Our move prep is taking away from ham time!

I HATE painting..so we hired a painter
There has not been very much radio time here and I sure do miss the hobby time! I have been removing wall paper, painting.....well we have decided to hire a painter for the job as I HATE painting and take way to long to get it done. For me it would take about 4-6 days to get the job done. The painter is coming next Friday and ONE day and it's done.  Because we are downsizing to a condo it also means that certain things in the shack have to be downs sized as well. I have sold my DX-EE antenna, H-800 receiving antenna, LDG 6 position antenna
Getting ready to take the sub out
switch and my beloved sub-receiver in my Elecraft K3. The sale of these items netted me around 1,000 and will help with the new challenge of an antenna for the condo. Well now lets talk about the up and coming condo shack! There are going to be challenges but also some advantages as well. I am excited that this will still be a QRP shack and antenna challenged....BUT....I will have more height than I have ever had in the past and that is a huge plus!! Now that I will be in the city I am also going to have more noise trouble. This will for sure give my MFJ noise cancelling uint a workout.  We will have a balcony, in the summer will be great for sitting out and using the KX3 with
and at this point I am not sure if I want to have an antenna out on the balcony or not (like the MFJ magnetic loop antenna) I would like to have an antenna in the radio room and not outside as condo's are not antenna
The Sub is gone...:(
Room prepped for painting
friendly and it being outside the weather would take have an affect on it. .....Now a stealth wire antenna on the balcony is also an option. I just love these challenges!! Hey blog crowd any ideas about a stealth wire antenna from 10m to lets say 40m???????

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

11 Responses to “Our move prep is taking away from ham time!”

  • Jan DK3LJ:

    Mike, I set up my shack in a condo for many years with success. You will be surprised how well this works. Antennas were mainly a 20m mobile whip (!) on a ledge next to the aircon unit and a tuned random wire hanging down a long fishing pole out of the window. Interestingly I often worked 15000 km distances in ssb with 100 watt over the smaller whip antenna. Another thing some friends have used is running a huge length of thin grey wire (which is almost invisible) in v shape from the 30th floor. 73 Jan DK3LJ

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Jan, well it’s nice to hear that you had success in a condo. The setup I had in the townhouse was less that ideal for sure and I did very well. These units have central air and the balconies are glass panels so I will have to be careful with how I set things up as to not draw attention.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment Jan and have a nice weekend.

  • Todd KD0TLS:

    I also live in a condo, and I’ve found that the actual antenna is a secondary problem compared to the issues created by transmitting a dozen feet from your neighbour’s TV, stereo, or other sensitive electronics. You can have the stealthiest antenna in the world, but when your voice comes through your upstairs / downstairs neighbour’s clock radio, TV, phone, and stereo then everyone is going to know. My solution is to keep the power levels down, and experiment with your own electronics placed near the antenna to find the optimum power that doesn’t create issues. Things like an RF choke, filter, and balun will help. But consumer electronics are so poorly shielded these days that problems are unavoidable at anything above QRP levels.

    You could try the Tac-Tenna, but you’ll need a tuner. You can always run a wire indoors, though the interference issues I outlined will still obtain. Many condos have metal mouldings or caps on siding that are aluminium and run around the building, electrically connected by contact. You could use that as an end-fed. Again, your transmission will then be spread around *all* of your neighbours. I’ve used a helium balloon attached to wire for temporary efforts, but I’m on the top floor.

    Using lower power makes digital modes more attractive. You don’t like VHF/UHF, but a UHF Yagi is extremely easy to set up and take down. I love that option.

    A mag-mount with a “HamStick” is a mediocre alternative, because it’s vertical, but it will get you on the air. There are 40-meter models.

    There’s also portable operation in a nearby park, although my experience has been that this draws inquisitive police with vaguely-articulated “safety” concerns.

    My ultimate solution is to find a ham radio club that has a club station. That’s what I do now for HF. More clubs are realising that the majority of people can’t string up a 60-foot dipole. People promoting the hobby always seem to leave that part out of their pitch. You will also be surprised how many hams let you into their homes to use their rigs, as long as you don’t make it a daily affair.

    There aren’t any *good* solutions, but many glib and ill-considered ones, and others are severe compromises.


    I’m no EE but I live in an apartment complex and I found a couple neighbors on the far end of the 3rd floor below me were getting some CW practice.
    The problem was that they had an open shield on the CATV coax.
    Comcast put a fix on it and I try not running to much power but I can run 100 watts with no problem with my FT 857-D into a mag loop in the next room and I never have no one banging on my door.
    I also use an end fed and an UNUN.
    BOB AF2Q


    Check this out.There are also 5 pages of reviews on E ham
    Your building must have a CATV coax leak and RF is getting in.
    BOB AF2Q

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good afternoon Todd, here where I am now I am in a townhouse condo and folks on each side of me. I have from day one had to use no more that 5 watts. I have found it was CW that was the way to go for me and having me heard on the electronics to either side of me. At this point I am leaning toward some type of loop or screwdriver antenna…..now having said that the Tec tenna does look like investigating for sure! Thanks very much for the info and taking the time to post a comment. I look forward to the challenge this condo is going to give me.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Hello Bob, I was very interested to hear you are running a Mag loop inside the apt as this is an option I was looking at as well. I will be using QRP and QRPp power only with it. How has this been working for you regarding contacts?
    Thanks for the input Bob


    Hi Mike,
    Well without going into a lot of detail,
    I’ known as a ham in a can.
    Ask Larry.
    I have nothing but corrugated steel above and below be,6 inches of concrete ,rubar and steel beams.
    As I said i’m no EE type,(far from it) but have you ever placed a magnet in a steel wire then noticed it holds a nail very strong but gets much weaker as you go down?
    My friend thinks I may be getting RF into the steel beams but it doesn’t go down far enough to reach ground.
    40 meters is sharp tuning but 20 meters gives you about 15 KC.
    I broke every rule in the book and worked 5 watts into Malaysia and another in Sudan.
    Heres a nice loop calculator.
    I tried working Bill G4KKI and skipped over him and had a nice chat with a ham in Bosnia.
    Some hams make the loop from coax and copper but I also made one from 6mm solid copper wire and ran 10 watts because I used a small poly cap but worked Spain and Germany with 10 watts from my FT 857-D and then tried my 20 meter SST.
    Lots of info on the web on mag loops.
    One guy made one from a bike rim and he was banging out DX like crazy on 20 meters.
    Don’t listen to all you read about needed a high priced vacuum cap and a butter fly cap and needing to weld everything.
    One loop was given to me by Rick KC8AON and I twisted the wires together that came from under the hood of an old Honda.
    I worked a ham in FT Washington,KY and then worked a ham calling CQ in the UK.
    Another ham in Bordenton,NJ, has his loop hanging on the wall.
    Feel free to mail me if you need more information.
    BOB AF2Q

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Bob, thanks for all the info and the great news about the contacts!! Sounds like I am going to do ok in the condo after all. I will be using QRP and being way up in the air I hope that works out as an advantage. I will check into the loops and look at the links as well.
    Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and comment.


    Hi Mike,
    I found that after playing with the loops for a couple years that mounting it horizontal works best and also picks up less noise.
    Some hams say they lay a piece of window screen under the loop in mounted indoors.
    I saw no change in any noise reduction
    BOB AF2Q

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