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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: Need R391 Antenna Help For SW  (Read 628 times)
WOJ
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Posts: 39




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« on: June 19, 2019, 04:00:29 AM »

I have a fully restored Collins R391 and have no idea how to hookup just a straight line antenna out of our bedroom window. I was a high speed morse code interceptor in the Army Security Agency years ago and love to listen to SW and copy code. Any help in the right direction would be grateful!
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W9IQ
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Posts: 3242




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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2019, 05:28:23 AM »

For basic short wave listening, a simple insulated wire run through the window, out to a tree or pole and tied off with a rope will usually get you started. 30 or more feet of wire should work well. You don't have to be too picky about how you get the wire into the house - you can simply close the window on it. Any wire gauge that can hold up to the weather will work - even left over household electrical wire or zip cord. Some insulation materials will hold up better in the weather than others but the investment is minimal so just experiment. Many hams use THHN 14 gauge wire - stranded is probably the better choice for your application.

The simplest way to connect the antenna to the radio is to insert a stripped end of the antenna wire into the female pin of the SO-239 jack in the back of the radio. You may have to double up the wire for it to obtain a good grip and electrical connection. Test the wire antenna in this fashion and if it suits your needs, then consider getting a PL-259 connector and soldering your antenna wire into the male pin of the PL-259 and then inserting that connector into the SO-239 jack. That will keep it from pulling or falling out of the SO-239.

You may find that you get interference from electronics in your home and your neighbors'. If this is the case, come back to this forum for ideas for better antennas and antenna locations and ideas for locating and eliminating the interference.

Welcome to the hobby. Have fun!

- Glenn W9IQ
« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 05:31:40 AM by W9IQ » Logged

- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
WOJ
Member

Posts: 39




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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2019, 08:18:18 AM »

Does the radio need to be grounded and if so what is the best way? Thank you for the reply.
Rich
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W9IQ
Member

Posts: 3242




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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2019, 11:56:41 AM »

It is not strictly necessary for a basic SWL antenna. Depending on the restoration work, you may already have a safety ground established via the power cord. The only other ground to be concerned about is a lightning protection ground. For a short term installation, the simplest thing to do is disconnect the wire from the radio and let it out the window when not in use.

- Glenn W9IQ
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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
KA3JJZ
Member

Posts: 26




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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2019, 06:21:30 PM »

While you can and should disconnect the antenna - and preferably get it grounded away from the home as much as possible - you shouldn't depend on a power source's ground to be effective. Ideally you don't want any of that energy anywhere near your home. The correct answer is to find an electrician who understands the NEC codes for household wiring and grounds. A simple ground rod with a lead to your radio (which I've see recommended elsewhere) isn't going to cut it, either. This is a subject that has been discussed ad nauseum on so many boards I've lost count. As I understand it, there are some places where if you have an improperly grounded item, your home insurance could be impacted if you need to file a claim from a strike or near-strike. Do it properly now and you may have less grief later.

Now to the antenna - without going into great detail, the longer the antenna, generally the better it will perform on the lower HF spectrum. At 30 foot, it's not going to be very efficient as you go down in frequency. As poor as HF propagation is, it's not going to improve much in the next several years, so a better antenna is going to bring better results. What is your situation? A small lot without room for larger antennas, for example? The PAR end fed (available from Universal Radio, among others) is about 45 foot long, and will be somewhat better.

Mike
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KA3JJZ
Member

Posts: 26




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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2019, 07:07:22 PM »

Here is but one example - a discussion on the subject of grounding in the popular RadioReference website (free to join, by the way)

https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/hf-vhf-uhf-and-grounding.390008/

Mike
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N9LCD
Member

Posts: 103




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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2019, 07:11:01 AM »

For many years, I used a -390A for SWL'ing.  It came with a three conductor cord with the ground lead connected to the case.

My antenna was about 100 feet of door bell wire stapled to the bottom of the rafters; we had a walk-in, stand-up attic.  I drilled a hole through the attic floor and ceiling of my shack and stuck the end of the wire into the antenna jack.

Worked great even for MF -- although the Grand Ole' Opry on WSM didn't sound that great on AM.

Noise, especially computer/digital noise, will be the killer.

Jerry
N9LCD
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