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High Rise Condo Problems

Nov 10th 2012, 12:32

KB9CZ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I've been off the air for years -- ever since I moved to the 29th floor (of 56) of a concrete and steel building. Well, I got the bug again and purchased a transceiver and an antenna for apartments.

My problem? I literally cannot hear anything because of RF noise and weak signal strength. Am I relegated to operating portable in a forest preserve or mobil in my car?

I'd like to hear from others who have faced this problem. What I thought was going to be a re-connection with a hobby has turned into one big disappointment.

As an aside, AM radio reception is poor and to some extent so is FM.
Nov 10th 2012, 13:58

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0

Unless you can get the antenna away from the building, you aren't likely to hear much on HF. Since you are going to say that is prohibited--then yes, an effective HF antenna inside the building is out of the question.

An option may be to install a remote station where it is practical to install an effective antenna.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer
Nov 12th 2012, 02:14

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
This is a difficult situation. A couple of thoughts:

-Can you open a window? You can toss a wire out that you might be able to load up, like a mobile antenna. If you have a balcony apartment, you can attach an actual mobile antenna to the railing. Some folks manage with this.

-Consider VHF/UHF. You can tape a 2 M or higher freq dipole to the inside of a window. The building frame will affect the tuning, but you might get useful results. You could even try a Yagi antenna shooting out the window, especially on 450 MHz or higher.

73 Martin AA6E
ARRL Technical Advisor
Apr 20th 2013, 21:32

KB9CZ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I've tried a few things, but without a lot of success. I do have a balcony and have set up an antenna clipped to the railing. The results are just marginally better. The problem is the large number of computers, routers, dimmers, and every other device you can think of is in close proximity. I even went up to our roof top and still get enough noise on the HF bands to overwhelm my 72 year-old ears. I have discovered however, that moving up in frequency and having a nice tripod mounted beam allows me to work repeaters in four states. I'll have to try 6m.

As to my HF rig? I took an old carry-on suitcase and packed it up into one nice package that contains a power supply, antenna, cables, etc. and can throw it in the back of the car for portable use. Wish I had bought something a bit smaller, but that's life.
Apr 22nd 2013, 04:22

9V1DB

Joined: Aug 10th 2011, 09:34
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I also live on the 15th floor of a 17 story reinforced concrete apartment. When I first set up here, I used the MFJ window mount which works but is limited especially since it is still very close to the reinforced concrete which I believe couples to it. About 10 months ago I switched to the End Fedz 20/40 dipole which I put on a wooden pole so the wire hangs about 5-6 foot from the side of the building. This works much better. I have since gone to the matchbox from the Hawaii Emergency Ham club, which covers 6-80.

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