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Hiding a Ham Radio antenna from view

Sep 26, 2008
297
Hunter 340 Wickford, RI
I thought I would try this part of our forums for answers and some guidance. I am looking to hide an antenna that is used to send and receive Morse Code. Due to restrictions regarding outside antennas and their look.
I'm thinking, because I have an 18 foot tall x 3 inch round copper Flagpole ( in my yard NOT on my boat) I could use that as an antenna. I am using a vintage Hammerlund 170 to hear Code. It's old, it works like new and I love the challenge of vintage equipment. And it sits about 20 feet from the Flagpole.
But I have forgotten my basic antenna wiring from when I first receive my Ham License years ago.
Thank you for any guidance is greatly appreciated.
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,067
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
If you plan on using the flag pole, you will have to do some leg work.

You said the pole is 18 ft, then as a quarter wave that would put you at 13 MHz (234/height in feet). This obviously is too long of a pole for 20 meters. You would have to shorten it to around 16.6 ft. Easier said than done. So the best option would be to put a loading match at the base of the pole. You will also have to lay a ground plane as best you can.

Second, if that seems like it would be a problem, then you can go with a thin wire (28 AWG) wire antenna attached to the eave of the roof. You can run RG-58 into a matching balun. Cut the antenna to the band you want. You can run multiple bands by attaching the correct length wire to each side of the dipole. The dipole can also be vertical if you have the support structure for it.
 
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Sep 26, 2008
297
Hunter 340 Wickford, RI
Brian,
Thank you. Your second solution would work. The eave of the roof, combined with thin wire and given the position of the roof line would work. I’ll put my parts list together and start.
It would be an easier route to take by far. Thank you again. I knew this would be the right choice to post this.
 
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Feb 17, 2006
5,067
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
I would also recommend adding a Common Mode Choke to prevent RF from returning back to the transmitter. You will know this is happening when you touch the metal case and receive a shock when you are transmitting. But seeing how you are using a Hammerlund 170, that is a receive only radio. In that case, you can just run a single wire just about anywhere. This includes in your "shack" or as mentioned, the eave of the roof.

Do you have any plans of transmitting? If so we can discuss that when you are ready.
 
Sep 26, 2008
297
Hunter 340 Wickford, RI
I do have plans to get back to transmitting. It's after this years sailing season. I'll definitely get in touch. Thank you.
 
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Tedd

.
Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Is there any restriction on having a clothesline?
 
Sep 26, 2008
297
Hunter 340 Wickford, RI
Oh Yeah! I really think that’s on top of the list, followed by swing sets, woodpiles and a tomato plant. That’s why I thought up the inside of the flagpole. I am moving though, not due to this issue, and I’ll let others live under the oppression here.
 
Sep 25, 2008
6,191
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
Living here is what is euphemistically considered the HOA capitol of the world, it's interesting that among all the members of our local radio club, only one has ever been denied a waiver to install an antenna. While the perception is that HOAs are restrictive, no one is forced to live here/there and as far as restrictions go, perception isn't reality - HOAs here all have provisions to allow waivers for various things including antennas. And living most of my life in RI, I know that to be true there as well.

The problem is often that people simply don't ask or ask the correct way following the process prescribed.
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,067
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Well, a life line on a boat will work as an antenna. I, personally, don't recommend that method since the life line may not be continuous. But, if the life line were to be raised, with insulators, between the deck and the mast top, then yeah. It works. The life line is a wire rope. I have used wire rope as an antenna here at my home. 35.5' to be exact. Worked Europe from SoCal off the end of the antenna. So the cloths line would have to have a wire running through it. Then that might give you some results.

And one more thing about HOAs. The FCC has ruled, I believe, that HOAs cannot restrict licensed radio operators from erecting an antenna. However, the HOA can limit in size and scope, I believe, as well as city, county, and state. But yes, it is how you ask to put up an antenna and of what kind. JMHO
 

Tedd

.
Jul 25, 2013
397
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
Would it be possible to use an aft stay, much like the HF antennas on airplanes?

[With appropriate insulators.]
 
Sep 25, 2008
6,191
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
Would it be possible to use an aft stay, much like the HF antennas on airplanes?

[With appropriate insulators.]
That’s what I use. Works very well. Like with all HF antennas on boats, the big problem is stray RF.
 
Last edited:
Sep 25, 2008
6,191
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
.

And one more thing about HOAs. The FCC has ruled, I believe, that HOAs cannot restrict licensed radio operators from erecting an antenna. However, the HOA can limit in size and scope, I believe, as well as city, county, and state. But yes, it is how you ask to put up an antenna and of what kind. JMHO
They tried but failed to do that. The closest permutation of that is PRB1 which the FCC published years ago which applies to municipal ordinances, not HOA rules, and is a guideline, not a regulation, advocating for reasonable accommodations with city and muni ordinance compliance. HOAs still have the ultimate authority.

Our HOA rule limits height and location and interestingly contains express language to accommodate and encourage ham antenna requests as they view ham radio as an emergency communications opportunity. I know because I helped write it.
 
Feb 17, 2006
5,067
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Thanks for the clarification @Don S/V ILLusion.

@Tedd, yes it is recommended to use an aft stay. However, I personnaly (here we go again... LOL) would use a spare halyard to run an alternative backstay antenna. This would be a length (about 43') of insulated wire rope that will have no structural weight bearing function. Just an insulated wire (like life line) running from the deck to the mast top. If you don't have a free halyard you might want to think about installing one. Just because they are nice to have if you ever need to support something, maybe like a boom lift.

As with all HF antennas on boats, they will need an antenna tuner to work multiple bands. However, If you only want to work one band, you can build a vertical dipole. An example would be for the Maritime Mobile Service Network on 14300 kHz. Requires a General Class or better Amateur Radio License to work this network. You can build a vertical dipole for just that frequency. It is semi-broadband for 20 meters, but not recommended to work outside of that frequency band.