Hidden Antennas for HOA restrictions (Part 1 & 2)

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by melbo, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Part 1: Hidden Antennas for HOA restrictions?
    From our friends at www.preparedham.com

    I remember a time when I was forced to live in a condo for a year.

    The problem is obvious: no viewable antennas. The solution was ever so NOT obvious: I had my antennas totally BELOW GROUND in the basement of the condo. Did it work? Of course. Was it fun? You BET it was!

    The method that made it work so well was that I chose my frequencies and modes specifically to allow for the huge signal deficit that comes with such a ridiculous notion. In short, I used Morse Code (and occasionally voice, which I hate) pumped to/from a VHF beam and a UHF beam, sitting on a tripod on the floor.

    I’m betting that some of the readers here are ready to spit out a few “nah, can’t be done”s.
    But it can, and I did. Here’s how: . . . .
    Read More: Hidden Antennas for HOA restrictions?

    Part 2: Hidden Antennas for HOA restrictions?
    EDIT 2/7/2016: I have been asked for close ups of the MulitCam Commo sock cover that I bought through Tactical Concealment. That photo is added down in the body of this article.

    I have a confession to make…….. I live in a HOA!

    I know most hams say what the hell you did that for, you knew you could not put up a 60 foot tower. Turn in your FCC license…..

    Well I am here to tell you that even in a HOA you can have antennas that are very stealthy and be usable for anything from local work in UHF/VHF but also DX. Now are these antenna options as good as a giant tower with a beam, well no but they can be effective to very effective.

    I will cover what I did to get a signal out, then I will cover other options I know about but have not tried yet.

    I have been operating out of my current QTH for over five years with good success. When I started with my Yaesu 857D, I needed a simple set up from my antennas. In order to keep the costs down, I went with mono band PAR/LNR Precision End Fedz wires in 20 & 40 meters.

    There are two antennas in this photo can you find them?

    These antennas work great and do not need a tuner.
    Now I can hear the masses now saying “you could/should have built a . . . .
    Read More: Part 2: Hidden Antennas for HOA restrictions?
  2. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus


    A rotary clothes hoist would be an interesting project for creating a covert radio antenna. Hidden in plain sight. Directional orientation very adjustable.


    A retractable clothesline may also be worth considering....maybe not so flexible an option, but it has potential.
    Gator 45/70, kellory and melbo like this.
  3. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    There are many tales of hams using their aluminium raingutters and downspouts for antennas.

    I have never seen it used but it seems that some have.

    Rain Gutter Antenna with SG-230
    I decided to try the ARRL International CW DX Contest from my new, super stealthy HF radio setup... let me explain.

    My HF rig is an ICOM 745 and a Dentron transmatch running 100w but my antenna system is a little unusual though. After I moved to my new QTH in Lafayette, CO, I tried to put up my trusty old Butternut HF6VX Vertical. I am located in a covenant controlled neighborhood and thought the vertical would suffice as it is ground mounted and is not taller than my house. But, the local neighborhood HOA “watchdog” showed up at my front door about one week after I put it up and reminded me about the HOA rules of NO OUTSIDE ANTENNAS! It turns out, she lives in the house directly in back of me and can see the antenna from her dining room window—my typical luck! Well, not to put the nice radial system I had recently “planted” to waste, I started to think about some alternative, stealthy antenna designs.

    I noticed the rain gutters and downspouts of my house. They were aluminum and brand new so they probably made contact continuously. The downspout section is about 25 feet high and it connects to a horizontal gutter run which is 35 feet long. Hmmm... 60 feet of conductive material in an inverted ‘L’ Marconi type design and ready made! I’d heard of Hams loading up their rain gutters before but never thought that I would he relegated to this option myself. I ran a 50 foot piece of RG-8X out from the “shack” to the bottom of the drain spout. I drilled a hole in the drain pipe and attached a sheet metal screw. To this screw I attached the center conductor of the RG-8X coax. The shield side of the coax was then soldered to the ground radial leads. The ground radial system consists of 10 random lengths of 4 conductor antenna rotor cable buried in the lawn and the ends of three of these radials are also screwed into my basement’s metal window wells too.
  4. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    AD1, Gator 45/70, kellory and 3 others like this.
  5. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    I've read a lot of excellent reviews at eham about zerofive antennas. Hams are highly critical of antennas; however, based on it works or it doesn't work which is fair.

    I've used a band pass LPY and later a Quad on 10, 15, 20, 30 and WARC. However, my country count on the low bands are embarrassingly lacking.

    Looking into one of these:

    To those in a HOA no antenna zone, there are quite a few stealth antennas. It is a lot easier with an older tube rig; however, some modern ATs and a lot of tuners are up to the job for transistor rigs.

    Stealth Amateur Radio

    Here is an idea what an attic antenna can do:
    Over 120 Countries with a G5RV.
    Building tuners is not that difficult. For 100 watts. air variable capacitors are inexpensive; air variables for QRO are more expensive. Tapped coils are inexpensive; roller inductors are more expensive.
    I wound my first one around an old Quaker oat meal box. Used it for a few years. Now I use a T network with 2 caps and a roller inductor.

    There are plenty of Hams here at the monkey who would help.
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Mine will be stealthed, when I get around to doing it. I still need to decide on a design.
    chelloveck likes this.
  7. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Let the group know what is available at your location, its restrictions and put up with a bunch of questions and I'd bet you'll be deluged with suggestions.

    It would be fun and the measure of the group's success is the contacts you make.
    chelloveck and kellory like this.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    The only real restrictions, are money. And space. Towers are legal, just in the way. Attic is closed, but could be open if needed. It is about 6'×30'×3'. Simple flagpole out front@20' tall. Gutters are PVC, not metal. House is 25'x30' two story cape cod. Full basement, but not much open space. (It is used) currently have only one radio, baofeng uv-3r
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Lot dimensions will be useful for seeing what might be fit into the space available. In the meantime, hoist a home built J-pole up the flag staff and get an adaptor to use the Baofeng with the J.
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Lot size is 50x@130. Flagpole is topcap from chain link fence, would not handle the end weight in any kind of breeze, though might handle something inside. I choose not to announce to the world "here is a ham radio".
    Might go with a wire down the fence line, a tunable attic, or something in wire form on the basement ceiling. I don't know yet. I don't know them well enough yet for an informed decision.
    chelloveck likes this.
  11. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    What band(s) do you want to transmit on and what will the neighbors and more importantly the wife will (for lack of a better word) tolerate? ;)

    A fan dipole is possible in the attic

    PVC makes wire easy and 2 story is better than one. Inverted V for 40m or ? using wire and the gable of the roof.

    Door bell wire is very expensive and very stealthy.

    Literally, your plate is covered with possibilities.
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  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Wife knows I have a radio antenna on my truck (magnetic) but has no idea it's a ham radio. Work truck has one to match.
    As for the fan dipole, only the 10 meter (17') version would fit.
    Bellwire, I recycle in coils @30' long, and longer is easily available.
    chelloveck likes this.
  13. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    The dipole may be angled at the ends. A half wave or a dipole on 14.2 is ~33' long. Attach it at the top of the 30' attic and angle it to the floor. Then lay the extra on the floor.

    http://www.ad5x.com/images/Articles/Ztuner RevA.pdf

    You'll need a tuner. Got $$ buy one; lack $$ or would rather keep your $$ then build one. Hams are great borrowers of ideas and copy what others sell. We take pride in doing it. :)
    At the 100w level an air variable capacitor out of an old tube receiver would work fine.

    Fair Radio Sales Company, Inc. - Catalog
    As they are not as a common as they used to be, this is just a picture to show what they look like. Do not pay $35 for one.

    Ham Radio Antennas, Tiny Tenna, Yo-Yo Tenna by DWM Communications
    I built one of these for fun. Just don't touch the variable except with an insulated knob when transmitting.
    chelloveck likes this.
  14. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    If I tear open the attic, I'm thinking more of a copper tubing octagon with a variable Russian tube. (One I read about, that could be assembled, mounted on a piece of plywood, slipped into the attic space, and route the cables down the inclosed rafters, and resealed. The attic space is not easily accessible.
    chelloveck likes this.
  15. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    You got the idea.
    I'm not familiar with the Russian tube. You'll need to tune two components, XL (inductance) and XC (capacitance).

    If the attic is a pain; outside is easy.

    This guy's site is eye candy for the Ham.
    Surplus Parts & Equipment
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  16. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    this is similar to what i have been reading about. though i would require a build along i think.
    chelloveck likes this.
  17. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    The loop looks like a bit of installation art.....gussy it up with some rainbow ribbons and folks will think you are a local LGBTQI activist, instead of a HAM radio enthusiast and closet conservative, leaving you the feck alone. [afro]
  18. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Didn't you say inexpensive? ;);););)

    "Alan Bond over at MaxGain was able to provide me with a couple of used vacuum variable capacitors, 10-60pF, 10kV, for around $100 each, shipped. Vacuum variable capacitor prices only go up from there, so I thought that would be a good starting place. According to the calculators available online, those capacitors would allow me to tune across the frequencies that I cared about, at a peak power level of 500W, which is the limit of my station, anyway."
    KK5JY Small Transmitting Loop Project

    The vacuum variables are expensive; however, the loop has almost zero catch the neighbor's eye as long as no one touches it when you're transmitting.

    This site has many ideas for a variety of antennas:
    Radio Antennas

    For loops:
    Magnetic Loop Antenna

    Amateur radio is quite addictive; many consider it to be highly addictive. ;)
    AD1 likes this.
  19. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    yes, i caught the price, and i believe @Falcon15 even has one of the Russian variable tubes. they are getting hard to find, and i think it was in the $50-$60 range. no matter how i go about it, there will be costs involved. i just don't want to waste time, money, and effort with failures.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
    Falcon15 likes this.
  20. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    That bell wire will be essentially invisible from the front (or back) of the house. You could easily throw a "proper" length out the second story window and use it as a sloper to one or another corner of the back yard. End fed, uv cuss, and with a balun at the window to shift to a coax over to your tuner and rig.

    I have to observe that a 2M j-pole is not exactly a huge thing to hang from the "flag pole" (temporarily, uv cuss) or even dangle out the upper sash of the window on the side toward your favorite repeater.
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