Antenna hidden in plain sight

glock35ipsc

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Nov 14, 2007
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Fort Collins, Colorado
I live in an HOA, so I'm brainstorming some hidden in plain sight locations for a 2m/70cm antenna, I don't have a great deal of space in the attic, but putting a simple ground plane up there wouldn't be terribly difficult.

But as I'm looking around tonight, I'm wondering if an Arrow j-pole, or even a Slim Jim, would work mounted to the backside of my porch beam? Would being mounted right up against this structure (well, about an inch off of it) degrade it efficiency, or mess with SWRs?


82321
 

Ubbe

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An antenna usually have parts of the elements being very high impedance and then are sensitive to nearby objects. So yes, it will change the antennas performance and add capacitance, making it work at a lower frequency. But depending of the construction of the antenna you could probably tune the SWR. If the j-pole conists of tubes you probably have the coax attached to the tubes in a way so that it can be moved up and down the tube to adjust the SWR.

I made a j-pole from ladder line and it had to be shortened almost up to 10% when put in a plastic tube or attached to a wooden stick along it's lenght.

/Ubbe
 

glock35ipsc

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Fort Collins, Colorado
Thanks Ubbe. This j-pole is not the tube type, it's an Arrow style, so it's 3 separate solid aluminum rods. I haven't seen anything on how to adjust SWR on those so I'll keep looking. I did find the Ed Fong slim jim and that looks like there are several ways I could use that style, inside the house and out.
 

WB9YBM

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May 6, 2019
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Niles, IL
I live in an HOA, so I'm brainstorming some hidden in plain sight locations for a 2m/70cm antenna, I don't have a great deal of space in the attic, but putting a simple ground plane up there wouldn't be terribly difficult.

But as I'm looking around tonight, I'm wondering if an Arrow j-pole, or even a Slim Jim, would work mounted to the backside of my porch beam? Would being mounted right up against this structure (well, about an inch off of it) degrade it efficiency, or mess with SWRs?


View attachment 82321
I've heard of antennas disguised as flag poles...
 

popnokick

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Based on your photo it appears the support column is on your porch at ground level. Unless you have a metal roof, lots of HVAC or other metal in your attic.... the additional height in your attic is going to be a far better place for an antenna than sitting at ground level on your porch. With 2M / 70cm, height is king... and you wrote that you have room there for a simple ground plane. If you have a little over 4 feet in height there, consider one of these very inexpensive yet highly rated / reviewed J-poles. We have several club members using them now and they are VERY effective: Ed's Antennas
 

glock35ipsc

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If you have a little over 4 feet in height there, consider one of these very inexpensive yet highly rated / reviewed J-poles. We have several club members using them now and they are VERY effective: Ed's Antennas
That is the Ed Fong style I mentioned. I REALLY like the idea of this style, but unfortunately I don't have enough room in the attic for it (I have right at 3' to mess with). Was hoping maybe it could be hidden behind the porch beam. Another though was to paint the pvc the house color, and move it as high up on the side/corner of the house as possible. It should blend in and not really be too obvious.

I will probably end up with a simple ground plane in the attic. One thing I didn't mention, and didn't even think of until I was in bed last night, is that I have solar panels on the roof. Will those cause any major issues?

WB9YBM - after a lot of time on Google and Pinterest, I saw some pretty neat ways to disguise one of them! Flag pole, foliage, flower pot, etc. I"m still looking at those ideas too.
 

mmckenna

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That is the Ed Fong style I mentioned. I REALLY like the idea of this style, but unfortunately I don't have enough room in the attic for it (I have right at 3' to mess with). Was hoping maybe it could be hidden behind the porch beam. Another though was to paint the pvc the house color, and move it as high up on the side/corner of the house as possible. It should blend in and not really be too obvious.
That would be an option. For most of the frequencies you scanner covers, line of sight is how things tend to work. If your antenna can "see" the transmit antenna, it's probably going to work.

But all homes have some amount of metal in them. If it's metal siding, insulation with foil backed vapor barrier, HVAC ducting, metal plumbing, wiring, etc, there can certainly be issues.

One option is to look at the "Ventennas". Untitled That'll slip over one of the plumbing vent pipes and no one will know the difference.


I will probably end up with a simple ground plane in the attic. One thing I didn't mention, and didn't even think of until I was in bed last night, is that I have solar panels on the roof. Will those cause any major issues?
That would work, and for most scanner users, a 19" tall antenna is sufficient. You could easily do this:
This antenna, 19" tall - https://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/larsen-nmo150-450-800-1050
This base adapter (provides the ground plane under the antenna) - https://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/pctel-maxrad-mbsuhf-1651

The solar panels are metal, and that's going to likely be an issue. Also, some of the inverters used to convert the DC power from the solar panels to AC power your house uses, can be noisy and may cause issues, but there's no way for us to know, you just need to give it a try.

Other option would be to mount the above antenna/base adapter to one of the solar panels. That'll blend in and no one will notice.
 

mmckenna

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The Ventennas option is pretty dang cool! I even found a few DIY versions. Thank you very much, I think you have pointed me to a viable solution!
Yeah, easy to make with some black ABS DWV pipe from the hardware store. Most large hardware stores will sell you short lengths of it. If a neighbor asks, tell them you were trying to solve some venting issues and someone on the internet said that might help.

They are kind of expensive if you buy one off the website, considering what they are. Easy to roll your own. Not going to be an outstanding performer either way, but it will likely be much better than the stock antenna inside the house.
 

Ubbe

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I have a neighbour that have solarpanels and I started to get interference at about the same time as he had installed them. Depending of the weather I get multiple spikes from 140-170Mhz that slowly move up and down in frequency. Most of the times the spikes are not directly at a frequency I monitor but occasionally it is spot on and scanning stops on multiple frequencies in the 155-156Mhz marin band. The spikes have 100KHz space between them so when one channel are interfered it also interferes with every one that are at an even 100Khz space.

It usually drifts out of the frequency after an hour or so and when I point a portables antenna at his house a get a minimum signal, so I'm pretty sure that it's his electronics that interfere. It's been quiet during the winter times when there's hardly any sunligth here so seems to correspond with when there's enough light to charge the batteries.

That Ed Fong ladder line antenna doesn't say in the explanation on his webpage if he tunes them in free space or when mounted inside the plastic tube. But if you have a SWR meter you can cut off 1/2 inch from the top and check to see if it gets better or worse. It easy just to twin the leads again to restore or use a screw terminal block.

/Ubbe
 

radact

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Oct 16, 2007
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Las Vegas, Nv
I live in an HOA, so I'm brainstorming some hidden in plain sight locations for a 2m/70cm antenna, I don't have a great deal of space in the attic, but putting a simple ground plane up there wouldn't be terribly difficult.

But as I'm looking around tonight, I'm wondering if an Arrow j-pole, or even a Slim Jim, would work mounted to the backside of my porch beam? Would being mounted right up against this structure (well, about an inch off of it) degrade it efficiency, or mess with SWRs?


View attachment 82321
Try this. Most 2m antennas also work on 440 with not problem. I do it when are space issues.

 

danesgs

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May 21, 2008
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Suggestion: an Ed Fong DBJ-1. This is basically a dual band roll-up that is very thin (less likely to be seen). It can be hung via the built on tie clip to a tree away from any structure. I have been using this for a couple years now on a bamboo mast next to the house but above the roof line and get great results. The tan color of the bamboo blends in with the nearby tree so its even harder to see. Ed makes some great products and has superb support.

 

iMONITOR

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I'm wondering if an Arrow j-pole, or even a Slim Jim, would work mounted to the backside of my porch beam? Would being mounted right up against this structure (well, about an inch off of it) degrade it efficiency, or mess with SWRs?
I think that gutter down pipe would definitely cause a problem.
 

jim202

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If your A/C unit is in the attic, check with a magnet and see if the sheet metal is steel. If so, use a mag mount on top of it. Makes a fine ground plane and gets your antenna up high. If the roof is high enough, you might even be able to use a gain antenna on the mag mount.

Jim
 

FKimble

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Newnan, GA
I have a Diamond 50-x in my attic. It works Great. Mount it as high as possible. Screw a hook into the main ridge beam and use some nylon cord to suspend the antenna a couple inches below the beam. Support some of the coax weight down a rafter. No having to adjust SWR etc. It's dual band and just under 5 feet long. Just keep it away from any metal duct work or electrical wires, etc.

Frank
 

a417

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I have a neighbour that have solarpanels and I started to get interference at about the same time as he had installed them. Depending of the

/Ubbe
Does your neighbor have the panels that have microinverters or are then the centralized inverter design?
 

_sundown_

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Try a roll up antenna for 2m/440. Found mine on eBay. It's 10' long I believe, but it's only the last 2' or so that matter. I use a stick to reach up high to place it on a limb or small nail on the house, it has a small zip ty on the end for a loop. It's super stealthy! Reception has never let me down. You're good up to 60 watts, this is the one I bought below. Custom made for your connection as well, I've had mine for two years, love it.

 

spanky15805

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Sep 18, 2004
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glock35ipsc. The first option that came to mind, Untitled . With those really nice downspouts you have, just add a fake one, preferably on the second story if you can go that high.
 
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