Best indoor TX antenna?

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To make a long story shorter, I recently moved from a house to a townhome (probably for the next year or so till I find a new house).  I started getting my station set back up again.  I had a pixel loop that was sitting in the box for about a year that I finally plugged up to my 6700 and the thing receives great!!  Love it.  But since it is receive only, I need something comparable to that for transmitting that I can put indoors in an upstairs spare bedroom near the pixel loop.  Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Posted 1 year ago

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Gary L. Robinson

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A lot of what might be suggested depends on other things.  Do you have a tuner (is it able to handle balanced line or not?).  Do you not even want to use a tuner or not?  What band or bands do you hope to be able to use it on?  What is the size of the upstairs bed room?  Do you want to buy it or build it.  How much do you want to spend?

--Gary WB8ROL
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Hi Gary, thanks for the response!  The 6700 has a tuner built in, so I think I should be ok there if I need to use a tuner, but other than that, I don't have an external tuner. 40 through 15 or so would be nice to have.  40 and 20 definitely.

Upstairs bedroom is standard size, probably 12'x14'?  It's just my office/nerd cave.  Only thing in there is my desk and computer/ham equipment.  I think at this point I'd rather just buy something already made, not too concerned with the cost.  Someday I'll get back into building.  My last antenna was a homemade fan dipole, but the weather had gotten to it so I tossed it when I moved.

Thanks!
-Robbie (KI4TTZ)

Edit: Room is probably more like 15'x20'.  Guess I should pull out a tape measure.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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If the room is 20 by 15, then you can start with a simple dipole....
Then add parallel wires for additional bands... or feed with twin lead (300 or 450 ohm) and use a balun at the rig or tuner.
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Eduardo Carvalho - KC8R

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I would recommend the attic if you have access to, and put the antenna there. I have used that for a long time with an Alpha Delta DX-EE and had descent results. It will cover all the bands you mentioned and it is approximately 40 feet long.

That setup and 100 watts is how I got my DXCC and participated in contests. Not great but it was always I surprise to hear my calls sign back from far away places from the Midwest.

Eduardo, KC8R
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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You might take a look at the Buddipole system. It sounds like you might have room to put one of those up.
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Norm - W7CK

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Do you have a patio or balcony?

There are a lot of folks that have had some success using Magnetic Loop antennas.  They are very narrow banded and require a variable capacitor at the antenna to tune to frequency.  This could be to your advantage do to the ability of the Mag-Loop to reject quite a bit of the noise often found inside a residential structure.  The people who use them often swear by them.  Or is it swear at them - I'm not sure but they seem happy.

Some town houses have garages or carports attached to the town home.  If you can run a cable to your car/truck.  You may want to put a screwdriver type antenna on the vehicle and operate it remotely.  Might not be too bad.   I operate a lot of HF mobile.  I use a Hi-Q screwdriver antenna and a 500w amplifier.  It is truly amazing at times how well that system works.

You could place everything in the vehicle and just run a power cord out to it and operate via WiFi.   I do this with my 5th wheel camper.  Flex goes in and I can sit out at the picnic table and play radio.

A vertical with a few ground radials in a small 2nd story room will NOT work very well.  The only options as I see it are dipoles, mag-loop or something mounted on your vehicle and run remotely. 

Make sure you come back here and let us know what you've decided and give us updates along the way.  Makes it fun for all of us.

W7CK - Norm
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Rick - N4RZ

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Assuming you can use the attic, take a look on QRZ.com at the W9BS page.   Gary, W9BS, has a diagram showing his bent 80 meter dipole located in his condo attic fed with 450 ohm ladder line.  He gets out very well with this antenna on all bands including 75 meters where we have a weekly schedule from his qth in south Florida up to several of us in the midwest.  
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Chris DL5NAM

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You have some trees around your house. why not a wire antenna?
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Chris DL5NAM

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Flag pole ?
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Unfortunately, there isn't an attic here.  This room is on the front side of the townhome, and the way the place is laid out, there isn't an easy way to run a wire from the front to the back. (shared walls, etc).  Might look into the mag loop idea and see how well they work.  I think MFJ makes a few.  Thanks for the suggestions so far!  Still thinking...haven't made any decisions yet. :) 
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Andrew Russell

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Mark WS7M

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Robbie,

Just a thought.  You might consider remote mounting your Flex Radio (not sure which one you own) in the back room so perhaps you could rig up like a buddy antenna or something simple outside.

If you did this you could buy a fairly cheap access point or router and put it in access point mode and plug your flex into that.  Then from your front room just operate the radio remote.

I'm not sure if your antenna options get better in the back room but one thing the flex radios allow us to do is consider the radio a "server" which means it can sit in a closet or some distance away from where we sit and as long as there is networking it should work just fine.

I currently have my FR 6500 sitting in a cabinet in a built in setup about 15 feet from my primary desk.  That was short enough to run cables for things like mic, key, etc.  But quite frankly I spend a lot of time running SSDR on my laptop from upstairs and just using the LAN/WiFi for access.

Mark
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Neil D Friedman N3DF

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I live in a 4th floor condo loft in downtown Dayton, OH.  I made DXCC in less than a year running a Ten Tec Argonaut V (20 watts max) into a Buddipole in my living room (I now have a Flex 6400 on order).
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I really hated living in apartments. I tried several antennas:

Super antennas MP1. Basically almost base loaded whip with slider coil. Needs radials to work well. Clipped to balcony railing, extended when needed. Worked fairly OK. Building management didn't see it. Made contacts to Germany and other places. This isn't a gauge of effectiveness as any antenna can "make contacts."

Buddipole - worked OK. About the same as MP1. Advantage - I could leave it on the balcony. Even carried it overseas a few times. Needs to be cleaned as one of my cats kind of marked it and made it his own. I washed it out, but I really don't want to touch it again. So it's in a box.  I might get brave and refurb it one day. LOL.

Screwdriver - worked nice. Used a tarheel with a small whip and N2VZ turbo tuner. That setup ended up in the car afterwards. Needs radials though.

Wire hung from balcony with small lead weight. Worked really nice. In fact sometimes I chat with folks who live in NYC who use a similar setup. I had this in one of my old apts in Manhattan. They never noticed it. I used the thinnest brown wire I could find to match the side of the building. 

One of my friends who has a flex uses a magloop indoors... I am not so fond of that idea, especially at higher power. But I guess you can run 5 watts and JT65...

Ria

PS the cat died. I miss him. 
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Mark - WS7M

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Ria, I'm sorry to hear about the cat.  I can't function without a cat around.  They bring not only fur but happiness.

I suggest you do as your cat would have recommended and bring in a new ham kitten to keep the line going.  

Mark
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I had two. I have one now. But he's old and frail. This is the one that died. Quite a mischievous fellow, but he was my little guy for a long time (pre kids). 

I need to straighten out a few things in my life first before I get another cat. But yes, it may be in the cards. 
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I too have lived in Aoartments in big cities

By far the best antenna ever was a wire hung from a very long fishing pole out over the balcony to get it away from the building. I could reel it in when it became too visible

One thing that really helped performance dramatically was to use an artificial ground tuner such as a MFJ-931
To compensate for the fact that real RF ground is a long way away
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Roy Laufer

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"Artificial Ground Tuners" are really tunable (impedance) counterpoises, rather than a "ground".
Ah, semantics, ya gotta love it!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Yes  Semantics..

But tuning the counterpoise makes a huge difference in how much signal gets out of that compromise antenna..

Even though I now live in a house and have a big tower and MonstIR beam, I still keep one around for other antennas -- it makes a difference.

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Roy Laufer

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Ah semantics! The devil is in the details/

I agree that a tunable counterpoise can improve a highly problematic compromise antenna.

The term "ground" seems to be going through an evolution these days. There are electrical grounds and lightning protection grounds, but more and more people who discuss "ground" are moving away from the term "RF ground" due to its use/misuse. Balanced antennas don't have or need an "RF ground", although some want to consider the "RF ground baked in.

To me counterpoises and elevated antenna radials are one thing, while 36+ ground radials on a ground mounted vertical are another, and "RF ground" is a term that is more problematic than it is worth.

Your mileage might vary.  
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I had a funny QSO with a station in TX on 10m last night who was running a Tarheel antenna inside.  He told how at another place he'd lived he had it mounted outside.  When he was working on it, one of his neighbors spotted it and asked what it was.  He told her it was a motorized bird feeder and that the motor drove the birdseed up to where the birds could feed.  She asked what the stinger was on top and he told her that was where the birds lined up waiting to eat!  And she believed him!
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Mark - WS7M

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That's a good one!   I live in an HOA and antenna's are expressly forbidden for silly reasons.  But the pres of the HOA just mounted a WiFi antenna on a long pole extending above his chimney as his source of internet.   I've taken pics and plan to use them when I get complaints about my little antennas.

I want to get a hex beam.  I have a large back yard and I'm considering mounting it pretty near some trees and a deck.  I want to put it on a motorized tower so most of the time I can keep it down but raise it to like 25 feet when in use.

It looks enough like a clothes line for drying clothes I'm thinking about permanently mounting a few pairs of socks and stuff on it in case anyone asks!

When they want to know why I can raise it to 25 feet I'll just tell them things dry much faster when it is up in the air current not blocked by house.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The difference is that fixed wireless internet antennas including wifi antennas (and TV antennas, and small satellite dishes) are federally protected by the OTARD rule, which is unambiguous and specifically rules against HOAs. PRB-1 is very ambiguous and leaves a gaping loophole for HOAs to put any kind of restrictions on ham antennas that they want. 
(Edited)
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Mark - WS7M

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That is understood.  Still it makes for ammo because most other home owners don't know about that OTARD protection.

Anyway I'm not gonna put up a 200' rotating tower.  At 25 feet you'd have to stand on a later to see the beam over my house.  But still someone will complain.  I need to move but suddenly the housing in Colorado has gone crazy.
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N7VR

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The only experience I had with an HOA property was when a realtor attempted to sell my wife on one. I told the realtor that the property had a major issue with the HOA rules and my Ham radio. Therefore our offer would be 100,000 less than requested, unless she could get the HOA to sign off that Ham Radio antennas were allowed. Needless to say the offer was not accepted.