Valid HOA antenna workaround?

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4436time

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Curious if you think this is feasable or not...

I currently have a diamond discone in the attic that gets decent reception, but am thinking it could better. Reception status on the HP1 shows signal strength on a majority of the system sites around town to be about a 6-7 out of 10. So I'm thinking it can be improved. And the only way to do it (or hope to) would be to mount something on the roof unobstructed. But I have an HOA to contend with. So what I'm considering is installing a single mast type antenna and devising a mounting system that allows it to be raised and lowered either by means of a set of pulleys/cable, or by a remote controlled motor. The idea would be that the antenna lays flat on the roof when retracted making it all but invisible, and vertical when in use. Since most of the monitoring I do is at night I believe I could get away with it as long as I remember to drop it down. Thing is, would it be more trouble than it's worth since I can already hear pretty much everything of interest with the discone? But if reception can be made better without anyone being any the wiser, why not?
 
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Keith_W7KEW

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Curious if you think this is feasable or not...

I currently have a diamond discone in the attic that gets decent reception, but am thinking it could better. Reception status on the HP1 shows signal strength on a majority of the system sites around town to be about a 6-7 out of 10. So I'm thinking it can be improved. And the only way to do it (or hope to) would be to mount something on the roof unobstructed. But I have an HOA to contend with. So what I'm considering is installing a single mast type antenna and devising a mounting system that allows it to be raised and lowered either by means of a set of pulleys/cable, or by a remote controlled motor. The idea would be that the antenna lays flat on the roof when retracted making it all but invisible, and vertical when in use. Since most of the monitoring I do is at night I believe I could get away with it as long as I remember to drop it down. Thing is, would it be more trouble than it's worth since I can already hear pretty much everything of interest with the discone? But if reception can be made better without anyone being any the wiser, why not?
There is a product for scanners called the Ventenna that you can install disguised on your home. If you have a vent pipe on the roof you can place it there or mount it some place else on the roof without one. If anyone asks why you are putting a new one up just say the old vent leaked and smelled up the house.

Ventenna
 

LtDoc

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Can it be done? Yes. Would it be practical? Maybe, depends on what it's worth to you. Would a substantial increase in antenna height be better than an indoor antenna on VHF/UHF? Sure. Will you be 'caught'? Beats me, no idea how 'observant' your HOA is and how strict. Is this a pretty good answer? NO, it isn't! But it sums up the situation, I think. You decide.
- 'Doc
 

gmclam

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Last I knew HOAs can't restrict you from erecting an antenna in space that you solely control. I'm not a lawyer and I am sure there would be a fight if someone wanted to call you out on it. But there was a law passed several years ago brought on by the TV broadcasting industry. As long as it is YOUR roof and not co-shared with others.
 

n5ims

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Last I knew HOAs can't restrict you from erecting an antenna in space that you solely control. I'm not a lawyer and I am sure there would be a fight if someone wanted to call you out on it. But there was a law passed several years ago brought on by the TV broadcasting industry. As long as it is YOUR roof and not co-shared with others.
This law, or more accurately an FCC Rule (Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule | FCC.gov), is quite specific and only covers antennas required for receiption of TV (both over-the-air and satellite) and "Broadband Radio Service" (often called WiMax Internet Service). This rule isn't a blanket OK to do whatever you want, but only to eliminate restrictions that prevent doing basically the minimum necessary to receive the signals (or in the case of the BRS sites, communicate with the base site).

The rule does have several holes where antennas can still be restricted. For example, it only covers residential locations and only where the resident has "an exclusive use area" so restrictions may still be allowed. "The rule does not apply to common areas, such as the roof or the exterior walls of an apartment building. Generally, balconies or patios that are shared with other people or are accessible from other units are not considered to be exclusive use areas." However, balconies that are for the renter's exclusive use are generally covered. "renters may install antennas within their leasehold, which means inside the dwelling or on outdoor areas that are part of the tenant's leased space and which are under the exclusive use or control of the tenant."

Be aware that it specifically doesn't cover ham radio, CB stations, or AM/FM radios (like two-way radios or scanners) "The rule does not apply to antennas used for AM/FM radio, amateur ("ham") radio (see 47 C.F.R. §97.15), Citizen's Band ("CB") radio or Digital Audio Radio Services ("DARS")."

As with most HOAs, your mileage may vary, but you may have standing if your installation is specifically covered by this FCC rule (although your HOA can and probably will make your life difficult if they're forced to let you do what they don't want you to do. "We're fining you since your grass was .01" longer than the allowed length as stated in the published HOA rules. It must be between 3 and 4.5 inches tall. You also have some patches of dead grass that must be taken care of and properly watered - ignoring the fact that there's no lawn watering allowed by the city due to the drought conditions.")
 

4436time

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I've seen posts where the Ventenna works well for what it is. It would seem though that mounting something that extends above the peak would be more effective.

My house, unlike most others, backs open space putting the nearest ones behind me 150 yards away. The neighbors to the sides (and front if mounted close to the peak) are more likely to see it, but only if not retracted. So the prime spot would be on the back as long as it's still fairly unobtrusive (not shiny, or white). I think the biggest hurdle will be in getting on the roof with anything that resembles an antenna without raising some suspicion. Hard to say. Again, is it worth it for (maybe) another notch or two on the meter?

I'm pretty sure n5ims is right on this one as I've read something along those lines in the covenants. I've also lived in the area for 15 years and have yet to see a non-dish antenna, so I'm fairly certain it's not allowed.

Also not sure if a decent single element antenna exists and wonder if a small ground plane (tuned for ~860MHz) mounted on top of a fake roof vent wouldn't be better? I would prefer something that covers more bands, but it's something I think I could easily get away with. Just not sure how well it would work (@860MHz). Would definitely want to know if there's a multicoupler to support multiple antennas/scanners in order to keep the discone in the loop.
 

gewecke

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Does your HOA allow the "dish" or "direc tv" size dishes? If so,then there you go!
Simply erect a standard dish install then mount your ventenna on the support structure. Problem solved! :)
Another alternative which I did for my dad years ago was to erect a tuned dipole, using 38 guage "angel hair" wire which wasn't visible from 5' away.

HOA's be damned!! :twisted:


73,
n9zas
 

Jim41

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Curious if you think this is feasable or not...

I currently have a diamond discone in the attic that gets decent reception, but am thinking it could better. Reception status on the HP1 shows signal strength on a majority of the system sites around town to be about a 6-7 out of 10. So I'm thinking it can be improved. And the only way to do it (or hope to) would be to mount something on the roof unobstructed. But I have an HOA to contend with. So what I'm considering is installing a single mast type antenna and devising a mounting system that allows it to be raised and lowered either by means of a set of pulleys/cable, or by a remote controlled motor. The idea would be that the antenna lays flat on the roof when retracted making it all but invisible, and vertical when in use. Since most of the monitoring I do is at night I believe I could get away with it as long as I remember to drop it down. Thing is, would it be more trouble than it's worth since I can already hear pretty much everything of interest with the discone? But if reception can be made better without anyone being any the wiser, why not?
Does your HOA allow flag poles?
A ground plane 860 MHz antenna at the top would be unobtrusive and likely go unnoticed.

Jim41
 

4436time

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HOA's aren't so bad... :roll:

We're allowed to have dishes, and I could probably mount something on it as long as it's small/stealthy...due to its existing location.

As for flagpoles, yes, we're allowed to have them. But I think there are other less involved alternatives that I would like to try first. Great idea though and I will keep it in mind.

Question:
Of the two antennas (ground plane/dipole), which one generally performs better?
 

kma371

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Ive been using the ventenna for last two years on my condo. HOA hasn't noticed it yet ;)


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WA1ATA

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..... signal strength on a majority of the system sites around town to be about a 6-7 out of 10............ Thing is, would it be more trouble than it's worth since I can already hear pretty much everything of interest with the discone? But if reception can be made better without anyone being any the wiser, why not?
If you have full quieting on all of the channels you want to monitor, then you won't be gaining any improvement with the more complicated system.

OTOH, if there are channels that you can receive, but which are weak and noisy, then it's worth rigging up some sort of external antenna.

If you do go ahead with some sort of arrangement that can be remotely raised and lowered, be sure to come back and tell us what you did and how it worked!
 

4436time

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After some research I ended up making a small ground plane antenna (800MHz w/radials ~3.25in long). While it's not professionally designed and built, it appears to work quite well. So I haven't bothered messing with a single element jobber or anything else that I'd have to rig up to raise/lower. The footprint is so small that I don't think it'd be noticeable, and it would work for this application.
While I haven't actually installed it yet, I did check reception (on the roof) and it's a solid 5 bars (106) and quiet on virtually every site I'm interested in hearing. Problem is, the optimum location is to either mount it on top of or next to a square metal vent that's just below the peak. It would end up just above the peak when mounted and have a 360deg view. I physically touched the antenna to and around this vent in almost every conceivable angle with seemingly no effect on reception. But I'm no antenna geek and not sure it's advisable to mount here? It would definitely be easy to do.
 
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