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Antenna question

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Texas T, May 13, 2004.

  1. Texas T

    Texas T TX expatriate CLM

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    Assuming that I did pursue this hobby, I live in a very strict HOA community that would not allow an outside antenna (AFAIK). I do have some limited attic space though. Not even knowing what kind of communications I would be dealing with at this point, what would be my options for an antenna system?
     
  2. GSD17

    GSD17 Thread Killer

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    I am not very fluent with this sort of thing yet, but you should be able to operate with no problem, my Handheld gets out inside my house with no problem. Someone more intelligent about this sort of thing will halp you out shortly. I am still fairly new to HAM
     

  3. lymph

    lymph

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    Hey Texas T, there are lots of choices for you. The amount of difficulty you'll have to deal with depends on what type of operating you want to do.

    If you're mostly interested in VHF/UHF, which includes the 2 meter and 70 centimeter bands, you can often reach repeaters with a hand-held radio and rubber-duck antenna. Or, you can make or buy something called a J-pole antenna out of old twin-lead wire (the stuff we used to use to connect our TVs to outside antennas). You can hang the J-pole from an inside window and get a pretty good signal. There are vertical antennas for these bands that might fit in your attic. Your success in VHF/UHF depends a lot on how close you are to repeaters and/or other hams. Your signal doesn't travel that far on its own. On the plus side, those little handy-talkies are cool and very portable. Also, the small mobile rigs you put in your car work great with a mag-mount antenna (similar to CB). I used to operate exclusively out of my car because I had no room for an antenna in my apartment.

    If you want to operate on the HF bands, you're going to have a little more trouble. I've heard of people running long wire or dipole antennas inside their attics. How well they work depends on a lot of things, including the materials your house is made of, etc. There are vertical antennas that are pretty stealthy and can be put right up against a chimney and not be noticed. There are also loop antennas which don't take up a whole lot of room. They'll fit in an attic. None of these will work as well as a nice long wire antenna stretched across your roof/yard, or a big ugly beam antenna on a tower, but they'll work well enough to talk around the world.

    Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll try and help out.
     
  4. bangelo

    bangelo MAC dADDY

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    TT, I dont agree with any of the woodlands crappy codes, they are all dumb. Most people have satellite dishes on there houses any way. If you have trees in your yard you could stick it up there and conceal it that way. If you want a yagi(directional antenna) you can stick that in your attic aslong as your insulation doesnt have tinfoil in it. There are numerious books about "stealth ham" that can show you how to conceal antennas, A handie talkie is a good way to hit repeaters too, I can hit repeaters 25 miles away with my HT.
     
  5. Guest

    The magazine for Ham Radio, QST, has a yearly "Antenna" issue (April 2004 was the latest). The ARRL has a web site that can be used to look up "attic antennas" and the like. I seem to recall a recent article on the same.

    http://www.arrl.org
     
  6. Texas T

    Texas T TX expatriate CLM

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    It sounds like a handheld is going to be more than sufficient for a beginner's needs, so I guess the need for an actual antenna is not so critical at this point. I do have some pretty tall pines in the back yard so I suppose I could always string a line from one of those to my chimmney and no one would be the wiser.

    There was a guy who lived around the corner from a friend of mine in Tucson that must have had about a 150' crank-up tower in his back yard. It was incredible. I suppose I could always move out of the Woodlands and go to Magnolia or Montgomery and get some property out in the sticks and put up whatever I wanted. (when I win the lottery)
     
  7. sensei

    sensei Deceased

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    There are definately ways to hide HF antennas. If you have trees, etc. it is that much easier. If you are wanting VHF/UHF to start with - that is a piece of cake.

    sensei
     
  8. dave5339

    dave5339

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    Texas T,

    Check with the ARRL, (Amateur Radio Relay League) but I think I remember reading a couple of different reports that since we are federally licensed we are not subject to HOA rules.

    The case that sticks in mind was a HAM put up a vertical in an HOA community and chose to fight the rules. It was a fairly long costly fight but in the end it was ruled that due to the federal license he was in the right.

    You might also get involved with your HOA board, (mine has 600+ members, 18 showed up for the last meeting so it's very easy to control the agenda). Talk about the benefits of amateur radio, skywarn, emergency communications, and so on. Keep stressing the good and ease in the idea of erecting an antenna.

    The other thing I would suggest is to for HF, look to vertical antennas. They have a much smaller visual footprint for HOA Nazis to notice.

    Semper Fi
     
  9. vafish

    vafish

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    As others have said,

    Lots of options.

    I've used a random length wire (about 60 or 70 feet of 12 Ga electrical wire) with a tuner. Ran the wire out the house, up the chimney (on the back side so it couldn't be seen from the street), Then along the peak of the roof just tucking it under the shingles. Worked alright on 80 and 40 meters.

    You could make a dipole out of really thin wire and hope no one notices it. Works best if you have 3 trees in your yard in the right places, run the center feed up one tree and each leg of the dipole to another tree. Wind and ice will take it down pretty easy though.

    Buy 2 Hamstick or Outbacker antennas and make them into a dipole in your attic.

    Or one of my favorites that I have never implemented, see if your HOA will let you put up a flag pole in the front yard. It so, make the flag pole out of PVC pipe with the antenna in the middle, bury the ground radials in the front yard.
     
  10. KB4IFS

    KB4IFS MOLON LABE

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    You need to check the Covenents and Restrictions code that goes with your community. Now be careful. There may be dozens in a large one. You must find which version goes to your lot. If you are not specifically mentioned as no Ham antennas, be careful, it could say transmitting antennas, you may not need anyones approval. I have worked around the world with a verticle and a 20mtr attic antenna with a tuner. Can't bust the large pileups, but if you wait and let the noise die down, you'd be amazed what you can work. As far a VHF and up, althought the antenna will help, your going to need better coax to get the power to the antenna. Better off to buy a 2mtr mult-mode so you can work sideband with a brick amp and good coax (9913). As for FM, there is life after repeaters. Haven't been on one in years;e
     
  11. therealmarauder

    therealmarauder

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    i got this one covered guys.

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cgi?TITLE=47&PART=97&SECTION=15&YEAR=2000&TYPE=TEXT

    this link is FCC regulation 97.15 which covers amateur radio antennas and this is an excerpt from it.

    "(b) Except as otherwise provided herein, a station antenna structure
    may be erected at heights and dimensions sufficient to accommodate
    amateur service communications. (State and local regulation of a station
    antenna structure must not preclude amateur service communications.
    Rather, it must reasonably accommodate such communications and must
    constitute the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the state or
    local authority's legitimate purpose. See PRB-1, 101 FCC 2d 952 (1985)
    for details.)"

    this states that local restrictions cannot "prevent" you from erecting an antenna only that it can limit you to only the "minimum size required to effectively broadcast"

    :) enjoy the hobby.
     
  12. uhlawpup

    uhlawpup Gentle Soul

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    Marauder, doesn't that have to do with "local restrictions" as in zoning and laws? Deed restrictions are neither. They are a contract entered into by and among the homeowners. If you violate them, you can be sued, and you probably will be.

    Regarding indoor antennas, I used to live in a "no antennas" zone, and I easily operated on 10, 15 and 20 meters HF with attic dipoles. True, I had to fold the ends of the 20 meter one a little, but I got out just fine. Good grounding and filtering to avoid RFI and using a reasonable power outpul level should do fine.
     
  13. therealmarauder

    therealmarauder

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    here in TN i know a few people that had that restriction struck from their deed due to that law. it's easily fought i "believe" it's true that that's a "contract" but i'm sure his local laws forbid a contract that "trumps" such a sweeping federal law. if it wasn't that way then i could get a deed restrction that i had to keep a machine gun in every room of my house and have that trump the federal laws regulating that. he could fight this and win if he chose to do so. :)
     
  14. uhlawpup

    uhlawpup Gentle Soul

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    The contract is not "trumping" the law, Marauder. It would only be doing so if it violated the law. The contract is simply placing more stringent restrictions than the law does. If he buys a house in a restricted subdivision, he is agreeing to the restriction. So, if he violates it then, he is going back on his word, and that is actionable. I can't speak to Tennessee law, but, in Texas, deed restrictions can be changed by the homeowners, either by provisions of the restrictions themselves, or under Sections 201 and 204 of the Property Code. Otherwise, you either obey them or you don't buy in a subdivision that has them.
     
  15. therealmarauder

    therealmarauder

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    TX law may be different than TN. here in TN a deed restriction of "no antennas" can be challenged by ham operators and either removed or lessened. most of the time the restriction stays and the operator is allowed to erect the minimum broadcast equipment that they can get by with as to not make it impossible to transmit.
     
  16. KB4IFS

    KB4IFS MOLON LABE

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    Covenents and Restrictions GO WITH THE LAND. You do not have to agree to them, see them, or sign anything. You are restricted to them, unless by chance an issue of Waiver and Abandonment takes place. This is where you or someone goes against the restriction with full veiw and knowledge by the others and it IS NOT challenged. After several years if it remains unchallenged, another including the original, cannot be bound to them. Usually takes place after the full maturity of a neighborhood. The neighborhood could also vote for their expulsion from the CR&R's. As far as satillite antennas, that ONLY pertains to the small dish networks as being superseded by an FCC ruling a number of years ago. In addition, the post regarding erection of an antenna permissible for ham communications, I believe that comes from PRB-1 and DOES NOT apply to neighborhoods with CR&R's. To research this go to the ARRL website. The FCC refuses to address this issue with another PRB (private radio bureau) regulation dispite the efforts of the ARRL. You can always do what you want and pay for it later. I have fought this issue since 1983 and still do. I presently live in this type of neighborhood and use an inside dipole. Funny thing, my first home I put up a vert. My neighbor took me to the homeowners assoc and made a complaint. I was allowed to keep it up ONLY because the regulation in the CR&R's was against TV antennas. You will find all modern CR&R's much more broad. In this same place another neighbor made a complaint of TVI and called my wife and insisted it was me. This was in Manassas, VA. My wife called me at work and told me. We had a good laugh! I was in San Diego, CA for six months in school in the Navy. This complaint came from an Elelctrical Engineer. Talk about education being a dangerous weapon.
     
  17. Mingus Jim

    Mingus Jim

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    When I bought my Icom IC-746PRO, I sold my Kenwood TS-830S station to a newly arrived ham from CA. He lives in a community that doesn't allow outside antennas. However, he has his radio shack in a small outbuilding. He tried loading downspouts and a couple of other ideas, but they didn't work out. So, he ended up putting up a vertical inside his shack. He cut a hole in the roof at it sticks about 4' above the roof. He put a flag on it. He says it works very well and he has gotten a favroable comment about his nice flag.

    I guess hams are just creative. ;) ;)
     
  18. Mingus Jim

    Mingus Jim

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    You are correct. And, there are two basic types of CC&Rs: 1) Deed CC&Rs and 2) Homeowner association CC&Rs. I live in a rural area in a development of two-acre minimum lots. We have no homeowners association; however, an adjacent development with two-acre minimum lots does. However, we have CC&Rs on the property. There is no mention of antennas in them. But, in a paragraph on utilities, it specifies no exposed wires for electricity, etc., and goes so far as to include wires that radiate RF (gee, another way of saying antenna). Before I bought, I talked to one of the four people who created the CC&Rs. I asked him if that utilities info. was meant to put any restriction on amateur radio antennas. He said no. However, with no HO association, there would be no one to enforce the CC&Rs anyway and the county has no restrictions at all.

    The CC&Rs do limit structures to 35'. I guess it would take a court case to decide if an antenna is a structure, as the term is not defined in the CC&Rs.

    It always ticked me off that the FCC didn't include CC&Rs in PRB-1. Its excuse at the time was that CC&Rs are a contract between two parties. I don't buy that as a real contract is something negotiated by two or more parties - I'd like to see anyone buy into a subdivision today with CC&Rs and negotiate any portion of them. Unfortunately, it seems common to use a boilerplate CC&R document which, of course, prohibits antennas.

    I just feel lucky that I found a place to build our retirement home where there was no explicit prohibition on antennas.
     
  19. TruStreet

    TruStreet

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    Hey TT: When I lived in Texas with my parents. I used something called a "Venttenna (SP), It looks like a vent that goes on the roof. For HF I used a Butternut BowTie antenna mounted in the attic. I bought a 6ft roof mount tower and set it on the floor, no one ever knew I was a ham. When I was young (13yrs old) I had a Gen Ticket.
    Lost it when I left home to go to school. When I got older I couldn't pass the code hehe.
    KD4LXR
     
  20. Mass10mm

    Mass10mm Armed Yankee

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    One creative solution is to erect a large flagpole in the front yard, complete with the stars and stripes. The flagpole can be driven as a quarter-wave vertical, and the coax run underground so nobody's the wiser. The HOA is unlikely to go against popular patriotism and demand the removal of our national symbol! ;f