The apartment I live in is a 1970s type without access to the outdoors. It does have a balcony. A 2m transceiver is the only radio which will enable me to reach the ham world.

Would be possible to use the electrical wiring for HF as it has already been used for TV and FM radio?

Has anyone managed to use the electrical house wiring for SSB at a low power antenna?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you thinking of using wiring common to electrical house wiring but separate from your house? Or, are you asking to use the actual house wiring while it is also being used for providing power throughout your house? $\endgroup$
    – K7PEH
    Jul 19 '19 at 3:33
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    $\begingroup$ There was a device some decades back that did this. Plugged into an electrical outlet and behaved like an antenna tuner. Name escapes me, but I have information on it around Somewhere. $\endgroup$ Jul 19 '19 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ STOP, DO NOT DO THIS, untill you have all the information you need to do it safely without KILLING YOURSELF. (sorry for shouting, just want to make sure) $\endgroup$ Jul 19 '19 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ If you want HF capability for your apartment then take a look at the Buddipole products. I considered taking my Buddistick antenna to Kauai a few years ago to mount on the railing of the lenai of our condo we used. I created a similar mount at my home on the upper level back deck to experiment and made a number of contacts in an hour's time with QRP power (CW mode on 20m band). Go to: buddipole.com/buddistick.html $\endgroup$
    – K7PEH
    Jul 19 '19 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisK8NVH There was a device some decades back that did this. During WWII when hams were prohibited from transmitting, so the ones in big cities used carrier current to put their signal on the power lines. It only worked when two or more hams were on the same pole transformer. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Jul 19 '19 at 22:41

Inductive coupling to only the neutral wire might be safe (if you can verify that the outlets are wired correctly).

It's probably not a good idea, however, not only from a safety standpoint, but because house wiring will crosstalk to other wires in the same building, at least back to the breaker box and more likely all the way back to the service transformer -- and thus couple in all the noise generators all your neighbors use. Small appliances. Wall wart power supplies. Cordless phones. Etc. You won't be happy with the reception you get, and there's also a strong possibility you'll generate interference on neighbors' TVs, radios and telephones (since, in effect, your antenna will be in their apartments).

Since you have a balcony, a 2 m vertical is simplicity itself to put up, and it's small and not very noticeable. For 6 m, a quarter wave vertical is still only about five feet, and even a 12 m quarter wave is just about ten feet. This is still a size that could pass as a flagpole, and has in many restricted locations.

  • $\begingroup$ Why would inductive coupling using a UL rated power supply transformer (or two back to back to get an appropriate ratio), such as those provided in power supply construction kits, not be safe? $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    Jul 20 '19 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ @hotpaw2 I think that you have the technical expertise to do this. But we don't know that (yet) about the OP. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Jul 20 '19 at 16:48

For 2 m, get an Ed Fong dual-band J pole. It looks like a short length of PVC pipe because it is a short length of PVC pipe with an antenna inside. It has performance similar to a 1/4 wave ground plane, but does not need radials. It is a vertical half wave. It is a great deal at $30.


For HF, consider a magnetic loop antenna. These have good performance, but need to be retuned when the frequency changes, even if it is just 20 kHz or so.

To be efficient, a mag loop must be constructed with very low loss components, especially in the variable dipole. If a mag loop vendor doesn't talk about their capacitor choice, I would not buy from them.

The W4OP loop from LNR appears to be a good design and well-constructed.


Disclaimer: I don't personally use a mag loop, but I do understand the physics behind them.


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