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Amateur Radio Antennas - For discussion of all amateur band designed antennas and related accoutrements. This includes base, handheld, mobile and repeater usage. For commercial antennas on the amateur bands please use Commercial Radio Antennas below.

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Old 05-21-2017, 12:51 PM
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Exclamation Best 2M Antenna for Apartment Patio

I live in an apartment building in the suburbs of NYC. I am looking for an easy antenna solution. Naturally, it needs to be low-profile. The patio has a metal rail, probably aluminum. Naturally the building would have something to say with a bog antenna mounted to it.
I am not one to build my own antenna.
With that said, I was thinking about a copper J-Pole. I notice there is a popular Ham selling these very inexpensively on Ebay.
I suppose I could just easily buy a gain antenna and use a mag mount to attach it to a pizza dish or some type of metal table. Or possibly the J-Pole referenced above on some portable stand or tripod type mount. I don't think I could get away with mounting it directly on the rail, so it be partially below the railing coming up from the floor.
BTW, most of the repeaters I use are in the NYC area 10 to 30 miles out.
Running a 75 watt radio.

Any suggestions?
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Old 05-21-2017, 1:26 PM
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I've done pretty well with a mag mount stuck to the back side of an old satellite dish up in my garage rafters. The ed fong type jpole in a pvc pipe is pretty good too.

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Old 05-21-2017, 2:31 PM
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I built one of these and looks great on my porch. The only difference in mine is that I used a ladder line jpole in it.

Check it out. Hopefully that will work for you.

https://youtu.be/XYlrxMjgPwU
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Old 05-21-2017, 3:09 PM
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Originally Posted by MaximusTheGreat View Post
I built one of these and looks great on my porch. The only difference in mine is that I used a ladder line jpole in it.

Check it out. Hopefully that will work for you.

https://youtu.be/XYlrxMjgPwU
That is FANTASTIC! I couldn't go that tall, but I can probably do a similar mount in a pot with fake vines.
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Old 05-21-2017, 4:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoninNYC View Post
I live in an apartment building in the suburbs of NYC. I am looking for an easy antenna solution. Naturally, it needs to be low-profile. The patio has a metal rail, probably aluminum. Naturally the building would have something to say with a bog antenna mounted to it.
I am not one to build my own antenna.
With that said, I was thinking about a copper J-Pole. I notice there is a popular Ham selling these very inexpensively on Ebay.
I suppose I could just easily buy a gain antenna and use a mag mount to attach it to a pizza dish or some type of metal table. Or possibly the J-Pole referenced above on some portable stand or tripod type mount. I don't think I could get away with mounting it directly on the rail, so it be partially below the railing coming up from the floor.
BTW, most of the repeaters I use are in the NYC area 10 to 30 miles out.
Running a 75 watt radio.

Any suggestions?
First, welcome.
Some questions come to mind> 1. Does the balcony face the direction you want to operate? 2. By the picture, what is in the way as far as elevation in the direction you wish to operate? 3. Why would you use 75 watts? I'm sure that amount of power would not make your neighbors happy
You need to talk to some hams in your area for help in what you want to do. Online help isn't always the best way to go. At least with local help, they will understand what problems you may have.
HTH,
Larry
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Old 05-21-2017, 4:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N8IAA View Post
First, welcome.
Some questions come to mind> 1. Does the balcony face the direction you want to operate? 2. By the picture, what is in the way as far as elevation in the direction you wish to operate? 3. Why would you use 75 watts? I'm sure that amount of power would not make your neighbors happy
You need to talk to some hams in your area for help in what you want to do. Online help isn't always the best way to go. At least with local help, they will understand what problems you may have.
HTH,
Larry
Yes the balcony faces south, in the direction I want to hit mostly, although there are a few machines to my back (north).
Problem is I live at the bottom of a hill. the balcony faces the hill. I have trouble making the machines (although I can get in, but not DFQ) from my car on the street, with 50 watts and a 1/4 wave. On the 6th floor with 75 watts I would hope to have improvement
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Old 05-21-2017, 5:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoninNYC View Post
That is FANTASTIC! I couldn't go that tall, but I can probably do a similar mount in a pot with fake vines.
I couldn't go that high either, that's why I used the ladder line. I then adjusted the ladder line to be as high as possible using a wooden broom as my pole. I zip tied the antenna to the broom and completed the rest of the steps.

Tip.. Buy the vines via Amazon. They are cheaper there then a craft store. (Amazon will literally give you 2 sections of vines for the price of 1 at the store.)
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Old 05-21-2017, 6:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MaximusTheGreat View Post
I couldn't go that high either, that's why I used the ladder line. I then adjusted the ladder line to be as high as possible using a wooden broom as my pole. I zip tied the antenna to the broom and completed the rest of the steps.

Tip.. Buy the vines via Amazon. They are cheaper there then a craft store. (Amazon will literally give you 2 sections of vines for the price of 1 at the store.)
Im confused. Whats a ladder line?
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Old 05-21-2017, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoninNYC View Post
Im confused. Whats a ladder line?
It's twin lead with sections of the webbing cut out.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin-lead#Ladder_line
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Old 05-21-2017, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by AI6VX View Post
It's twin lead with sections of the webbing cut out.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin-lead#Ladder_line
Oh I understand now. I actually bought a fold up Pole on eBay last year for my HT. I have only used it indoors. I probably could just hang that on that patio. Its rated for 100 watts.
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Old 05-22-2017, 1:17 AM
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Google the N9TAX J Pole.. Read the reviews. It is a great antenna that I would say mostly all hams own at least one.

Look at this on eBay http://www.ebay.com/itm/222236729091
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Old 05-22-2017, 11:15 PM
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If 50 watts at street level hits the repeaters you use, just being six stories up will normally make a huge difference. If you are not using the balcony rail as a ground plane, I would keep my antenna 4 feet or more away to avoid 'coupling'. I would also suggest you keep the power down. At VHF 50 watts puts puts you (50 W PEP is only 12.5 W ) in the range of having to do a RF exposure analysis. More to the point, the rules do require using the minimum power needed ( 97.313). On FM, my experience has been if you can't make contact with about 40 watts, more won't help much. A higher antenna is much more effective at increasing your range.

73

Last edited by wyShack; 05-22-2017 at 11:30 PM..
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Old 05-23-2017, 1:14 AM
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If you want to REALLY maximize your range from an apartment, either from a balcony or even indoors, just get a small portable beam! I use an ELK 2m/440 beam inside hotels when I travel, with excellent results. I simply bungee mount it to a chair using a broom stick or PVC as a mast, and I am able to hit repeaters at much greater distances than if I just used an omni directional antenna! Elk Antennas Portable Log Periodic Antennas
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Old 05-23-2017, 1:38 AM
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J-Poles are 1/2 wave, so they do not require a ground plane. Might be a good solution for you. Would make it easy to mount. Put a bucket full of stones/concrete with a pipe sticking up. Mount the J-pole to that.
I used a J-pole for many years when I first got my amateur license.

A beam antenna on a similar mounting arrangement would work well, too.

Bigger challenge will be getting the coaxial cable into the apartment.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:00 PM
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What's a good beam antenna that's small enough to work in a set up like the one in this topic?
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:04 PM
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A 3 or 4 element Yagi will do pretty well. It'll give you a decent amount of gain, directional, but not a super narrow beam width. Manageable length, and the front to back ratio is low enough that it will still give you some decent performance off the back.
Anything much longer than that is going to be a handful on a balcony.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaximusTheGreat View Post
What's a good beam antenna that's small enough to work in a set up like the one in this topic?
ELK 2m/440 portable beam. Elk Antennas Portable Log Periodic Antennas
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Old 05-24-2017, 3:44 AM
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Originally Posted by TheSpaceMann View Post
They must be smoking crack! $125 for a small 5 beamer, yeahhhhh I'll pass. I'll stick with my effective Jpole.
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Old 05-24-2017, 12:30 PM
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Flower pot j-pole (good for 2m but not 70cm), Ed Fong base J-pole, Ed Fong roll-up J-pole. Skip the slim jim, which usually has the top shorted, creating a negative dB gain. Ed couples a second radiator above the driven element for additional gain.
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Old 05-24-2017, 1:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plughie View Post
Flower pot j-pole (good for 2m but not 70cm), Ed Fong base J-pole, Ed Fong roll-up J-pole. Skip the slim jim, which usually has the top shorted, creating a negative dB gain. Ed couples a second radiator above the driven element for additional gain.
I thought Ed's antennas were also known as a Slim Jim ?
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