Ham Radio in an apartment

Ham Radio in an Apartment

I've been a amateur radio operator for 8 years and its had its ups and downs. The primary reason was because of limited space. It seems with HF communication an outside sky bound antennae is optimal. It's taken me three condos and a goodly amount of experimentation to reach out with any success with HF. MY secret is the MFJ-1621 Portable antennae. It makes me happy, the wife happy and can be put away in less than 10 minutes. One trick I learned before we get into transceivers is to go to Home Depot or Lowes and get one of those cord wrapping tools. This will straighten your coax so it doesn't cross over itself. That is a big no no with the MFJ-1621.

The MFJ-1621 is manufactured in Starkville, Ms and along with MFJ's other products is tough and reliable. It includes fifty feet of attached coax which augments the antennae's reception and transmission. A meter is built in but really doesn't need to be used that much. I tune mine once and then give it a kind of middle of the road set. Placement isn't that tough once you figure out how do run the coax with out having it cross itself. Placement next to a door or window will get you what you need.

To wrap up you need a HF transciever. And of course at least a General Class license in the U.S.. E-BAY has many older models for sale. !00 watt boat anchors( because of the radio's weight) are usually between 200 and 350 American dollars. These are a real challenge and give you the old radio feel. I personally have sent and recieved from as far away as the eastern coast of the U.S. from my home in Colorado. Many other times I have recieved from Europe and Asia.  Hope this helps and good luck.


Comments 2 comments

Richard Stephen 6 years ago

Hi Writingman, I'm also an amateur operator and had to work out of an apartment for several years. I even used the MFJ-1621 for a couple of years with limited success. I finally put up an inverted-vee on telescoping mast and operated under the cover of darkness. This as back near the top of the sunspot cycle and 20 meters was open around the clock it seemed. Now I own a home and am able to put up outside antennas. I look forward to my hubs. Best of luck in the future!

Casimiro 4 years ago

It can be difficult working with limited space and resources in ham radio, especially when the solar cycle is down. I think most successful hams in the situation you describe view it as an opportunity rather than a problem. They work QRP (or QRPp) and take advantage of the many digital modes we have now to increase range. I know they get a huge thrill out of one trans-global QRP contact greater than the QRO guy who busted a big DX pile-up. Nice hub, keep it up!

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