recommendations getting off 2m

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
4
Location
Houston
All I've ever used is 2m and I would like to venture beyond 2m with a Yeasu FT-857D. I only have a J pole that I made but would like to learn the rest of what my G class offers and get some experience.

Can anyone recommend what type of antenna I should use that would get me off the local 2m repeater nets and would let me hear some meaningful stuff like what's going on in Haiti now? I'm not sure what frequency I should even try for.

Also, I only have a balcony about 34ft. in length to make use of for an antenna which only has a clear view of the south, south-west horizon from Houston.

Any help much appreciated.
 

gewecke

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Banned
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
7,440
Location
Illinois
All I've ever used is 2m and I would like to venture beyond 2m with a Yeasu FT-857D. I only have a J pole that I made but would like to learn the rest of what my G class offers and get some experience.

Can anyone recommend what type of antenna I should use that would get me off the local 2m repeater nets and would let me hear some meaningful stuff like what's going on in Haiti now? I'm not sure what frequency I should even try for.

Also, I only have a balcony about 34ft. in length to make use of for an antenna which only has a clear view of the south, south-west horizon from Houston.

Any help much appreciated.
Good idea. I don't care much for the 2 meter band myself,so I operate primarily on the 220,440 bands as well as gmrs. The hf bands should be loaded with nets passing traffic from haiti. I saw some net frequencies listed for haiti relief efforts on eham.net
n9zas
 

zz0468

QRT
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
6,029
Well, you could try 2m and 432 SSB with a horizontally polarized antenna. A halo is fairly inexpensive, and can be fairly effective.

A balcony? It sounds like you're an apartment dweller. A 34 foot balcony? How convenient! Is it metal? It would make a good counterpoise for a 40-10 meter antenna, with an antenna tuner of some sort. If it's not metal, you could run a wire the length of the balcony instead. You could make a vertical element out of a variety of materials, use the railing as a counterpoise and probably get out pretty good.

You don't say what your budget is, but you should be able to find some sort of antenna tuner for a reasonable price. I've had pretty good luck with SGC autotuners, although they're not cheap.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
4
Location
Houston
A balcony? It sounds like you're an apartment dweller. A 34 foot balcony? How convenient! Is it metal?
Yeah, I'm on the south side of a high-rise about 10 floors up. The railings are metal, everything else is concrete as you'd expect.

I think I'm ok on the budget. I'll have to research what you suggested, I've got quite a big learning curve ahead of me.
 

k9rzz

Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
3,162
Location
Milwaukee, WI
Why don't you jump in tomorrow and string up a quarter wave wire for 20 meters (16ft 5in) and stick that right into the back of your radio (in the antenna socket of course). That will give you close to good enough SWR that you can listen to the Salvation Army Net on 14,265khz during the day. They are running whatever traffic is coming out of Haiti right now. There is also a SSB contest running so you could even try to work someone in that! Just run the wire from your radio outside anyway you can. That will get you going for sure!
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
8,109
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
If your on the top floor you can possibly get away with a full size vertical clamped to the railing like the Cushcraft R7 series, Butternut, GAP, etc. These are all compromise antennas but you are in a compromise situation.

A 34ft long metal railing can make a reasonable counterpoise for a temporary HF vertical or one that heads away from the building at a 45deg angle if your not on the top floor.

I've had good success while hotel hopping using a collapsible 33ft fiberglass mast sticking out the window of some fairly ritzy hotels with no complaints. You can get a full 1/4 wavelength of wire at 40m on these masts and use a tuner at the base grounded to your railing.

The Buddipole and Buddistick antennas might work for the higher bands like 20m on up.

You radio has a lot of capabilities waiting to be discovered if you can supply it a reasonable antenna.
prcguy

Yeah, I'm on the south side of a high-rise about 10 floors up. The railings are metal, everything else is concrete as you'd expect.

I think I'm ok on the budget. I'll have to research what you suggested, I've got quite a big learning curve ahead of me.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
4
Location
Houston
If your on the top floor you can possibly get away with a full size vertical clamped to the railing like the Cushcraft R7 series, Butternut, GAP, etc. These are all compromise antennas but you are in a compromise situation.
I found the butternut (I think the one you were referring to), the HF6V 80-10 6-band, but it's 26ft. tall. Too much for my 12ft. balcony height. I certainly can't hang anything out and extend to the floors above me.

I haven't found the Cushcraft, which I think is no longer sold.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
4
Location
Houston
Why don't you jump in tomorrow and string up a quarter wave wire for 20 meters (16ft 5in) and stick that right into the back of your radio
This might get me at least 20m. So I'll keep researching how this is done. At least it's something that might fit.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
8,109
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
You can also get smaller 20ft telescoping fiberglass poles from MFJ and one thats called the "Sunny day pole" which is very inexpensive. Lash that to your railing at an angle so it doesn't encroach on your upstairs neighbor and load up 20ft of wire with a tuner.

There is also an apartment dweller antenna from B&W called the AP-10 that should work about as good as a mobile with a hamstick parked on your balcony. You could also get a small collection of hamsticks and clamp a mobile bracket to the railing. There are lots of ways to get a signal out but just remember the larger antennas are going to work much better if you can make them fit.
prcguy

This might get me at least 20m. So I'll keep researching how this is done. At least it's something that might fit.
 

kc2rgw

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
287
You can do pretty o.k. with a full sized 'screwdriver' mobile antenna on a tripod with some ground radials layed on the balcony. That's probably going to get you the best performance for the highly restricted situation you have there.

This link shows the antenna type mounted on a tripod.

Hi-Q-Antennas for HF Ham Radio Mobile Operation KEYWORDS: W6HIQ, HA5CMG, VE7BOC, HF mobile antennas, mobile antenna, screwdriver antenna, coils

Call them up and explain what your situation is and they can help you with what you need. 40m and up will be pretty o.k. if you do it carefully, 80m will work poorly but work and 160 would just be a waste of time.
 

zz0468

QRT
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
6,029
You can do pretty o.k. with a full sized 'screwdriver' mobile antenna on a tripod with some ground radials layed on the balcony....
That's an excellent idea to be considered... Create an install that's at least as good as a mobile. I run a simple 8 foot whip and a tuner in the car, and get out on 40-10 meters just fine. 80 meter performance leaves something to be desired, but it DOES get out there.

I'd try to incorporate the metal railing as much as possible into the counterpoise. You may also need to consider one of those counterpoise tuners (aka "artificial ground"). They're meant for people in your situation.
Also, consider an SGC autotuner. It'll take the hassle out of operating, and opens you up to some very creative stealth antennas, like loops.
 

NHJIM

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
2
Location
Hollis, NH
recommendations: getting off 2m

Well, you don't say whether you are in an apartment or a condo or not so, don't know what restrictions you might face. How about a multi band vertical? I use a Cushcraft R8 vert. 6m-40m (MFJ now) I also have a 80/40 short dipole which works great on 75m it is only about 80 feet overall. Vertical is 24 feet tall with 2 foot radials at base. I am semi restricted myself. Love to have a tower and beam. I use my 857D in a go-box and use a IC-706 MKllG at home for HF. Good luck
73,
Jim, wd4jzo
 

hockeyshrink

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
265
ATAS-120a screwdriver hf

That's an excellent idea to be considered... Create an install that's at least as good as a mobile. I run a simple 8 foot whip and a tuner in the car, and get out on 40-10 meters just fine. 80 meter performance leaves something to be desired, but it DOES get out there.

I'd try to incorporate the metal railing as much as possible into the counterpoise. You may also need to consider one of those counterpoise tuners (aka "artificial ground"). They're meant for people in your situation.
Also, consider an SGC autotuner. It'll take the hassle out of operating, and opens you up to some very creative stealth antennas, like loops.
As you are running the Yaesu FT-857d, consider the Yaesu ATAS-120a screwdriver antenna. It will get you from 6m to 40m and is designed to auto-tune with the 857d (i.e., no additional tuner required). It will also tune 2m & 70cm, but that would require a duplexer to adapt the single coax from the antenna to the 2m/70cm output on the radio, so most just run a separate dual band antenna. Reviews are mixed, however, but there were enough positives that I just ordered one for my FT-857d mobile.

Yaesu ATAS-120A Active Tuning Antenna System (Automatic)
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
8,109
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
There is a guy not far from me that uses a large mobile screwdriver antenna on 40 and 80m from his condo and has a suprrisingly good signal so this is not a bad idea. The thing that makes the classic screwdriver an efficient antenna is the large high Q coil and they work a lot better than hamsticks.

The Yaesu ATAS series are horrible little antennas, somewhat related to a dummy load but they do leak a little RF. On 80m a simple hamstick will easily be 10dB better than an ATAS, stick with a LARGE screwdriver from Tarheel, Hi-Q, Sierra, etc.
prcguy


QUOTE=hockeyshrink;1246959]As you are running the Yaesu FT-857d, consider the Yaesu ATAS-120a screwdriver antenna. It will get you from 6m to 40m and is designed to auto-tune with the 857d (i.e., no additional tuner required). It will also tune 2m & 70cm, but that would require a duplexer to adapt the single coax from the antenna to the 2m/70cm output on the radio, so most just run a separate dual band antenna. Reviews are mixed, however, but there were enough positives that I just ordered one for my FT-857d mobile.

Yaesu ATAS-120A Active Tuning Antenna System (Automatic)[/QUOTE]
 

hockeyshrink

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
265
...The Yaesu ATAS series are horrible little antennas, somewhat related to a dummy load but they do leak a little RF. On 80m a simple hamstick will easily be 10dB better than an ATAS, stick with a LARGE screwdriver from Tarheel, Hi-Q, Sierra, etc...
Wow, that's pretty impressive!

Where is that research published, prcguy?

I didn't think the ATAS was even designed for 80m, everything I have seen said 40m...
 

kc2rgw

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
287
Wow, that's pretty impressive!

Where is that research published, prcguy?

I didn't think the ATAS was even designed for 80m, everything I have seen said 40m...
From friends that have used the ATAS...it's not far from the truth. They do work pretty o.k. 20m and up, but if you compare them to proper large coil antennas the signals tell the tale. Then again the big boys are $600 and ham radio doesn't pay very well.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top