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Author Topic: Age old question: what antenna can I cram into my yard?  (Read 2283 times)
KC8HQX
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Posts: 177




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« on: May 11, 2013, 02:41:16 PM »

At my old QTH I had a huge Catalpa tree I had a 5/8th wave 20m wire vertical strung up into. Had a decent sent of radials, ground system tied to house and fed it with buried LFD4-50 clone to an Elecraft BL2 Balun. Can't say it was a blowtorch, but it did decent DX (on 20m), regularly getting be down into the Dutch Antilles, SA, NE USA, West coast and mid EU (GB, Spain, Croatia, Ukraine..) between the summer of '08 and '09 on 100w. It would tune up on 40m reasonably well end get me most of the contiguous US.


I've been at my new location for some time now and it's time to get an antenna up, but I have *no* decent trees in my yard and only unreliable branches in the way from the neighbor's trees. I can stick a non-pen peak mount on my house which will get me about 40 ft high and slope down to the detached garage where I can extend a mast to say 20 ft high, about 66 feet away. It's somewhat enticing, but it's not 1/2 wave above ground, I really appreciated the low T/O angle of my old wire vert and classically speaking, my radiation pattern would be more or less N/S (and up towards the clouds) - not what I want.  

I could also perhaps suspend a vert from that same proposed line and top load it with that sloping section. I've also considered something like a SpiderBeam, but that doesn't seem terribly sturdy and I don't want guy lines all over my yard. Could do the Zero5 route, but I have a hard time paying that much for a chunk of aluminum tube and a voltage balun - I'd rather build something anyway. I considered something like a sloping inverted V from the house peak to yard end, but the legs would only be 17-20 degrees apart. I need to model it, but I suspect the pattern would be rather directional + weird.

My patch of backyard is about 80 deep from the house and 45-50 wide with the aforementioned garage in the back corner. If I could loft an economical mast, I'd stick a high angle inverted V or the likes back there, but I haven't found anything yet. Part of me is saying, "Just get a 5BTV, stick a good ground system under it and get on the air". Any vertical I'd build or buy would get as many radials I can stuff into the yard and LDF4-50 back to the shack. I didn't move far, so I'm still on a ridge that drops off about 300 yds away and have good to very good ground/soil according to the ARRL book.  

I'm not looking for a multiband wonder. Just something that's good on 40 and 20 to start with. 80 and 160 are purely NVIS with my paltry acreage. 17 -10 m would be "gravy".

Have any suggestions where to start? I've spent hours combing over the Cebik's site, ARRL's Wire Antenna Classics and the ARRL Antenna Book and have let myself get overloaded with choices and/or variables.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated,

Doug
KC8HQX
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N6AJR
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 04:48:49 PM »

Just get something up and have fun.  A hustler 5 band vert takes up little room.  A wire dipole or fan dipole  only need a center support and cover many bands,  A 5BTV can go up 25 feet or so on a push up mast with a rotor and use the "guy wires as a dipole or 2.  lots of ways to got, start cheap, play and then improve.  have fun.
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KW6LA
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Posts: 91




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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2013, 04:59:06 PM »

SteppIr BigIr Vertical  is nice if you [ have a lot of money ]  acronym for HAM ! I think you answered your own question with the 5TBV vertical. You like to read and this book is great for the builders.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1266601235s/6259771.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/amateur-radio&usg=__RSZFA8I1FavVa3LqqJQurbH7XbU=&h=67&w=50&sz=3&hl=en&start=26&zoom=1&tbnid=UNJaatP-aomyzM:&tbnh=66&tbnw=49&ei=7tiOUaDzHdP_4AOIjIDQBw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Ddoug%2Bdemaw%2Bwire%2Bantennas%26start%3D20%26um%3D1%26sa%3DN%26hl%3Den%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&sa=X&ved=0CDYQrQMwBTgU

GL- KW6LA
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W1JKA
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2013, 05:29:16 PM »

 "What antenna" is quite a loaded question for the following reasons.First,your lot conditions as described with an 80 ft.clear run,20-40 ft. heights available,trees etc. would be be the envy of many hams with lesser possibilities or HOA restrictions(myself included).You have already described some very effective antenna types but seem to be hung up on the 1/2 wave length high above ground mantra.Your post indicates you are a ham with some experience and as such I believe your aware that the magic 1/2 wave length above ground is not attainable by a large number of us.As a builder of your own antennas you already know that at lower heights antennas can still work WELL for both local and DX.

   As an example my lot is about 2/3 the size of yours and I have managed to CRAM in a 20m hex beam(no guys),a 66 ft. Windom type and a bi directional 30m inverted Vee with the maximum height of 25 ft. on all,I have no problem with DX especially with directional abilty of the Hex and Vee.


An excellent example of what can be done with a lot such as yours can be found on John's (K3WWP)
web site,all accomplished with an EF random wire half in his attic and half outside.He is a DX record holder.


So just grab your coil of wire and tools try out your ideas,keep experimenting,get on the air and most of all have fun doing it.
.
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KC8HQX
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Posts: 177




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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2013, 07:51:16 PM »

Hmm....

I've always intended to feed any antenna from buried coax in the yard (simplifies logistics quite a bit), whether that's a vertical or a dipole overhead.  I suppose the question is, "Is a 4 or 5BTV worth the cash?" I'm going to experiment for sure, but to be honest, putting up a ground mounted antenna will be easier/faster than coming up with a ladder to reach the peak of my steep roof.   I'm dreading that a bit. A sloping "Inverted V beam" might be a good start once I do. A 20m Delta or 1/2 square might be interesting too....  But right now, I'm itching to get on the air! It has been 4-5 years since my last logbook entry.

No HOA, my house is 97 years old.  Heck, any antenna I have mounted to the house will have to be modeled with the nearby tin gutters!

Thanks,

Doug
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 07:55:44 PM by KC8HQX » Logged
M6GOM
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Posts: 901




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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 02:42:43 AM »

G3TPW Cobwebb or the easier to build G3TXQ variant.

5 full size dipoles covering 20-17-15-12-10m in a compact 8.5ft x 8.5ft antenna. Very easy to homebrew the G3TXQ variant.

http://www.karinya.net/g3txq/cobweb/

Best part is that unlike a conventional dipole the radiation pattern is almost omnidirectional with just a 3dB difference between the sides.
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1662




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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 03:43:49 AM »

Re:KC8HQX

Concerning your 40 ft.roof peak access,do you have an attic window or peak vent on a gable end  that you could possibly mount a sidewall mast mount or eyebolt from inside the attic? Several years ago I helped a fellow ham install a pre rigged eyebolt (pulley/messanger line) to his outside inaccessible roof peak by going inside the attic with small step ladder and drilling a 1/2 inch hole through the peak wall and [fishing] the the bolt shaft through from the outside.Then there is always the option of renting one of those little scissor lifts for  a half day if you don't have a painter or pressure washer friend who owns one. Just a thought.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 03:47:10 AM by W1JKA » Logged
A9KW
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2013, 06:44:52 AM »

Doug
The zerofive 20m 5/8 does not have a voltage balun on it.
It has a parallel tuned matching network at the base.
Just wanted to clear that up for all the people who read this thread.
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KC8HQX
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Posts: 177




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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2013, 08:18:44 AM »

A9KW - I had their 43 foot "all band" antenna in my mind when I said that. Duly noted.


W1JKA - When I mention the height of my house, it's about 36 ft. tall to the peak. Not measured directly, but using a bit of geometry.  I can use a peak mount non-pen to get up to at least 40-45.  The house is 97 yr old, 2 floor, solid brick I *really* don't want to drill into and the back of the house is the flat side - the roof gables face the side of the house. The facia and soffit are well enclosed in vinyl and I don't want to mess with them. There is a small window in the attic I could stick an eyehook into the frame, but it's about 6-8 feet lower than the peak and doesn't open - it's an idea though. There is a roof hatch, but given how steep the roof is (at least 45 deg. and shingles are starting to get slippery / old) I'd rather deal with a ladder. Or have my roofing guy who inspects and touch up the gutters stick the mount up there and just use a rope and pulley. I wonder what it would take to talk him into hauling a mount and 4 cinder blocks to the roof? Or install a tripod mount? Since I know I'll be replacing the roof in a couple years, I'd rather do a non-permanent mount. 
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W1JKA
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 08:56:48 AM »

Cinder blocks on a steep pitched roof? Ouch that Hertz   Wink
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KC8HQX
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Posts: 177




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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 04:58:35 AM »

It's only a problem if the non-pen mount doesn't do its job and fails to keep the cinder blocks used for ballast in place. Then we have falling blocks, which megahertz.

I'd still like to experiment with linearly loaded dipoles, but I still need something to hang them from.  What's the absolute cheapest way to put up 2 30-40 masts capable of supporting a dipole? Without waiting for trees to grow...


Thanks.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 05:29:57 AM »

 At least one of the cheapest and in fact free ways for me to put up a 20-30 sturdy mast is simply to lash together 3 20 ft.+ dead fall/ blow down wood saplings or trees in a tripod configuration lashed together at top,usually coniferous/cedar trees which are abundant in my area.I put these up frequently as I do a lot of portable ops.and they are permanent mast at my camp 38 ft.(good for 3-4 years) but easily replaced.With the help of another person there is no problem putting up a 40 ft. tripod.Not the prettiest mast on its own but against a wooded background you would hardly notice it.Recycling at its best.
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KC8HQX
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2013, 06:53:12 AM »

I live in what you might call an old suburb of the city; an original suburb overlooking the downtown valley. Not much dead-fall around here unless we have an unusual event like when the remnants of hurricane Ike blew 85 MPH winds through Ohio some years back.

The cheapest thing I can think of would be sturdy fiberglass poles like Spiderbeams, but I don't think their upper sections are strong enough to support weight. I want to *try* to avoid guy lines, mainly because fitting them on my property makes my available space even smaller.

A 4BTV is starting to look attractive as a "Get me on the air" option, but not much fun.
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K4RVN
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2013, 07:09:25 AM »

A five band hex beam on a push up pole against the house or garage might be a consideration. One is available for around 500 bucks or less delivered. Requires only a TV type rotator.
A great two element beam type antenna, 25 lbs. or so with a small footprint.  One 50 ohm coax for all 5 or 6 bands. I use RG8X, not real expensive. Will work OK at 30 to 40 ft.
If you want to build your own, Max gain systems has parts and wire to roll your own.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 07:28:23 AM by K4RVN » Logged
KC8HQX
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2013, 08:03:49 AM »

Thanks for all the advice on this. Fully understanding the limitations, I'm probably going to go with a 4btv to get on the air. From there, I can experiment to my heart's desire and still have the Vert as a decent fallback/backup. The Hexbeam is *quite* intriguing, but not exactly what I'm looking for in a 1st antenna at my QTH.
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