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Author Topic: 368 ft. of #14 copper house wire + 100 ft. of window line + 1.5 acres of land=??  (Read 3614 times)
W4HIJ
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Posts: 367




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« on: February 09, 2013, 07:41:55 PM »

I wrote a post somewhat like this about a year ago and got many suggestions of a "loop". Folks said it would be easy to put up but  I'm not so sure about that. Seems complicated to me. As it get's warmer, I'm going to want to do some playing around on my lot so I'd like to get some firm plans in mind. I do have power lines running down my driveway that I need to avoid but other than that I have pretty much free reign over the land. My current antennas are a Cushcraft MA-5B mini beam  for 20-10 meters and an S9-V in an elevated ground plane configuration for 40 meters and nothing on 80 or 160. So what would you do?
73,
Michael, W4HIJ
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13242




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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 10:27:51 PM »

What do you have for available supports?

What bands are you most interested in?

Are you more interested in DX or local contacts?

What directions are of most interest, if any?


If you are most interested in working a single direction then we can
invent a beam - you have enough wire for a 5-element delta loop
on 20m, or a 10m rhombic 3 wavelengths on a leg.  But on 160m
you don't have enough wire to get any sort of directive pattern or
to get any sort of gain.

As to whether a loop is complicated, that depends on what things you
are good at and which things are new to you.  Once you have the
supports ready you put a pulley at the top of each, run a rope through
the pulley and tie it to the wire, then raise all corners up.  Sometimes
you have to use long ropes and/or raise one corner at a time to work
it around obstacles.  But I've put up enough of them that I have the
right type of electric fence insulator and baling twine, and it goes up
pretty quickly.

Putting up a dipole is easier because you just pull on the two ends,
but you are still using ropes over pulleys tied to the wires.

By contrast a Sterba Curtain requires a lot more measuring and
bending of wires and tying them in place to maintain its shape, but
it only requires two support points.
 
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W4HIJ
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Posts: 367




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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 10:47:20 PM »

What do you have for available supports?

What bands are you most interested in?

Are you more interested in DX or local contacts?

What directions are of most interest, if any?


If you are most interested in working a single direction then we can
invent a beam - you have enough wire for a 5-element delta loop
on 20m, or a 10m rhombic 3 wavelengths on a leg.  But on 160m
you don't have enough wire to get any sort of directive pattern or
to get any sort of gain.

As to whether a loop is complicated, that depends on what things you
are good at and which things are new to you.  Once you have the
supports ready you put a pulley at the top of each, run a rope through
the pulley and tie it to the wire, then raise all corners up.  Sometimes
you have to use long ropes and/or raise one corner at a time to work
it around obstacles.  But I've put up enough of them that I have the
right type of electric fence insulator and baling twine, and it goes up
pretty quickly.

Putting up a dipole is easier because you just pull on the two ends,
but you are still using ropes over pulleys tied to the wires.

By contrast a Sterba Curtain requires a lot more measuring and
bending of wires and tying them in place to maintain its shape, but
it only requires two support points.
 
Well, I've pretty much got 40 and up covered. I can't see anything I put up doing much better job than what I have in the Mini beam and the S-9 vertical in GP configuration. Still it's nice to have more than one antenna choice per band. I have trees available for support but it's going to be a tough go to get anything up very high or "high enough" when it comes to 80 or 160. Not really interested in "local" contacts on 80 because most of the phone guys aren't going to bother with you if you don't have an amp and a big signal. I would rather have another antenna to chase DX with using digital and CW modes. As an aside, I've always been intrigued by inverted L's but I don't believe I've ever seen anyone feed those with anything but coax.  I probably will eventually put up a beverage too for RX on 80 and 160 but that's an entirely different discussion.
Michael, W4HIJ
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KC4MOP
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Posts: 733




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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 04:01:05 AM »

Hello
If you want to keep it simple and still be an effective antenna; then build a full length dipole for 160M. You did not mention of any supports. Tower, etc.
I have a long narrow 1.3 acre lot. 65 foot utility pole 100 feet from the house, and I lucked out with a 50 foot pine tree on the edge of a neighbor's lot. He gave me permission to attach one end to his tree. It's fed by OWL, about 250 feet and a Dentron 3KA tuner is very happy to tune it anywhere on 160M - 20M. I'm not interested in the higher HF, as I have other antennas for 20M-6M.
A 65 foot high dipole is still a slight cloud warmer for 160M. A Dipole ( or any other wire antenna) needs to be 1/2 wave length high to be directional. So, even on 80M the 65 foot high dipole is not directional. But more effective than something 30 feet off the ground.
You sound like me when describing the loop antenna........I would not want to try to go through all of that. I'm a very casual operator and not interested in any mythical advantages of certain types of antennas. Very happy with my dipole at 65 feet and a dam good tuner in the shack. Open Ladder Line all the way from antenna to laundry room.......coax (50 feet) to the radio room

EDIT NOTE:::IF you are a DXer than a 65 foot steel tower with a gamma match (this month QST) or a HB vertical would be the better choice. (the 43 foot "miracle antennas"  are just that...AVOID) An inverted "L" is another great DX/local antenna. These flavors require radial wires laid on the ground (30-50 radials...as long as you can run them) More work than a dipole but worth it for the low angle radiation needed for DX.
I have a nice 37 foot mast for 40M and 15M. I ran a separate wire that is held away from the mast by PVC pipe and a series coil at the feed point and I have a 5/8 wave antenna for 17M. Worked a lot of countries on that system.

Fred
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 04:10:14 AM by KC4MOP » Logged
WB6BYU
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Posts: 13242




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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 09:29:43 AM »

For DX you will likely have better results with vertical polarization at low heights (say,
below 40' or so.)  If you can get up to 70' then a horizontal may be better, depending
on your coil conditions.

If you have a favorite direction for DX then a vertical rectangular loop may be a good
choice:  I modeled a loop with the top wire at 40' and the bottom wire at 8', and 110'
long.  Fed in the middle of one vertical leg gives a bidirectional signal and a good
match to 50 ohms at 3.66 MHz.  You can feed it with open wire line if you prefer.
(The loop is bidirectional but with a fairly broad beamwidth, so you can choose a
direction that gives your desirable targets off both sides.  It's only 8dB down off the
ends, so there really aren't any deep nulls in the pattern.)  That assumes, of course,
that you have trees in the right directions.

Otherwise an inverted L (basically just a 1/4 or 3/8 wave wire fed at ground level
that goes up to the top of a support then horizontally as needed to use up the
rest of the wire) is pretty effective.  You can build one for 80m and one for 160m
on a common feedpoint.  It does require a good ground radial system. 

If you want to use open wire line, I'd suggest putting a 4 : 1 balun at the antenna
feedpoint (the unbalanced side) and connecting the ladder line to the balanced side
for transmission back to the shack.

There are other variations on verticals as well that you could try.  But overall,
if your objective is DX, then a vertically polarized antenna is likely to be a good
choice, especially for heights less than 40'.
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W1VT
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Posts: 825




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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 11:10:21 AM »

I've been having lots of fun with an 80M top loaded vertical I put up at the beginning of the year.  Took me two days in the snow.  Top is at 42.5 ft, as high as I could manage, dropping a lead weight over a tree branch with a telescoping fiberglass mast Duck taped to a painter's pole.  

The top loaded vertical is normally more work than an inverted L, but last year's winter storm took out 1/3 of a big maple tree in the center of the yard and made it just as practical as the inverted-L.  It works better for DX. I'm running five elevated radials, 8ft of the ground.  They are around 0.2 wavelengths, so they fit conveniently in my back yard.  Wink

So for I've worked 4Z1, ZB2, PY2, VK4, MI6, ZS1. and UN1, just to name a few that I've already confirmed electronically or via paper--am actually getting close to DXCC counting 50 or so countries I've worked in the couple of decades I've been a ham before putting it--some even worked QRP  Grin

Zack W1VT
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 11:28:56 AM by W1VT » Logged
W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 11:14:31 AM »

I can certainly understand the advantage of vertical over horizontal on the low bands when you take into account how high  a low band antenna has to be to approach a half wave length above ground. It just seems ashamed to waste all this real estate. The only supports I have besides trees are a couple of Rohn 30 ft. push up mast. One holds the mini beam and one the vertical. They are not very far apart.
Michael, W4HIJ
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W1VT
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Posts: 825




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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 11:32:39 AM »

That real estate can  be used to string up Beverage receive antennas.  I have a half wave terminated Beverage on the fence line--the only place where I can run one on 1/3 acre.

Zack W1VT
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13242




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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 12:26:53 PM »

And you can put up a phased array of vertical elements if you want, so you
can switch the phasing to rotate the pattern.  Look up "four-square array".
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KC4MOP
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Posts: 733




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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 03:22:17 AM »

And you can put up a phased array of vertical elements if you want, so you
can switch the phasing to rotate the pattern.  Look up "four-square array".

The 4-square would be a nice array of antennas. 80M might be the lowest freq he can use. The spacing between antennas starts getting outrageous for 160M.
Google does it again
Here is a nice link to what a 4-square for 80M requires.

http://www.arizonaoutlaws.net/downloadable/80Meter4SquareApril2010.pdf

Mike we may have drifted a little on your topic. I was assuming you are focusing on DX possibilities for 160 and 80 Meters.

Fred
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KC4MOP
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Posts: 733




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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 08:20:32 AM »

I can certainly understand the advantage of vertical over horizontal on the low bands when you take into account how high  a low band antenna has to be to approach a half wave length above ground. It just seems ashamed to waste all this real estate. The only supports I have besides trees are a couple of Rohn 30 ft. push up mast. One holds the mini beam and one the vertical. They are not very far apart.
Michael, W4HIJ
Hi Michael
Your post read like there aren't many choices for supports, unless the trees are over 50 feet. The push-up masts aren't going to help much in your DX with the lower bands.
This part of my reply gets some people queezy but you are going to have to spend some money on a support or an actual vertical antenna that you design for the lower bands. Something more than 30 feet and more than the 43 foot verticals offered. 80M is probably the minimum that would work "ok" with a 43 footer for DX. 160M is a waste of time. The 43 foot miracle antenna is a perfect 5/8 wave for 20M with the very low angle radiation. (10 degrees??)
To make both bands happy for some local work with a focus on DX, is an inverted "L". About 60 feet vertical and the rest of the 120 feet of wire out horizontal, to the next tree, as high as you can get it. The usual radial thing. A remote or manual tuner at the base of the antenna for the two bands 80 and 160 and you have arrived.
Fred
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N6AJR
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 08:37:16 AM »

fan dipole.
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N3QVB
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Posts: 81




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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 09:25:09 AM »

Yes, a fan dipole!  I have a lot of land with lots of tall trees.  I too considered a loop but a fan dipole was my choice.  Does what I want (DX) with not nearly the work involved with a large loop.  It's not up yet -- waiting for warmer wx.  I currently have a 102-ft. G5RV at 60 feet.  Works great but I wanted to upgrade -- I want to max out my wire options given all the trees I have, before considering a tower/beam.
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N3QE
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2013, 09:47:16 AM »

To cover all bands I suggest: "The 130 foot doublet". Try to put up at least 50 feet, although higher is obviously better. Mine is up 80 feet up. Stretching between treetops is great. Feed with ladder line and a tuner (preferably a link coupled balanced tuner but there are other choices too.) You can make the top longer of course if you have the wire.

On 160M, tie the ladder line together at bottom and feed against ground as a "Marconi T". This can also be effective for 80M DX too.

As to how well the above works... I have the above setup, and have top ten LP scores in many big DX contests in the past year, 8BDXCC, and have also grown increasingly active on 160M (hoping to get 160M DXCC soon.)

You might also want to build some wire directional arrays for the high bands if you like building wire antennas. NO3M has only wire antennas and is an incredibly effective station. (He's also an amazing op that doesn't hurt!) I think he has several Lazy-H's for the high bands and wire delta beams.
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W4HIJ
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Posts: 367




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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2013, 03:22:47 PM »

The 30 ft. mast I have are occupied with antennas.  I need to devise a better way to get pulleys/ropes up into trees.  I use to use the slingshot method but I think there has to be better ways. Never was very easy with a slingshot.
Michael, W4HIJ
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