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Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!

Dave (KD3V) on April 16, 2003
View comments about this article!

I have shown here what I claim is the simplest but most versatile apartment dwellers antenna I have ever heard of. :-)

  1. I have 7 bands! 40, 20, 17, 15, 20, 10, 6

  2. using a single feedline,

  3. NO tuner is needed

  4. portable (10 minute assembly/disassembly)

I can swap in a 75m whip for any other but I wanted to try 6m repeaters here in LA and the 75m bandwidth is a little narrow for me.

The antennas completely cover the phone portions of each band except for 40 where there is a 100Kc+/- bandwidth.

There was a minor interaction between 10 & 12m whips which was easy to retune for.

They all work great! I got AH3D on the Johnstone Atoll on 5 bands.. 20-10 and almost got 40 but they were only working EU when I had time to try.

On 40, I am in the log of V51E in Namibia! I also have some ZLs and JAs on 40.

I work long path to South Africa all the time and have been as good as S9 in the last 6 months. How about long path to VU2ELJ on more than one occasion!

The large magmount and hamsticks are put together using some of the Hustler VP-1 tri-band adapter plates. For more details on how to make one from parts you can buy at a good ham store, just write to ask!

73, KD3V

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Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by K4DFH on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This is a great idea! I see it is also mounted for must look like a porcupine riding down the street, HiHi. But seriously, how is the wind loading on it?
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by WV4I on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Would you comment as to what you're using for a counterpoise? Is antenna on a metal roof while in roof top mode?
I've used hamsticks in the dipole mode with excellent results also.
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KD3V on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!

I do not drive with this antenna. :-) I do not need to attract THAT much attention. The car was used as the testing/tuning station for the photo seen above.

I made a 'single level' 4-band version for the car 2 years ago. While driving I use only 2 whips. The vertical center mounted whip and one that trails straight back so that there are not twisting moments on the mount.

The ground plane is made from two sheets of 3' x 10' chicken wire (1"squares) that cost $6 each. These two are placed in a cross pattern under the antenna. They give a total of 55 sq.ft. of surface area and like the antenna can be taken down easily by rolling them up.
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KD3V on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!

Since I live in Los Angeles the wind rarely gets too high but we do get the 'Santa Anna's" once in a while.

They do wiggle in the wind and I do have the system loaded down with weight from a large 4"x4"x2' (read heavy) log.

It recently survived 30-35mph winds/gusts as you see it above.
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KS3J on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This looks VERY cool! I'd like to try it. I don't have a flat roof to work with, though. I'm wondering how well it would work if mounted to the top of a mast, using the mast as a counterpoise? Opinions, anybody?
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by WB2WIK on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Nice Job, Dave!

You might mention (okay, I'll do it for you) that the way you have the "home" antennas installed, they can't even be seen from the street in front of your building -- at least, I looked, and I couldn't see them.

And you might also mention (okay, okay) that your home location is not a great one for DXing -- at least, I wouldn't think so. Seems to me you're a thousand feet in elevation *below* the "Hollywood" sign; which makes DXing using the Hamsticks more remarkable, at least for me!

Good job. Wonder if you ever tried using even *more* counterpoise material, beyond the "X" of chicken wire? I'd think on the lower bands like 40 meters, more might work better...


Steve, WB2WIK/6
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by W9WHE on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
No question it works. Cudos for creativity!

However, at home, why not try something more efficent? Get a single 40 meter whip...(one of those alpha delta 12 foot jobs) and just use a autotuner? Far less visible to the neighbors! In the car, why not use a single 8 foot 40 meter whip with the auto-tuner? Less wind load and certainly no "porcupine" effect.

Verticals REQUIRE a good counterpoise to be efficent. Bigger is generally better. At home, lots of wires in a radial pattern flat on the roof...chicken wire...or a connection to the metal roof or steel superstructure. In the car...its the metal body.
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by W4AN on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I submit to you that if you drive around with one of these on your car, you are:

1) Not married, no girlfriend, and no hopes for either.


2) So unhappy in your current relationship that this antenna might be just the ticket to get rid of her.


3) An alien from another planet with no clue how to fit in to human society.


Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by K6VHP on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, that's creative! (if not butt-ugly! 8-) )
How did you get the 40 & 75 meter hamsticks to tune up properly? They are nowhere near 50 ohms impedance (extremely low 5-10 ohms or so) and require base impedance matching to use properly (at least in all the mobile situations I've used them in) If they are resonant on the frequency you want to use, they aren't going to be 50 ohms (or even close) I always use parallel capacitance or inductance, per the tuning & matching instructions supplied with the antennas from Lakeview... 73

Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KY6R on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
A Force-12 Sigma 5 would be another stealthy and very effective DX choice for 20 - 10M.
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KD3V on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
NOTE: to W4AN... :-) see the title of the article!

The 7in1 was built and tested on the car. It has never been used there... but you are probably right ... IF!

NOTE: to NA6DF, no tuning at all used. They are tuned for low vswr as shown. Obviously some might be closer to a 'dummy load' than others but they work as I wrote. Ask V51E about our 40m contact! :-)

NOTE: to KY6R no, take a look again... the sigma-5 is taller, has a large white column in the middle (looky here!), has moving parts, and needs a mount. The 7in1 one sits flat on the roof and has no moving parts. The sigma-5 would also have to be much high off the roof to avoid a real skewing of the pattern or to get a good match. :-) But the sigma is a nice antenna!

The 7in1 started from having a few hamsticks and wanting to add bands without buying another antenna. It was a growth from the starting point. It works as shown and I am extremely happy with the results.

RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by N3ZKP on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!

Did you once live in the DC/Virginia area? I seem to remember seeing a 4-stick mag mount on a vehicle at HRO in Woodbridge three or four years ago.

RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KC6F on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
You would do much better with a single whip and multiple traps. This idea of stacking a bunch of whips next togeather creates a massively inefficient system. In fact, the inefficieny of this antenna must be great, otherwise it would probably not be resonant on all of these bands.
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KC9OD on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I believe the rf simply seeks the resonant whip while ignoring the rest, similar to the multi-wire dipole . Of course there will be some interaction which can be dealt with by adjusting whips.
Love to see this antenna "swept" for Z and R.

Antenna tuner and stainless whip might do as well or better and lok cleaner ,but hey! there is a 75meter Lakeview dipole on my chimney right now.
Put up what you can and work everything you can !
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by N6AJR on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
great job... I am a fan of the "fan" antenna, the multiple dipole with one coax feed and this is a hamstick version of the same.. the antenna that is resonant on the frequency sent looks like a good load and the other antennas have a really hi impedeance on that band so most of the rf goes to the resonant antenna.. great job thanks for the idea tom N6AJR
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by K1VAJ on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Very interesting, perhaps judging from some of the comments, you should rename it the "bumblebee" antenna instead of the hamstick tree. Since most aerodynamicists swear that the bumblebee can't possibly fly, and of course, no one has told the bumblebee so he "just does it." This may be one of those amazing things that work despite totally defying theory :-)!!!
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KG6JEV on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WOW! Did I say "WOW!?" Let me say it again..."WOW!"

My wife would kill me if I put that on our SUV! All I can say, besides "WOW!", is you must have your better half in a trance...better keep her that way! hi hi


RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KC6F on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, you might believe the "RF seeks" a specific antenna, but in fact, the energy will be lost as resistive dissipation in the other whips. In addition, since no traps are used, RF will be radiated from and dissipated in the other whips since they are resonant on various harmonics and probably have a small Q anyway.
RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KC6F on April 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This antenna design is quite similar to the HF Discone antenna.
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by N6FB on April 17, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by N6JSX on April 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
One interesting point you all need to observe is the doubling up on the tri-plate, especially, if you intend to put the larger super coils or HamSticks onto your array!

I run a down sized sort of setup on my SUV. I have mounted a side arm off my trailer hitch mount under my bumper to the passanger side of the vehicle (allows me to open my rear hatch door). Then I have a 5' Hustler stick with the tri-plate mounted on top. My setup is configured for 4 band operations. On the tri-plate I have a 10m, 17m, 20m Hustler coils/stingers. In the center I run either a super Hustler 75m coil with an extra 2' extension section or I put on a HamStick for 75m or 40m. I found the HamSticks to give me a little more bandwidth. But the 75m height has become an issue at Burger King or at the bank/ATM - it is about 11' high but the 75m performance is great!

I had mounted a super Hustler 40m coil on the tri-plate (in place of the 20m stinger) but the plate cracked due to the extra weight and wind loading/vibration. The double plate is needed! My intent was to run 10m, 17m, 40m, and 75m. But I have found some problems with the interplay between the elements that is dificult to tune out.

In all instances and configurations I must run a nylon guy rope to my roof rack! I also run it on the passenger side as state vehicle laws allow a wider over hang on that side of the vehicle.

I get great performance around the world when conditions are open on 10/17m. On the 20m free-for-all band I cannot compete - so I rarely try. I get good multi-state coverage during the day on 40/75m.
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by WA2JJH on April 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Got my vote. I will build one. It does look like a discone as another ham pointed out. It would be an upside down discone however.

It must have discone like properties. The military uses discones all the time. However they cover many bands above 30 MHZ.

The excellent bandwidth is a discone characteristic.

Just wonder what your total cost in antennas was.
I hope I can get the elements cheap.

Since I have roof rights, I might try adding some radials/counterpoises.

Tired of using tuners, even the automatic ones. Besides, if the tuner is in the rig and is compensating
for a high SWR, much RF is wasted.

If anyone knows where to get the elements at a good price, let me know.

73 and TNX for your work
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by WO8USA on April 19, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I've used one of these for about 6 years on my mobile, but I use the smaller Hustler coils. I get similar results and have about 100 countries on mobile (100w). On my mobile antenna (I use a Pro Am Valor amg mount) I have 10, 12, 15, 17, 20 m and I can get into my garage. I can add 40 or 80m to the top, just can;t get in the door then.

Antenna is not guyed, and I do achieve more than a snails pace on the highway in Dayton.

Great concept, works well!

Chris WO8USA
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by WD6EJN on April 19, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I hope you can convince your neighbors the pope has
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by K3ANG on April 20, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Brilliant! This is probably the best use of mobile whips for an apartment I've seen on the web!
For another man's opinion, check out
I do not know him, but his apartment antenna farm will show some similarities.
I use mobile whips at this QTH too. Please send me a copy of the materials list.

Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KD3V on April 20, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This addition was written for people who wrote and asked for the details. Thanks to all of you!

What started out small grew into a very versatile APARTMENT antenna. Emphasis added for those that thought I tried to drive with this.. :-) Nope.. just shown on the car during testing/tuning stage... besides it was easier to photograph the base at that point.

The person who first asked for the details commented on the new ideas he got from reading this so I include my complete answer to him.

:-) IDEAS is what the article is all about!! Expand our thinking about what can be done!!

I spent an hour walking around an HRO 2 years ago trying to create a more flexible and cheaper multiband mobile antenna than what was on the shelves... Did not have money for a screwdriver and hamsticks were cheap at $20 each... so this is the result! Two years with the mobile 4 band version and going strong.

Good luck and be sure to tell people what you come up with!

Details below:
I'll start with this large photo. ALL parts were bought from HRO or a similar part can be obtained there. You might have trouble finding an exact
duplicate of the center-spacer which is merely a double-female 3/8x24 'nut'. I think I saw something at Fry's that had this nice double-ended 'nut' so I
bought it just for that.
Here is the contraption from the ground up.

1. Iron Horse triple 5" magmount. (be forewarned, the coax feed in these things is poor! Open it and see. Get a copper washer of the same size and solder the center conductor to it).

2. Get two (but I recommend four) of the Hustler VP-1 multiband adapter plates. I used a pair of them for each level to give increased stiffness. This photo only shows a single adapter on the top as the other was currently in use on the roof as I built this one up. You can use only one for each level but since this was for my apartment rooftop with limited access I wanted the extra stiffness for durability.

3. DO NOT be confused by the two quick-disconnect bases (at top and at left). These are NOT used, nor needed, in the final apartment roof design. BUT, you might want to use one or more if you have easier access to the location of the finished antenna and want to swap out a stick at some point. In this photo they are used on my mobile which is where I built and tested this version. About 2 years ago I had first made a 4 band version for my mobile which is basically just the lower level as seen here.

4. You might notice on the lower level where it appears I filed out a semicircle from the edges... take a look... you do not need to do this! This
was from a first attempt to provide spacing for the nuts on the top level prior to finding the 'perfect' spacer which is shown in the photo. The spacer made filing those areas unnecessary.

5. Notice that I used the lock-washers at every point. This antenna will have some little bit of wind-loading and I wanted to prevent it from twisting in the wind!

6. Buy 7 hamsticks and go to town. The only serious interaction was between the 12m & 10m sticks.. Simple re-tune the stinger on the 10 stick and all will be well.

7. The positioning of the various whips around the unit maybe create other interactions but I saw nothing else in my building it. I did try to separate each band from it nearest neighbor and I saw only the one interaction.

8. The magmount sits on a large flat piece of metal from a flattened tower computer case! Then this sits in the center of two sheets of 3' by 10' chicken-wire ( 1" squares I think). the chicken-wire was bought at Home Depot for $ 6 per roll of 3' by 10'. Be careful unrolling these. They have them wrapped with a long wire and then they tend to want to stay rolled.. so
get them unrolled and faced down. Use the 'redcross' shape and place the flattened case with the magmount in the center.

9. So now, use all of the whips you choose to use with their nuts and build it up...BUT START with the center whip (20m in my version) so that you create a stable base on which to add the other whips. It is quite simple really. I do use the lock washers both above and below the adapter plates! We do not want this thing twisting and there is no other easy way to prevent it from rotating.

9a. You will see that the two plates are twisted 60 degrees off from the other. Obviously for spacing the 6 whips around the circle evenly. AND, of course if you want to add 30m, 75m and a 160nm whip.. go ahead and try to add a third level!

I have a 75m whip but that band was one that I never used in my DXing in the past and the bandwidth is so narrow one them that I put in a 6m stick on instead. There are many 6m repeaters out here so I knew I would have more fun with trying that. Also.. since I do not have easy access once it is up there.. I did not want to change out the 75m stick after it was up so I live
with 40 to 6 meters. (no 30m)

Two years ago I spent an hour walking around the Burbank HRO looking at all the possibilities for HF antennas and let my (engineering) mind go to work. I wanted as many bands as possible and an easy way to get them without needing a tuner! So now you see the results.

Thanks for asking because I did want to go through this exercise and having someone ask for it made it easier to do!

PLEASE make one and let me know if the above was good enough! It is easy to do once you gather the parts. Much easier DONE than WRITTEN!
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by WB1BPV on April 21, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I actually found a 3 antenna tree which I used with a tri magmount.I was able to use 10-40 meters with those 3 hamsticks.Only problem was going through underpasses, going through toll booths, going thru the drive through at Mcdonalds, not to mention trying to park in the company garage(hihi).I finally took it off the roof of my Laredo and am trying to figure out what to use to replace it.As for wind loading, I was able to go 70 mph and the antennas/mag mount didn't budge.Only problem is that if you go through an underpass that isn't low enough at 70mph, the mag mount and antennas will fly...........Its probably best tou use the mount if you live in the country or in the plains state of Kansas...........

73's to all.........

Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KE4ZHN on May 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I love it! A multiband "porcupine"! Granted it wont take prizes for looks, but who cares if it works well? This contraption is cool!
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by NJ6F on October 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This is cute but here is my two cents.
I would use a 8 foot total length Spider dipole configuration which is a 6 meter thru 75 meter available immediately, end loaded dipole, which is fully pretuned for every band and has the effect of being a balanced antenna with less noise and less chance of causing TVI as with verticals which cause problems with next door neighbors due to cheap TV's, stereo speaker leads and poor cable grounds.
You can hang a Spider dipole on a balcony in the horizontal or vertical configuration and dress it up with plastic flowers for the sake of the curious landlord etc.
You could hang it inside a 8 by 10' four leg sun shade and rotate the dipole having a sun shade down on one or both sides if you have the room, for the sake of the curious neighbor next door, and it tears down easily into two 4 foot ski poles in a fishing pole tube and fully numbered adjustable resonators can be easily attached as needed or have all of them attached at same time. See article under portable antennas, spider dipole. Good luck all, Rich
Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by N5WVC on October 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well done Dave, an inverted HF porcucone. Thanx for sharing this with us. Did ya ever try loading it up on 160 with a tuner?

RE: Apartment dwellers 7 in 1 'Hamstick' Tree!  
by KQ6Q on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I've got two triple-resonator Hustler trees - mag mounted on a metal mobilehome roof -24x56' - works nicely. Picture in my eham bio. It works! Now to try for 160, 12, and 17. BTW - the military does(did?) use inverted discones -a circle of telephone poles wires taper in to a central feedpoint. There used to be two of them at Edwards AFB - south Base MARS station. Also had a vertical discage at my Titan missile site. Worked great on 80 meters especially.
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