My Most Recent QSO's

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stealth Radio

I'm disappointed that some operators criticize the "stealth" mode of operation. I have several friends that operate this mode and see nothing wrong with preserving the skyline and the property values of my neighbors. And it's not necessary to have an unsightly array of aluminium tubing and steel wires running all over your property to have fun with this hobby. I call those "lightening rods".

I operate this mode because I'm forced to use an indoor antenna. It's a "must" due to restrictions in the "historic district" where I live. But I have a lot of fun with my station and the neighbors have no idea that I'm a ham radio operator. (other than seeing the 'tags' on my car).

I call this criticism "belated blathering" because it serves no purpose other than allowing the ham who has spent thousands of dollars on equipment, to justify themselves and feel successful in the hobby.

Some of us choose not to do that.

Every time I walk the shores of the Hudson River in New York City, I glance up at the skyscrapers with the hope of seeing one of my friends antennas. I've worked him a half dozen times with his random wire hanging out an apartment window. I have another friend that operates from hotel rooms, all over the east coast, from Florida to Pennsylvania. I recently worked a station in the mid west that was using his "rain gutters" for an antenna. I've worked stations in tents, sailboats, trains, and once listened to a pilot flying from Cancun to Phoenix at 35,000 feet. He was having a chat with a fellow in England.

The point I'm trying to make is that it's not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on equipment to have fun in this hobby. Some of us choose not to do so.

And that's OK.


Mads said...

I couldn't agree more!

72/73! Mads, LA1TPA

Dick said...

John, if I had a hundred acres, I wouldn't have a tower. Wires, yes, verticles, yes, but towers, no. I hate the way they look. But that is my esthetic opinion only and no reflection on those who have them. 73 Dick

Unknown said...

Hear hear!

Ed N4EMG said...

I shudder to think how much I spent when I first got back into hamming. I'd been removed from the hobby for so long that so much had changed and I felt that I needed to have a little bit of this, a lot of that, and everything in between. I made a number of impulse purchases that I regretted shortly afterwards. At this point, if I want something new, I'm planning ways of paying for it through selling things I already have. But lately I've been finding the question of whether I really NEED something to be nagging at me more than anything.

I guess if you're loaded with $, why not? Go for it, build an antenna farm. But your point is well-taken, no one really NEEDS those things to enjoy the hobby. Even successful DXing can be done with simple, even stealth antennas, if that's their niche. That's what amazes me about this hobby, there's so many different things to delve into and most of them you can get involved in without spending a fortune.

73 Ed

Larry W2LJ said...


I wouldn't be capable of understanding the reason behind bashing stealth radio, either. For many, it's not a choice, it is a necessity. Who wouldn't love to have a 100 foot tower with monster beams? We all can't do that for various reasons as you have so aptly pointed out.

I am very fortunate that I am not antenna restricted; but I still choose not to be blatant about it. My Butternut vertical and wire are not brazenly visible to any of my neighbors; and that's just fine.

Years ago, at a previous QTH, I had a GAP vertical which was pretty visible. I had one neighbor in particular, that always accused me of causing TVI. I remember one incident when he complained how I had broken up his football watching the previous Sunday. I said to him, "Really, Bob? Last Sunday I tore up your picture?" He was very adamant about it. I replied, "That's funny, last week I was overseas on business and didn't get home until Monday morning". He didn't know what to say.

Sometimes very visible antennas cause "psychosomatic" problems, if you know what I mean. As far as I'm concerned, the lower key, the better.

Hey - great blog posts ..... as always!

73 de Larry W2LJ