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Multiband HF antenna for second floor apartment

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by NC6B, Feb 15, 2021.

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  1. NC6B

    NC6B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I live on the second floor of a low income apartment complex. We can not have anything attached to the building. I am looking to put up a low cost HF antenna that will work for at least 40 through 15 meters. That I can put up with out attaching it to the building, that is it can't be fastened to the building.
    I am currently using a Buddipole antenna that is mounted on a ten foot wooden pole that is fasten to a Steel table that is made out of steel bars used for welding verification. Picture of it is on my Page NC6B.
    It will only tune up on 20 meters do to close proximity of a metal rail on my balcony.
  2. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I perused your QRZ profile page. Have you considered using an external antenna tuner?
  3. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you can have wires draping down from the balcony (even very thin almost invisible wires), then I would recommend using an inverted vee. For example, for 40 and 15, you could use two pieces of thin wire 33 feet long. Attach two supports (such as fishing poles, for example), extending out as far from the deck as you think you can get away with. Attach the coax to each piece of wire, run it to the end of the pole, and then let in hang down from there. I've done this successfully from hotel rooms, and it generally works quite well, although depending on the building, you might not get out very well in that direction.
  4. KI5AAI

    KI5AAI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you thought about a magnetic loop antenna?
    KK4NSF likes this.
  5. W7HV

    W7HV Ham Member QRZ Page

    FWIW: Your Buddipole setup looks off. The loading coils should be at the end of the large diameter rods with the whips connected directly to the loading coils. It'll work much much better that way, and the taps and tuning will be closer to what the instructions suggest.
    AE9AM likes this.
  6. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have you thought about getting a long and light fiberglass pole in the 30 to 40 foot range, and stretching it out to that tree? You could run the wire along the pole to the end, then let it bend and hang down just above reachable height. Lay that pole out so that it lays against the nub of that tree in your photo (it looks close enough). Kind of like an inverted L shape?
  7. KA6IBM

    KA6IBM Ham Member QRZ Page


    MFJ 1622

    6 - 40 meters. This is my back deck of my apt. I dont have many contacts, but it work especially if the other station has a great antenna. my first contact was NY state. I use it 95% of the time on 40 meters
    K5ABB and KA4DPO like this.
  8. K9KQX

    K9KQX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd look at a magnetic loop, even if you had to build one. Small size and it might help reject some out of band noise coming from noiset electronics in other apartments.

    Just put it near the window, but don't let it touch any metal on or near the window.
    KK4NSF likes this.
  9. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with the magnetic loop folks. I know a lot of hams in other countries who also live in apartment blocks. Many of them swear by their loops. They are quite compact, and easy to move around.... so you can set it onto your balcony, or move it to the common areas on a sunny afternoon and operate from there.

    The other idea I'd consider is using a random wire, and a tuner. If you use a very thin wire thrown over a nearby tree, and then drape a counterpoise from one corner of your balcony you should be able to make a lot of QSOs on 40-20-10 meters. I used to use that set up from hotel rooms while travelling. While not optimum, it does work better than what some folks here will admit.

    You can also use a loaded vertical, as mentioned by KA6IBM. The simplest of which would be a single-band ham-stick with a ground or counterpoise. A base loaded whip would be a little better, and one of MFJ's 17' telescoping whips with a base coil would be even better still. I have a similar set-up that I use on minDXpeditions to parks and beaches.

    Of the three, the loop is probably your best bet in an apartment situation, since you can turn them to null out much of the noise. Even so, all three work and will get you on the air.

  10. K4MJA

    K4MJA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Magnetic loop is a great antenna, but it is very narrowband and not easy or fast to tune, unless you use it with a controller like this one. I live in condo, too, and use number of antennas (magnetic loop included). I recommend looking at MFJ-1775 or similar. These are relatively broadband, especially with the help of an antenna tuner. While more bulky, it can be deployed similar to your present antenna. I push it up on a fiberglass pole.

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