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Author Topic: Which amp to start with?  (Read 46578 times)

Posts: 75

« Reply #165 on: February 08, 2017, 06:47:40 AM »

There are many very good comments here to consider. I have used many antennas over the years both HB and store bought. I now use HB wire antennas exclusively as I have learned over the years that one can make there own antennas more efficient by tuning feed line lengths and other elements of the "SYSTEM" to make the system as efficient as one can.

I believe you have a little ways to go before you purchase an amplifier. Don't get in a hurry.

Consider this, a few years into getting my license I wanted an amplifier. My Elmer's told me to wait. That it was more important that I spend time building my knowledge and experience and learning how to make an efficient antenna "SYSTEM". I waited sixteen years to buy an amplifier because the more I learned about building antennas and building my knowledge about grounding and efficiency the more efficient I was able to make my antenna systems and the happier I became without an amplifier.

Based on your comments, I would recommend investigating the efficiency of your antenna system and why you are having challenges with it. To the extent possible, try other vertical antennas. My experience with vertical antennas is both HB and the GAP Antenna. I loved the gap antenna for over 15 years. It is simple to maintain and will last. Mine did not wear out, it was stolen out of my yard when away on vacation. One cannot go wrong with a Gap Antenna. Call Gap Antennas. Talk about your issues with them. Let them know where you are and you want to learn. Do the same with other antenna manufacturers.

My thoughts, invest in a well thought out and designed antenna HB or purchased. Then tweak your "Antenna System" until you are satisfied with the efficiency. Stick with 100 watts for a little while longer.

Experiment Idea. If real estate area is an issue, pull out the magic wand. What kind of multi-band wire antenna would you use if you had the room. Find a park or the place of a friend where you can set up other wire antennas and experiment as a portable station. Consider a wire antenna that uses 450 ohm ladder line or 600 ohm parallel line as the feed system. These are the most efficient systems for multi-band wire antennas.

Consider: A 40 meter vertical ground plane antenna constructed of 450 ohm ladder line or heavy gauge wire. Feed the antenna with 450 ohm ladder line. This antenna is suspended in the air. No ground radials needed. It does have four ground planes.
This antenna would require a tree or other non metallic support. A fellow ham has this very antenna system in use in Oregon. He lives on the coast and has two hundred foot conifer trees on his property near a cliff. His antenna is designed for 160 meters. It is a simple quarter wave 160m ground plane fed with 450 ohm ladder line. 160m DX. this is his transmit antenna. His alternate receive antenna is a 160m dipole fed with 450 ohm ladder line. He switches to the horizontal antenna for most receiving as it is more quiet and less susceptible to QRM and other noise.

There is a great deal to learn. I hope my thoughts, thinking and ideas may be of use to you. Best wishes, see you on the bands. KE4LJH

Posts: 139

« Reply #166 on: October 07, 2017, 04:40:26 PM »

I know this is a half year old, but I had "life" get in the way. I now have a big roll of copper tubing with which to make the 160M add-on coil for the vertical.  I'm expecting no miracles but I should, by following the excellent advice in the preceding posts, get it to match on 160m.  The huge amount of QRM that seems to be around may make that the end of the story but we'll see.

As an aside, I almost purchased a 4 acre property in Foster, RI on a high elevation. It was a square lot, with a clearing in the center where the house is and lots of trees. I think it would have been a dream for radio hobby, but wasnt the right time (according to my CFO). Next spring may be another story.

Anyway thanks again to all the GREAT info posted here and I am re-reading it all.


Posts: 16

« Reply #167 on: October 07, 2017, 10:46:50 PM »

I know general question but I've seen numerous options in the classifieds, just looking for ideas and experiences.

I have a very tight lot, with a 50ft vertical above a 9:1 unun running 100watts. I really do not have much antenna options, no space for a ground plane array either.

A lot of stations that I can hear, cant hear me. So I think an amplifier may help compensate for the antenna deficiency.

Thinking that 1000 watts would be good. I have had issues with RF in the house tripping GFCI, etc but when I went to the vertical it seems to have gotten better (although my computer monitor still goes wonky with 100 watts)

Anyway, I'd need a robust amplifier because I am going to make mistakes operating initially. Budget is also a big issue.

ideas? experiences?

Well, unless you wanted to start with a full stack and 100 watts of pain. It's a happily different situation for beginner ax slingers today
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