Apartment Antennas

MFJ has an antenna that is marketed towards apartment dwellers called
the MFJ-1622. Barker and Williamson have a similar product called the
AP-10B. Both of these products look good, but the price is mighty
high. They run from $89 for the AP-10B to 99 for the MFJ-1622. The
other problem is that, at least according to eham.net, the set up
leaves a lot of be desired, and the performance can be lackluster.
If we don’t have $100 to spend on an antenna, what are the other
options? It seems to me that these antennas are made of three main
components. 1. a whip 2. a loading coil and 3. a counterpoise. I am
wondering if something could be made akin to a hamstick dipole. In
case you are not aware, a hamstick is a whip antenna that is attached
to a long loading coil that is usually used for mobile operation. The
hamstick dipole is two dipoles connected with a metal plate that can be
clamped to a support pole. Hamsticks have two main problems. First,
they are narrowband antennas. In other words, they have to be retuned
regularly to keep swr low and they require a counterpoise like a car
body. The dipole configuration effectively doubles the available
bandwidth and it solves the problem of the counterpoise. But this
creates one more problem. Who wants a 20′ dipole in their apartment?
Not to mention RF burns on family members who accidentally touch it.
If you notice one thing about the advertised apartment antennas, then
have a length of wire to take care of the counterpoise. Why not do the
same with a single hamstick? Clamp it to a patio rail or sturdy piece
of furniture, stick one end out of a window or on a patio and leave a
curled up piece of insulated wire at the base for the counterpoise.
One more thing, if you are in a really touchy complex and you try this,
I would get some hobby paint and paint it black. Most HF activity is
best at night and a black antenna would be much harder to see.
Pass along any ideas that you might have.
Links:
MFJ-1622
http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php?prodid=MFJ-1622
eHam Review
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2035
Cost
$99.95
B&W AP-10B
http://www.bwantennas.com/ama/ap10b.ama.htm
eHam Review
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/667
Cost
$89.00

2 Meter J-Poles

First of all, I want to say thanks to the staff of Hamblog.com for the reintroduction of their fine website.

I went to the Cary, NC Hamfest this morning. This is the same hamfest where I passed the Technician class license exam last year. That means that I have been a licensed ham for one year now. Hooray!

I was mostly broke today, so I didn’t pick up anything tremendous. I just scrounged around, looking for connectors and doodads that I didn’t want to buy are Radio Shack. I did pick up a nice 1:1 balun for $1. It looks to be in good condition and is cased inside PVC. I also picked up some cheap 300ohm twinlead. 100′ for $2!

I bought this with dipoles in mind, but I remembered seeing a website or two about 2-Meter J-pole made with this stuff. I didn’t currently have a working 2-meter antenna. My magmount base is screwed. I haven’t found out where though. I just know that the SWR is shot to heck. I went to this page first: http://www.mvw.net/radio/jpole.html. The illustration was kinda confusing, but this one: http://www.bloomington.in.us/~wh2t/Jpole.htm helped fill in the gaps.

I built, and taped it to a tall cardboard box. It worked! My signal report was weaker than I liked, but it was better than nothing.