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Author Topic: Antenna suggestions for small lot QTH  (Read 8906 times)

Posts: 9

« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2012, 09:31:01 PM »

If you have a gutter and downspout on your house you have a start on an inverted L stealth antenna.

My inverted L antenna consists of the 20 ft vertical downspout which is connected to a 40 ft horizontal gutter.  It is feed with coax through a 1:1 Balun Design balun.  The + side of the balun is connected to the downspout and the (-) side to a number of radials in the flower beds and along the house.  To ensure a good connection where the downspout and gutter are joined I replaced the screws with stainless.

I have worked lots of DX with this "antenna".  I use a Palstar tuner to tweak it but the SWR is less than 2:1 without the tuner.  It tunes 80-10M.

Another antenna I use for small spaces it the Transworld TW-2010.  A bit pricey but works well and covers 20-10 and takes up hardly any room.

Jack W9JH

Posts: 293


« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2012, 05:11:06 AM »


Antenna choice depends on what you want to work. I was in your position back in Nov 2008. Came back to hobby after some 25 years of QRT. Just like you - I wanted to have a multiband antenna and tower was not an option. I got caught by those marvelous reviews of multiband vertical. I made a very good installation laying down some 80+ radials.
It was okay for EU contacts (I'm in the NE corner of it), but working dx was a real struggle. I would say - it was a disappointment.

After a year of local qsos (which very fun for a newcomer like me) I sat down and redefined my goals. "I want a single band antenna, lightweigth, small footprint, good for dx".
The answer for me was 'moxon'. During last 2 years I have homebrewed 3 of them - 17m, 20m, 12m. I still have my multiband vertical up and I do occasional A/B testing between the two. I'd say that most of the time moxon hears 3..5S units better. This put the hobby into a whole new perspective for me. Working dx is not a struggle anymore, but fun, as it ought to be.
Heck - I worked Spratly (my #253) yesterday with a single call.

Here's a recent picture of my frost covered antenna 'farm'

Am I sorry that I went through all that labor installing a vertical and radials - hell no. Only now I realize how big difference a rotatable 2el wire makes.
Moral of the story - if dxing is something for you taste, your xyl and neighbor situation allows - you might consider skipping the vertical thing.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 05:12:39 AM by ES1TU » Logged

Posts: 27

« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2012, 12:39:26 PM »

  Unless I missed it,  not a single response has been seen so far that mentioned using a remote tuner.  You could put up almost any kind of antenna you want;  a low loop around the perimeter of your lot,   a loop around the perimeter of your house, a short vertical on your roof,  taller vertical on the ground in your back yard,  and you have a variety of locations you could string a resonant or non-resonant dipole antenna.  You do not need expensive verticals that only allow decent SWR in small portions of the HF bands, and you don't need fancy dipoles with traps or specially configured feed lines to make them operate on multiple bands.  All you need is a remote tuner and your imagination to put up whatever type antenna suits you and works best for you.

Ed   K7AAT

Posts: 17479

« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2012, 02:22:57 PM »

I'd suggest you step back a moment and consider what aspect of ham
radio has the most appeal to you.  (This is actually rather difficult for
a lot of newcomers who don't have as much experience on the bands.)

If working DX is important, than (at least for starters) focusing on the
higher bands like 20 / 17 / 15m is probably more important.  For more
local contacts, the lower bands are preferred (such as around California
on 80m, or out to the Rockies on 40m.)  Not that you won't sometimes
work further, but most of your casual contacts will be in those ranges.

Also, the higher bands (17, 15, 12, 10m) are best during daylight,
while 80m (and longer distances on 40m) are best at night.   This
may affect your choice of bands if you expect to be operating mostly
at particular times.

I'd certainly consider using your current roof as one support.  Even a
dipole strung along the peak of the roof between a couple 1x2s nailed
onto the ends will get you on one band (or more as you add wires
for additional bands.)  That's a simple way to get started.  If some
wires are too long (40m, for example) then run them down to the
corners of your roof.

Another option is a horizontal loop:  for 40m this takes about 140 - 150'
of wire in a square, triangle, or irregular shape with 7 sides if that fits
the available supports better.  (It doesn't have to be exactly horizontal,
either.)  Fed with twinlead to a tuner in the shack this will work all bands
(though not a particularly good solution for regular use on 80m).  It may
require adding a couple supports along your back fence.  I've installed
a couple of them that fit entirely on the roof of a house (35' to 40' square).

If you are putting a sheet metal roof on your pool cover, you can mount
a vertical antenna and use that as the ground plane.  If you make it using
three 6' lengths of telescoping aluminum tubing you can manually adjust the
length from 10m to 20m, or feed it with a matching device (such as an
autotuner or manual switch) at the base to change bands.  (With a loading
coil you can tune it down to 40m.)  Such an antenna is a good way to get
the feel of the various bands in that range without making a major investment.
A wire hanging from a fiberglass fishing pole would work as well.

One other option to consider is whether a "temporary mast" would be acceptable
where a "tower" isn't.  I use the 4' military mast sections (originally for camo
netting) for a simple portable mast.  They require guy ropes, but can be put up
and taken down within a few minutes once you get the hang of it.  With a
small beam (such as the Moxon suggested earlier) you could go out and set up
the mast, then lower it down when you aren't operating.  (The secret is to
have the guy ropes pre-set with hooks to attach them to, put the antenna on
the top of the first section, lift it up and slip the second section on the bottom.
Then set the mast back down on the ground, leaning it against two of the guy
ropes to keep it upright.  Grab the next section, pick up the mast (moving slightly
sideways to keep it leaning against the guys, and slip in the next section.
Lather, rinse, repeat.  It's pretty easy to get it up to 24 to 32' (depending on
how heavy the antenna on top is) and just repeat the process to take it down.

Posts: 846

« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2012, 06:58:36 PM »

There has been some good sugestions so far. But nobody has come up with a Roof Tower yet. I too live with a small lot 50X80' and it is a bugger to get a good signal out from one. About 6 years ago I bought a Glen Martin 4.5 foot roof tower that I installed on the house that is a single story on stilts and the peak of the roof is the same height as your 28 ft. The first antenna I had up was a Cushcraft MA5B and it was OK for DX in fact I worked 82 countries with it. About 6 months later I installed a Cushcraft A3 and that was much better I added 23 more countries. Then I ran across a good deal on a SteppIR 3 element with the 30/40M driven element and since then I have added 135 more countries and with DXCC on 20,17,15 and 10 and I only need 12 on 40, 16 on 12. I have since added a 80M dipole that is 45 ft in the center and 50ft on one end and 60 on the other end thanks to somewhat well placed trees but the antenna is in a horizontal wide vee and does not work all that well (time for more experiments). I have the SteppIR up 5 feet from the top of the tower to give it a total height of 37.5 feet. So do not rule out a tower just use a mini tower on the roof. Glen Martin makes them in 4.5, 9, 12 and 24 feet and they are stout little things mine holds a 65lb antenna just fine (has been through wind gusts up to 60+MPH).

73 and GL
Roland AH6RR

Posts: 35

« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2012, 12:08:36 PM »

Thanks for all the suggestions and advice.  I am leaning toward a remote tuner and experimenting with different lengths and orientations of wire, gutters, loops, etc.  I think it will give me more flexibility with changing things up and trying a different approach, ie ground or elevated, different bands, perimeter loop, flag pole, etc.  A recent 10m dipole got so much flack ("looks like a ugly clothesline, no way friend-ay") I don't think a larger dipole will fly.

Getting an effective ground plane will be my next challenge both practically speaking and with the XYL as she won't be too happy losing the small planting area to a bunch of wires.  Hiding the radiating element will be a cinch compared to the other half. Don't get me wrong, she's all for the hobby just so long as it doesn't make the house LOOK like the hobby. 

As for what I want to do, right now I think casual DX would be fun.  Who knows where I'll end up.  So much to explore and so little time to play.  My only guaranteed play time is a daily commute, so  I may end up doing HF while mobile.  (Opps, that's bound to start a safety rant tangent... disregard.)  Roll Eyes
73's to all my eElmers who took some time to share their knowledge and experiences.

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