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G5RV Antenna

Ed Eggert (K3VO) on April 30, 2019
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We just read about why techs are not on the air. Some say they need HF. I hate to say this but the hobby has been dumbed down.

When hams buy a terrible antenna like the G5RV instead of making a simple dipole the hobby is in trouble. Hey when I was kid of 12 we not only made antennas but our transmitters and had a lot of fun and learned something.

But back to the G5RV. It was developed in the days of tube transmitters with pi net works that tuned the ant. We did not have SWR bridges or antenna tuners. It was a decent antenna on 20 but not very good on the other bands. Not too long ago The Dr is in QST also found it to be terrible. Think about this. The G5RV requires coax, open wire feed line plus a balun to make a poor antenna plus it is over 100 feet long.

My good friend Lew McCoy, W1ICP (SK), check old Handbooks for his articles on SWR and antenna tuners said the following to me as did The Dr is in. hang as much wire as you can feed it with 450 open ribbon line to a 4 to 1 balun then your antenna tuner and you will have a very effective dipole that will load all bands. One does not even have to measure the wire to formula. So if you have a G5RV get rid of the coax. One does not need that matching network.

Old timers will tell you the G5RV is a very good dummy load Today new hams do not try to do anything but buy what see they see in ads... Ask old timers for advice and help on making simple dipoles even ground planes for HF and VHF. Read the antenna section of the Handbook. I use PVC pipe from the hardware store for insulators. Antenna wire is available from many sources. Spend less money, learn something and get a better antenna.

K3VO on the air since 1954

Member Comments:
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G5RV Antenna Reply
by PA0LPS on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Currently my only HF antenna is a homemade 40 m dipole. No balun, no traps. It works great. Contrary to public belief it also works on 30m, 20m and 15m. Most likely better than the (other) compromise antenna you mention.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KJ4DGE on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
All my antenna for HF have been home-brew based on what worked (or didn't) in articles of other HAMs over the years. Half the fun of this hobby is making stuff work and sometimes using methods of trial and error until it does. I have talked to many techs who are wanting to get on HF but are compromised by HOAs or limited space.

Buying a antenna takes a trip to Ebay or other antenna sellers and spending way too much money for something they may or may not be able to use. If you have the time as a working person today that's great but a lot have families to raise, kids and the wife to take out on weekends. spending time is part of the reason many just buy store bought antennas.

The term dumbing down is getting old, sort of like many of us here on Eham :)



 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by K1LLR on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
a load of dummies buy this. If you want to get on the air in a hurry this antenna works. All you need is a tuner to fool the radio and yourself that you are doing good.g5rv is not resonant anywhere.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KU3X on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
The dumbing down of the hobby. It’s sad but true. I try to be a good Elmer but some hams are just not receptive.
G5RV: “The magic length of coax for a G5RV is 125 feet !” What ? Yes, this was in an actual post on the internet. This comes from a person that does not understand SWR and line loss. But other hams read these kinds of post and believe it. So sad. It seem like once some hams get their ticket the learning comes to a complete stop and never ever read a book let alone own or borrow an antenna book.
My favorite line I give people that say, “the G5RV is a good antenna.” My response is, “What did you compare it to?”

Enter the ATU: "With my antenna tuner I get a 1 to 1 SWR, what a great antenna !" No.....what a great tuner that does nothing to improve the ERP.

Parroting what you said, you can get almost everything you need at a box store to make a simple resonant dipole and that includes RG6 coax with F type connectors.

Thank you for the well written article.

Barry G. Kery, KU3X


 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by G3RZP on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Going back, the G5RV was often recommended as best fed with open wire line. Even the original article on it didn't use coax but 75ohm twin feeder from the bottom of the matching stub, but Louis also did recommend open wire line and a suitable balanced tuner.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KA3NXN on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Absolute laziness and the severe dumbing down of the hobby. I was asked by a guy who walked right out of the tech test that he passed, and he asked me what a farad was. WOW!!! I was left speechless. These are nothing more than appliance operators. Several were going to Best Buy to get their mobile audio department to install their mobile dual band radios since they can now use them. I told them they still couldn't use them until they got their actual call sign. I make every antenna that I use, even mobile ones. If I have to wind a BALUN or UNUN I'll look it up or buy a book on the subject and do it myself. That's my favorite part of the hobby. Using junk I have around the house to make antennas that I can use to talk around the world. God forbid we're in a disaster and you need an antenna to get on the air. I'm sorry folks but if HRO or others are out of business because of a disaster and I need to get on the air now, I'll hack some old extension cords and you'll find me on all HF and most VHF-UHF bands.

Learn something folks. That's what this hobby is all about.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by OZ8AGB on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Never bought a ham radio antenna. All is homebrew.
Got a new 80m horizontal loop up supported by 4 trees. Works great and cheap to build.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KD6UBX on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I see several hams here that are in the mindset that a baby should be potty trained at 6 months.

Don't critique the newbie to the hobby, enjoy what they enjoy and praise them for what they know and how they want to get started.

Don't run them off for being "dummies" for heavens sake.

Lotsa "smarty" hams looking down their noses at the newbies these days.
 
Ref: dumbing down comment Reply
by K0CBA on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!

Of course saying "dumbing down" is going to ruffle feathers!

However, it is sad to have been around to see what amateur radio was and now to see what it has become and where it is headed.

Sadly, after nearly sixty years licensed I am having more and more difficulty trying to pretend that I care.

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by WA5VGO on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
There are an awful lot of amateurs out there that equate VSWR to radiation efficiency. That’s unfortunate.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by W7ASA on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
By leading with the credit card instead of the mind, we have become weak, and for all practical purposes; stupid as a post modernist society.

At 8 years old, My friend Mark R. and I built a Lafayette KT-135 shortwave radio in the garage, by ourselves: hot soldering gun, mains line voltage & etc. It was the logical progression from crystal radios & etc. No big deal, along with go-karts, shooting, wood working, camping knives and kindling hatchets, all part of growing-up to be self reliant.


Western Civilisation was great;
a shame that it didn't last.

73 de Ray ..._ ._


 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by AB4KA on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I'm running an old-school "all band doublet"...102' of wire fed by 450 ohm ladder line. Works great! I did buy it pre-made, but for the simple fact that by the time I bought the wire and feedline, for just a couple of bucks more I could get the whole thing pre-assembled.

I'm one who likes to experiment with antennas. I have several books (frankly I much prefer them to looking online) and love to get ideas and try different things. Sadly I agree with the original post in that so many hams just aren't interested in experimenting. But if that's what works for them, so be it.

I think the biggest problem is that too many new hams think that ham radio is buying a $25 dual-band ht and hanging out on a local repeater, and when no one is there they give up. And lots of hams are on hf saying there's nothing there because they have no understanding of the sunspot cycle. In three or four years it will be a different story.

Time will tell.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K6WHP on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
K1LLR writes: "All you need is a tuner to fool the radio and yourself that you are doing good.g5rv is not resonant anywhere."

The G5RV is resonant and works quite nicely on 20 meters.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K4QM on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Well it does radiate a signal BUT I remember working a guy in Ohio on 75 meters and he was using a Heathkit Cantenna! Even a dummy load will put a signal on the air.

I too, build my antennas too. I have a 75/40 meter dipole in the attic that works better than the 5btv
in the back yard.

I agree that the hobby has been dumbed down by doping the code requirement a nd a few other things. I remember when you had to draw ckts and describe how other ckts worked to pass a test.

Better let things alone now and try to help the youngsters out.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by K7ZOV on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
In 1963 I got my novice license and put up a 40 meter dipole. My first wire antenna. Since then I have had many antennas and lot of wire ones also. Currently my QTH has a Tri-band beam at 40 ft, 6BTV Verical, BuckMaster 7 band HP OCF at 30 ft and oh yes a 102 ft G5RV at about 25 ft, with each ends at about 10 ft. How does the G5RV work out for me:
160 meter: 47 States. Missing HI,DE,AK.
80 meter: 49 States. Missing HI
60 meters: So far 20 States
40 Meters: WAS
30 meters: WAS
20 Meters: WAS
17 Meters: WAS
DX on ALL bands into Europe, Canada, South America and the Pacific even on 160 meters (except no DX from the Pacific as of yet). HOW is this possible? Not sure. I am using a IC-7300 driving a Elecraft KPA500 into a KAT500 ATU. I am typically running 50-400 watts on 160-40 meters with a SWR of <1.5 to 1 on all bands.
Can a G4RV work as a "real" antenna? Hell yes with the right tuner it seems. In one year I got 47 States, England, Spain, and other DX on 160 meters and 49 States and a long list of DX on 80 meters using a 40-10 meter version of a G5RV. To say the antenna is a dummy load is total BS. To say the antenna is not worth putting up is also total BS. If mine can do what it has done, then others can do the same... I do know the KAT500 ATU might have a lot to do with it since is seems to a outstanding ATU. I have not tired other ATU's with the G5RV. I don't need any tuner with the other antennas, just the G5RV. But I will say that this "compromise" antenna has done one hell of a job for me and put some serious smiles on my face. It has been up for 7yrs now and is NOT coming down for any reason other then mother nature, then it will go right back up.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K8QV on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Wow! It's been a long time since someone has knocked the venerable G5RV and those who use them. Here's the story - a long time ago G5RV came up with a good 20 meter antenna design that could easily be pressed into service on other bands. Often, it is possible to buy a properly made wire antenna for just about what you would spend in materials, not to mention the construction time. Why this irritates some people so much is beyond me.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KX2T on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I built the computerized version of the G5RV after doing some research on how efficient the standard G5RV was not plus the gross mismatch on several bands, this version was the ZS6BKW which is a few feet shorter but the twin lead feed line is longer plus it uses 450 ohm line into a modified 1:1 Balun then coax. I wanted to reduce feed line losses on any band it covers including 75 meters so I modified as per W5DXP's site the balun with 700Pf in series with the center conductor of the coax just before the baluns.
End results is 2:1 in SWR at 3.775 and about 200Khz bandwidth before it goes above 3:1 then I use a tuner, 40m under 1.5:1 across the whole band, NO 30m, 20m its under 2:1 across the whole band, 17m under 1.5, NO 15m, 12m under 1.5 and almost the whole 10 meter band under 2:1 except the very high end its 3:1 plus it works on six at about 2:1 at the calling spot. Again as I stated I use no tuner unless I need to go above 3.875 or below 3.650 in which it may be slight above 3:1 but at those parts of the band its still radiates.
I have used this antenna comparing it to an OCF dipole and its a close call with the BKW always being slightly better and the only antennas that seem to works slightly better are resonate dipoles but not having to use the tuner this BKW is way above the G5RV and operation on 20&40 are better than any dipole I have used on those bands plus some gain in certain directions. I would not call the G5RV a dummy load but it is plainly not as efficient of an antenna as the ZS6BKW, then again your mileage may vary.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by W1RKW on April 30, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
The hobby hasn't been dumbed down. The licensing requirement is been made less rigorous.

Homebrewing is alive and well.

 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by K4EQ on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, the hobby has changed a lot since I was licensed in 1960, but I wish hams would stop talking about it being "dumbed down." Technology has changed incredibly in the past 60 years and ham radio and society have changed with it. I may not like all the changes, but it is what it is and we need to encourage newcomers to the hobby. Most of us kids as young Novices were fairly "dumb" when it came to the technology even back then. Subsequent experience through the years has been a great teacher.

As for the G5RV . . . yes, it is somewhat of a compromise antenna on bands other than 20 meters. But by golly it works. I've built several through the years for myself and others and they were used on 80-10 meters with thousands of contacts. Probably one of the worst bands for the G5RV is 80 meters, but I've had success with it even on that band. When we lived in Honduras years ago (I was W9NXD/HR2 then), I used a G5RV in the 1984 ARRL International DX Contest. I have a beautiful ARRL plaque in my shack for winning 1st place in the world for 80 meters CW. And that was with 100 watts. So much for "a very good dummy load."
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K6CRC on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Every time I hear the hobby is 'dumbed down', I ask how many OFs can program a Arduino, use a smart phone, or even write a simple Python program. Many new hams don't care about CW, open wire antennas, and such. They may have different interest.
Insulting people doesn't help the hobby, and it needs all the help it can get holding on to members.

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N7KFD on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!


K6CRC - thank you for saying that, I wouldn't have been so polite. I won't disagree with the fact that most folks could build their own antennas and I personally don't understand why someone would spend $100 on a pile of wire but I'm also tired of hearing, "When I was licensed in 1926 I built the tubes that I used for the amplifier that I built to use with my homebrew radio." The hobby isn't dumb and insulting people licensed in the last twenty years helps absolutely nothing. If you want to build your own antenna go ahead, if you want to build a rocket ship out of tubes go ahead, but stop putting everyone down that was licensed after 1953.

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N7KFD on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!

I'm apologizing for my previous post, it was written in haste and I should stopped and thought it through before I wrote it. My feelings haven't changed but I could have been more diplomatic.

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K6OFG on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
No need to apologize for what you said from the heart. I too am tired of these old timers criticizing those of us that got into the hobby after the 50's or 60's. Geese, I wasn't even born until 1950.
Yes,I build my own antennas but I hook them up to a radio I bought and can't even begin to understand how to design.
The G5RV I put together works fine for me with the tuner that some techie designed and an assembly line put together.
We don't all have to be electronic techies to enjoy the hobby of amateur radio. We just want to enjoy it.
Steve,
k6ofg.
A non techie enjoying the hobby.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by WA7SGS on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Buy me a fully equipped and stocked shop so I can play at building antennae. For me it is much cheaper to buy the various ones I currently own from those who are set up to properly engineer and manufacture them. Everything from longer antennae for my HT's to those used on HF. VHF and UHF is my selection. Money saved. Time saved. Reliability observed. I am an amateur radio OPERATOR, not some highly specialized antenna engineer with massive resources to build the desired antennae.

Besides, there is no place for me to set up such a shop even if I had the money to do so. I live in an apartment!

For the purist haters out there, KMA,

Rick
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by AC2RY on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
G5RV (actually it's modification ZS6BKV) installed at 45 feet height worked for me on all bands from 10 to 160 meters. It allowed me to work (from NJ) stations in Norway, Antarctica, New Zealand, Japan. All contacts were made using SSB. The key here - remote tuner at the bottom of window line. Optimized dimensions allow tuner convert complex impedance from that antenna to pure 50+0j ohms for coax feed to work. Without window line of optimized length, I would have install tuner at 45 feet and make it work much harder to tune straight dipole.

 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by N8AUC on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I often wonder that myself.
Why would you buy an HF wire antenna? It makes no sense to me.
You can make a half wave dipole in about 30 minutes.
Feed it directly with coax, and you're good to go.
And it's a lot less expensive than buying one.

I can see buying a yagi. Most people don't have the tools to work with the tubing.
But wire is easy to work with.

When I was first starting out, I had a ground mounted 4BTV that I got used for $50.
It worked OK. But about 6 months after that, I built
my first wire antenna, and have never ever purchased
an HF antenna again.

I wouldn't say ham radio has been dumbed down. And I
wouldn't say newbies are stupider that I was back when
I was getting started. I did some pretty dumb stuff
back then, but I survived and learned from it.
The requirements have changed, for sure.
But the spirit is still there.

Two things need to happen:
1) Us older guys need to get off our "high horse" and elmer the newbies,
and not be so critical of them. Remember, we once were where they are now.

2) Newbies need to not be so proud and be willing
to learn from the older guys. Memorizing the questions
and answers from a Gordon West book, doesn't mean you
know everything. It got you past the test, and that's
where we all started. For some of us is was longer ago
that for others. Experience, and a degree from "hard
knocks state university" has value.

A wise man once explained to me that knowledge is what
you learn from your own mistakes, and wisdom is what
you learn from the mistakes of others. He followed
that by affirming that wisdom is preferable to
knowledge.

Be kind to the new guys. You were one once, too.

73 de N8AUC
Eric
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KE6SLS on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!

I will issue a stern "Thumbs Down" to this article and most of the mind numbing comments.

The G5RV is a very good antenna for many a ham and can be "bent" to fit a small lot and enables a ham to get on the air "effectively." Other antennas offer other benefits to differing installations. They are all fun to build.

75ohm ribbon ?? Clue into "what is coax." 75ohm coax is absolutely fine for HF/VHF/UHF work if you know what you are doing and genuinely understand line loss @ frequency vs gain from amp or antenna. My first 2500 or so radio contacts were brought to me by using old cable tv 75ohm coax and I am so very grateful for the old tech that gave it to me!

Everyone is dumbing down. So I will note it and help myself and others master the idea of learning more. We're all stupid, then something magic happens--we start LEARNING more and more, then we tend to share what we know so we can learn even more. Later, when we least expect it, WISDOM happens to us. After that, we figure out how to use the notion of temperance and patience with a good dose of empathy.

There is no such thing as an "antenna tuner", it's a match box and it enables us match impedance for an unbalanced output on a contemporary 50ohm radio and it too is magic.

Hats off to all you goofs that built or bought a G5RV! I bet you are still having fun and that is what it's about.

73
j
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KC7MF on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
If ham radio dies it will be many of the above folks who kill it. What a load of arrogance.

I have in mind the guy who passed his general last weekend at the hamfest. He just put up his G5RV from HRO and made a few contacts. He is enjoying the hobby and looking forward to years doing it. And along come you guys.

Mr. 'I been a ham since before electricity.' 'I can blow my own glass tubes and suck my own vacuum.' Anyone who does not mine their own copper, smelt it and twist their own dipole is no kinda' ham like me.'

Come on guys.

The majority of you could not pass the extra test today without a great deal of study. And how would YOU do that study? Approach one of these guys above who do not even respect what you are trying to do? Right.

You claim to be the font of knowledge of ham radio because you can measure two pieces of copper wire but that new guy is no kind'a ham because he prefers to buy an antenna? Trust me. Making a dipole is no claim to ham radio sagacity. And just about every one of you who has a Yagi, bought it.

You have disdain for the new ham because you used to own a tube tester. I get it. You know Morse code. But the code you don't know and that the new guy probably does is the computer code that makes that new Icom whatever on your desk work. And, oh by the way, the box you are reading this on too. You want to be a knowledgeable ham? Forget Millihenrys and learn C# or Javascript. That is the future of the hobby and at the heart of it now.

We geezers need to get over ourselves. We need to stop denigrating new hams young and old. We need to start acting like Elmers and not a bunch of arrogant old men.

The dumbing down of Amateur radio is more about a bunch of backward looking know-it-all's than it is about hopeful new people looking to the future. I wonder why they try at all in the face of criticism and the constant reminder that in the eyes of the people they want to emulate, they are second class citizens.

Reading this thread made me angry. Can you tell? Just who in the hell do some of you people think you are? And what do you think this hobby is about? It has evolved. Guess who hasn't.

I want the new guy who just put up his G5RV and is enjoying his new hobby to know that I, for one, am glad he is here and hope he will do me the kindness of coming back to my CQ. And if I should be able to humbly share what experience I have with him I will be sure that it will come along with a big dose encouragement and respect. I hope some of you can learn to do that too. It is the most important lesson some of you never learned.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KJ4DGE on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
When I was 30 years young, I walked over to a shopping center and two 8 year olds on skateboards came whipping around me on the sidewalk. The first one looked back at the second one and stated "Look out Tommy for that old man! I will forever remember that. You can never stop learning at ANY age. To the kids I looked old but yeah it bit to hear it :)

Let younger HAMs be themselves today and listen to them, offer your learned advice but then again you might want to take up skateboarding at 68 or ride a jet ski.

The key to any good antenna is to experiment with and use it. As to waiting a few years for HF to get better, I worked S71DX and AM7OL in the last two days in the late afternoon using my crappy home brew 20 meter bamboo vertical I recently wrote about here. Band openings folks! Look for the times that occur and you can work well even under bad solar cycles. Spain by the way I had never logged before.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KB2DHG on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I have been using my HOME MADE G5RV for literally 30 years. I have worked the world with it and it works well on 40-20 and 80, 15 and 10 with a tuner.
It is 105 feet long with 30 feet of ladder line connected to coax.. It is a great multi band antenna and so cheap and easy to build.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K4PIH on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Credit card hams. They always reveal themselves!
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by WB2JNA on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
No doubt plenty of people use the G5RV and like it. I always wondered why not just use window line the whole way? You'll probably use a tuner anyway, less coax will minimize losses. And you can make a kind of window line out of coax to get the feedline run past metal or any interfering objects, if necessary. As a side note, looking thru my log it seems I worked G5RV about twenty years ago. Yep, said his name was "Louis." I didn't even realize it at the time! I assume it was legit . . .
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KX2T on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
There is nothing wrong with the G5RV, like was said before it was designed for a 20m antenna that had some gain in Somme directions plus could play on other bands if a tuner was used, once the tuner is placed in line its only job is to keep the transmitter happy for most SS final sections, back when the G5RV was designed many of the tube transmitters could match a much wider miss match. The one thing that most do not understand is the efficiency of the antenna if there is a miss match present and by today's standards that would reduce the effective radiated power from such antennas because the power would be absorbed in the matching device. This is were the variants of the G5RV come in handy like the ZS6KBW cause the less you have to use an antenna tuner the more radiated power you will have from that antenna and not the lose of power in the antenna tuner.
Except for bands like 160, 30 and 15 meters the BKW turns out to be a more efficient version of the G5RV.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N1OEY on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Agree with that statement 100% as a new but old in age licensee.

Making it uncomfortable for new folks to ask questions or ask opinions doesn't help what I see as a dying hobby.

If anything the folks that are in that realm should offer classes to new people in regard especially to antennas since that's the most confusing aspect to many new people. Me included.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N1OEY on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by G3RZP on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
KC7MF said:
>>>Forget Millihenrys and learn C# or Javascript. That is the future of the hobby and at the heart of it now.<<<

If there's no knowledge about RF and antennas and transmitters and receivers but only about writing code,
then it isn't amateur RADIO. Amateur code writing, yes, but NOT AMATEUR RADIO!

Now that is where us OFs tend to differentiate. I don't have a clue about OVM or VHDL - because I have an in-house expert - the XYL - who travelled the world running training courses on such things for a living until she get tired of the travelling and retired last year at age 58.

If C# or Javascript is the future of the hobby and at the heart of it now, then we don't need bands, just the internet.....because that approach leads to people treating the radio side, including antennas, as just another internet interface which they don't need to understand. That is not what the ITU defines as the 'Amateur Service' and then the whole reason for radio allocations for amateurs disappears...
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by G3RZP on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
KC7MF said:
>>>Forget Millihenrys and learn C# or Javascript. That is the future of the hobby and at the heart of it now.<<<

If there's no knowledge about RF and antennas and transmitters and receivers but only about writing code,
then it isn't amateur RADIO. Amateur code writing, yes, but NOT AMATEUR RADIO!

Now that is where us OFs tend to differentiate. I don't have a clue about OVM or VHDL - because I have an in-house expert - the XYL - who travelled the world running training courses on such things for a living until she get tired of the travelling and retired last year at age 58.

If C# or Javascript is the future of the hobby and at the heart of it now, then we don't need bands, just the internet.....because that approach leads to people treating the radio side, including antennas, as just another internet interface which they don't need to understand. That is not what the ITU defines as the 'Amateur Service' and then the whole reason for radio allocations for amateurs disappears...
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by K7LZR on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a believer in building too and have certainly done my share. But there are a lot of good reasons to buy an antenna rather than build. Many commercial antennas are manufactured to a standard which the average home builder cannot duplicate. Also, many people do not have the time and/or expertise to build the types of high quality antennas which are produced by commercial entities whom are properly equipped.

Regarding the G5RV design - I used one for years and did well with it but it was up high and in the clear so perhaps that is why. If constructed & used correctly then it can perform pretty well.




 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by AC2RY on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Some ask: why would one buys wire antenna?

The answer is rather simple: when you need to buy all necessary components, you already spend 70% of what ready made antenna can be bought for. Some say: we already have all these components, but imagine that you do NOT. And you do NOT have time to go through garage/junk sales or hamfests. You just have $100 and want antenna. This is not a big price to pay, considering that you may need to purchase other things needed for radio to work.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by VA2DV on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that it’s not difficult to build a simple antenna but keep in mind that many newcomers need to operate to get hooked to the hobby.
Electronic parts stores are becoming very scarce and the web is becoming the only source for most components, including coax and simple stranded copper wire.
It’s like comparing F1 racing and Nascar ; one is based on cutting-edge technology and the other is more old school style. Both attract racing fans...
The same new ham that put up a store bought G5RV is probably able to program and setup a Raspberry Pi for digital modes.
Just a sign of times.
Now excuse me, I have to tell my neighbor he is not a real astronomer since he didn’t built his telescope.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K6CRC on May 1, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
There is a lot of good info on simple antennas is ARRL books, or on one of many ham websites.
I have a small lot and no desire to have antennas all over it. I put up an inverted L (up 30' out 54') with a few radials and a auto tuner at the base Have maybe $400 in it including the tuner. Works well.
Some claim an L with a 9:1 Unun cut to a 'magic' length works well 80-10. I could not get 40 AND 80 with SWR less than 10:1. Others could, so maybe you could get by on the cheap with your rig's internal tuner.
Efficient? Sort of, but not likely worse than the low dipoles that many told me to use. Still reading articles and books, maybe I will find something better.
Also, the end-feds you see work fairly well. Mostly single band, but I used one on 40 for a long time when I had a 20-10 vertical.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by WA5VGO on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
“Forget Millihenrys and learn C# or Javascript.”

Nothing wrong with writing code but it isn’t radio. Millihenries is. The hobby is amateur radio, not amateur computers.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KC7MF on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
"Nothing wrong with writing code but it isn’t radio. Millihenries is. The hobby is amateur radio, not amateur computers"

Tell that to the WAS on FT-8 and the endless whine of PSK. Tell that to the guy who built every single new radio on the market. There is not a one that is not a computer controlled radio.

My point is not that you need to learn to write code. It is to say that new hams do not need to know how to test vacuum tubes or how to build about anything.

And the fact is that except in the very beginning neither did anyone else except to pass a test. The overwhelming majority of hams always have built all but a small amount of their kit. I am tired of listening to geezers denigrate new hams because they don't know how to build an amplifier from a tin can, a fish hook and a radiator. Then accuse these new folks of "dumbing down" radio. The guys who changed radio more profoundly in recent years than all of the engineers combined are the guys who programmed FT-8 or PSK-31, etc. Or wrote the code that controls the IC-7300 and 7610.....and just about every other radio on the market. In other words, in today's world of transceivers and user interfaces (a computer term) it is programming that is defining radio and not so much advanced electronic design.

And that is why it is so disappointing when we have old timers looking down their noses at new hams because they do not embrace the same stuff that was popular 'back in the day'. The fact is that 60 years ago you could walk into the radio store, plunk down your money and walk out with a complete S-line station and your new Mosley antenna. And a great many hams did. It is good for us to remember that.

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KJ4DGE on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I just built a bird feeder out of a plastic sandwich meat bowl and a small plastic Folgers canister with a lid. First part holds the seeds the coffee can is the feed line, hung it with 14 gauge wire to a tree limb to keep the squirrels from chewing through it. Works most wild birds species without a tuner. Only cost was the 30 dollar game camera I hung nearby to show the "results".

Take the lemons and make lemonade...... :)


Duck tape is your friend!

 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KK6HUY on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Oh good, another thread where newbies get slammed. Called "appliance operators" and the like. Lovely.

Perhaps we can then do the usual and howl about how nobody takes ham radio seriously anymore.

With a welcome like this, who would?
 
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by K3VO on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
In my post about G5RV antennas I ended by saying talk to older hams to learn more about the hobby.
Our club on Wed nights has a forum on 2 meters for new hams to answer their questions. Its hosted by us old guys to the hobby. The number one question is antennas, We feel its important for new hams to learn about the tech part of the hobby. It is a technical hobby. Otherwise it becomes a CB hobby.
 
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by KI6WDX on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I bought rather than construct a G5RV antenna because for me, the cost between making it myself vs. already assembled from a manufacture was better. But my old G5RV was high in the air above ground at about 40 ft. with the ladder line stretched at an angle connected to a 1:1 balun from the same mfg. and using only 100 watts at times, I was able to reach out to Europe, South America, Australia, South Africa and all the way to the South Pole using the PSK31 mode and 30 watts. There are many hills and mountains between my QTH and the next QSO, but since the old G5RV worked so well until old man winter took care in bringing it down, I'm putting up a new G5RV at a height of about the same and this time, I'm forgoing using a pulley like the old G5RV had to raise it. And I will apply some spray paint to each leg of the G5RV due the oxidation of the copper legs the old antenna found itself in having and no, I don't live in a HOA housing tract to hide the copper wire legs of the G5RV!
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K1SPD on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you
 
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by KI4WCQ on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
It's time to face the truth. Truth is, if you weren't licensed prior to someone else you are less than worthy to consider yourself a ham. Even more so if you weren't licensed before 1960, 1970, or whenever. Marconi probably looked down on all those that followed him.
 
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by K3DGR on May 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
... Been using a 80 m DOUBLET for 25 years!, fed with 300 ohm windows line (100 ft spool), 4:1 current balun in the shack and with a LDG AT100Pro2 ATU..Added coils to the ends to make top band and now I can operate ONE wire antenna on ALL bands and with the ATU, memorizes the settings for each band....Should have gone to this all band doublet years ago back in '57 when I was a novice!!..The G5RV is a very convenient antenna but does NOT work well (lossy & efficiency suffers) on all the bands - like mentioned before - it was designed for 20M!!..73's Dave,K3DGR
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K9MHZ on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
“Truth is, if you weren't licensed prior to someone else you are less than worthy to consider yourself a ham.”

OM, do you seriously believe that? Maybe you wrote it tongue-in-cheek and I just missed it.

Good grief.
 
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by KM6ZYC on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting read. As a newcomer I think I might chime in, as I only got started February this year and until now had no idea what a G5RV antenna is. I was trying to read about antennas and stumbled into this.

That being said, I am an experienced veteran in several other unrelated hobbies, and often hear the exact same discussion about the newcomers being lesser than we were when we were young. I guess it's a cultural thing.

On the technical side, as a relative newcomer, the choices in bands, HF, VHF/ UHF, transceivers, antennas, antenna tuners, operating modes, mobile vs. base station, etc. are all mind numbing. The only thing they all have in common is they seem to communicate in some way. How is a newcomer to know which antenna to get? The stores are in the business of selling stuff. They're not going to say, here's plans to build an effective antenna from things you find around your home. From the technician and general licensing manuals, even I know every antenna design has to make compromises somewhere and there's no such thing as one antenna that "does it all." Not even the G5RV. This is where some mentorship could help. Ask the new guys what they want to do. There's a reason they took the exam to get the license.

I get it, not all the new guys even want or are willing to learn. Many probably don't even know what they want, i.e. a rig and antenna that "does it all". There's been people like that from the beginning of time, and today is no exception. But please don't take it out on the next new person, who honestly does want to learn and wants to use best practices in operating his or her station. Maybe he or she doesn't know the difference between a Fahrenheit and a Farad, but at least they're asking the question and trying to learn.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KJ4DGE on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
What he just said :)

Peace on earth, Good DX to all.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by W5DXP on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
The G5RV antenna gives reasonable performance on 80m, 40m, 20m, and 12m and not too bad on 15m.

http://www.karinya.net/g3txq/g5rv/
https://www.w8ji.com/g5rv_facts.htm
Note: "On the air testing" at the bottom.

The ZS6BKW gives reasonable performance on 40m, 20m, 17m, 12m, and 10m.

http://www.w5dxp.com/ZS6BKW80/ZS6BKW80.HTM

Antennas is one area where homebrew projects work just as well as commercial products.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by G8ADD on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
There is nothing terrible about the G5RV, in fact it is quite a clever design. Basically it is a doublet (remember those?) cut to a length that on 20 metres gives four lobes in its azimuth radiation pattern - four nulls, too, but you could orientate it for the best coverage of wanted directions from your location. In its original design it was fed with open wire feeder and in the article describing it G5RV even included instructions on how to make the open wire feeder (Radio Communication, July 1984, pp.572-575.) Fed in this way it works well on all bands, 160m - 6m, though with some loss of efficiency on 160m and only a few percent loss on 80m. In this form it is a genuine all band antenna. The version commonly sold with coax feed to a 300 ohm matching line will work on a handful of bands, but the best plan is to forget the coax, buy more 300 ohm window line, splice it onto the matching section and run it to a good tuner in the shack.

As for why anyone would buy a wire antenna - in my home city (the original Birmingham) when I was first licensed I could nip into the city centre, buy wire, coax and insulators from any one of half a dozen shops, go home and have a working antenna the same day. Now there is literally nowhere in Birmingham where I can buy the makings, I have to order it, wait several days for it to arrive - and pay postage on top of the catalogue price. Buying a ready built antenna costs so little more that maybe it just isn't worth the hassle of building it, I could just go ahead with installing it. Of course, buying the makings is better if I want to experiment, but a newby wants a proven design for his first antenna.

As for dumbing down, they say that with increasing age your IQ diminishes, so all us oldies are dumbing down! Sad, isn't it?

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by G8JNJ on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
There is nothing inherently wrong with the G5RV or the ZS6BKW version.

It gets folks on the air and that's a good thing which may hopefully lead to further experimentation, especially if encouraged by other more experienced hams.

There are plenty of other (very expensive) commercial antennas (especially verticals) and designs on the internet, that get excellent reviews on Eham but which actually perform a lot worse than a G5RV or its variant's.

I just wish folks would perform some basic antenna tests and measurements, which is easier than ever, by using the many free on-line resources such as PSK reporter, WSPR, or WEB SDR's to name but a few.

https://www.pskreporter.info/

http://wsprnet.org/drupal/

http://rx.linkfanel.net/

http://www.websdr.org/


Regards,

Martin - G8JNJ



 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N9VO on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I worked 150 countries on a G5RV with 100 watts before I found out the G5RV didnt work very well. Thanks.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by W5DXP on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
The combination of AutoEZ and EZNEC allows me to calculate the differences in a G5RV fed with 75 ft of RG8x vs a 130 ft dipole fed with 100 ft of RG8x, both antennas at 40 ft over average ground. The following values are for broadside radiation on 3.8 MHz.

With 100 watts input, the dipole radiates 53 watts with a gain of 3.6 dBi at an elevation angle of 45 degrees.

With 100 watts input, the G5RV radiates 40 watts with a gain of 2.2 dBi at an elevation angle of 45 degrees.

The dipole is 1.4 dB better than the G5RV. That's 1/4 of one S-unit. On my IC-756PRO S-meter, that's about the width of the S-meter needle at the low end of the scale. It's difficult to imagine any situation in which I would ever notice that difference.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by WB6FQZ on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I buy my antennas at The Home Depot.
It takes a brave ham that can admit to buying a wire antenna.....unknown author.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K9MHZ on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
“But please don't take it out on the next new person, who honestly does want to learn and wants to use best practices in operating his or her station.”

I think this is way, way more perception than reality. The vast majority couldn’t care less if you’re new or experienced. Obsessing over curmudgeons who are meanies isn’t productive. I’ll bet that if you take an afternoon to research the science on a project or area of interest, you will have probably done more in your ham radio experience than they ever have.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by AA4LR on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
For years, I used a G5RV-style ~100 foot untuned doublet fed with open wire on virtually all bands. It worked OK.

Somewhere along the line, I decided to put up an 80/40m trap dipole to replace it. I made my own traps, using a design program for creating traps out of wound coax cable.

It worked, and considerably better than my previous untuned doublet. I went on to build a two-trap antenna for 30/17/12m, put up inverted-V style, and it has worked very well indeed. I've learned a lot about trap antennas. I've since learned that the coax traps have low-Q and are lossy, and since moved to using discrete coils and capacitors.

I had a 160/80/40m trap inverted L that worked like gangbusters up in the quiet woods of north Georgia fed with 24 radials.

My next design will be an 80/40/20m dipole with better designed traps. I'll be putting up two of these soon.

G5RVs, 88' dipoles and untuned doublets all work, but a well-designed trap antenna will out-perform them on a couple of bands. The secret is to eliminate loss.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KX2T on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Loss is key in a trapped antenna but when you lower the loss you increase Q and that limits bandwidth so as far as a trapped antenna besting either the G5RV or the ZS6KBW well it would be a toss of the coin, the BKW would have lower loss on more bands then the the G5RV and if a mod is done like what W5DXP site shows to the balun you can get better efficiency out of that antenna on 75m. A full sized dipole will always be best but in most cases the differences will not even be close to a s unit.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by 2E0VSS on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Just to let folks on here know the facts and to dispel the myth.
I had on film the lecture G5RV Louis Varney gave to the Norfolk radio club and he states on film that is was indeed built as a Multiband Antenna and not solely as a 20 metre antenna that worked other bands.
Can we please once and for all put an end to this notion that many people have that it was built primarily as a 20 metre antenna.

73
Mark
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by G8ADD on May 3, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
From Louis Varneys own article of 1984:

"In contradistinction to multiband antennas in general, the full-size G5RV antenna was not designed as a (half wave) dipole on the lowest frequency of operation, but as a 3/2 (wave) dipole on 14 MHz, ... The design center frequency of the full size version is 14.150 MHz," (Sorry about the bracketed bits, I couldn't be bothered to look up how to type a lambda!)

The quote shows why people think it was designed primarily as a 20 metre antenna, but fed as a doublet with open wire feeder (as Varney said, the most efficient way) it is naturally a multiband antenna.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K2MMO on May 4, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Totally agree I built a multi band dipole with wire I bought at Home Depot.My dipole does rings around my Cushcraft R8
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K9MHZ on May 4, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
^^^^ Smart man. G5RV wars are nothing compared to what may erupt over HF verticals.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by W5DXP on May 4, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Come to your own conclusions about vertical vs dipole:

https://i.postimg.cc/rmVS2SK8/20mVvsD.png
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by G3RZP on May 4, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
For a long time, my experience with verticals was 'an antenna that radiates equally poorly in all directions'. Here, however, my tower at 60 feet top loaded with beams bonded to the tower as capacity hats through a tuner at the base has gone very well and the tower fed as a folded unipole on on 160 and 80. No radials, but thick, wet Oxford clay from about 4 inches down. Adding radials saw no change in feed impedance, and no current in them, either on the ground or elevated. So I figured they didn't do anything....

I think verticals can definitely be case of 'YMMV'.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by W4VR on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
lazy
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K5AX on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
If you want to see another thing that an 80-10M G5RV is good for, see W5SG's QRZ page.
73 de Tom
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by N1KWW on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
When I first joined the hobby antennas were something that allowed television signals to magically appear as a picture or radio reception. Purchased ARRL's antenna book and the rest is history. The magic formula, wire, insulators and sling shot and off to the races. One hundred sixty meter loop 580 feet of wire. Fan dipoles, rotatable dipole for 10 meters. J-Pole from ladder line. Never used baluns or chokes. Location restraints, HOA's and NIMBY"s reduce options but where there is a will there's a way.
 
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by AH7I on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!

There was an old ham in the old neighborhood who always said, "this countries going to hell in a hand basket". That was over 50 years ago.

I'm currently using an ~106' doublet at ~ 65' and fed with 450 ohm ladder line through a balanced "tuner". The G5RV is essentially the same antenna with a tad more loss due to the difference in matching.

It would be hard to tell the difference between the two both at 65'. Hanging between two 10' posts or as an inverted V with a 20' high apex, a doublet or a dipole will be much more satisfactory than the G5RV with it's matching section laying on the ground or tied to a post.

With 50 years in, I qualify as OTer. I did not know squat when I started. I got lucky and put a 40m dipole up about 40'. Working KH6IJ, who was kind enough to come up above 7100 kc and QRS to 5% of his top speed was a novice highlight.

The best thing for a new ham is someone who is willing to take the time. Time to work him on CW. Time to consider what options he has for an antenna and help him with something that will work FOR HIS SITUATION. A store bought G5RV is not for everyone. But neither are most antennas... store bought or home built. Also, there are many aspects of ham radio that do not require a "good" permanent antenna. The newer digital modes or old fashioned traffic handling can be enjoyed with a compromise antenna. Consider the guys working 40m CW mobile....

The worst antenna is no antenna!

 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KD2HPQ on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Hams generally have great difficulty understanding the concept of division of labor. "I've NEVER BOUGHT A GOSH-DANGED ANTENNA IN MY LIFE I JUST BUILD THEM WHY ANYBODY WOULD SPEND $80 ON SOMETHING THEY CAN BUILD IN LESS THAN THREE DAYS, WHY THEY CAN JUST HANG A ...."

Yes, some of us (like me) are lazy, and prefer buying something out of the box to dealing with the often extremely frustrating steps of building, testing, hanging, and servicing home made antennas. The one or two or ten hours (or days!) I save by buying instead of building is time I could spend doing countless other things I enjoy more, like actually OPERATING instead of tinkering.

Ham lore is chock full of such nonsense as, "just throw a wire into a tree and you're all set!!"

Just the other day I tried to redeploy my 81' end-fed to be about 15' higher. I didn't have the right launch equipment, and since the leaves on my trees were already out it took me four hours, after which I was able to raise the antenna only about 7' from its original position.

The end result was NOT WORTH FOUR HOURS OF MY TIME. The average hourly wage in the US is $28. Most hams I know who are not retired make at least that.

As a new ham I have found every step of everything I've ever tried to do to be frustrating, sometimes to the point where I have been ready to sell everything and concentrate on activities with a higher reward-for-time-spent. The two clubs in my area talk the talk but when it actually comes down to helping new hams they fall way short.

ARRL, in its infinite wisdom, acts as if the typical amateur tinkerer, in his 60s or 70s (I'm being generous -- most are probably older) will live forever or that replacements will magically appear when people in my generation die. ARRL has no structured education or training, so everything we learn must be acquired peacemeal, from videos and articles, and hearsay, which sad to note is often bupkes.

And that, Mr. Original Poster, is why hams buy instead of build. We're still working, we still have families and homes to take care of, and we have multiple other interests.

Yes it's satisfying to build, to create, and to use the products of your ingenuity and handiwork to further enjoyment. But sometimes it just makes more sense to spend the $149.99 + S&H than to spend a week plugging wires into meters, soldering too-small components, trimming for optimal SWR (only to find the aerial doesn't tune for a second band or in a different part of the band), and hunting down specs for testing and validating your creation.

Ham radio will continue to decline in developed countries unless we lose this better-than-thou posturing from older hams about DIY.

Angelo DePalma
KD2HPQ

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by NN2X on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
My son is now studying for the Tech license, he is 12 years old.

I took this exam back in early 1970's (I was about 14) (Novice class)

Yes, it is different and yes the exam is watered down dramatically, not to mentioned no code.

The test today is in a pool of questions (400+), and you can memorize the exam over the weekend, having said that, you can get through the exam even faster by learning material. (As I am doing with my son)

I can say in the 1970's you had to have a natural interest in your DNA to drive you to pass the exam This element of interest is not required today, you can pass the exam, just because you feel like it.

I know when I took the exam, in 1970's you had to be very interested to work the world with a piece of wire. If the drive and will was there, one will take on all the obstacles required to pass the exam. Those challenges are gone for today's new Ham Operators

The rub is following. The manufacturers have to sell, and they thought by lowering the standards they would sell more radios...(They hit hard on lobbying for this (Lower standards), now that this did not grow at the rate which was in the sales pipe line, I can predict that in a few decades there will be no licence / or test required. Or so low of a standard, all you do is show up..

All good, see you on the bands, and wish my son luck, he will be taking the Tech exam in a few weeks (I am teaching him the theory). Between is final exams at school, and other activities, we are taking at a slow pace!

C U On the bands

NN2X



 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KE8IWM on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
At my previous QTH I started out with a roll-your-own G5RV and as parts failed due to poor construction practices, I just ran the window lead directly to the back of the antenna matcher. Both configurations brought me plenty of contacts.

Now, 25 or so years later, I'm back to scrounging in the garage and getting ready to set up an HF station again.

In the interim, I've learned to solder SMT components and troubleshoot all kinds of electronic circuitry.

I'm still learning and experimenting. I will cast no aspersions on the newer folks coming into the fold. We should be glad to have them.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K9MHZ on May 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
“Ham radio will continue to decline in developed countries unless we lose this better-than-thou posturing from older hams about DIY. “

It’s not happening, OM. And what’s “declining” about ham radio, at least in the U.S.? Lots of feelings and perceptions, but not reality-based or factual at all.

Lighten up, smile, and enjoy yourself.

 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KN6BJD on May 6, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a new ham but I'm also an old engineer (EECS). I took my technician exam last month and the volunteer examiners were nothing but welcoming and supportive. As an old guy (a few years away from retirement age) I can understand grizzled old guys like me with attitudes and resentment of new technologies (better known as Luddites) but I did not see that during my examination.

I am by training and experience a digital-minded engineer and I also write code (i.e. software) and I wonder how accepting of SDR those who cherish the old days are for new technology. I have to confess that the analog side of the test material is both intimidating and difficult for my old brain to process while the digital side is second nature and trivial. I never studied power or analog in the late '70s when I was in school and focused almost entirely on digital and software because that is what was happening after the Cold War ended. All of those Cold Warriors were working at 7-Eleven after losing their microwave and radar jobs in the defense sector and here I was majoring in engineering when it was really unpopular when I went through undergraduate and graduate school, seemingly with no future but perhaps a job at 7-Eleven.

Then, something wonderful happened called Silicon Valley when the semiconductors took over where tubes left off and being an engineer was fashionable again. Revenge of the nerds, so to speak.

Amateur radio is a combination of old and new, analog and digital, low-tech and high-tech. It is a wonderful hobby. I'm very strong on the digital and software side but woefully weak in the analog space where RF focuses. I feel revitalized, my wife is amazed to see me buried in the books/ebooks again, striving to score 100% on the exams and asking for budget to buy equipment. It has provided me with an intellectual renewal that is both stimulating and intimidating.

I'm immune to bitter old Luddites criticizing my naivete' and ignorance of the good ole' days and I am here to learn as much as I can about how I can develop into a good citizen in the amateur radio space. Some day, I look forward to passing on what little knowledge I acquire and be able to recruit new members of this slightly exclusive club. The more I learn the less I know and that is a good thing.

My advice is to stay humble and stay awesome.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KQ6XA on May 6, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
There are many excellent commercially sold antennas that are economical, well engineered, and effective. I love homebrewing and teaching others about antennas (as my websites show). But, often you can get just what you need at a good price simply by getting it delivered to your door by Amazon :)
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by AB0RE on May 7, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Repeat after me: "I {state your name}, {state your callsign} have been triggered by the G5RV."

The ability to cut two pieces of wire to 234/Freq, attach to a center insulator, and trim to resonance does not necessarily make one any better of a ham than those who buy their antennas. Fire up your radio, spin the dial, and have some fun... whether working somebody with a phased array of antennas or the proverbial wet noodle.... just make sure to decrease their signal report by 3-units after they tell you they're using a G5RV.

 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KW4JX on May 8, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
All hams are equal
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by PA0LPS on May 8, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
... but some are more equal than others ...
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by AH7I on May 9, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Mongolia from Atlanta, 20m, after dinner yesterday with 105' doublet and 100W CW. Same antenna has been working into the middle east on 40m.

 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by W3ALG on May 9, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I started out knowing NOTHING about this hobby. No one to show me anything. I didn't know a dipole from a QSO. I had to learn everything myself with a lot of You Tube videos and research. I walked into HRO and said "what do I need to start this hobby?" Needless to say, they suggested a G5RV. I've learned a lot since then. It worked out well for me, got me on the air and had fun with it. Is it my 1st choice of antennas now? Probably not. But is is just another tool in the hobby.You make the decision.

Now I am a licensed extra, on a board of directors for a local club and into digital as well. I detest when people who are in hobbys whatever they are, and have been for years, want to degrade others who are interested. They don't impress me at all. Please guys, be careful how you come across to others. If you have the knowledge, share it, talk about it and explain it. Don't demand something.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KN6BJD on May 9, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I am just starting out and I'm an old guy who put off taking the exams because of other obligations, but I have a little time now so I'm getting it done. This thread has shown me that people will be people and there are always those old-timers who don't like new things. It happens in every workplace, too. In my engineering field I have always tried to be a mentor and resource, fully aware that new young engineers are full of enthusiasm and newly developed knowledge that can either be germinated into something special or stifled and put to waste.

Newcomers like myself are very appreciative of forums like this, Elmers who we find randomly and more importantly, YouTube. I'm uncomfortable with the negativity directed by those insecure old-timers who are less than welcoming of new hams like myself. I get where they are coming from. I have a little of that in the back of my mind as an old engineer but I consciously empathize with the young talent entering the field and the greatest gift I can leave for them is whatever small bit of knowledge helps them to become better engineers.

I was treated poorly when I was a new-grad and entered the field because I asked too many questions and I did not pay my dues and why did I think I should have things the "easy way" and blah blah blah. I made it my career mission that I would do everything I could to treat young engineers exactly the opposite of the way I was treated by some senior members of my team when I first entered the profession. It cut a deep impression in my brain.

I hope some of the new entrants into this wonderful hobby will take notice of those who are not welcoming and when they become the old-timers they will go out of their way to make sure they don't behave the way that they have observed now. It all comes around and your reputation follows you with your call sign. There is no escape so you have the opportunity to get it right or get it wrong.

Stay awesome.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by W2CSH on May 9, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Good article. I did as you suggested, hung as much wire as possible. Feed it with 450 ohm ladder line and a 4:1 balun. My internal tuner had been able to easily match on every band so that means at worst the antenna SWR is 3:1 or less on each band. It works on 160 meters so I much have put up enough wire.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KK4VLR on May 10, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
It takes all kinds to make a hobby (among other groups of people) go around. I have been licensed 4 years and appreciate the older guys who have stopped to explain, demonstrate, and advise with their depth of knowledge. I am somewhat computer literate, but never studied small electronics other than to build my own PCs when it was still cheaper to do so than buying one in the late 80's and early 90s. Now they are a commodity and cheaper at big box stores or online than what I can scrape up the parts at cost.

I tend to do the same thing with radios and antennas in buying what I cannot build. I did learn to build a 40 meter dipole out of wire you would put in a house because a club sponsored it as a forum at a hamfest. They didn't charge us anything for the wire since it had been salvaged and the hardware was under $1. They wanted folks to learn. I am paying it forward by showing it to new hams in my group to encourage them to look into it if they have the interest in doing so. It was easy and even at cost, the wire would have been inexpensive in comparison. The tiniest blowtorch used to put in the connector is not much if you had to buy one just for that (but many guys already have a nicer one.)

So I am a hybrid of both worlds. Listening to the experienced hands pays big dividends in avoiding mistakes and cutting down learning curves. But I also like the latest doo-dads and software, I am saving up to buy the equipment for a couple of digital modes to work in EmComm in the future, and for a D-STAR radio which is all about software for the reflectors.

Courtesy on this and other bulletin boards as one expects on the air should be the focus to keep the hobby as "friendly" as advertised. That is part of what drew me to amateur radio. It is sorely needed in this divisive world to bring people together who would not normally talk to each other due to age or other differences and geographic or social isolation.

I love talking to a ham friend most would consider a shut-in because of his depth of knowledge from his professional background in public service and his extra patience with newbies. He is a generation older, 30+ miles distant, and someone I would not have met any other way.

I have another ham friend who is autistic. He is so smart that you cannot easily tell on the air that he is autistic. It only becomes apparent when you meet in person. Because his wife and kids have special needs also, he cannot get out much other than doctor visits and occasionally to church. He has taught me a lot about the hobby since he grew up in it from the time he was a kid.

Then there are the amazing engineers, telephone system veterans, inventors and makers that I have met all over at mostly hamfests and club meetings.

I generally do not ask hams to join me on LinkedIn, but if I did, I would have 500 contacts just from the hobby. It is the best network I have, but again, I don't use it professionally since I am a mortgage banker (but not on commission so I don't solicit them either) and almost all of them are not. I like networking with hams to learn, make genuine friends, and add to the hobby wherever I can.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by N7NC on May 10, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Confusing. Simply, you do need a tuner at your transceiver if using a non resonant dipole fed with balanced line. Balanced line can be 300 ohm twin lead, 300 ohm window line, 450 ohm window line or home made open wire line. I made open wire ladder line with just 16ga insulated solid wire from Home Depot with 2" spacers made from 1/4" black irrigation tubing also from Home Depot. That turns out to be about 540 ohm. Simple, inexpensive and efficient. 80-10 meters can be a dipole 100' overall fed with balanced feedline and tuned at the shack. Simple. There are several articles by respected people if you want to 'dig in'. Start with Walter Maxwell, Albert Roehm, and John Belrose
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KB2CPW on May 13, 2019 Mail this to a friend!

Not being smarter than the next guy, is usually stay out of stuff like this. I’m not from an engineering or electronics background, My dad set the fire within me to pursue amateur radio. I do 90 percent of my own repairs and stuff around the shack. I’ve been enjoying this hobby for over 30 years and it never gets old.
I find it extremely tacky to attack anyone for the way they do things in this hobby. Buy, build etc. Foster the hobby, help those who Need it and encourage those who may be looking for encouragement. Opinions are great, questions are also. But keep it helpful and informational and help foster newbies in instead of scaring them away. That’s the name of the game!! Regards Richy N2ZD
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KI4ENS on May 14, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Why buy a G5RV? Why buy a dipole? Why buy X? Well I am an engineer by trade and if a solution exists commercially, then it is merely a cost analysis on if I make it or purchase it. How much is my time worth? How much time do I want to spend recreating the wheel?

So yes people buy G5RV antennas and dipole kits when they could spin their on. On the dipole, I have seen kits for sale cheaper than I could buy components. SO should I spend time and more money than I can buy a ready made solution? If I want to get on the air, no. If I want to experiment, maybe not.

For the record, I have made quite a few VHF and UHF antennas. I have also made a kite HF antenna, lofted it it but have not connected it to a transceiver yet. I like making antennas but I can see for others it can be tedious and why not buy.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by W6SWO on May 14, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Never tried a G5RV, but to answer the initial question, not everyone has the real estate to put up resonnant dipoles my friend. Not everyone is a genius at radio right out of the chute either. Rather than put folks down, why not offer to help and educate?
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by AB0RE on May 14, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Kinda funny that DX Engineering published this URL on their facebook page today:

https://www.onallbands.com/should-you-use-a-g5rv-antenna/

Pretty much echoes the opinions here... certainly not the best antenna, and certainly not the worst.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by WD8JMM on May 14, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
After returning to the hobby a number of years ago, I decided to 'go cheap' - to not spend the small fortune that a well-appointed ham shack would have cost me. Having a growing family meant that my funds were limited, so I couldn't have the 756 Pro, the tower, the yagi, all the rest of the fancy stuff that was available at the time. I bought a Yaesu FT-100d 'shack in a box', a tiny MFJ L-network long wire tuner, and strung up what I remember as being about 75 feet of hard-drawn copper bell wire from the upstairs back window out to the back fence. I then proceeded to achieve WAS in about 8 months, by regularly checking into the Century Club (yeah, I know, that's CHEATING...) I had a blast, and my wife still reminds me of the evenings we'd get on the net looking for that last few states. The point is, you can use anything for an antenna, if you have the perseverance to work with it. I promise, the wire I had wasn't resonant on anything, but the fact that the feed point was only inches away from the radio made it easy. Get as much wire as you can, as far up in the air as you can, and tune it with some kind of matching network, and you'll make contacts. You may not be a DX powerhouse, but nobody needs that anymore, anyway - isn't that what FT8 is for? (hi hi)
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N8FVJ on May 15, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I bought my HF long wire antenna due to the 9 to 1 Balun would be a difficult build for me. The MyAntenna EFHW-8010 is 2.5 SWR on 75 meters and 1.3 - 1.7 to 1 on other bands (40 to 10 meters including WARC). My tube amplifier tunes with enough range to reduce the 75 meter SWR to less that 1.5 to 1. So, no tuner needed here and only two knobs to tune when using the HF amp.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K9MHZ on May 15, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
"....certainly not the best antenna, and certainly not the worst."

Probably the best summary. I think I'm not alone in rolling my eyes and shaking my head when a few will at times extol the "magical" virtues of G5RV, J Pole, or mag loop antennas. Knowledge is power, and lots of resources are at our fingertips.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by NZ5L on May 18, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
My experience with my homebrew ZS6 pretty well parallels yours (KX2T). No 15 or 30 meters, and I use 220 pf on 80, for low SWR at 3.9. When conditions are just right, it works very well. Europe comes in every afternoon, and late at night 80 lengthens out. Combined with some homebrew vertical wire antennas, it does the job. And I saved about $90 rolling my own, even buying a new 1.1 current balun. Can't "roll our own" xcvr anymore, but antennas are still fair game.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by WB3DYE on May 18, 2019 Mail this to a friend!


ALL my antennas are commercial. You see I have a case of Parkinson's disease and my hands shake---goodbye soldering skills
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by W3ICM on May 23, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
to K7ZOV....

How did you use it on 160?

I have a G5RV, and I shorted the ladder line and added about a 15-ft wire.

73
Fred
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K9MHZ on May 24, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Might be a little off topic, but for builders of dipoles for use above 30 MHz, you can realize a much more evenly distributed impedance across frequency variations in a band, with the use of a "fat" dipole. With increasing diameters through the use of rod or pipe, your see a noticeable decrease in feedpoint impedance variation with frequency changes.

FWIW.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KN4PMF on May 24, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I just got started in the hobby. I was always interested. I bought a G5RV Jr. so I could get on the air quick since I was new. I have made contacts in most of western europe and some south america as well as most of the US on 50 w. Not the best antenna but it has got me to build a 20m Moxon antenna. Buying commercial to get online quick just whets the appetite for more. I am in north Georgia

Who cares what folks do with their hobby? Just keep amateur radio going.

I will learn Morse soon as that is a big attraction for me. I am 61 years old.

KN4PMF
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by K5HEC on June 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Whatever. My first ham contact was from the upstairs in our old house in Louisiana. The radio was two command sets on a TV chassis that held the power supply. The dummy load was a 50 watt light bulb and the antenna was a piece of frayed lamp cord about 8 ft long tied on an overhead light fixture. I was a junior in college with a novice ticket and the station was put together by my can-do brother who was in 10th grade. That was about 1961.
We never heard the other station but about a week later a QSL card came in from Connecticut confirming a one-way connect. It's still a kick to think about that. Our radiated power was probably about 5 watts on CW. Yea, CW!!!!
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N7SWL on June 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
1. An antenna does not need to be resonant to radiate.
2. The only fool is the one who does not understand how antennas work or how they radiate. Buy a copy of the ARRL Antenna Book and read it!
3. Building your own antenna is fun and a great learning experience.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KM4NSV on June 2, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Members like this are the reason I did not renew my membership to eham, to many times have I heard how new Ham Operators are lesser operators than operators that have been around awhile. I got into the sport to have fun, and meet like-minded people, the snobbery and ‘I’m better than you’ attitudes really are a testament to the upbringing of the person flapping gums.
And yes I do use a G5RV antenna, no tuner no amp just barefoot and 100watts, made contacts all over the globe on an antenna that apparently according to the know-it-all that wrote this original post, aint very good.
I don’t know how to program, I don’t know how to make antennas I don’t know as much as i should, but I know attitudes and superiority complexes like that knuckle-head has, is what kept me out of the sport until I was over 50.
I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself, if your new ham radio, ignore the self righteous morons, use what you have and can afford, and do what the sport was meant for, have fun.
KM4NSV
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by KE7PBB on June 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Learn something? My brain already Hertz!;-)
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by N4UE on June 5, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Best comment yet!
Use what you have and HAVE FUN!!!

ron
N4UE
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by EI3IBB on June 6, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a new Ham and only have my license about 2.5 weeks. I bought my antenna because I don't have the time to experiment. I work shift and have a 3.5 and 5 year old Boys to take care of when I'm not working so there simply isn't enough time. When they're both in school full time then I can make all the antennas I want but for now Kids come first and Hobby last.

I got the myantennas.com EFHW 8010 and am truly impressed with it.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by K3MD on June 7, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Have used MFJ G5RV antennas many times with very good results. Put up in inverted v configuration, apex up around 25 to 30 ft. Easy to tune with a manual tuner. Also, of course, have used horizontal dipoles fed with 450-ohm line or 300-ohm twinlead. 300-ohm twinlead will handle 1500W without arcing over or getting warm at all.
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by K9MHZ on June 12, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
^^^^ Twin leads are cool. Really like true balanced antenna matchers to feed them as well.
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KB6HRT on June 14, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Have built, brought. been given and studied about G5RVs & ZS6BKW antennas,an did A/B tested them against OCF dipoles, Long wires, dipoles, an End fed antennas through the years, most companies that build these antennas can build the antennas better than I can now, and have made the correct adjustments to the antennas so they work as well as the can from the feed back they get from users. The G5 is a non-resident antenna except on 20m were it was designed to work best, but a non-resonant antenna is a quiter antenna than a resonant for hearing weak signals out of noise, so when i install one of these antennas I try an install the apex some higher than a noiser dipole with with its higher gain, I have found this method works best for me at this QTH and I have rendered the best results this way, mother nature has the strongest hand in the antenna game where you hear a weak signal and how well you hear it, have talked west coast to east coast on a 1/4 of a watt when things are right and could not do it on 1500watts when they were not happening. I have learned more about antenna by working with them than talking about them for sure, but its the part of HAM radio that has always intrigued me the most an has kept me in the game for my 79 years on this earth and If the lord gives me a couple more that will be where my head is until he decides its time for me come home................73s.............kb6hrt
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by KB6HRT on June 14, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
Have built, brought. been given and studied about G5RVs & ZS6BKW antennas,an did A/B tested them against OCF dipoles, Long wires, dipoles, an End fed antennas through the years, most companies that build these antennas can build the antennas better than I can now, and have made the correct adjustments to the antennas so they work as well as the can from the feed back they get from users. The G5 is a non-resident antenna except on 20m were it was designed to work best, but a non-resonant antenna is a quiter antenna than a resonant for hearing weak signals out of noise, so when i install one of these antennas I try an install the apex some higher than a noiser dipole with with its higher gain, I have found this method works best for me at this QTH and I have rendered the best results this way, mother nature has the strongest hand in the antenna game where you hear a weak signal and how well you hear it, have talked west coast to east coast on a 1/4 of a watt when things are right and could not do it on 1500watts when they were not happening. I have learned more about antenna by working with them than talking about them for sure, but its the part of HAM radio that has always intrigued me the most an has kept me in the game for my 79 years on this earth and If the lord gives me a couple more that will be where my head is until he decides its time for me come home................73s.............kb6hrt
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by N6CIC on June 18, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
I used a homebuilt G5RV for 40-10 meters in North Carolina. It was hung between the trees and worked fairly well on all bands except 30 and 15 meters. I have since switched to an OCF dipole cut for 80 meters, also hung between a tree and the edge of my house. It works on all bands except for 30 meters, and for that I have a home built Hamstick type vertical on a speaker stand with two radials cut for 1/4 wavelength and it works great.

Building wire antennas is one of the best aspects of Ham Radio, and I would not knock the G5RV-it just plain works.

73, Scott, N6CIC
 
G5RV Antenna Reply
by W8LV on June 19, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
MUCH WORSE are those glossy Antenna Tower Ads...

Thus, the New and ESPECIALLY the Prospective Ham picks up one of the "You Know Which Mags" AND the "You Know Who" Journal and sees these ads...

And convinces himself that he can't do a thing without purchasing one.

Ads tend to do that kind of thing...

Seeing the prices of these Antenna Monster$ and after considering the relative difficulty of putting one up, especially if he lives in an HOA Occupied Territory and even more so if he lacks an Elmer?

He walks away from Ham Radio. For good.

And that is just Sad...

73 DE W8LV BILL
 
RE: G5RV Antenna Reply
by W8LV on June 19, 2019 Mail this to a friend!
When a New Ham gets his Ticket: CONGRATULATE HIM.

He may had had an easier time getting his ticket than when you trudged through four feet of snow to get to the Detroit FCC Office, and he may NOT have the Electronics or Engineering background that you have, but he has found the avocation that we Love, despite all of the Cell Phone and Internet Diversions that he is bombarded with. Everyday!

When a New Ham doesn't know what a Farad is: HELP HIM.

And if you can take the time? ELMER HIM.
Or point him to one.

When he shows up at "your" Club? WELCOME HIM.

Unless you want him to show up Once.
Everyone in your present club?
Will 100% Guaranteed make the Silent Key Page.
Which will make for Pretty Brief Future Meetings if no one else wants to join.

So why not pass the Torch to a New Generation?

A Trip to the Moon for them will be Small Time, where they will visit the Apollo 11 Landing site, maybe, sometime, when they have a slightly longer layover on their trip back from Mars and they have some Vacation Time built up at work. And maybe make a few QSOs from there, setting up behind the Budgetel where they are staying for the weekend... And they will operate CW. Really. Really!

73 DE W8LV BILL

 
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