What is the Best Antenna for Balcony Use?

I was asked the question: ‘what antenna would you recommend for use on typical hotel/apartment/condo balcony?’

Here are the replies:

For a portable I have two wires that are center loaded. Each wire consists of two-8ft-6in wires with a center coil consisting of 20 turns of wire on a 1-1/12 in PVC pipe form about 3 inches long. It is fed with 300 ohm line and a tuner.

For your balcony you can hang one out the balcony and lay the other on the floor, hang it as a vertical dipole if you can get it to the upper balcony, or even string or snake it out on the floor of the room (both legs).

It tunes up nice on 40M and 20M. Quite versatile and compact to carry.


For portable operation, I use 2 (Hamstick) Mobile Antennas with an adapter to configure them as a loaded dipole.

Mine are for 40M. This setup with an ATU allows me to work 40 & 20 Meters.

I use a Camera Tripod for support.

I have used this setup in Motels/Hotels with my SW-40+, SST-40 or OHR Explorer for 20M.

I usually place the tripod on top of the Bureau (Dresser?)..

I’m sure this same method can be used for a balcony.

Rick – WA8RXI Taylor, MI. USA

Is light weight, portable and takes up no room! That’s right, a dipole! There are all kinds of trick ways of putting it up, both inside and outside. The best is what ever you can get away with! I have taken a closet pole out for a center mast and run the antenna wily nilly up down , back and forth and it works with some kind of cheap tuner! Open wire feeders OF COURSE! 450 ohm is best, but 300 ohm will surely work and at qrp levels even RG-174U in a pinch. Center insulator, a large shirt button, end insulator, a small sleeve button. what holds it up, well, mono filament fishing line is fine but string will work in a pinch. If you must throw it over a roof or something poke a hole through a tennis ball and use that! also works great if high in a hotel and must drop out a window. Much better than a lag bolt or large NUT that will swing and break a window at worst or bang and rattle in the wind on some poor soles window below you!

These tricks have worked in Hawaii, Florida and Ecuador for me. If I have room I carry a backpackers fishing pole that collapses to one foot long and extends to around 8 feet long. Great for casting fishing line through TREES and even can substitute for a center mast on a balcony!

Walt K8CV

The only reasonable balcony mount antenna is a either an end fed wire or some sort of mobile antenna. The end fed wire is the simpplest but is dependent upon a support at the far end. I do not condone just dropping a wire out of a window.

Almost any mobile antenna works in this application and someone makes a screw on mount that will hold it on a balcony rail. I have seen and used Outbackers and others.

A good ground makes up the system. It can be as easy as 5 or 7 wire rotator cable trimmed for each band or a 15 or 20 foot piece of wire and a ground tuner. In either case it can be run around the baseboard.


Bruce Muscolino

The best I have found for convenience is a Hustler Resonator set. I have a set of resonators for 15m, 20m & 40m that can either be run separately on the base whip or run altogether (similar to a Spider Antenna – only MUCH cheaper) with a $6.00 three-resonator adapter plate. If you mount three bands on the one base “stick” remember to tune up the lowest frequency resonator first and work your way upwards through the other resonators in order of increasing frequency.

The base “stick” is about 48″ long and the resonators average about 18″ to 24″ apiece with their little tuning whips. You will need a standard 3/8″-24 threaded mount (I use the mag mount from the car) to keep the antenna assembly vertical and the connector to feed it with coax.

Since it is basically a 1/4 wave vertical you have to either work it against a ground plane (believe it or not, a regular $3.00 “Space Blanket” with the aluminized side face down works pretty well as the surface resistance of the aluminized size is REALLY low – just a few ohms per inch) or if your balcony is up a bit you can dangle down a counterpoise suitable for the lowest frequency you are working. If you have a steel railing on the balcony that’ll probably provide enough of a counterpoise.

I purchased my set of Hustler resonators, the base “stick” and adapter plate from Texas Towers for about $100.00 for the whole show. So it turned out pretty inexpensive for a compact 3-band antenna. Of course it makes an excellent mobile antenna too!

Hope that helps “balcony operators” out there. 🙂

David Gwillim


The B&W model AP-10 that covers 40 through 2 meters is made to order for balconys.

Mine fits in a med sized suitcase and lays flat in a plastic ZipLock bag about 8X10 inches and about 2.5 inches thick. Has everything in the bag including counterpoise.

73 Bill WJ5O

Read an article a while back describing a hamstick mount for balcony use. Hamsticks are those fiberglass poles for mobile HFing with wire wound ’round them and a stainless steel whip at the top. Basically this fellow took a metal electrical box and mounted a standard mobile antenna mount on it, and attached radials to it. Then, he put the box in a flowerpot, with the radials coming out the sides of the flowerpot. Finally, the filled the flowerpot with cement, making sure the mobile mount (but not the electrical box) was exposed and level.

Hamsticks here are about $20 US, so it’s bit on the high side if you are wanting to go multiband.

I suppose this mount would also work with any mobile HF antenna available, so if you ever do any mobiling you might already have a suitable antenna!

72/73 Chris AA9HD

I use an Outbacker TriSplit, which breaks up into three two-foot sections and tucks nicely into a small vinyl case. It covers all the HF bands quite nicely.

The problem is that you need a ground plane, of course. I’ve used a scrap piece of sheet metal (mine came from my uncle’s air conditioning business), but that is fairly heavy and cumbersome, at least for someone my size. It does work well, though.

72/73, Caity KU4QD

I have used a Buddistick (HB and CB versions), with great success and the antenna fits inside a carry on suitcase.

It does need a counterpoise of course and the mini coil makes it great fro 20-10m

I also use a inside loop fed with twinled

72/73, John VE3IPS


I have been using my 20m shorty dipole as published in Sprat with great success.

Frank G3YCC

My thanks to the above for their input. I hope it is of use to fellow amateurs.

QRP Poetry – Ode to Code

VA2CK submitted

We’ ve all heard the cry “abandon the code!,
it’s useless outdated, NOT a mod-er-n mode!”
So I said to myself,”could codes’ day really be over?
Best left for SKs’ fer-til-iz-n’ the clover?”

So off went my paddle ‘n keyer to a museum,
so those curious of our “past” could drop in an’ see um.
I then bought a computer and a box I was told…
would update my station,using all hi-tech modes.

It then was set up,all by my own hand…
the screen it lit up et voilà Heard Is-land!
I switched to transmit to” talk with this gent”
but my screen read “sorry, can’t copy 100%!”

“There’s static,interference if you could hear it you’d
if it ain’t armchair copy we machines cry c’est la vie!”
It then said “there is as YOU know a way to get through,
it’s called the code,and what luck for you!”

“You’ve learned this art,you “stuck it out”
’tis a valuable tool,there isn’t a doubt.”
“You’ ve invested your time,and besides the code you did
possession of valuable skills must be… EARNED!”

So I say to you now don’t get fooled when some say…
“Codes an’ old dinosaur fadin’ away!”
It’s part of our past,present and future existence…
anti-coders prepare for “beaucoup de resistence”

QRP Poetry – Ode to Morse

ODE TO MORSE: (After William Shakespeare’s Omlette)

To key or not to key?
That is the question:
Whether it be mightier to speak the word or pound the brass.
Morse is is mightiest in the QRM.
Morse is twice heard; it is heard by he who hears
and he who sends.
It giveth great joy.
It saveth ships on sea and men on land.
It is not the hardest to learneth morse;
It is but a few hours practise
And when all the hard work is done and test is passed,
And we receive our G4plus at at last,
What do we then?
That, we may well ask!
We plug in our key and to the world pound out: “CQ, CQ, CQ….”

anonymous submitter

QRP Poetry – QRP Fever

In memory of G3YCC


I must go down to the bands again, to the signals up in the sky,
And all I ask is a tall beam and a rotator to steer her by,
And the key clicks and the QSB while the bands are awakening
And a contest on a weekend to try my hand at break-in.

I must go down to the bands again, for the call of the QRP,
It’s a nice call and a clear call that’s music to all like me,
And all I ask is a good report from my little one watt gear,
I don’t care if it’s good DX or a bloke who’s really quite near.

I must down to the bands again, to 40 metres or twenty,
to where I know there always low power sigs a-plenty,
all I ask is a merry yarn from some QRP fanatic,
with simple rigs and antennae, QRP is real fantastic!

20 Things Youth Can do with Amatuer Radio

20 Things Youth You can do with Amateur Radio

1 Talk around the world without the internet or mobile phones
2 Use your own ‘internet’ when the other is down!
3 Send your voice, text and even pictures to unusual places, both near and far
4 Create your own network of radio amateurs and send instant text messages without phones
5 Meet amazing people from all over the country and around the world, on the air and in person at amateur radio events
6 Learn about the science that powers WiFi, smartphones, Bluetooth and all the latest wireless technologies
7 Learn how radio is used to explore outer space

8 Talk through satellites, or with astronauts on the International Space Station
9 Send messages via Morse code
10 Hunt for hidden radio transmitters – be a signal sleuth!
11 Investigate the multiple new combined radio-internet communication techniques
12 Try a modern sport – radiosport: compete on-air for awards and fun
13 Send a message around the world using less electricity than a lightbulb!

14 Provide help during emergencies with your radio
15 Use your radio to help the community at events such as marathons and bike races
16 Take a radio along with you while hiking or camping – you’ll never be out of contact
17 Collect weather and flight data by releasing and tracking a high altitude balloon
18 Build you own radio equipment and use it on air
19 Experiment with antenna systems to find the best for your interests
20 Experiment with new smartphone apps and computer programs for radio – or create your own

23cm PC Board Yagi

Is 1.2ghz or 23cm SOTA new , if so a fresh way to chase summits instead of the old 52 and a chance to revisit old summits for new contacts.

Most Casual Observer

I wanted a bit more “oomph” from my 1W 1.2 GHz HT, so I purchased a PC board Yagi to get another 6 dB.

I have a Yaesu FT-911 1.2 GHz HT. It is a 1990’s rig gifted me by the wife of a Silent Key at my work. It is a sweet handheld, but with limited power.

WA5VJB makes a variety of PC board antennas. The 1.2 GHz 3-element Yagi is $6, which was hard to resist. He also makes other nice microwave antennas: log-periodics, patch arrays, wheels, vivaldis, etc.

I went to HSC Electronic Supply and picked up a PC mount BNC and a right-angle BNC by navigating this aisle.

23cm yagi 2

I found a short, stiff BNC cable from this bin.

23cm yagi 3

I soldered on the BNC chassis connector and epoxied it to the antenna. The PC board is beat up because I’ve been carrying it around in my…

View original post 119 more words

Astatic D104 MicrophoneDV Dongle and Thumb DV for D-star

Many hams use dongles for “radio less” D-Star. These devices use the PC’s built in microphone and speakers.

A cool way as created by KC1RX Don in Florida ws to take his Astatic D104 microphone and refit it as a Dongle Mic by taking a external pc microphone and fitting that into the shell.

You still need to PTT off the spacebar (you could rewire it) but its so freakin cool to use the Lollipop mic for digital communications.


plus my good friend Don is an Icom user

Here is the mint version and manual


Download the manual here


QRP vs QRO – Why does it matter Mr db?

Remember an S unit is calibrated to be 6db and double or half power is 3db or – 3db
You have to QUADRUPLE (X4) your signal to DOUBLE your signal strength at the receiver end.
Likewise, if you drop your power by one-fourth, your received signal strength will be one-half less, or 1 S-unit. You are working a station running 100W and he is S8. If he drops his power to 1/4th, or 25W, his signal strength should drop about 1 S-unit, or to S7.
If he drops another 1/4th, to about 6W, he should drop another S unit, or to about S6.
Therefore, the difference between 100W and 5W QRP is about 2 S-units. Big deal.

Dropping to 1W is about another S-unit, then to 250mW another S-unit, etc. OK, now you’re getting down into the S4 noise level on 40M. Now you are really hoping the receiving station has a noise level lower than s4 in order to hear you.

I have been running propagation test on 20m using 250mw and reaching Europe and Australia into a vertical shows that QRPp works on CW or digital modes

Tmas Ve3FKN has also been running tests on 40m using low power with amazing results