Horse fence for antenna

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KI4JFJ, Jan 13, 2009.

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  1. KI4JFJ

    KI4JFJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a brainstorm for an HF antenna. I'm limited as to how long a wire I can run for an HF antenna, but I have a 4 strand high tensile wire fence for our horses that covers about 3 acres. The top wire is run through insulators at every post & was connected to a fence charger. The charger no longer works, so it won't be a problem. The fence is continuos, but could be unhooked on one side to make a long wire or split it. If I run coax to the fence, fasten the middle wire to the top fence wire & run the shield wire to the ground, would it work for an HF antenna? My radio has a built in tuner, so it should tune.
    Does anyone know if this would work and does anyone know of someone who has tried this system?
    I would appreciate any any comments or info anyone can provide.
    You can Email me @

    Thanks & 73,
    Larry KI4JFJ
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  2. KB7QPS

    KB7QPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting concept. It's worth a try and see how it works. The thing I like about ham radio is you get to experiment.

    Here's a few thoughts.

    1) Your antenna tuner may not have enough range to tune to the fence if indepedence mismatch is too create. Even if it does tune, you will lose quite a bit of signal as it goes back and forth along your coax line.

    2) I used electric fence wire in high school because I didn't have enough money for copper clad steel. My antenna didn't work very well (could never get DX, usually only in North America).

    3) It's awfully low to the ground so you will lose quite a bit to ground absorption and your angle isn't optimal.

    Like I said though, try it and see how it works. I used probably 10 different antennas before I found the one I liked the best.
  3. M0PDQ

    M0PDQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    i'm no antenna expert (or even knowledgeable!) but could you run a wire with the fence cut to lenght to make a dipole ?
    would probably perform better.
  4. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depending on your ground conditions, this could either be a moderately effective Rhombic of sorts, or a worm toaster. I'd say try it and see.

  5. n0aih

    n0aih Banned QRZ Page

    fence wire antenna

    Yes it will work, if it is long enuff.

    Insulate the two ends from each other so it appears (electrically) to be a random length wire. It will have a high ange of radiation but who cares? At the onset load at low power to make sure it in fact a random length (electrically). If it is too short (electrically) it may not be friendly to your transmitter.
  6. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It might make a very effective receiving antenna, particularly for the lower bands. I suspect it's too low to be an efficient transmitting antenna, but you might be pleasantly surprised.

    I once had a 160 meter loop, not too high off the ground. It produced 'pipeline' results to stations in Michigan, and pretty much nowhere else. It didn't work well at all on the higher bands.

    You might also consider using it as a counterpoise for a vertical. If you could devise some switching, the loop might be a killer low-noise 80 and 160 meter antenna, and the vertical would be a great antenna for transmitting on those bands.
  7. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page


    There was a time, once upon a time, when I believed you couldn't possibly make an antenna too long. I had to modify that opinion when I loaded up a 420' broadcast tower on 160. (I was chief engineer of KJNP at the time...1170KHZ, and I had access to it after hours).

    That monster didn't work worth BEANS on was pretty much a longwire straight up! Had MUCH better results....EVERYWHERE....with my 80 ft tall inverted L.

  8. AC5DE

    AC5DE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Barb wire

    We loaded up a barb wire fence at field day one year. It should work results may not be fantastic, but it is worth a try. I guess you could place the horse against it to tune to different wavelengths. Let us know how it works.
  9. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That should stirrup some activity. :)
  10. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    It will "work" but no telling how well until you try. I agree with others that your rig's auto tuner might not have enough range to tune it but a manual tuner should
  11. AI6DX

    AI6DX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love playing with "wire" antennas out in the remote areas of the western U.S. I've tuned lots of fences with barbed wire and wooden fence posts.

    That said, I've tried to use a 4:1 balun with some ladder line run into a tuner. I've split the fence wire so one side was the "driven" element and the other side was the ground. It's worked. Sometimes it didn't. It mostly has mattered on conditions. Right now, NO SUN SPOTS doesn't help!

    Second, I've taken just one "leg" of the wire fence and ran the single strand of wire fence into an L network tuner. The antenna was now a "zepp" type of antenna. The only problem is that because it's so low to the ground, it's not that effective. Yeah, it will work, but not that well.

    The only way you can tell if it will work is to try it yourself and experiment. It might work great depending on the band you choose and the conditions. My latest project has been tuning up my aluminum patio cover and a piece of wire held up by a kite at 200 feet!
  12. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like the Rhombic idea. The fence may not get out very well but could be a killer low noise receive antenna.
  13. W8HDU

    W8HDU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Livestock fence works good for grounds as longs; a) you make good welds between sections as you lay it down, and b) you coat it with something to retard the effect of corrosion and rust.

    My Butternut vertical ran infinity better, and was more stable over seasons when I switched from 20 radials to a 30 x 40 foot rectangle of chicken wire.

    Scalp the grass real low before the installation, and then install the materials. The apply just a little dirt over top, and seed generously. Next year you'll never know its there.

    I've been meaning to write an article about this. I was impressed. But points "a" and "b" must be followed else it will start to deteriorate over time.
  14. KI4OIU

    KI4OIU Guest

    Can we say NVIS ????

  15. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you try this, I hope you will post your results.
  16. K8MCN

    K8MCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    i think you said the wire is continuous, like one big loop.correct?

    why not try using it as a loop? height might be a drawback, as my loop is 35 feet up.Feed it with ladder line to your balanced line tuner and see what happens. At least the ladder line will minimize your loss(remember, you cant run the ladder line on the ground and keep it four or five inches away from anything metallic)
    Now about the length, a perfect square 3 acres is about 1500 feet (i think) around the perimeter, more if the area is not square--that is a LONG antenna and like was posted above--longer isn't always better. (still cant convince the XYL of that hihi)
    Please let us know how it works!!!! Good Luck
  17. W8HDU

    W8HDU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm planning on doing a bunch of articles, and perhaps some YouTube videos on some of the antenna installations.

    This past November I stripped all my antennas off the tower, as well as the wires and vertical, and I'm rebuilding everything.

    It will be a good chance to document and make some videos.
  18. KI4JFJ

    KI4JFJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for your interest. I definitely will post the results when I try it.
  19. KI4JFJ

    KI4JFJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I believe it will get out pretty good. It should send a signal straight up & bounce off of the ionosphere & come down at an angle. I'll post my results.
  20. KI4JFJ

    KI4JFJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I could run a wire along the fence & make an antenna out of it, but it would have to be a straight wire. The length would be vital. I'll post my results.
    Thanks. Larry
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