Saturday, February 23, 2019

PART 2 of ham radio and the condo life

Roll-top open and it's a nice station setup
Good afternoon lets look at the condo itself shall we?  Mixing ham radio and condo living does not mean you have to start looking for a new hobby! It's true there is no more tower with a Yagi on it but with condo living you may gain height anywhere from 30 to possibly 400 feet up. In my case I am at the 180 foot level in my previous condo I was at the 60 foot level. Most condos have a balcony of various sizes which can serve as a spot to place an antenna. In my case because this place is built like a brick you know what and there is some type of glazing on the windows that just does not allow me to operate with an indoor antenna. I have tried the loop indoors and I get no hits from reverse beacon network and no answer when operating FT8 and no digi reports on WSPR. In the past I was in a smaller wood construction unit and I had no issues placing my mag loop indoors and operating QRP. Also the smaller wood construction units may also give you access to an attic. This was the case for me and I did very well with multiple antennas in the attic. More on antennas in up coming condo life posts. Indoor space is also another consideration as you have to incorporate your station in a smaller living space. My solution to this issue was to use a nice roll-top desk. I am able to have all my radio equipment under the cover of a nice piece of furniture and when I roll the top up it's my station. Running coax out to the antenna can be a challenge, in this unit my roll-top is in the spare bedroom. The coax leaves the room under cover of a Persian run in the
Ham radio gone under cover
hallway. Into the master bedroom (under the baseboard at the doorway) then behind the dresser (out of site out of mind) and then onto the balcony as we have 2 sliding glass doors onto balconies. How might you ask does one get the coax out the balcony door?? More about that in a followup condo life post. So in a condo you may have an attic to use, if wood construction indoor antenna may be a possibility? Even in a solid concrete condo give an indoor antenna a go you may be surprised. You can take full advantage of height depending what floor you are on. Finally you may have a balcony were you can allow you mind to percolate as to how and what antenna to use. Speaking of antennas the next "Ham radio and the condo life" I will be looking at my experiences with antennas some failures and other successes.    

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