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Author Topic: First Antenna  (Read 723 times)
W7FRS
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Posts: 210




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« on: November 04, 2006, 01:59:25 PM »

> Then I built a W5GI Mystery antenna and put it on the ridgeline of my 2 story home. Arggg. The wire worked better.

I like the w5gi antenna where I can get it up about 40 feet and in the clear.  I tried it at 9 feet above ground.  My signal was distorted.  I wouldn't exactly call it stealthy with the coax sections in the middle of the horizontal elements.  I sure would like to know what an antenna analyzer showed on yours.

It sounds like a flag pole would look good in front of your 2 story home.  Flag pole antenna's (and other verticals) work well with lots of radials.  Does your lot have room for radials?  

We are at the bottom of the sun spot cycle where the more antenna you have the better on the high bands.  It won't be long before conditions improve and allow the use of less efficient antennas.  When things improve, I'm going to try my hand at a magnetic loop again.  I built a lossy one the last time.  


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WA7PAT
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2006, 08:04:25 AM »

Elmers!  I'm getting into the hobby with an old Ten-Tec Omni-D.  I live in a tight CC&R neighborhood, so towers and highly visible antennas are out.

I threw a 100' wire out on the roof just to get started.  

Then I built a W5GI Mystery antenna and put it on the ridgeline of my 2 story home.  Arggg.  The wire worked better.

So then I tried a jr. slinky dipole, which is currently on the roofline.  Better than the Mystery, but the wire is still better.

So, I figure it's time to start asking for a little advice.  Does anyone have a recommendation for a first antenna?  Would an investment in a mobile antenna (like a Tarheel) be at all satifactory at my home?  I need to get on the air!

PT
WA7PAT
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N0FPE
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Posts: 359




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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2006, 08:23:48 AM »

First thing to do is MOVE out of the silly HOA/CC&R restricted area. Then the antenna is no problem.

73  Dan/NØFPE who will not live someplace that everyone trys to tell me how to use my own property.
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KX8N
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Posts: 543




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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2006, 08:51:02 AM »

Now, for some actual advice...

If the wire works best, use it.  I've got a perth outbacker sitting on the tripid outbacker sells.  It works great, stands a little taller than I do, and can be taken down in minutes.  It's pretty unobtrusive.
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2006, 08:52:32 AM »

Well, the great thing is you have wonderful opportunity to experience the joy of experimenting!  Smiley  

Given that you are working with very low heights and that the slinky and 'mystery' antenna (is that a Windom type?) are likely being detuned by proximity to the house, it isn't unreasonable for the long wire to be better at reception.

Next I would suggest trying a loop antenna fed with balance, either ladder line or twin lead.   Do you have a wooden fence in the back yard that you could attach it to?   The other time test location is to run it around the house under the soffet, again fed with balanced line.

Don't get discouraged.  Remember you are having to put up a compromise antenna, so it probably isn't going to match the long wire for reception.   Any antenna is better than no antenna! (remember us apartment dwellers with none).  

good luck.  bill
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G4AON
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2006, 09:31:29 AM »

You could always try a vertical made from a length of wire up a fibreglass fishing pole. Make sure it's not carbon fibre which will absorb RF. I have great success with a 32' pole and a quarter wave wire on 40m that I install from time to time, it's fed against 16 radials cut into the grass. This morning I got 589 from ZL on 40m. You can use the same (or a slightly shorter pole) for 30m or 20m, the radials are not critical if they are buried.

If your neighbours are really a problem, the antenna could be used from dusk until dawn, then laid alongside a fence out of sight during the day. The fishing pole can be fixed to a short wooden post with "luggage straps" of the elastic type with hooks on the end you find in car accessory shops.

I've worked a lot of DX with mine, all on CW and mostly at the 100 Watt power level.

73 Dave
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NS6Y_
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2006, 09:37:11 AM »

Ten-Tec and a slinky dipole, a marriage made in Heaven MUAHAHAAHAHHAH!
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2006, 09:39:37 AM »

N0FPE Writes:
"First thing to do is MOVE out of the silly HOA/CC&R restricted area. Then the antenna is no problem.

73 Dan/NØFPE who will not live someplace that everyone trys to tell me how to use my own property."

=====

Some of us are not able to move from the HOA/CCR restricted area that we moved to before we got a Ham Ticket!  It is nice that you are able to put up aluminum but, don't get too smug about it.  Someone may be writing a law to take away your antennas as we speak.
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NS6Y_
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2006, 09:44:24 AM »

Honestly, after you get your Kenwood TS-480, try to set up something that's UP and OUT. If you have a tree you can just "stick" a wire up into, you'll be able to get out surprisingly well. I'm moving to an apartment with such a tree out front, and I plan to use dark-colored wire, "stick" it up in there and that will be fairly permanent, and put radials out when actually operating - can't leave those out because the gardener will just probably pull them up like weeds lol. Another possibility is a ballon! One of the groups last Field Day was a QRP group and they're really into balloons, a small one might be able to lift a small-diameter wire OK, look into how that's done. Another option is, again at night when it's stealthy, set up a Buddipole or vertical or something, one of the portable antennas that are sold for easy deployment.

And as a last chance, there's always the ISOTRON.....
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N3OX
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2006, 09:45:09 AM »

"I threw a 100' wire out on the roof just to get started."

The important thing when using a random wire type antenna (which can work VERY well) is to feed power to it efficiently.

While I was living in an apartment, I used about 100 feet of magnet wire fed in the center with a remote tuner.  (My tuner scheme is shown here:= http://www.n3ox.net/projects/servo).  Locating the tuner near the feedpoint or using ladderline is a good way to minimize feedline losses.  Feeding a long span of wire in the center eliminates the need for a good RF ground anywhere.  

I wonder a couple of things about your situation.  

1) Do you have any trees
2) How were you feeding your wire?  Back post on the antenna tuner?
3) How nosy are your neighbors and HOA?  Do you have a guy with binoculars who makes it his full time job to find violations or not?  

You've already discovered that a simple wire antenna with no tricks can work well... I'd just suggest improving that antenna.  Can you get it higher?  More in the clear away from the roof and nearby objects?  Stay away from using coax between the tuner and the antenna... either put the tuner near the feedpoint (you can hide it in a decorative object in the backyard) or use open-wire line (you can make your OWN from very fine wire with only a handful of light, small insulators to make it quite invisible).  

If you like the low bands, you might try the same thing with a wire vertical run up the side of a tree (if you've got them).  Put a planter or something at the base of the tree, hide a SG-230 or other autotuner in it, and put down a bunch of radials on the grass (if you can get away with it... they go invisible quickly, so it's just the installation process that's noticeable) Run a wire up the side of the tree for a very effective multiband vertical.  It will work especially well on the bands where it's between about 3/16ths wavelength and 5/8ths wavelength long.  Below that, the tuner will  have a harder time and you'll get more loss, above that the radiation tends to go at higher angles.

No matter what, the trick is to get a substantial amount of wire up in the air away from the house and match it efficiently.  That's all that matters.  Stay away from complicated antennas with "mystery" in the title... stay away from feeding random wires with coax...

Optimize that wire of yours and you'll be pretty happy with the results.

Dan
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
NS6Y_
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2006, 09:45:39 AM »

Oh OK and you can put "stuff" on your roof, you might look into a Ventenna - I talked to the guy at Pacificon and while personality does not an antenna make, the guy seems really on-the-ball and says the gov't agencies love his antennas. It's worth looking into, hide in plain sight....
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N3OX
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2006, 09:54:29 AM »

"can't leave those out because the gardener will just probably pull them up like weeds lol"

Something I thought about doing but never had the guts to try was to dress up as one of the grounds maintenence guys and actually bury a radial field and coax in the yard in front of my apartment...

It's hard to do radials in a yard you don't care for.  I actually made a deal with my current landlords that I could have antennas, but because I had to put radials on the grass, that I would do the mowing... they were more than happy to make the trade ;-)

I'm actually using the fiberglass pole approach like G4AON suggests right now... I'm not RESTRICTED, but I'm trying to keep a fairly low profile regarding my forty foot tall vertical for 80,40 and 30m ... I only put it up when I'm using it and I pinned 27 radials between 15 and 30 feet long to the grass and built a matching network "house" to go at the base.

NS6Y, I had an idea for a radial system that involved a bunch of spools on four axles mounted in a box... each spool would be ratcheted (that, and maintaining good electrical contact are the hard parts, you'd need some slip rings of some sort) so that you could easily pull out each radial one by one, but then you'd just turn the axle to pull in a quarter of your radial field all at once.  I was planning on doing maybe 36 radials that way.  

Dan
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
WD8CRT
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Posts: 26


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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2006, 11:30:09 AM »

Put up a flagpole and load it up
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20565




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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2006, 11:51:04 AM »

Reading your comments, it sounds like with the random wire you're on the right track -- for whatever reason, and the reason doesn't matter much.

Since the wire works best of what you've experimented with thus far, you might try:

-Experiment with different wire lengths.  If you can put out more wire, do it -- and it might work best if it changes direction, like a geometric form (triangle, square, circle) rather than straight.

-Experiment with getting the wire up off the roof if possible, even if it's only a foot or two.  Experiment with different kids of wire to see what's the most "invisible" for you -- could be insulated wire colored the same as your roofing material will virtually disappear.

-Experiment with different ground systems and antenna tuners.  If you're using 100' of wire just tossed up, you must have a tuner of some sort.  Some are better than others.  My rule of thumb regarding tuners is "bigger is better," because most of the loss in a tuner is from the resistance of the coil...the bigger and fatter (and heavier gauge) that coil is, the less loss it's going to have.  So, when running QRP (5W or less), I always try to use a "kilowatt" rated tuner -- because it will provide more power to the antenna than a "QRP" tuner will.

WB2WIK/6
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KG6WLS
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Posts: 507




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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2006, 11:54:25 AM »

By N0FPE on November 4, 2006  Mail this to a friend!  

<<First thing to do is MOVE out of the silly HOA/CC&R restricted area. Then the antenna is no problem.

73 Dan/NØFPE who will not live someplace that everyone trys to tell me how to use my own property.>>

Hey, that's very good advice! =)

Now, here's some advice from someone that does live in a silly HOA/CC&R restricted area.

MFJ sells telescoping aluminum tubing sections (6063 T832) that are six foot in length. OR, check to see if there is a metal distributor in your area...you might be able to get the tubing by the pound from scrap. I was able to make a 23 footer, along with a few stainless steel hose clamps for just under $20. Mine is ground mount portable and can be taken down in minutes, and only using a few radials (more is better). The expensive part is the auto coupler/tuner.

Others vertical ant. ideas:
1.) Screwdriver antenna
2.) Ham sticks
3.) Hustler mobile resonators and mast
4.) Multibanders (Butternut, Hy-Gain, Forse 12, etc.)
5.) Or just plain ol' wire.

ALL NEED RADIALS!!

Reference material:
1.) Stealth Amateur Radio, by Kirk A. Kleinschmidt, NT0Z
2.) eHam "Antenna Restrictions" forums.

73 Mike/KG6WLS, who simply won't let restrictions keep me off the air.
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