constants'. The imaginary part of the propagation constant is where the loss is represented.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KC2VSP on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
This article rocks! Thanks for taking the time to post this!

73s,

Tom
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W8BNL on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Well - thanks everyone for the great feed-back. As of yesterday (8/24) I have been called back to work at my engineering job. The vacation's over - hi hi!

As for "how the antennas will work with snow on the roof - I will post an update once that happens. all of the design and installation happened when there was no snow so I guess I will have to wait and be surprised just like everyone else.

73 Everyone - Tom W8BNL
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N3MMH on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Very good article and the illustrations are outstanding. I also would like to hear about any RFI situations you may have encountered and the measures taken to eliviate it.

Cheers
N3MMH
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W3NRL on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent job... well written and the displays looked good as well.

Thanks for your article
73
de
w3nrl
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WA2JJH on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Nice artical!

I have been noodling around with 4-6 5 foot sections of PVC mast.
I use 6 conducgor ribbon cable.

I have been able to make some decent psuedo trapped multiband HF base antenna's.

I always use a counter poise of 6 conductor ribbon. I cut sections at 8,14-16,18,32.

I guess we both found out that if it does not look like an antenna...........most will look to pester somebody else.

My buidling is brown, so I use thin brown ribbon to blend in.

Itbegs the question........If a ham is TXing and nobody knows he is a ham........Is he really on air, or exist at all:)
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KA4KOE on August 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Be careful. That wire typically has a breakdown of 600V. I wouldn't want to chance arcing to nearby metal. Goes without saying that you should not run high power with this setup.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by AJ4FJ on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I'll chime in as well, very nice article indeed.

And congrats on getting called back to work! That's good news for anyone these days. BTW, what kind of engineering work do you do? I'm an ME myself, but I work in software quality assurance, go figure.
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N3GQ on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Well done!

I admire your patience and ingenuity.

Thank you for the detailed drawings and describing the process you went through.

After 15 frustrating years, I finally gave up my hopes of easier DXing and moved out of my highly restrictive HOA 3 years ago. First thing I did at the new place (of course) was to put up a full 80m dipole and a 700 foot EDZ for 160m.

While I was able to log 130 countries using a stealth 160m dipole behind the HOA house using black vinyl-covered WD-1 (old Army surplus field phone) wire, with only a (non-textbook-compliant) 20-degree separation, it was tedious at best, and it could only handle low power.

Wish we could do something to relieve hams of this national problem.

FB & 73, Bart, N3GQ
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by VK2CU on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Tom!

Reminds me of a similar situation where one VK ham had heaps of hassles with the local council, neighbours, landlord etc, so what did he do? Bought a cheap 2nd hand dual wheel h' duty box trailer, aquired an ex-military 20m pnematic telescopic mast - attached this to the trailer, filled the trailer with sandbags and there was nothing anyone could do to his new 20m (66Ft) mast parked in the driveway as it was a registered movable vehicle! Due the the unloaded weight of the trailer being below 750kg , a yearly inspection by the road authorities was not necessary so the setup did not need to be dismantled every year for rego inspection. Suffice to say, to keep the peace, the mast was only raised after dark!

"Stick it to the Man"!

73's

Justin VK2CU
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KD7MTI on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I enjoyed reading this article very much.

The drawings are excellent -- I wonder what you used to create them.

Write more!

Robert kd7mti, 4z5sw
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W5WOX on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations on your achievement, a very well written article. One of the best I've seen in a very long time. Keep up the good work.
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W3WW on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I had no reason to be looking at this article.

But now that I have read it, I am really inspired with the detailed information and results. I find it quite interesting to see what one can do with limited space. After this, I will never complain again about my limited antenna space.

Great Job !!!!!!

73, Don
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W8BNL on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Once again - I am flattered and humbled by all the kind responses I have had to this article.

I will try to answer some of the questions - - -

One person asked about RFI - this was a problem atr first because I only had a thin wire grounding my radio only to an outside grounding rod. I now have the Rig and Antenna Switch tied to a bus bar and then out to the grounding rod with 4 ga. wire. No more RFI (except for some when I run VHF but that isn't too frequent).

A few others mentioned the SGC outdoor tuner. I really would like this idea but when I made my installation I was on unemployment (as mentioned) so I had to make do with the internal on the TS-850SAT which is one very excellent tuner.

My drawings were done with AutoCAD and then saved a jpeg images which were manipulated using freeware. The SWR chart was done with Microsoft Excel - another program I thrive on. I have several spreadsheets which I created to use for antenna design (input the frequency and get the lengths calculated for you) it sure beats entering figures repeatedly into a hand calculator to try different things.

As with all of you - I have come across hams who absolutely MUST have 20 over signals. If they get a report otherwise they are livid and find themselves buying even more equipment. Like I said in my article and on my website, "I'll take a 55 signal report any day over NO Signal Report!"

I am very glad to have inspired so many and as the ideas and projects come around again - I will most definitely share them with everyone. It is a real pleasure.

73 to all - Tom W8BNL
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N8RGQ on August 26, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Good Article ! Another great Antenna for atics or rooftop installations is the "FRACTAL LOOP" ! They can be put in a small area and have wider bandwith then a dipole or regular loop antenna .

http://www.scienceprog.com/fractal-antenna-constructions/

In a pinch the old tried and true 6-1 UNUN and 23 foot of wire will get you on 6m to 80m without a Antenna Tuner most of the time AKA the Comet CHA-250B aproche.

http://g8jnj.webs.com/cometcha250b.htm

73,
Terry
N8RGQ
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB2FCV on August 27, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Great article!

It gives great ideas to those with any sort of antenna restrictions. I currently live in a place I am not allowed outdoor antennas and it's always good to read new ideas to try out. Currently mine are in the attic, but they do reasonably well. This just shows where there is a will, there is a way! 73
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB6QXM on August 27, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
What I find interesting is that some hams have to adapt their living situations for the hobby of ham radio, instead of defining that ham radio is a hobby and finding a location without antenna restrictions.

Myself, ham radio will be a priority for me when the solar flux index numbers start to creep up. So instead of picking a QTH that is restrictive but maybe close to work, I chose a location that requires a bit to get to work, but is ideal for ham radio.

Ridgetop, a fair amount of land, no neighbors and no antenna restrictions.

Plan your QTH around ham radio not the other way round.
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB4RMN on August 27, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Could someone, say a child, touch the antenna while you are operating?-Jim
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by SV9OFO on August 27, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, not everyone affords a decision where to live based on lack of restrictions regarding a hobby.

Many people have to base their home location plan on different factors,
like land price,
rental prices,
requirement to work on remote areas like forests where laws are truly strong against antennas due to the probability of wildfire,
there are prescribed real estate contracts vigorously excluding anything but a standard outline of a suburban classic standard style of house design (which could have been the lifetime dream of one's XYL), landowners associations,
apartments with no access to roof or right to install anything on it,
etc. It isn't always that easy.

My last QTH was the perfect example of the situations enumerated above. My new one doesn't belong to the above palette, out of sheer luck. If I hadn't had the chance to "escape", I would still be bound to 2m operation only.
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N2EY on August 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
KB6QXM writes: "What I find interesting is that some hams have to adapt their living situations for the hobby of ham radio, instead of defining that ham radio is a hobby and finding a location without antenna restrictions."

There are a couple of reasons for that....

First is that a lot of present-day hams bought the house first, then became amateurs. IOW the no-antennas stuff wasn't an issue when the bought the place, but now it is. While the classic answer is "MOVE!", that's just not an option for some folks.

Second is that finding a suitable unrestricted home can be a needle-in-a-haystack situation, particularly when all the requirements (location, size, price, condition, spouse approval) are put on the table.

Third is the ham who is in a temporary situation - say, looking for an unrestricted property - but who doesn't want to wait until s/he moves in order to get on the air. IOW, a compromise antenna is better than no antenna.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by N2EY on August 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
K9CTB writes: "As this land becomes more socialist in its government, and the tail continues to wag the dog, we'll see more of these examples of freedoms lost."

But the restrictions faced by the article-writer aren't government restrictions. They're private-contract restrictions - a direct result of private-enterprise capitalism, not socialism.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WA0TDA on August 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Tom,

Thank you for a great article! I manage the Handiham program for hams with disabilities. Many of our members have to live with antenna restrictions.

Another option is to use a remote base system. We started a remote base running a TS-480 to a G5RV, and it's a good way for those who can't put up any antenna at all to get on the air. Most of us would rather have the radio on the desk in front of us, though...

73,
Pat
wa0tda@arrl.net
http://handiham.org
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by WA8FOZ on August 28, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article Too bad politics even entered here, but N2EY's clatification is appreciated. N2EY says:

"But the restrictions faced by the article-writer aren't government restrictions. They're private-contract restrictions - a direct result of private-enterprise capitalism, not socialism. "

Exactly. Thanks for pointing this out. And if this is to be remedied, it can be done only through government intervention (viz. PRB-1), since we hams are an insignificant element in the larger marketplace.

So much imprecision and fear these days.


73,
Bill
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W8BNL on August 29, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
KB4RMN Wrote - "Could someone, say a child, touch the antenna while you are operating?" Short answer - Yes. Longer answer, I have no children living with me and when the grand kids visit most of my HF operations are near or after dark - so they aren't outside playing anywhere near the lower part of the antenna. But a very good observation. - Tom
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB6QXM on August 30, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
SW9OFO wrote:
Many people have to base their home location plan on different factors, like land price,rental prices,
requirement to work on remote areas like forests where laws are truly strong against antennas due to the probability of wildfire,
there are prescribed real estate contracts vigorously excluding anything but a standard outline of a suburban classic standard style of house design (which could have been the lifetime dream of one\'s XYL), landowners associations,
apartments with no access to roof or right to install anything on it,
etc. It isn\'t always that easy.

SW9OFO: Well let\'s see, I live in the middle of a rainforest. Have you ever heard of the Santa Cruz mountains? We just had a huge forest fire that burned over 12 square miles of forest 3 miles from the QTH. We do not have antenna restrictions. Just make sure that the trees are far enough from the antenna. You would have to be running a whole bunch of power to arc over to a tree.

Not a concern of mine. Rental prices...also not a concern of mine, to my tenants maybe! Apartment..what is that?

Having two professional incomes gives people options, not to be constrained by HOA\'s, small houses or postage stamp lots right next to someone else in the suburban environment.

Not for me...large towers, large antennas with large booms and no neighbors to complain. That is the situation for me.

It is all based on your priorities and a YL that let\'s me do what I want.

If you do not like your living situation with ham radio....change it....take your time, plan, shop and find the ideal situation for a QTH.

Good luck and see you on the air.

73
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by SV9OFO on August 31, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I am truly glad to know that some people have no problem deploying enormous pylons over their residence but my point is that this is NOT always the case, even being head of shareholders in a multi-million dollars per year profit company cannot ensure liberty over your own property sometimes.

In any case, enjoy the hobby!

73
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB6QXM on August 31, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
SW9OFO:
Large pylons over the home. No, again not the case. Here is the scoop. The house is so beautiful that it could be in Home and Gardens magazine. I would not want to take away from that beauty of the home. The antennas are away from the home. The antennas fed with large hardline.
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by K8ZFJ on September 2, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
thanks for a neat idea !
 
What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KA7EKW on September 5, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I spent a couple of years in a mobile home park whose manager was a real jerk, and who spent a large part of his tine snooping around (I got a 3-day fix-or-get-thrown-out notice once because he found an unpainted skirt panel UNDER THE PORCH STEPS).

Since my mobile home was an older model with aluminum skin, I didn't have the option of a wire around the eaves.

I didn't even try to get permission for an antenna. I just mounted a Bell box under the rear bumper of my car, with a waterproof cover and an SO-239 jack in it. This was wired to a coax switch, which could be selected to hook to the radio or to the connector in the box. When I wanted to run HF, I would pull an RG-8 umbilical from under the house, plug into the connector, and use the ATAS screwdriver antenna on the car! I used a quick-disconnect PL-259, so that if I ever forgot to unplug, it would just slip off the jack, and the spring-loaded cover would seal the box up.

Of course, the manager demanded that I stop doing it, until I showed him in the park "laws" that extension cords were specifically allowed between house and vehicles. While this was no-doubt intended for engine heaters and battery chargers, the type of cord wasn't mentioned -- just that it had to be safe and "as short as practical."
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by W8BNL on September 7, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
KB6QXM wrote: "If you do not like your living situation with ham radio....change it...." Well my friend, I did! And you are also right about another thing "It's all about priorities..." In my most humble opinion (and I think I speak for quite a few Hams out there) this is a Hobby. It is something we do in our spare time and therefore is not something which we base our lives and location on. Would I prefer to have a tower - it might be fun to use but to be perfectly honest - - no. Three to five hours a week at the microphone doesn't make a tower a necessity. My intent was simply to improve what I had to live with and then (at the suggestion of a friend) share what I learned with the Ham Radio Community. Another "hobby" of mine is Microsoft Flight Simulator but that doesn't mean I "need" the biggest fastest most powerful computer to work it on or even worse - my own airplane. So in closing - I think I have my "priorities" in perspective and I really enjoy breaking into a pileup announcing myself as "W8BNL Mobile Mobile" (mobile home / mobile antenna)and getting the DX station to come back with, "I heard a mobile station out there - just the mobile please". 73 Everyone de W8BNL -Tom
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KB6QXM on September 14, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
W8BNL,

I, like you, do not have much time for ham radio, but I do not want to restrict myself to a less than a reasonable station. As I have the means, I have 4 towers to operate from 160 meters-70 cm. All mode.

If you are restricted because of financial limitations or that you do not want to put that money into the hobby, I understand. Everyone has their level of interest in the hobby. Some even like QRP. With that last remark, you are playing the DX off of the QRP mindset. Good for you.

73
 
RE: What Antenna Restrictions?  
by KF5DE on September 16, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Outstanding Tom! You get a bunch of attaboys for this project. I read with great interest your problem and your cure (cures). I had to do something similar to your's in my present home. Gated community, property owners association, and antenna/tower restrictions and a long list of other stuff. God I don't know how my wife suckered me into this place. It's nice but restricted. So I first put up a dipole in my attic for 75-80, a seperate one for 40 and 20. I had to put coils on either side of the feed point on 80/75. I did't know about the rule of thumb for calculating the coils, I did it trial and error. They worked, not as well as I expected because the ac/heating really big thing is in the attic also and I picked up a lot of noise. After Katrina came through, doing her dirty deeds, I managed to get a stealthy set of fan dipoles up after several trees were blown down. Katrina did me good on this by clearing out a very large area, but expensive because of the many contractors and individual laborers. Fees are sky high during reconstruction after a disaster I lost eleven trees which required me to hire someone to cut them up and haul the 12 to 18 inch diameter trees away then grind the stumps down. Lots of $$$$$$ for that.
Anyway, I pretty much did what you did except mine was inside the roof of our house and I operated ok considering all. However, you had some excellent drafting of your project, I only had a few photos that I never shared with others on a "how to" project. You made an excellent presentation.

Great job all around, 73 Tom

Butch Magee KF5DE
 
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