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Free Radio Cafe: Pirate Radio On Shortwave & FM • Alternative antenna solutions
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Alternative antenna solutions

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 1:59 pm
by ivanskavar
Howdy foax,

I am looking forward to getting my underground station up and running but am having issues with finding a suitable location and means of getting an antenna mounted up high. Can anybody recommend any alternatives to the traditional roof-mounted antennas? Is there any sort of antenna that would get me a semi-decent range--even if spotty--from ground level? I am looking for something that can easily and quickly be taken down/hidden or at least that can be hidden/disguised so well that the chances of it being spotted by others are slim to none. What are my options when a rooftop mount isn't a viable option? Are there any antennas I could use on the second floor of my house near an open window that might do the trick? Thanks in advance for your expertise and help.

Re: Alternative antenna solutions

Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:51 am
by The Poet
FM reception is governed by line-of-sight, so there is no 'magic antenna' solution that's going to transmit from a low height, as if it were up higher. Having a decent power level can help, but only to a degree. There are an awful lot of variables-- when you say "semi-decent range" I have no idea what you mean-- what kind of range are we looking for, here? One mile? Ten miles? From "ground level", or maybe with the antenna atop a 10-foot mast, most of your coverage would probably be within the one mile-- unless the ground elevation happens to be high at the spot you're in.

One solution might be to broadcast from the top of a hill. Another might be to transmit from the top floor of a parking ramp... FM wavelengths are short enough that a 1/4 FM whip atop your car would be indistinguishable from standard receiving antennas.

You could try mounting an antenna inside the attic, rather than on the roof. The building would interfere some, but overall range might be better from inside the "3rd floor" than what you might get from ground level. The only way to know is to test it yourself, at your location using your power level.

Re: Alternative antenna solutions

Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:50 pm
by ivanskavar
ThePoet, thanks for much for taking the time to answer my question. My roof is one of those heavily sloping triangular roofs so I wouldn't know how to go about even attaching an antenna up there. The main concern is it being spotted by the wrong people and that's why I was hoping to find an antenna solution that would be hard to spot even by those who might come looking for it and possibly one that could be taken down and hidden with the quickness and set up again with relative ease. I don't intend to broadcast for long durations of time. Just an hour or 2 here and there at random times.

What sort of set-up would you recommend for a beginner looking to get the biggest range possible without completely breaking the bank? I have seen a lot of different types of transmitters on the market and have been weighing the pros and cons of each based on various online reviews but I haven't been able to decide which one to pull the trigger on yet. I am planning on broadcasting pre-recorded programs in the form of wav and mp3 files either directly from a laptop or perhaps from a separate MP3 player depending on where I am broadcasting from. I would like a transmitter that puts out a nice clean signal over the largest range possible.
Some degree of portability would be nice so I could switch up broadcast sites regularly for safety's sake. Since my broadcasts will all be pre-recorded I am not bound to transmitting from any single location.

Thanks for your help, Poet.

Re: Alternative antenna solutions

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:20 pm
by JohnPoet
Sorry, I don't really have the FM experience to make specific recommendations to you; I'm a shortwave guy. However, the least expensive options are almost certainly to be found on ebay.

Also, be sure to log-in here and check our 'members only' section for free downloads pertaining to FM-- lots of good info for a beginner.