OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

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OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#1

Post by DaveK » Mon May 04, 2020 9:56 pm

Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

Living in an HOA controlled area or in an apartment, where there are rules prohibiting Amateur Radio antennas, does not mean that you can't operate your radios. Among our many talents, never let it be said that creativity and ingenuity are lacking. While the universe of new ideas for antennas is ever evolving, there are quite a number of really great ways to set up your antenna, without violating the rules.

Although we will cover some of the pitfalls of operating Ham radios in these areas, it should be mentioned at the outset that there are some common sense suggestions that should be observed which will keep your little secret, a secret. For example, if your "stealth" station is blasting out maximum PEP power, and your neighbors notice annoying interference with their electronics, you may be in trouble. Use common sense when you key down.

Speaking of trouble, I offer one suggestion that may help you operate in peace, especially if you live in an HOA,CCR, or other area where antenna rules apply. That advice is - keep quiet about operating a Ham station. If the word gets out that you are a Ham, it becomes very easy for you to be blamed for any electrical interference that the neighborhood experiences, whether you caused it or not.

So, if you have some suggestions, help out your fellow Hams with some ideas on how they can safely and legally operate their Ham Shacks!
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Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#2

Post by toms » Tue May 05, 2020 1:41 pm

2-meter Stealth

I live in a HOA that has restrictions on putting up an antenna. I want to put up a 2-meter antenna in order to have a strong signal into the repeater about 85 miles away. Hence I needed a stealth antenna.

A common approach is to set up an antenna in the attic. The construction materials in the attic may limit its effectiveness.
Fortunately, I don’t have an attic. I have a flat roof deck. I can put up an outdoor umbrella and attach a J pole type antenna to it.
That seemed like too much work so I nailed a Slim Jim (N9TAX) to the side of a structure on the roof.

In addition, to it being difficult to see up close, the patio is 3 stories up. It can not be see by the naked eye at street level. Even if someone does see it most would not know what it is.


Slim Jim Antenna - $20.99 from ebay
Or you can make it.


Slim Jim.jpg
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Can you see the Slim Jim.jpg
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Should be able to see it now.

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Another issue is running the coax from the radio.
A few years ago the neighbor tried to run a wire along the outside of the building. He painted it to blend in. He got away with it for a few month but once seen it stuck out.
He kept promising to take it down but never got around to it and eventually it was forgotten as an issue.

Neighbor Caught.jpg
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So Hide, disguise and camouflage!

BTW - this works quite well.
Attachments
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See you on the Trail!
TomS
KI6FHA / WPZW486

Badlands Off-Road
tom@4x4training.com
http://www.4x4training.com

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Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#3

Post by DaveK » Wed May 06, 2020 12:34 pm

Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

Overview

For many Amateurs, there are multiple restrictions, rules or laws that can affect the type of antenna that you wish to use. A year or so ago, this issue was addressed by the ARRL in connection with a bill before Congress, generally referred to as the Amateur Radio Parity Act. At the suggestion of the ARRL, this bill was introduced, and for a variety of reasons, it languished in committees for some time, where it ultimately failed to receive enough support to move forward.

The essence of the Act, had it been passed, would have provided Ham Radio operators with certain relief from private land-use restrictions that limited their ability to operate effectively, In particular, it would have made significant exceptions to current restrictions against the use of antennas. While the bill failed to pass, the effort to obtain some form of relief is still is under consideration, and again supported by the ARRL.

Following the failure of the Parity Act, the ARRL, regrouped, under the direction of a new Board, and began moving forward with a different approach. This is from an ARRL article dated September 9, 2019 and entitled, "Ad Hoc Legislative Advocacy Committee to Meet with Lawmakers:
On June 12, the Legislative Advisory Committee held the first of a series of meetings in DC with ARRL Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ, The Keelen Group, and a small contingent of radio amateurs associated with various governmental and nongovernmental partners to solicit their perspectives and assistance in charting a future course of action. Pacific Division Director and Committee Chair Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, described these individuals a “critical allies in ARRL’s efforts to achieve its legislative objectives.”

The process of analyzing and clarifying ARRL’s aims began when the Committee was reconstituted with new members at the ARRL Board of Directors’ January meeting. The Board had determined a need to “review, reexamine, and reappraise the ARRL’s regulatory and legislative policy with regard to private land-use restrictions,” with the aim of renewing, continuing, and strengthening ARRL’s effort to achieve relief from such restrictions.
In all honesty, I am at a loss to understand exactly what all that means. It seems to suggest there may have been some internal disagreement at the ARRL as to the direction that they would take on this issue. Perhaps we will find out soon.

At least presently, and until there are legislative changes, the bottom line is that if you live in an area that prohibits certain types of Ham Radio Antennas, you will have to comply, whether it is local laws, HOAs, or lease restrictions (if you are a renter.) If you are interested in supporting legislation that will change this, contact the ARRL and get involved.

So, the Net will concentrate on various antenna types that may get you on the air, and still be in compliance with the rules. But, before you launch into any of these antenna ideas, you are well advised to check with your local laws, HOA restrictions, or lease conditions.

NOTE: In researching relevant sources of information for this net, it became apparent very early on that there is a great wealth of information available, and an almost endless number of innovative and effective ways to get on the air, even in light of antenna restrictions. In addition to the suggestions made during the net, we will offer several links that will take your research to the next level.
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Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#4

Post by DaveK » Wed May 06, 2020 1:06 pm

Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

Good Starting Resources

1. Stealth Amateur Radio, by Kirk A. Kleinschmidt, NT0Z (http://stealthamateur.com/)

If you are limited or prevented from installing the kind of antenna that will get you on the air, the way you want, this may be the best $7.00 you will spend. Not a typo, 7 dollars, and it is fully guaranteed with money back, if not satisfied!

This is what the author says:
If your enjoyment of amateur radio is under siege from intrusive homeowner's associations, draconian deed restrictions or unfair CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) — or if you live in an apartment or condo and want to get on the air without attracting unwanted attention — Stealth Amateur Radio will show you exactly how to:

• Build and install dozens of invisible, effective antennas, indoors and out.

• Use antenna tuners, autocouplers and open-wire feed lines to make your hidden antenna work well on more than one band.

• Set up an effective station that nobody outside your household will ever know about.

• Successfully operate a low-power (QRP) station — and understand why high power is unnecessary — even with stealthy antennas.

• Install and operate a mobile station — the right way! — to maximize performance while getting away from "radio unfriendly" locations.

• Operate portable stations from campgrounds, hotels, motels, parks, picnic areas or other "away from home" locations.

• Handle interference from your station (to nearby consumer electronics devices) and to your stealthy radio station.
Stealth Amateur Radio.jpg
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2. Welcome to Rentsville
Welcome to Rentsville.pdf
(84.73 KiB) Downloaded 6 times

3. ARRL Articles (available only to current members) http://www.arrl.org/limited-space-and-indoor-antennas

4. Stealth Antennas
Stealth Antennas.pdf
(767.89 KiB) Downloaded 12 times

5. HF Antennas for HOAs
HF_Antennas_by_KD5FX.pdf
(2.31 MiB) Downloaded 8 times
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Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#5

Post by ag6if » Wed May 06, 2020 3:27 pm

Greetings all,
I have lots of fun designing "HOA approved" antennas, more like HOA hidden antennas.
Most or all of this is published on my QRZ page, 73 AG6IF
LOTS of active antennas stuffed into my little 60 foot wide california lot. At one time, I had 19 antennas running.
800 amp hours of battery backup, supported by redundant switchers (S400), solar panels-charge controller & grid tie.

My current Delta loop is a square, skyloop, 2 full waves on 160 meters, great for all bands. 900+ feet around 30 feet high
walmart flagpoles for supports (bucket of cement sunk in the ground) Grid square DM09 now days.
It is not stealthy and I appreciate having the ability to erect it. NEVER HOA again.
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top connection shown.
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Here is more where I came from though..!

Biggest message is TRY IT!!! YOu will be surprised.
The other day, my HF antenna was disconnected from my digital machine for 2 hours, and connected up to my Collins S Line (boat anchor), and my FT8 machine continued to decode stations up to 600 miles away the entire time. You wont believe it, I didn't either...here is a video.. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbD2ozBdynQ&t=3s


Dont forget that a Hi-Q stuck to a camera tripod can get you on the HF bands, like Wayne does W5GIE.
also, a mag mount on a cookie tin, file cabinet, or ceiling fan with a whip or hamstick for your favorite band will work ok too.
Some people even run HF from their mobile mounted antenna, and running a coax from the driveway into the ham shack.

I built a V fixture to put 2 hamsticks together, angled into a V, inverted V, Horiz.Dipole, or here I'm testing an EL.
This has replaced my 30 meter magloop (pictured below) here in Nevada so far. I left my big mag loop with Alan Cook KG6TGF in temecula as a parting gift.
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This was my creation, but Ellis KJ6FUW makes a great center section to put hamsticks into. Very sturdy and can be mounted in a bunch of different ways, and angled however you like..


Mag loops, and full wave loops work well close to the ground.

10 Meter magloop mounted on a cheap radio shack rotator, 4 feet in the air, worked great for our 10 meter net.
also, notice the JPOLE stuck in the ground behind it. Jpoles work pretty good on the ground.
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Magnetic loop, this one for 30 meters, can be laid over for horizontal polarization.
Designed to work APRS 30 meters on 10.147300 USB, but could be adjusted 40-15 or so.
I built it to specifically work N1ZZZ, Jeremy, a ships captain friend formerly from So-Cal.

Jeremy N1ZZZ in the Med and east Africa often, when he had his ship over there.
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Right now, N1ZZZ, Captain Jeremy is stuck on his ship, off South Korea, 121 days, due to Rona.
If you happen to have Winlink, send him a howdy, and a 'hang in there brother' from So-Cal.


3 Dimensional full wave loop (3DFL) for 2m/70cm Ground mounted, works as good as my X50, plans on my QRZ page.
Phil KJ6YRI claims it works as good or better, even strapped to his arm rest in the back of his silverado, than his rooftop mobile antenna.
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3 Dimensional full wave loop for 6 meters. ground mounted, worked Wil Anderson AA6DD every Sunday on 6 meters (tell him hi if you do), Temecula to Riverside
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80 meter delta loop, fence high, hidden via .030 tig welding wire, worked the world, even with amplifier.
Overhead view. 60 foot wide lot in Temecula. Keep the wire away from plants, it can arc, and in the case of aluminum wire, it will melt.
Hiding a loop, I use .030 aluminum MIG wire. Velocity factor is quite a bit shorter, meaning the wire can be .............SHORTER right? Always an advantage when hiding a smaller wire.
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10,000 foot high HT mount.
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Stealthy "slot" antennas. How can they complain? Video on my qrz.
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Not pictured
I also had a X50 painted green and stuck in a large flowerpot with Ferns , almost invisible and worked great.

I had an LS1 from Ellis KJ6FUW (Temecula) 2m440 ground plane can be attached to your drain vents on the roof, almost invisible.

I also designed a fence / patio cover antenna interface, that was widely talked about on Franks Tech net a few years ago.
Video on my QRZ page,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNOM84P ... A&index=10

30 meter beacon running on a long wire around the bottom of the fence line

I also had AREDN mesh network link south to the mountain top, and another link going north to Elsinore Peak on 3.4ghz, Ubiquiti M2 M3 M5 units.
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Last edited by ag6if on Thu May 07, 2020 8:12 pm, edited 16 times in total.

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Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#6

Post by DaveK » Wed May 06, 2020 4:30 pm

Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

Suggestions

1. Flagpole Antenna

This one is probably one of the most common techniques used by Hams. A flagpole offers the perfect opportunity to employ a Ham antenna, and if you follow our advice, you will be the only one in your neighborhood that knows this. Vertical antennas are capable of serving both the HF and VHF bands, and as a smile worthy benefit, it gets very high stealth marks. Not even the local neighborhood HOA mall cop will catch this.

This is one of the antenna ideas for which there is a wealth of information, and if you go this route, it wont take much research to get your project going.

For the ultimate in stealth, use landscaping to conceal the wiring at the bottom of the pole, along with underground placement of the co-ax to your shack. The second picture here shows how plants can help. In addition to giving you the opportunity to efficiently get on the air, you can also fly the flag (but make sure to illuminate it correctly at night.)

Flagpole Antenna-1.jpg
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2. Rain Gutter Antennas

Most homes have rain gutters, and most are made of conductive metal, either steel or aluminum. This technique shares the same high stealth marks as the flagpole, and when done properly, the concealment will be undetectable (at least to the HOA cops, both official and unofficial), and can be very effective. While this idea is not nearly as common as the flagpole, there are more than sufficient technical articles that will allow you to used your gutters for more than rain. See this one from the SCG Company: https://www.sgcworld.com/raingutterinstall.html.


One note of caution, however. Time, the elements and gutter garbage will take their toll on your antenna quicker than with most other antenna types. Any homeowner who cleans his rain gutters can testify as to the magnetic like attraction that gutters have for leaves, dirt, and general gunk. Whether made from steel or aluminum, corrosion and rust will eventually present problems for your gutter antenna. Keep 'em clean and make sure that your antenna is operating at it's peak.

Few home owners will splurge for copper rain gutters, but for those who do, it is an excellent choice for this type of antenna. Many copper gutters are welded, greatly reducing (or eliminating) any breaks in continuity. Copper does not rust and will outlast any other material. Looks way better too!!!

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3. Roof Top Wire Antennas

A roof top wire antenna can be one of the most concealable types for HOAs, and perhaps of the most efficient ways to get on the air. For those who have flat roofs with raised walls, the antennas, when mounted slightly below the walls, will not be visible to the roving bands of HOA mall cops. Or, if you are able to hide the properly colored wire in and amongst the shingles on a V shaped roof, and place it on the back portion of the roof, it will be likewise be almost invisible. if you are quiet about your station, no one should ever know.

With the right wire and a tuner, you can have access to many of the HF bands. This technique is really a win-win for the HF crowd. Check out DX Engineering for a selection of wire antennas, https://www.dxengineering.com/search/pa ... e-antennas

Roof top Wire.jpg
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4. Attic Antennas

In the attic, there is NO risk of detection from the outside. Other advantages of attic mounted antennas:
  • The antenna will be shielded from the elements
  • The antenna will be shielded from lightening strikes, as long as it is not connected to other antennas
There are a couple of things of which to be aware:
  • Make sure that your roof doesn't have one of those metallic barrier shields
  • Be careful of RF radiation, especially with high power transmissions
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5. Low Profile Antennas

This category is attractive as the antennas are short enough to be hidden by most fences. A little help from nearby landscaping will add to your stealth.

Here are two mounts The first on a 3rd story apartment and the second in a back yard with some good landscaping camouflage, both are Scorpion antennas.

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TW2010 - Capable of handling 5 bands, very efficient, and small enough to use in a back yard or on a camping trip.

TW2010.jpg
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6. Repurposed Satellite Dish Antennas

Unlike Ham Radio antennas, satellite TV dish antennas cannot be prohibited. As a starting point, this is a good one, depending on how you adapt it to your Ham Radio uses. The following picture shows a Satellite dish that was modified to include a couple of verticals, for VHF use. Although one could argue that the ever present HOA rule enforcement cops might not pay any attention to the extra things on the satellite dish, there is a risk of detection, and perhaps a good one. Shorter and smaller diameter antennas (wire), in a color more likely to disguise it, could help. Also, mounting it on the rear portion of the house, where it is not as visible to the street walking or vehicle riding cops, could also help.

Satellite dish for ham radio.jpg
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There is another method for repurposing a satellite dish for Ham use, and it is nearly 100% undetectable. It is referred to as a "horizontal slot" dish and employs the use of an actual slot cut into the dish. The explanation is long, but the attached PDF gives sufficient detail to get you going, if so inclined. It is described as the master of disguise and high in performance. It looks something like this (look for the upside down U):
2016-03QSTdishslot.pdf
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Slot Dish antenna.jpg
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7. Inside The Yard Wire Antennas

This one is fairly straight forward, simple, and easy to accomplish. It does present the risk of nosy neighbors looking over your fence. With regard to these risks, one cure would be the benefits of concealment landscaping, as will a good relationship with your neighbors. At least from the perspective of roving neighborhood rule enforcement types, this back yard solution offers a high level of concealment.

Of all the various stealthy techniques discussed in my posts, I was shocked to fine an almost complete absence of pictures of these types of wire antennas. Whsile the pictures below are not the best, they offer a decent view of this type of antenna.

Wire antennas yard-1.jpg
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Wire antennas yard-2.jpg
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8. Roof Vent Antennas

Vent antennas are commonly used for VHF and UHF frequencies. The Ventenna Company makes the one that you may have seen in many Ham magazines. All roofs shave vent tubes extending through the roof, and often,they have an ugly tall appearance, even without the capability of an antenna. This is the reason why having a high vent is entirely consistent with the way homes are built. Ventenna capitalizes on this and offers a stealthy means to get on the air, see: https://ventenna.com/Ham-Description.html.

NOTE: The Ventenna gets a 4.7 rating on E-Ham (https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=1089)

Ventenna-1.jpg
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Ventenna-2 (Medium).png
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9. Hidden in Trees Antennas

For those who can, using a tree to conceal an antennas is a great way to use a high efficiency antenna, located up high. Nuff said.

Tree antenna.jpg
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10. Truly Unique and innovative Antennas

A. Never thought of a dual purpose canoe. Here is a 20M canoe antenna from http://www.n6cc.com/tactical-antenna-systems. Absolutely ingenious!!!

They said:
See that 17 foot aluminum Grumman canoe (hint – mounted on those black plastic rack-mounts)? I see a quarter wave horizontal mobile antenna for the 20 meter Ham band. It worked fine! (with a little help from impedance matching)
Canoe Antenna.jpg
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B. Here is a unique suggestion for those looking to buy a town home - http://www.af4k.com/ham/hidden.htm. Well worth the read.


CONCLUSION

One of the more appealing things about Ham radio, and perhaps one of it's founding principles, is the welcome environment and the opportunity to experiment and build your own stuff. Getting on the air when your friendly HOA has worked hard to ban those nasty Ham radio antennas, should be a challenge, and not a reason to surrender. You don't need to be an engineer, a rocket scientist, or an antenna designer to come up with clever solutions to your antenna situation. All you will need is the motivation, an imagination, and maybe a little help from others who have faced the very same problems as you.

Eleven years ago we did a net that featured a member who built a 2m antenna from a broken lawn chair. It worked, and I'm quite sure that no one could have found instructions in any book or reference on just how to do that. He did it and it worked. Check it out here: viewtopic.php?f=70&t=1243.

The ARRL has several antenna books available for sale, and this would be a good place to start, if you have the motivation. Good luck!!!

Arrl Antenna book (Medium).jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#7

Post by NotAMog » Thu May 07, 2020 3:16 pm

Pneumatic Mast

If you can hide your antenna when not in use (use it only at night?) a pneumatic mast is a possibility.

Image

Pneumatic masts have an advantage over other types of sectional collapsing masts since there are many more sections so when collapsed the mast is much lower.

This is a Clark SCAM 12 mast made in England. SCAM stands for Self Contained Army Mast. They are relatively rare in the U.S. but I managed to pick one up from a military vehicle collector. It was a spare mast on a Land Rover forward control radio truck called a VAMPIRE - http://www.oldrover.com/101/Vampire/Vampire.htm

Here is a forward control Land Rover with a Clark mast in action -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mq8S2Pt0Iw

The VAMPIRE also has a SCAM 21 mast which extends to 68.8' (21m). If anyone is interested in a very obscure (i.e. parts are VERY hard to find) Land Rover forward control radio truck with a really cool pneumatic mast, please PM me. I believe the truck is still for sale and is located in Southern California.

When collapsed, the mast is approximately 8' tall and it extends up to 39' (12m). It weighs about 200 lbs so it takes several people to move it around.
Unfortunately I don't have the legs or other accessories to go with it. My plan is to mount it on a utility trailer with the addition of some stabilizer legs like commercial mast trailers and use it on a pad in my back yard with the ability to be portable for field operations. No serious off road capability through. It does require guying when extended.

Here are some YouTube videos that show the SCAM 12 mast in operation -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krSLg37TPLk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSCLIB1PSos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU9UE0iPzxA&t=4s

As I mentioned, Clark masts are relatively rare in the U.S. but they do show up occasionally. There are other surplus U.S. made masts as well from companies such as Willburt.
Last edited by NotAMog on Thu May 07, 2020 6:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#8

Post by k9atk » Thu May 07, 2020 4:36 pm

Please check inn
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Jeff-OAUSA
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:57 pm
Call Sign: WD6USA
Location: California

Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#9

Post by Jeff-OAUSA » Thu May 07, 2020 5:32 pm

Perfect timing on this net as I am considering an antenna upgrade.

Please check me in. Thanks.

WD6USA
Jeff
WD6USA

"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it."

- Lyndon B. Johnson
President of the United States

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KN6FPS
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:39 pm
Call Sign: KN6FPS
Location: Lancaster, CA

Re: OAUSA Net - May 7, 2020 - Ham Radio Antennas for HOAs and Apartments

#10

Post by KN6FPS » Thu May 07, 2020 5:36 pm

I've been trying out a configuration for a portable VHF/UHF antenna, that would probably work for apartments/HOAs as well. It's J-Pole on a tripod. I got the DBJ-1 from Ed Fong's Antennas https://edsantennas.weebly.com and a pole clamp mount from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0785MC7VH/
It's easily transportable, and can be put on your patio, driveway, or lawn. I have also used successfully it inside the house, just make sure it's far enough away from you for the frequency and power you are using. The version of the J-pole I purchased was for 75W max, he can make one that goes to 250W, if you request it. You add your own PVC, he supplies the end caps. It can be painted with a non-conductive paint. He also makes one that can hang, like Tom's in post #2, and a tri-band version as well.
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DavidH
KN6FPS

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