Thursday, June 7, 2012

Simple antennas for the Amateur Radio Operator--a continuing serie


During the past few weeks, I've read many articles from amateur radio operators who are facing restricted options because of HOAs, CC&Rs, and limited space.  Although I'm not in a restricted zone, my small lot and proximity to power lines makes me feel some of their pain.  People move into restricted quarters for a variety of reasons, so I'm not going to rehash the obvious arguments presented in the media.  Suffice to say, we amateurs must use our creativity if we are to enjoy our hobby to the fullest.

I've made a practice of reading as much information as I can about stealth and hidden antennas to get an idea of what's possible for my hobby.  Every once in a while I come across articles which peek my interest and get the creative juices flowing.  Today, for example, I ran across WB0DGF's Antenna Site (, which provides a practical antenna plan for a home and various links to antenna designs and options.  Among the ideas is the trusty "Grasstenna" by K3MT.  I've tried this antenna and it works well for local contacts.  The antenna is laid out on the ground and fed by coax.  Obviously, this quickly deployed antenna is no yagi, but it will get you contacts if you have few alternatives.  Another site mentioned in WB0DGF's page is "Stealth Antenna Experiences from Cliff's ham radio connection."  Cliff outlines several antennas that could work for you, including a 10 meter attic antenna and a 40 meter twin lead Marconi antenna in your attic.

In my case, I have enough room in my small back  yard for two verticals--a 40 meter inverted vee and a 20-meter vertical dipole.  I recently tried an "upper and outer" vertical with a horizontal counterpoise along the side of the house.  That antenna was easy to build and use.  I've since taken it down and will save it for emergency use.

Those of you with severe space restrictions may want to try a mobile antenna on a tripod in your backyard.  With a few radials attached, this antenna could get you back on the air.  I've even used a "Hamstick" antenna with a mag mount on my van to get on the air.  Add a few radials and you have an antenna that should work reasonably well.  Of course, none of these ideas will perform as well as a beam or a full-length  dipole mounted 50-feet in the air.  The idea is to get on the air and enjoy amateur radio as best you can.

Another option is to operate remotely with your amateur station and antenna located in a more favorable location.  There have been several articles in the amateur radio press outlining the procedures involved in remote operations.  In this case, a good, high-speed internet connection will make the transition a bit smoother.

Have a good weekend and get on the air.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM--BK29jx15