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Author Topic: "I can't be an active Ham with restrictions&q  (Read 6371 times)

Posts: 430


« on: July 13, 2003, 10:33:53 AM »

Can you be an active Ham with a house/apartment/condo that has antenna restrictions where you have to hide or use inside antennas?

The short answer is YES YOU CAN!

I would like to share some items if any of you are in a situation that you think you can not enjoy Ham Radio because you are in restricted areas.  This is a big issue for many Hams or folks that might want join in and become more involved as Ham Radio Operators.  Those that might be interested but think they can not participate I think at times just disregard trying because they might have restricted issues (you don't have to have a tower/antenna farm to be involved!).   There are for sure items of compromise that you will have to deal with but I have done some playing over the years just to prove to myself that yes I could operate under restricted conditions.

Here are a few items of compromise and concerns you will have to take into account when operating with restrictions (there are others..but got to keep it short).

- Antenna compromises - you will not have the strongest signal on the band for the most part (unless the band is wide open) and will most the time be working under weak signal conditions using simple antennas and low power.  On HF you can use some simple antennas that work well but will have little gain factors to will also want multiband capabilities......on VHF/UHF you can surely find a spot almost anywhere for a small J-pole/loop/Yagi to work a few station or hit FM repeaters in your area.  There are many ways to hide an antenna.....keep it in the attic.......paint the antenna if it is outside to blend in with it's surroundings......use some HF or VHF/UHF loops and make it look like a vine or bird feeder of sorts.......use a flag pole....lots of ways to work around all this.

- RFI issues - if you have close neighbors (apartment/condo owners) you will have to understand RFI interference not only to your own electronic equipment but to others nearby.   With antennas low to the ground or inside you almost are certain to run into problems if you do not run lower power...keep RFI issues in mind!   Always operate in a fasion not to cause your own electronic equipment (phones,TV/VCRs/stereo,PC, etc) any problems then you can almost be certian others are having no problems either.  The best way to not cause problems is have your antennas as far away from other electroinc equipment as possible and then run the lowest power possible to make some contacts yet not bother anyone (QRP at 5w is a great way to operate Ham is a fun challenge to many that don't even have restrictions!)

- Power and mode limitations -  Keep in mind that just because you might have to limit your power does NOT mean you will not make any contacts!  I must say that there is a thrill to running low power and there are thousands of QRP operators ouit there Hamming it up everyday.......and YES they do make contacts!  Your mode of operation makes a difference also and SSB/voice is not always doable with power limitations but when you get to weaksignal work you will want to try CW or use computer soundcard digital modes like PSK31 for example.  I think you might just be amased at the number of contacts you can make on just CW and PSK31 using QRP 5w of power and simple wires on HF.   On VHF depending on your location and the distance of repeaters and other operators in your area you might have no problems running lower power to make many local VHF/UHF contacts also.

Is there any advantages to operating restricted?

- You will most like learn how to operate weaksignal work and experiment more with different modes, wattage, bands, and antennas.
- Satisfaction of actually making contacts with maybe lower power and simple confined antennas
- If you do operate with antennas inside your attic or the like you will have no problems of weather related antenna issues like those with outside antennas (wind, ice, corrosion etc)
- CW and digital modes (PSK31,RTTY,HELL etc) are addicting and I think well worth learning about
- There are thousands of Hams that have this very subject in common with you and can share experiences
- Many QRP clubs to join

Just a few links on QRP or Digital....and there are hundreds!! .....links:

Here are some antenna ideas that worked for me and I have had good success with them.  If you are a budget minded Ham then please try the homebrew ones that are cheaper to make and if money is of no concern then the commercial ones next (but remember that homebrew can work as good or better at times and cost much less if you have a good junk box of materials).  Here are a few restricted antenna ideas....I have only a few links but there are hundreds...links:

-Attic dipoles, J-poles, Beams
-Tree dipoles, J-poles, Beams
-Painted Verticals
-Painted Beams
-Wire loops
-Isoloops/MFJ loops
-House siding loop
-Roof shingle loop
-Outbacker Vertical (mobile)
-Hustler Vertical loads (mobile)

Here are a few links on these items:

Here is one more option that the Internet Hams have thought of.....operate remotely from another Hams location with your is legal and you can do it.....take a look here:

or for VHF/UHF:

This is just a very short overview on how really easy it is to operate in restricted areas if you really want to participate in Ham Radio but have restrictions as an issue.   I could go on and on as there are many groups and links on restricted/QRP issues but I just wanted to let everyone know that if you are not thinking of getting more involved in Ham Radio because you can't have a big antenna or tower then I hope this helps you take the step to participate....YOU CAN OPERATE UNDER RESTRICTED CONDITIONS (that is if you want to!).

de kb9umt Don
from my experimenting and findings there is no doubt I can and have operate under restricted condtions...also thinking of upgrading or need one on one help...join in:

Posts: 50

« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2003, 02:25:34 PM »

It's very helpful information for the beginners and for those that have a choice to operate Low Power and hidden Antenna and not to operate at all.
  Between these 2 choices I choose not to operate at all until I'll find a home without restrictions.I'm living almost 2 years in US in apartments. Can't do anything with antennas - may be just some balkony antenna.

   Now a little background: I'm about 25 years in Ham Radio, and participated in the numbers of Contests with my previous calls:RC2OF,UC2IP,SO4IWG,4Z5JZ,4X2M and now I'm KO5D.
   Besides I'm Radio and Electronics engineer with MA degree.About 20 years ago I was Champion of the USSR in juniors CW speed Contests - I belive I still can manage about 30 words/min TX and RX.

   I'm writing all this because I'm not new in a HAM radio and I have experience as Engineer and I can agree with you that you'll make a lot of contacts with 100 Watts and some simple antenna.
But believe me for 25 years in air I couldn't establish a lot of contcats with DX-peditions that was waiting for few years, I could get few hundreds QSO during WW DX Contest or any other worl wide Contest, but I wasn't satisfied with this results - when you're working at some contest "nobody" can hear your 100 watts on a dipole when 90% running more than 1KW and some YAGI or QUADs.

   I felt very proud when could catch 2nd plase or 3rd plase in Contests.It's giving you stimulization to go forward, to improve your skills to do some modernization with your antennas,PA and so on.

 There is no conclusion for my post - everybody doing more suitable things for him.I'm just trying to find my way -how to solve this problem.
   Thanks for the links anyway - I'm going to check them.

Sorry for my English - it's my third language.Still trying to improve it.

Posts: 21837

« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2003, 12:25:30 PM »

Surely anyone, anyplace can get on the air and make contacts.  What Sergey is alluding to is how disappointing it is for someone used to being on top of, or generating pileups to suddenly be faced with restricted operations...and of course right now is the worst possible time to be buying into restrictions, since HF propagation is going downhill fast and likely won't recover for another 7-8 years.

What one could do with 25W and a whip on 10m 2-3 years ago cannot be done today, and might take a kilowatt and a beam on 20m, instead.  So, I fully understand Sergey's position.

Still, for those faced with restrictions another useful suggestion is to create an excellent HF mobile station, then move the rig inside, while leaving the HF antenna on the car!  I've done that before, and it can work far better than any kind of "indoor" antenna.


Posts: 50

« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2003, 01:43:28 PM »

You've got my point.

Posts: 343

« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2003, 10:41:19 AM »

Steve's mobile suggestion is a good one.  HF mobile is a much more viable option these days than it ever was thanks to the ease of installing transceivers suitable for this application. I use an ICOM 706 MK2 and a set of Hustler resonators. A good mobile antenna, installed for top performance, can radiate surprisingly well. If you want to have the rig in the house, a temporary feedline to the mobile antenna will work.  Or you can simply decide to operate from the car either while driving or as a portable station on wheels.  I enjoy the portable approach and have good luck driving to a location that's friendly for receiving and transmitting.  

Posts: 22


« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2003, 09:20:41 AM »

That was a nice write-up on how to operate from within restricted and CC&R QTHs.  However, there is another way.  That is to get some currently pending legislation passed that would effectively override local CC&Rs on the national level.  It would allow amateur radio operators to install, maintain and use reasonable antennas, despite CC&Rs that dictate no outside antennas of any kind.  Sound too good to be true?  
There is such a bill pending in the 108th Congress right now.  It is the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act, H.R. 1478, introduced by Mr. Israel.
My own congressman, Joel Hefley, has told me that he opposes the bill because he doesn't think it is the federal government's job to overrule the subdivision restrictions.  I disagree with Mr. Hefley, and I am doing everything I can do to muster up support for the bill and, hopefully, get it passed.  If the bill passes, you may be able to erect reasonable antennae in your own back yard and cite a federal law that supercedes the local restrictions.
I urge all who read this to contact their congressman and try to get him to support the legislation.
There is some information about HR 1478 at the ARRL website, as well as a sample letter to your representative.
Let's all pull together on this one and see if we can override the snooty CC&Rs.
Sidney Patin  KC0OSB  Colo Springs

Posts: 79


« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2006, 03:08:30 PM »

Great job as always keeping us folks that have restrictions going! Don was my elmer for ham radio and I was happy to find his post on here while looking for some more antenna ideas. I am about to make a move and im trying to find a place that will allow my fiancee and myself to have our small dog (AND have antennas)..not looking good just for the dog!

Keep it up Don!

~Robert Rittenhouse (KC8TAD)
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