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Recommendations for a dual band 2m/70cm balconey antenna?

Joined
Nov 28, 2018
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#1
For use on 2nd story balcony with an HT radio (DMR + Analog). Seeking something capable of at least a 12 mile radius and in a suburban area. Other buildings in the complex are two stories as well. Three antennas on my short list are the Ed Fong 5ft antenna, a J-pole, and a 17in Chinese dual bander from eBay. Directional Yagi is not an option.
 
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#2
Your mileage is going to be governed greatly by your terrain. If you're in the middle of complex of two story buildings, that is going to put a bit of a hurt on you. If you have an unobstructed view in one or more directions, you'll do better. Also you'll get better coverage in flat vs. hilly terrain.

I believe that the Ed Fong antennas are J-poles. J-pole can work but can be finicky. Given their design, they easily interact with their surroundings including the feed line. Common mode current on the feed line can be an issue. If you decide to use one, keep it as far away from other objects as possible. You might also consider a dual band quarter wave antenna. They're common, and don't suffer the problems that J-poles do. I don't think I'd bother withe the 17" antenna if you have other options.
 

bill4long

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#3
Diamond X-50 mounted on a wooden pole using a Christmas tree mount. I did that for awhile. I also had a three element 2 meter yagi as well, and could talk 2 meter simplex with my friend 22 miles away. Second floor balcony.
 
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#4
Diamond X-50 mounted on a wooden pole using a Christmas tree mount. I did that for awhile. I also had a three element 2 meter yagi as well, and could talk 2 meter simplex with my friend 22 miles away. Second floor balcony.
I can see it now: "Dear, last year we had an angel on top of the Christmas tree and the year before that, a star. How about this year we try a Diamond!...........(mumble, X-50)
 
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#5
I have a ham friend that uses the X-50 and it does very well from his second story balcony but it is 6 feet long and you may not have room for it,or your money may be tight then you might go with the Ed Fong J-Pole antenna i have used them many times over the years and have had good performance and also dont waste your money on the 17 inch chinese antenna you sure wont get 22 mile out of that thing......
 

W9BU

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#6
I have a ham friend that uses the X-50 and it does very well from his second story balcony but it is 6 feet long and you may not have room for it...
The X50 is 5.6 feet long according to the specs. There is also an X30 in the Diamond catalog that has slightly less advertised gain and it's only 4.5 feet long. I have one mounted to the pergola over my deck.
 
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Sep 17, 2003
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#7
Try this antenna. Good reviews on EHAM. They have a V/U and a Tri band with 220. Don’t let the image throw you it’s not a rubber duck. You can do mobile or base with NMO mount. COMPACtenna V.U.7/800 NMO Mobile/Base low profile.

Designed by a Ham.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
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#8
Try this antenna. Good reviews on EHAM. They have a V/U and a Tri band with 220. Don’t let the image throw you it’s not a rubber duck. You can do mobile or base with NMO mount. COMPACtenna V.U.7/800 NMO Mobile/Base low profile.
Designed by a Ham.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
That's an interesting design. I'm currently using a Diamond MR77 and juggling it between my vehicle and setting it up for balcony use on top of a large metal popcorn can, with iron dumbell free-weights inside to increase it's mass.
 
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#11
The X50 is 5.6 feet long according to the specs. There is also an X30 in the Diamond catalog that has slightly less advertised gain and it's only 4.5 feet long. I have one mounted to the pergola over my deck.
Thanks for pointing out the X-30. This is starting to look like a good option. I can mount it on a 1"x10 foot section of iron pipe (which will get the antenna a good bit over the roof line) and anchor it by threading into a flange, screwed in the wood decking on the balcony. I can secure it to the wood railing with a curved brace. This set up can also be made portable by anchoring a 5 foot section of pipe into a bucket of cement, and adding an additional 5 foot section of pipe with a coupler. (y)
 
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#12
Diamond X-50 mounted on a wooden pole using a Christmas tree mount. I did that for awhile. I also had a three element 2 meter yagi as well, and could talk 2 meter simplex with my friend 22 miles away. Second floor balcony.
Great suggestion. 22 miles on simplex is awesome, are you doing digital or analog mode with that?

For the antenna, I'm thinking of doing either the X-50 or the X-30 mounted on either a 10 foot or two 5 foot sections of iron pipe, either secured to the wood decking with a flange (and also to the railing with a curved brace), or into a bucket of cement. I already use a cement bucket but with a non-threaded 5 ft pole as a mast for my UHF/VHF TV antenna. With the 10 foot section of pipe I can mount the TV antenna in the middle and the Diamond antenna at the top of the pole and make it a dual-purpose mast.
 
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#13
I live in an apartment and run a deluxe version roll up VHF/UHF J-Pole from Nelson Antennas (eBay) attached to a fiberglass 20' 'Wonderpole' (made for fishing) with a small keychain adapter on the poll end and Nite Ize S-Biner on the antenna for quick detach. I recommend not extending the smallest section of the pole for more stability (making it 16' I believe). I drop it in the umbrella stand for my outdoor table and its very stable. When I'm inside I use the s-biner to clip it to the blinds in my window and still get very good results, great wideband RX too. Depending on your balcony this may be a good solution and the total cost is ~ $60-70. Works great for taking the radio out in the field as its highly portable.

Also, the roll up J-Pole has a velcro fastener for coiling it up when storing but when deploying on the Wonderpole it wraps around the pole right before the feed line starts further securing the antenna and making it very resistant to wind.

One caveat - 30-watt limit I believe.
 
Last edited:

bill4long

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#14
Great suggestion. 22 miles on simplex is awesome, are you doing digital or analog mode with that?
2m analog FM. (USB occasionally for funzies.) He had a Diamond F22 up about 25 ft. I was on the second floor of an apartment with a 3 element yagi pointed his way. A little bit noisy, but definitely fine business ragchew operation every day.
 
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Oct 28, 2013
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#17
I also just set up a 5' UHF/VHF mobile mag mount antenna (7/8 Wave 5.0dB Gain on 2m 5/8 Wave 7.6dB Gain on 70cm) with RG58 feedline and a pigtail from PL259 to SMA male. I run the cord out the window and use the magmount to attach the antenna on the top of our 1 story apt to the steel framing material that runs where the roof and walls connect on the outside (not sure what this is called). This is a lower loss alternative and will handle up to 150 watts as I intend to buy a mobile or base station unit shortly. Will be testing today but if it operates well I'll retire the jpole and fiberglass mast for field days/camping. Total cost for this was around $120 bucks, its not a permanent install but should take me no more than 2-3 mins to set up/ take down. Hoping the steel framing acts as a nice ground plane.
 
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