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Building My Own Stealth Antenna

from Penny C Larson, KG7MCH on January 28, 2013
View comments about this article!

"Editor's Note: Due to the popularity of some of eHam's older articles, many of which you may not have read, the team has decided to rerun some of the best articles that we have received since eHam's inception. These articles will be reprinted to add to the quality of eHam's content and in a show of appreciation to the authors of these articles." This article was originally published on: 12/26/2008

Building My Own Stealth Antenna

I read the article from KB2DHG about making his own antenna, and I wanted to try it too. One month earlier, I had obtained my general license and was excited to get on HF. But I had a couple things I needed to work out. One, I lived in a CCR, and two, my radio would be on the second floor of the house.

A local 2-meter net gave me some wonderful ideas to try on making a good ground and about hiding antenna wire under the eaves of the house.

So, with several of these ideas in my mind, I took apart a "slinky" antenna I had purchased on eBay. Due to my restrictions, the "slinky" wasn't a good choice, but the PVC tee and the way that the coax wound around the PVC several times before running up through the center to meet the ends of each "slinky" seemed to work very well. I removed the two slinky ends and soldered 12 gauge wires (51 feet each) to the coax and covered the connection with tape.

I secured the PVC with nylon rope and a screw-in hook, and placed it into the top peak of eaves (on the back-side of the house). Each wire leg of my antenna was stapled to the under-side of the eaves as they ran down from the second story to the first.

To add to the stealth of the antenna, I painted everything I could with the same color as the house.

I have found that this wire antenna works very well on 75 meters, as I check into the Night-Train Net (3.900) on a regular basis at 9 P.M (pacific-time), using a MFJ 949E tuner and using either my Yaesu ft-101EE, or an Icom 706MKIIG. It is really thrilling to be talking on something I built and put up.

I would like to thank the many HAMS that submit to these sites. Without you, many of us would just give up amateur radio before giving it a chance due to the hurdles we must overcome.

My next antenna project will be the "flag-pole" Hustler 5-BTV. I have already begun reading the many different versions of this on-line.



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Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by K1PJR on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations on your first dipole! Since a dipole is a balanced antenna an RF ground (radials) is not needed. What type of ground were they referring too?

Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by KB2DHG on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am so happy that I inspired you to take on the challenge and BRAVO TO YOU... Great instalation... After building my own antenna and having so much sucess I simply cannot understand why anyone would buy one? My G5RV has worked the world and has been up for 5 years NO Problems all for a total cost of under $30 in top end materials!

I hope to meet you on the air, till then, 73 DE: KB2DHG!
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by K1FPV on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations on the antenna. This setup reminds me of when I lived in a HOA community and I put a dipole just inside my loft along the inside part of where your dipole is. I fed it with 300 ohm TV twin-lead and a tuner. It actually worked well on 30 meters up to 10 meters. I ran a 90 foot long wire made with copper-clad steel # 18 wire into my tuner and had a single 60 foot radial buried. The wire was impossible to see from the street. I used it on 80 through 40 meters.


Good luck,
RE: Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by K8AG on January 29, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Very invisible. Nice job. Reminds me of my first antenna many years ago. Mine too was up along the side of the house just like yours.
I think antenna creation is my favorite part of ham radio.

73, JP, K8AG
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by KT4EP on January 29, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
That's also a good place for a delta loop. I was just down visiting a cousin in an HOA neighborhood, and spotted a large triangular shaped area on the side of the house that would be perfect for a 30 or 40 meter delta loop. Feed it with 450 or 300 ohm and a 4 to 1 balun and short run of coax for multiband use and then look out!! Ham Radio time!
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by AE7VT on January 29, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Really good article on a simple but effective antenna for a difficult situation. A dear friend of mine who is now a silent key, lived in a very compact community which had serious restrictions on antennas of ANY kind outside the home. Even a ground-mounted vertical in the back yard was spotted and had to be removed.

So, he did some measuring and strung a loop underneath the eaves of his house that were out of sight unless you stood directly under the eaves and looked up. It was also #16 wire the same color as his house. He fed it with RG8 coax terminated with a 1:1 balun. Using his tuner, he could work all the HF bands running about 75w. Any more power would cause 'strange' things to happen in his house... :)

Later, he changed the to some open feeder line across his attic to a 4:1 balun and ran coax around the attic to build up length then into his tuner. He could operate on 160m to 10m with his tuner but, still had to limit his power to about 75w or it would reset his cable modem and cause other problems.

It was a compromise but, he was easily working DX stations on CW with pretty good reports...

Paul Cavnar - AE7VT
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by K3LUE on January 30, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. In our FL home, we have to deal with the HOA problem..although without some kinds of covenants down here, you could only guess what would happen, so I'm willing to make the compromise. Our old bylaws stated that no rf transmissions could be generated in the community. Long ago, I pointed out microwaves, tvs and all those other "generating" pieces of equipment to the board. I'm guessing that this restriction came back in the cb days when they didn't want antennas hanging off of every dwelling. Revised bylaws took out the "rf generation" but left in the outside antenna restriction. I toyed with the idea of a flagpole vertical but figured, it would be difficult to explain away all the radials I was going to bury. So I went to the powers that be and told them my situation, what kind of antenna (44' long wire with #18 by Bruce, NU0R) and an indoor tuner.) I showed them a piece of #18 wire and later that day, I got permission to run the antenna outside to a tree a the back of the property. Sweet!
I was lucky in my case but if the neighborhood you live in is anything like this, you could be out there at 3 am in the morning being "stealthy" and still be seen. My option was still going to be the flagpole and with all the t-storms we get, that would have been the "reason" for all those radials.
At home in PA, I have the same restrictions so I used a half-wave dipole in the upper part of the garage and a tuner. I was hoping for some stateside contacts but ended up, in the past four years, working about 250 countries.....indoor antenna and 90 watts.
Still amazing how a hunk of wire can work...even with the poor propagation over the past few years.
Best of luck,
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by KB2DHG on January 30, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Wire antennas are so simple to build, it is crazy to purchase one... If you have the room, dedicated band dipoles work great but if you only can get one wire antenna up and want to work several bands there is nothing better than a full size G5RV... Cut 31 feet of 450 ohm ladder line then cut two leighnths of # 14 copperclad bear stranded wire 53' each. Twist each leignth to the ladder line and get it up as high as possable but reccomended height is aproximatly 35' terminate the ladder line to a 50ohm coax and try to keep the coax under 75' to the transceiver but if you can't, try to use just as much as you need to reach the transmatch/tranceiver. I promise you that you will be so happy with the performance of this very simple and cheap antenna and it can be hidden easaly... I built my own for under $30 it has been up for over 5 years and I have worked the world with it... If for nothing else, it is a great feeling to build your own antenna and get great signal reports from it.
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by EI2HEB on January 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

I have inv-V antenna's on both side of my house, in similar setup. Not sure what the effeciency or performance is on those; but I am working the world!!

Now I am living in an area where it is very rare to have any thunder & lightning storms. And with rare I mean once every 2 years you hear thunder; and once every 3 years it may even come close, as in a couple of miles away... but never had a storm with a direct hit here.

Due to this; I am not using lightning arrestors/protectors.

Should I?

And if I should; how would you do this with an inv-V setup as described in this article ?

EI2HEB - Edwin
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by K1WJ on January 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I to am in an HOA operating condition, using a MFJ-1979 17ft vertical - adjusts from 2ft in retracted position & 17ft fully up - Thus can adjust 6-20m. Mine is fully up at 17ft with single 20m 1/4 w elevated radial, 4ft off the ground. Works great. In the morning before work I retract to 2ft - so no one can see it. A full 1/4wave vertical for 6-20m as set up. See pics on under K1WJ call. Also see pic of my ivy top camo 2m/440 J-pole=HOA COVERT OPERATION.
Best 73 K1WJ David
RE: Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by K1FPV on January 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

I would put them on just in-case. Also, do you get strong rain/snow storms coming in off the ocean with strong winds? If so, I've seen static charges build up on antennas without a path to ground.

If nothing else, put a high value RF choke between each leg of the line coming into the shack and ground. This will dissipate any static charge that may build up. With the older tube rigs, this wasn't that important, but with the solid state rigs of today, it is cheap insurance for sure!

Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by K7NSW on February 1, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I spent last winter in AZ half way between Tucson and the Mexican border in a retirement community named Green Valley. Had little single story casita with roof eaves plus death penalty CC&Rs. Made dipole from bell wire and stapled it under eaves. About 8 feet up. Fed with DX Engineering 1/1 balun via good quality RG-8X. 100 watts. Cut antenna for close enough match on 40 and 15 meters. It was a great DX antenna on 15 CW. I had DX calling me! South Korea was a memorable QSO. Around the country on 40 was no problem. Radio was a TenTec Omni 7. Built-in tuner was all I needed. Also had fun with SKCC. Do not underestimate a decent stealth antenna when the band is open. Even if it is not so good an antenna, it beats watching tv all evening eating popcorn, drinking soda pop and gaining more weight. Need to "get a life"? Ham radio is a good one - IMHO.
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by TTOMAS59 on February 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Something has gone wrong with technology including ham radio in it's own way. You can pretty well estimate the best era of each manufacture: FT-1000D Yaesu; TS-850 Kenwood,
IC-751A Icom. Everyone may disagree the exact best rig but I bet we'd all agree all manufacturers are worse now. How did the top rigs jump from $3000 a pop to $10000? What do we have to show for it?

Truth is I don't want any of the crap made today except maybe the IC-7200. because I read so much posotive about it or the...?

Why can't manufactures devolve their technology to improve their models comparable to earlier eras? Why wouldn't they be motivated to do so. Is it a case of people willing to pay alot of money for poor radios the same way dumb people watch crappy movies?
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by TTOMAS59 on February 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
We're looking for feature quantity over quality. DSP sounded better than cascade filters in theory but analog sound is superior to digital everwhere tried. Instead of metal cases we have aluminum.
Everything today has a cheap look and feel. Unintuitive menues allows us to do away with knobs and buttons.

If I can describe the world we are provided plastic toys that hypnotize us by genius intellects who use them to deceive us who they really are. They expoit our wish for toys and we escape seeing how weaker we become while making them stronger. If we woke up we would see them as malevelent and overthrow them but we can't pull our heads out of our butts. Technology can't save us from who we've always been except now we hear beeping sounds and see flashing lights. With that cheep look and feel.
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by TTOMAS59 on February 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why would anyone use menues to eliminate knobs and buttons? A few buttons can be wrongly placed but who ever complained about knobs and buttons on the FT-1000D? Replace buttons with a complex hardware software scheme? Replace buttons with a scheme you need a hundred page book to figure out?

If your radio has 752 adjustments in your menues so you don't have 752 buttons maybe you have too many adjustments. Can the other station hear or care the difference between two close compression levels. Maybe you're escaping or focusing on things less important and forgetting about other things more important like your kid getting hit by a car down the block.

Making adjustments has never been one of the nostalgic memories I have about ham radio. I remember the DX Expedition in Lesotho 1966. I worked 339 cw contacts, adjusted 4 knobs on my FT-101 E then worked Matoomba 5X3WQ of the back end then 628 on ssb.

Menues, no thanks.
RE: Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by KW4JX on February 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
With no knobs we could lose the use of our hands. But maybe the gym will provide hand jive classes I must go see.
RE: Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by KC9EHQ on February 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
To Phil, K1PJR:

Since the article did not mention it directly, I will go out on a limb here and say he was possibly using an artificial ground since he stated his shack was on the second floor. MFJ makes one that I know of. I looked into it about 10 years ago when we were living in our condo/town home (a combination of the two), as my shack was on the second floor and I had no way of getting any grounding wire out and down to the ground. I hope the author did not have a long ground wire going all the way out and down. Now that we have a house, my shack is in the basement, with the station located right above a window. I think my ground wire is about 6 feet to an 8 foot copper/steel ground rod.

Cheers es 73,

RE: Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by N2WJW on February 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I thought the topic was stealth antennas?
In my case, attic G5RV Jr. Works like a champ with low power CW.
Building My Own Stealth Antenna  
by PU2SUB on February 13, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
hello people want to know the minimum coaxial cable to connect the transmitter to the antenna G5RV
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