MFJ 1622 apartment antenna or Hamstick Dipole?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KD8HJR, Sep 4, 2011.

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  1. KD8HJR

    KD8HJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I live in an apartment and I am looking to get back into HF. I will have a radio soon so it's time to look into possible antennas. I'm stuck between two...

    To explain the situation, I'm on the second story of an apartment complex and I am not allowed to have anything on my balcony except for chairs, plants and a barbeque grill. (per rental agreement) All of my windows face the parking lot, so there is no room to run a wire to anything (such as a tree), So whichever antenna I get will have to be used INSIDE the apartment, more than likely about ten feet from where the radio will sit. (so RF safety is a definite concern). I WILL have an antenna tuner.

    So for the MFJ 1622 Apartment Antenna. It's a vertical that is advertised as being able to be attached to a bookshelf, dresser, ect. (which is the exact setup I would have to use). It has an ungodly amount of counterpoise wire which would have to be ran along the floor and adjusted to change bands, and it sounds like a big pain. Reading reviews, other than the pain of changing bands and the obvious db loss of both the antenna and the fact that it will be indoors, it seems like an antenna that will simply work. (which is what I am going to have to settle on)

    The other antenna would be a Hamstick dipole also sold by MFJ. This is simply a mount that holds two Hamsticks in a "dipole" setup. These have great reviews, and I think it would be A LOT easier to setup and use, but here's my question to you. I am planning to use 40 and 20 meter. The other bands would be a nice bonus, but those are the two I NEED to have. Can I use a 40 meter Hamstick dipole along with the antenna tuner to make this antenna usable on 20 meters? The answer to this will be the difference between me getting a pain to use MFJ 1622 or the put up and enjoy Hamstick dipole.

    My only other question would be the regarding any RF situation I might be faced with by using either of these antennas within ten feet of the transmitter with no real way of grounding. Either antenna would be placed in a fashion where they could not be touched while transmitting of course, I'm just curious about the close distance while transmitting.

    I look forward to your responses.

  2. AD1E

    AD1E Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have HOA issues and I am thinking of one of these Pricey, but it looks interesting. Standard one runs on 10, 12, 15, 17, and 20. They have another one for other bands including 40.


  3. AD1E

    AD1E Ham Member QRZ Page

    How many story's is you building?
  4. KD5LPB

    KD5LPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the 1622 and it is absolutely HORRID. The only contacts I have made on it are through PSK31, and those were with the antenna outside. I have been pretty discouraged about apartment operating and decided to put my radio in the car. I went out and bought a hamstick/lip mount and within ten minutes I worked Mexico City on 20 meters running 5 watts.

    I don't know how well a hamstick dipole works, but I am wanting to try one out. I do know that the standard hamstick setup is running circles around the 1622 antenna.
  5. KD8HJR

    KD8HJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    My apartment is two stories, and I am on the second. The building is set up with six apartments on the bottom, six on the top, and I am in the middle apartment. So I have an apartment on either side of me as well as one behind me.

    Great info on the 1622, KD5LPB, I appreciate it! That's pretty much what I was figuring. Most of the good reviews on the antenna were setups outside with better conditions than my own. I definitely understand the downfalls I face by running such a compact antenna as well as running it indoors, but I'm hoping I can simply find something that works. I don't expect it to work well, just work. Running it in my vehicle would be an inconvenience at best, so I really need something to run inside. I'm definitely leaning towards trying the hamstick dipole. I have a feeling they are absolutely limited to monoband use, so I will probably be forced to buy a pair of 40m as well as a pair of 20m sticks. Gets me back to the problem of having to change the antenna around to change bands, but hopefully it will outperform the 1622. Thanks again

    Maybe I'll win the lottery and can buy a 400 dollar multiband loop to cure my antenna dilemma :) Wish me luck
  6. KD8HJR

    KD8HJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    What are your thoughts as to the antenna being so close to the transmitter? Any worries of health hazards or radio issues associated with RF, or perfectly safe as long as I don't make contact with the antenna while transmitting? What about stray RF from the setup not being grounded?
  7. KG4NEL

    KG4NEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Get some big plants and hide a screwdriver in the foliage? :D
  8. KD5LPB

    KD5LPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is there any possibility of buying some magnet wire from Radio Shack (it's around ~$8 for a few rolls if I remember correctly) and stringing it across the parking lot to a tree or some other sturdy object? I did this for a long time at my last apartment and it worked very well. It's almost invisible unless you're looking for it. I had friends look for it and nobody could ever see it.
  9. KD5LPB

    KD5LPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was pretty close to the wire antenna I just posted about, and suffered no problems. I do, however, recall a nasty RF burn from the 1622. I can't remember what exactly happened, though.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The MFJ1622 isn't a new idea: B&W has had the same design on the market for nearly 50 years. MFJ just made it a bit cheaper.;)

    It works mostly when you can clamp it to an aluminum window frame with the whip "outside" the building. Since it's quite small and unobtrusive, that would probably work in most apartment setups as nobody would really see it.

    If your landlord provides you with free television service, then this would not apply...BUT if not, he cannot prohibit you from putting a TV antenna on your balcony, patio or windowsill as that would be prohibited (for him to not permit this) under Federal law in the U.S. (under the OTARD rule).

    You can make lots of antennas look like a TV antenna.:eek:

    Indoors, better than the MFJ1622 would be one of their "loop tuner" setups. I've tried them and they work better, especially indoors. Look them up, there are several models and none are expensive -- BUT you CANNOT use a regular antenna tuner with any of those loops. It takes a "loop tuner," which is a special design.

    Regarding radiation hazard, at 100W you'd almost have to be touching the antenna to be outside the safe radiation limits on HF. I went through the FCC calculations hundreds of times and at 100W, you can be within a couple of feet of any kind of "no gain" antenna and fall within the safe "controlled" limits. I wouldn't think about this at all. Of course RFI to appliances (stereos, telephones, whatever) is a completely different matter and has to be handled on a case by case basis, if you have such problems.

    Edit: Forgot about the Hamstick dipole issue. 40m Hamstick dipole will not work on 20m, and 20m Hamstick dipole will not work on 20m. It doesn't matter what kind of tuner you have, the results are dismal trying to do this.
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