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Wandering Cables

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by K4FEK, Sep 24, 2018.

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  1. K4FEK

    K4FEK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Beginning at the beginning, I have a HOA that gets hysterical at even the hint of an antenna appearing outside the house. (Oh, they're so ugly!) Nothing new for many of us.
    My house was pre-wired with CAT 5 cable for telephone and internet. We use neither the phone, nor the internet pre-wire, as we are wireless all the way. Consequently all the cabling, which wanders through the house, is unused. They all terminate in a box in the master bedroom closet.
    I haven't been on HF in a long time, mostly because of antenna problems, but I had a brainstorm. I found the connection for the cable run that begins in my "shack", and ends at the junction box in the bedroom, where I completely disconnected it. I twisted all the wires in the CAT 5 cable together at the outlet in my shack and connected it to my rig, via my old 941D using the "LONG WIRE" connection. The reception is so-so, likely because of current propagation, and I haven't tried to transmit with this setup yet and here's why.
    1. There is no way of getting an exact measurement as to exactly how long the wire is. It should be about 50 - 60 feet - not definitely resonant on any of our bands.
    2. I'm not sure what to do for a counterpoise, or even if I need one. There are other CAT 5 cables running along the same boards in the attic relatively near by, which I have also disconnected at the terminal box. They are inches apart at the beginning, and then they diverge to other rooms.
    3. Given that I do need a counterpoise, is running a piece of #18 wire along the floorboards and out into the garage sufficient, (about 50 feet) or do I need something else (I read where an earth ground is not necessarily good for this)?
    I wish I had enough room to climb around in the attic, cut that line in half and turn it into a 20 meter dipole altogether, but that's a non-starter. Head room is very low, and wires run everywhere.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks for your consideration.
  2. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Before the "Move" suggestions start pouring in; what about a temporary installation? I don't think HOAs can do or have a say about something like that.

    Dead-simple outdoor antenna suggestion; " MFJ-1979 17' telescoping whip mounted on a stake you push into the ground. Attach two 16.5-foot radials going out to two 4-foot fiberglass driveway parkers also stuck in the ground. Attach feedline to antenna and rig.

    Call CQ on 20m (best bet for easy dx with a small antenna at this part of Cycle 24).

    Take it all down when done.

    Optional "TEMPORARY" signs or orange cones may be advisable depending on severity of HOAitis present.

    My HOA president actually complimented me on one of my semi-stealth antennas (screwdriver mounted on fence):p


    K9ASE and KC8VWM like this.
  3. NH7RO

    NH7RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    PS: How about a flagpole antenna? Another good way to go in any HOA or CC&R scenario. Radials can be buried a few at a time after dark. Autotuner at base is also best. Bury coax and control cable back to shack with a Garden Weasel lawn edger ($25 at Lowe's)---fast and easy in most soil.

    PPS: It is ironic that you already have so much wire running through your "wireless" home---but please resist the temptation to succumb to indoor antennas---these days with so much RFI generating gizmos running rampant it is always wiser to get something up outdoors.
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  4. K4FEK

    K4FEK Ham Member QRZ Page

    That one's been suggested, but the HOA got around the law by putting flag brackets on everybody's house and if you want to fly a flag, you have to have one that fits in the bracket. Believe me, I've tried that. It doesn't work. Actually, the RFI isn't all that bad, but I have birdies galore! Might not be coming from my house at all.
    NH7RO likes this.
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Does your hysterical HOA allow parking "outside" (like in your driveway), or must all cars be parked in garages?
    NH7RO likes this.
  6. K4FEK

    K4FEK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, I've been thinking about the idea of a temp setup. It's just annoying to have to put it up, take it down, put it up, take it down, and so on. It might be the ultimate solution I get stuck with. Thanks Jeff.
  7. K4FEK

    K4FEK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, we can park in our driveways during the day, but they have to be either garaged at night, or moved to a special parking area near the clubhouse.
    I've was thinking of starting a ham radio club in the neighborhood and setting up a shack in the clubhouse with all kinds of interesting antenna arrays, but the board poo pooed that so ….
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  8. K4FEK

    K4FEK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have to say that, just from a receiving standpoint, this crazy setup doesn't seem to be doing too badly. Just a birdie or two, which I don't think is coming from my house. The HVAC motor is actually quite RF quiet, to my surprise -- it's new since August. Yes, there are metalized ducts and electric wiring up there, but the lines for the "pre-wire" seem to avoid all the usual hazards -- maybe the builder actually knew what he was doing. There is foil-backed insulation but it's BELOW the wiring, with the foil toward the inside of the house. My roof is clay, and there is no reflective material in the substrate itself. I checked VHF/UHF with a field strength meter and the only band that really suffers for the roof is 70cm. HF should be good to go. I think I should be all right if I can get this juryrigged setup to work. I guess the next step is to try to transmit something, but I'm truly wondering how safe that is before I blow up my rig. I'm concerned about the other wires so nearby, and the counterpoise business.
    Thanks all.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, the "garaged at night" thing would prevent me from ever buying into an HOA like that. When my kids lived at home, we had six cars and a 2-car garage. No way anyone would want to park "remotely," we parked in both the garage and the driveway, and often in the street in front of the house.

    Now that we're "empty nesters," there's two of us but still three cars. One is always in the driveway.

    Rules for the sake of rules are nutty.:p
    K9ASE likes this.
  10. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I lived in an HOA that required us to park in the garage at night. Then the neighborhood was experiencing a rash of home break in's. Apparently, they found out the bad guys were thinking no one was home at the time, because no cars were present in the driveway at night.

    I guess this raised quite a stink with the neighbors and concerns were expressed about everyone's personal safety. Even the local police ended up getting involved and told the HOA how the parked vehicles in the driveway serves as an effective deterrent letting the bad guys know people are home at night.

    So the HOA abandoned the stupid rule.

    But yeah, if you can have a car parked in the driveway you can attach an outdoor antenna to it. I knew one guy who had a mobile antenna on the back of his truck at an HOA. He had an antenna switch inside the cab that switched everything to an SO-239 he installed near the front grill. He would run his "extension cord" from inside the garage to the truck and connected it to this SO-239 connector. Neighbors probably thought the "extension cord" was to operate a battery charger under the hood or something. He operated that outdoor antenna from the comfort of inside his home and no one had any idea.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
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