eHam.net - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net



[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m

Cecil A. Moore (W5DXP) on April 2, 2010
View comments about this article!


A Junkbox Bugstick For 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, and 10m

Bonus at the Bottom: A Junkbox Bugstick For 40m


This is a really simple idea. I wanted a hamstick that will handle 500 watts so I took an old 10m hamstick and removed all the wire. I sifted through my junk box and found some coil stock that is 6 turns per inch with a 1.5-inch diameter and made out of #14 wire. This is a very common coil and is available from Surplus Sales of Nebraska. MFJ has a range of similar coil stock and part number 404-0600 is a 2" diameter, 6 TPI coil. These high-Q coils are a lot more efficient than the original hamstick coil.

I replaced the original hamstick coil with 25 turns of this stock and tie-wrapped it in center-loading position on the fiberglass rod. (Be sure to use the black, UV resistant, tie wraps.) I soldered a piece of #14 solid wire to each end of the coil and extended each wire to the 3/8"x24 hardware at the two ends of the fiberglass rod part of the hamstick and attached a 3/8" crimp lug to the ends of the wires. This avoids having to solder the wires to the hamstick but it is a good idea to solder the wires to the crimp lugs. The fiberglass rod portion of the hamstick is used for mechanical support only. The RF current is carried by the lugs, wire, coil, and stinger. Some hamsticks do not have 3/8" hardware at both ends but the upper connection should not be hard to figure out. A small stainless steel hose clamp would work.

Now I had a 20m hamstick with the stinger adjusted for 14.2 MHz. It didn't take a genius to figure out that this same 20m super hamstick could be used on any higher HF band by shorting out the proper number of turns on the coil. ala bugcatcher style. The shorting is done with a wire containing miniature alligator clips on each end. Here are the resonant bands Vs the number of turns shorted out from the bottom of the coil. The configuration is a 3-magnet mount on the cab of a GMC pickup measured with an MFJ-259 analyzer.

20M, 0T; 17M, 10T; 15M, 16T; 12M, 19T; 11M, 22T; 10m, 23T

Figure 1: Photo of the antenna mounted on the cab of my pickup, jumpered for 10m.

Figure 2: A closer view of the coil tie-wrapped to the fiberglass pole.

Figure 3: A close up view of the lug on the bottom end of the antenna.

And Here's the Coil on the 40m-Version that turns a hamstick into a real mobile antenna. It's 48 turns from 8 TPI, 2 inch diameter coil stock.

This is a really simple (and inexpensive) way to get efficient 500-watt, 5-band bugcatcher performance from a single old hamstick. Enjoy.

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by WA2JJH on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Simply great. I would like to find some ham sticks at a good price. Is it not funny how folk will dish out $300 for something the just add coax and rig.

Nice portable antenna. The MFJ analyser is not bad at all. MFJ does get ribbed alot. However a few products are as good as anybodys.

For base use, you could just take 4-5 conductor ribbon cable. solder all 4-5 at one end. Then cut one wire at 8 feet, 11,14,16, and if youu have the space 33 feet for your 5 band counterpoise. Of corse use your MFJ for more exact bqnd resonance.

For $29 cooper electronics sells 4 10M radial kit.
They are loaded down to be 4 feet long.
However, I did c clamp 2 in series for a good 20M radiator.

Your antenna reminds me of the old hygain 18v.
It sold for $40 many years ago. Solid 18 foot radiator.
If you elevated it and used an 18foot wire attached to the sheild part of the coax, a decent vertical was the result. It too came with a loading coil.
You had taps on the coil for 40 an 80M. One would ground mount it by sinking in a 4-6 foot cooper rod.
One would leave ge tent/shack to make band changes.

when roof mounted the 18 foot length would have under a 2:1 swr 10-20m NO TUNER OR COIL. THIS EAS WITH ONLY 1 8 FOOT WIRE for radial/counterpoise.

Nice Job. TNX for taking the time to share. great photo's too. A picture is a thousand words.

Hope to see more projects from you

TNX AGN DE MIKE WA2JJH
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by WX7G on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Very nice!
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by K0FF on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I like it.

Geo>K0FF
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by KE7FD on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Having done something like this many years ago, I have but one caution for those hams in colder climates. In Figure 3 we are shown the lug that is used against the chrome plated stud. When (not if) this gets exposed to adverse weather and icy roads, this type of connection is toast after just a light coating of salt. If one were to use an extension at this point sandwiching the lug between the two, then sealing it with great care, the bond should last for years. Also, whenever possible, take the time to acquire marine grade hardware.

Nice post and great inspiration Cecil.

Glen - KE7FD
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by K5END on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Looks great.

Thanks for writing and posting the article. The pictures are good too.

You can use this antenna in the Texas QSO Party in September!

73
Larry K5END



 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by W5DXP on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
> Glen - KE7FD wrote: ... this type of connection is toast after just a light coating of salt. <

Glen, down here in The Lone Star Republic of Texas, we put our salt on our scrambled eggs, not on our antennas. :-)
--
73, Cecil, w5dxp.com
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by KE7FD on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Especially if they were frozen like ours... :-))

Glen
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by AA4NN on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
GO AGGIES!
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by K5END on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I think the correct expression is, "Gig 'Em, Aggies."

Or at least it was 30 years ago.



 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by K5END on April 2, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, we use salt for tequila too, especially when you have tequila with your scrambled eggs at breakfast.
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by ZENKI on April 3, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, in the spirit of the true ham tradition.
Its great seeing a real ham radio article rather than a shopping brag list of everything that was bought from the store! It gets boring listening to hams rattle off a list of everything they bought for their mobile installation like it makes them technically smart by shopping!

I bet in the position its installed it works better or equal to the big heavy expensive screwdrivers installed in a less than ideal location like the trailer hitch.
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by W5PJW on April 5, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Sweet! Should improve efficiency a bit. I may try it myself. Great article!

73, Mark
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by GW0NVNN1XIH on April 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
A nice straight forward easy to make design. That can be built with easy obtainable materials. Suitable for mobile, portable and restricted sites. I've had to build and repair a number of similar antennas which I have successfully used in the UK,USA and The Yukon.

One improvement that I have found makes a vast difference to performance is the feedpoint matching. I use a tapped coil across the antenna feedpoint. This consists of a 5-20 turn coil 1-2 inch (2.5-5 cm) diameter. One end of the coil is soldered to a washer and connected to the base in the same way as the antenna wire. As shown in the original article's photograph. A short flying lead with a "croc clip" is connected to the screen of the coax where it connects to the antenna 'ground' This may be the vehicle bodywork/chasis,the magmount coax feed point or the ground plane. This lead will be used to adjust the amount of inductance across the feedpoint.

To set the antenna up. First resonate it on the band in use. This can be done by ear. Listening to the band of choice and noting when the stations sound louder and the S meter reading gets and stays higher. By adjusting for a V shaped VSWR around the frequency of choice. Or use an antenna analyser. Then adjust the tapping on the feed point coil in a simillar way. I find looking for the best VSWR works at this point. Of course may rigs have VSWR meter built in.

This means that you can forget to bring the Antenna Tuner Unit (atu). ( Been there, got the T shirt ) or still stay on the air when the atu fails or the antenna breaks.

A number of antenna stockists will sell you this matching coil for around $20 with flying lead. But you can make it yourself.

All the very best GW0NVN N1XIH
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by WS9K on April 6, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I did almost the same thing years ago.

Gateway Electronics in St.Louis had coils like that.
I capped the top and bottom with PVC, I like your way of mounting it better.
simple is good.

I coil tapped mine with wire from the bottom so I could adjust the inductance.

Mine didn't handle the wind load, and broke at the bottom.
I still have it hanging in the garage, maybe someday I'll epoxy it and use it again.
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by KL7IPV on April 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I used black PVC . Look here: www.antenna-to-go.com

Frank
 
A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by WM9V on April 7, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice antenna. The coil is really the only way to electrically lengthen the antenna with good Q.
I just cant see me going down the interstate with this on the vehicle. Wonder what the combined height of the vehicle and antenna is ? Would it exceeed the 13 six trailer height ?
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by W5DXP on April 8, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The tip top of the antenna is about 5.5' + 8' = ~13.5 feet off the ground. 73, Cecil, w5dxp.com
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by W5XJ on April 9, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea. I have a 40M hamstick that works ok. I'll try your 40 m version with it. I use it for port ops (not mobile) on campouts with a mag mount on my Yukon XL that is a decent ground plane. I also have sticks for 20 & 75 so those will be next.....

Leave it to an Aggie to find a good tech innovation!

73,

KE5ZYP
UT 1983 Biz School
 
RE: A Junkbox Bugstick for 20m-10m  
by KI4SDY on April 19, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Multiband and cheap! My favorite combination. Nice job and good pictures too. I would have been afraid to tear apart the original antenna without the pics.
 
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

Subscribe!
My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Related News & Articles
Get Rid Of That Lossy (Lousy) T-Match
6 Band Wire Antenna


Other Antennas Articles
6 Band Wire Antenna
Get Rid Of That Lossy (Lousy) T-Match