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KX8W
08-14-2011, 11:33 PM
I am interested in buying a pair of 80 meter hamsticks because it seems like the best way to have a small, mother-approved
antenna. I saw on the site that they are tunable, does that mean they work with an Antenna tuner? Also, I plan on feeding it with coax, will this pose any problems?
And what are some good ways to set up the mobile antennas for base use?

Thanks,

William Schaffer, KD8QGJ

W0BTU
08-14-2011, 11:40 PM
Not recommended for 80. http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?302025-Hamstick-Dipole-Question&p=2274455#post2274455

WB2WIK
08-15-2011, 02:00 AM
I agree with Mike. SERIOUSY not recommended for 80m

Hamsticks work well on 6-10-12-15-17-20. Marginal on 30-40-60 and incredibly marginal on 80.

If you can even make a contact on 80m using a "Hamstick dipole" on any mode other than CW or PSK31, I'll be very impressed. And surprised.

If you have limited space, I'd stick with the higher bands.

NA0AA
08-15-2011, 02:22 AM
Tuneable means that if you are VERY careful you can probably get them to match up on about 20kHz of bandwidth - they are very narrow and very inefficient on 80 meters - it's the nature of the band.

Before you spend good money on antennas, I'd suggest you get an elmer to help you survey your house. Perhaps an adult elmer could also help your mom come to terms with a bit of an antenna.

If you can have only one, some sort of open wire fed doublet would probably be a good first start, that would give you a few bands, if you could get 70' or so, that's 40 meters and up with a good tuner.

A parallel dipole or even a vertical wire with a tuner at the base.

Can you beg, borrow or steal a copy of the ARRL antenna book? It's full of good ideas for you to consider against your situation.

W6CD
08-15-2011, 03:43 AM
Wire antennas are typically cheapest, effective, and inobtrusive.

W0BTU
08-15-2011, 10:38 AM
Wire antennas are typically cheapest, effective, and inobtrusive.

Excellent advice. Pay attention to the man, son! :-)

How about a dipole made from some very thin enameled wire, William? Support it in the middle, perhaps on a mast of some sort.

Or an end-fed of some sort, perhaps an inverted-L with a one- or two-wire elevated counterpoise. (You WILL need a counterpoise with an end fed antenna.) Check out http://www.w8ji.com/long_wire_antenna.htm and other pages on Tom's excellent web site. You can believe most, if not all, of everything you read there!

You can use rubber bands for end insulators. Your mother won't see thin enameled wire.

Thin enameled wire can be had for free by taking apart old transformers, or from hams who have it lying around who want to help a young man like you. :-)

W5DXP
08-15-2011, 01:29 PM
I am interested in buying a pair of 80 meter hamsticks ...

As a data point, if one supplies 100 watts to an 80m hamstick dipole, one will radiate less than one watt and waste more than 99% of one's available transmitter power.

KD0CAC
08-15-2011, 01:37 PM
The worst antenna , is one that is approved by a non ham :)

WA9SVD
08-15-2011, 02:13 PM
Excellent advice. Pay attention to the man, son! :-)

How about a dipole made from some very thin enameled wire, William? Support it in the middle, perhaps on a mast of some sort.

Or an end-fed of some sort, perhaps an inverted-L with a one- or two-wire elevated counterpoise. (You WILL need a counterpoise with an end fed antenna.) Check out http://www.w8ji.com/long_wire_antenna.htm and other pages on Tom's excellent web site. You can believe most, if not all, of everything you read there!

You can use rubber bands for end insulators. Your mother won't see thin enameled wire.

Thin enameled wire can be had for free by taking apart old transformers, or from hams who have it lying around who want to help a young man like you. :-)

I have to disagree. The WORST antenna possible is a "stealth" antenna that fails, and at best is no longer stealth, and can cause possible damage when it does fail.

Rubber bands are an extremely poor idea for "insulators." Current products begin to deteriorate (FAIL) within a year or two indoors; exposed to the elements they will have a lifetime of a few weeks at most. (Maybe of use for an emergency antenna, used for a day or two, but even then, I wouldn't use them.)

"THIN" wire wouldn't even have to be enameled, bare wire is just as good. But thin wire can break, and that loses the "stealth" property.
The point is, that even 18 AWG wire is virtually invisible from a distance. Insulators can be fashioned from "Plexiglass" or similar transparent plastic that can be mostly unobtrusive in most installations.

W0BTU
08-15-2011, 02:32 PM
The WORST antenna possible is a "stealth" antenna that fails, and at best is no longer stealth, and can cause possible damage when it does fail.

It won't last a long time, yes. But how much damage can it cause? I've used thin enameled wire in years past --as have countless others-- and it did the job.

I suggested that because it sounded like his mother wouldn't like any antenna that she could see.

VE1IDX
08-15-2011, 04:23 PM
I agree with Mike. SERIOUSY not recommended for 80m

Hamsticks work well on 6-10-12-15-17-20. Marginal on 30-40-60 and incredibly marginal on 80.

If you can even make a contact on 80m using a "Hamstick dipole" on any mode other than CW or PSK31, I'll be very impressed. And surprised.

If you have limited space, I'd stick with the higher bands.

While I agree that Hamsticks perform poorly on 80m I also believe that they work better than one may expect. I used to operate a lot while mobile including 80m with a Hamstick. I have had many contacts all over the eastern and south eastern USA from here in Nova Scotia as well as many contacts with the United Kingdom and all with 100 watts and a Hamstick on a regular passenger vehicle with minimal groundplane. Most of those contacts were during the fall/winter however and all were SSB phone.I would suspect that a pair of them in a dipole configuration with a bit of height would be even more reliable in operation. Certainly not the best antenna but as bad as they are it could still be worse.

W5DXP
08-15-2011, 08:59 PM
While I agree that Hamsticks perform poorly on 80m I also believe that they work better than one may expect. I used to operate a lot while mobile including 80m with a Hamstick.

80m hamsticks have been measured to be about 10 dB down from a decent 80m mobile antenna that is itself about 10 dB down from a decent 1/2WL dipole. If the dipole is S9 at the receiving end, the bugcatcher will be around S7 and the hamstick around S5, certainly good enough for some contacts. The thing to understand is that, with an 80m hamstick, one is running QRP whether one realizes it or not. And I'll bet that Mother would also not like that "bit of height" that you recommend. :)

NA0AA
08-16-2011, 04:25 AM
I just got a sample of Wireman #534, that is a 26 gauge copperweld, stranded with a black jacket on it. Only 25 lb's break strength but it's going to be almost invisible 20' up. Another option they have is the same stuff in 18 GA which has a 200 lb. break strength and should last a long time and be hard to see.

Not terribly expensive for really durable wire, but there are plenty of cheaper options as well. Magnet wire will work, but most of the transformers I've taken apart did not have enough to make a good sized antenna.

Many antennas have been built with THNN "house" wire which you can buy at Lowe's, Home Depot, or any other hardware store. I'd recommend stranded, and unless you have room for a 160 meter dipole, 14 ga. should be durable enough - it may stretch a bit.

If you have a two story house, a loop run just under the eaves all the way around the house might work for you - it's best if the loop is rather square, but a variety of layouts have been used. Get wire that matches the paint or paint it to match. That will require you to use open wire and a tuner, but might get you good results.

Does your parental unit have a hobby? If so, turn the tables, gently and ask if they would intentionally choose an inferior tool when a better one could be had for the same price?

WA9SVD
08-16-2011, 03:29 PM
It won't last a long time, yes. But how much damage can it cause? I've used thin enameled wire in years past --as have countless others-- and it did the job.

I suggested that because it sounded like his mother wouldn't like any antenna that she could see.

Part of my point is "enameled" wire vs. bare copper would make no significant difference; even black (or blue) insulated wire will often be unnoticeable from a distance, (although will require a slight shortening of the wire length;) "thin" (in the eye of the beholder) is a relative term, and what remains aloft will depend upon the actual installation and location.

NA7U
08-18-2011, 04:40 PM
I am interested in buying a pair of 80 meter hamsticks because it seems like the best way to have a small, mother-approved
antenna. I saw on the site that they are tunable, does that mean they work with an Antenna tuner? Also, I plan on feeding it with coax, will this pose any problems?
And what are some good ways to set up the mobile antennas for base use?

Thanks,

William Schaffer, KD8QGJ

William,

Were you thinking that the 80M hamsticks would allow you to tune other bands or do you have a special interest in 80 meters? If the latter, then you're not going to get your signal out very far unless you get your antenna up at least 70 feet, ideally twice that!

If you're looking for just multiple bands, not including 80 meters, then a 44' doublet fed with open, ladder, or even 300 ohm TV line up at least 30 feet would give you 40-10 meters with an ATU. Otherwise, you might just aim for a single band, 20M is pretty hot, and make a simple dipole fed with coax.

Let us know how you make out with your project ...

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