[AMRadio] Antennas


Kimberly Elmore cw_de_n5op at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jul 9 10:59:00 EDT 2014


I certainly wasn't pointing fingers at anyone nor was I denigrating non-ideal antennas. Few of us can afford to put up super station antennas; I certainly can't. It is however, fundamentally true. Physically small antennas up high suffer losses while full-sized antennas do not. Full sized antennas down low won't do as well as full sized antennas up high. Performance suffers even more if physically small antennas are down low. There is no magic bullet here: the physics is implacable. Anything else is a compromise, though some are better than others. 

But, I think some interesting points have been raised. When we crow about how well a compromise antenna works (flag poles, rain gutters, interior antennas, magnetic loops, heavily loaded antennas, stealth random magnet wires) there is some possibility that we give the anti-antenna factions ammunition against our interests. Yet, for those of us that can't put up towers, full sized antennas  or any "visible" antennas, it's essential knowledge to have. 

Many years ago, I was involved in a serious antenna battle in Boulder county, CO. A friend on some land wanted to put up a 125' tower. To do this, he needed a zoning variance as the limit was otherwise 35'. Neighbors didn't like it and wanted him to put up nothing.  

Those opposed to antennas initially argued that antennas reduced property values. Yet, a matched-pairs analysis showed no difference between home selling prices (normalized to dollars/sq ft) for homes near significant amateur radio antenna installations (towers between 70' and 125') and those that had no line of sight to any such antennas. If I recall, the p value of the difference (using a t-test) was nowhere close to anything significant. That argument failed in the face of the evidence to the contrary.

All of the following arguments against antennas centered on aesthetics and the antennas affect on the "view." On this they proved substantially successful. If I recall, my friend was privately offered a compromise of 70' but was counseled by his attorney to decline. In retrospect, he feels he probably should have accepted that offer. But, his counsel said to stand firm on the 125', he lost the bid for a variance and was allowed only 35', though that 35' could consist of anything including, if I recall, more than one 35' antenna. He ultimately took the case to Federal District court, which upheld the Boulder county commissioner's decision, stating that they had met the requirements of PRB-1. So, he put a TH6DX on a 35' tower. Believe you me, it looked pretty big and truly would have looked much less intrusive had it been higher. He then proceeded to plant some fast growing trees that would get well over 50' tall on his east property line such that the
 most problematic neighbor would lose his backyard view to the west (which was the major complaint) in a few years. The trees indeed grew taller 35' completely blocking the neighbor's entire view of both my friend's antennas AND the mountains to the west. 

Curiously, no variance was needed for the trees.

He has since moved to a different county on more land with no restrictions and is much happier. Fortunately, he had that option. I completely understand that not everyone does. HOAs and CC&Rs are a major problem but come under the general rubric of private contracts, so the government will be loathe to step into those. Zoning boards and city counsels are about the only place the government can affect things, and PRB-1 is pretty vague with the phrase "reasonable accommodation." One ham's "reasonable" is another's "onerous" or even "prohibitive."  

So, yes indeed: I understand the problems. Fighting stuff like this head-on is hideously expensive on an individual basis and takes years. It's better if any problems can be worked out on friendly terms without adversarial approaches but that's not always possible. I truly understand the need for compromise antennas -- I've used them myself. My point, however, remains valid. Let's state it as a theorem: 

Theorem: Big antennas up high will work better than small antennas down low.
    Corollary 1: Big antennas up high work better than big antennas down low.
    Corollary 2: Small antennas up high will work better than small antennas down low.

Kim N5OP




On Wednesday, July 9, 2014 9:06 AM, Jim Wilhite <w5jo at brightok.net> wrote:
 


I think everything is ok on this.  

Jim
W5JO
Moderator



-----Original Message----- 


I think the response was to SLK Mikey not you Bob.  I think Mikey
meant compromise in the sense of compromising antenna for aesthetics.
I think most hams believe their antennas are a beautiful work of
physics and engineering.  Sure, few can go all out but most do as best
we can.  There are smart ways to compromise and not so smart.
Smart--bending the wires or letting the ends hang down.  Not so
smart--loading coils, and traps.

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