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.
eHam Review
B&W AP-10B
eHam Review

2 responses to “Apartment Antennas”

  1. Hey KI4GMX … I was looking at a neat mapping tool created by N4MC to show what hams live near you. I think we’re neighbors (if you still live at Southpoint Crossing) and possibly even in the same building.

    I just got my technician ticket fairly recently. I was trying to operate 2m and 70cm but there was waaaaay too much RFI. Even from my patio, prospects are slim. So I’ve been taking my HT out to my car and operating from a mobile antenna there. If you look out your window at night and see a silver Jetta with a mag mount antenna on the roof, that’s me.

    If you’re still at Southpoint Crossing, please do drop me a line.

    73 DE KI4OTK “Magnus”

  2. I’ve used the B&W Apt Dweller antenna for a long time. I’m in a small condo and with my current setup, I have the antenna located INSIDE of my garage on the 2nd floor.
    I am very satisified with the results. I have worked west coast and east coast stations from my north Texas location. I’ve also worked a lot of DX including Aruba, Turks & Caicos, Columbia, Mexico and others.
    If you have limited space this antenna will work for you. It works even better with an antenna tuner.

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