Best HF antenna that does not require a tower?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KB7QPS, Mar 15, 2009.

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  1. KB7QPS

    KB7QPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    What is the best HF antenna that I can install at my QTH that does not require a tower?

    I am living at my QTH temporarily (probably 2-3 years) so I don't want to install something too permenant. I believe this would generally limit me to wire antennas, but I am not opposed to considering other options. Towers are out of the question because I won't be here long enough to justify the cost.

    Coax feedline would be preferable to ladder line.

    I'd like something that would work on several bands rather than just one or two. All band would be ideal. I have seen a inverted V antenna advertised on here for $300.

    I'm situation on a large parcel so I don't care about what the neighbors think neighbors. (I do have a resident outdoor aesthetics committee.) I have tall trees for antenna supports all around me.

    K1VW and JIMPKWORTNIK like this.
  2. KD7MSC

    KD7MSC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I really like my 160 meter Inverted L. Covers my favorite spot on 160 plus tunes easily on all the other bands. I am in a rental house with a few tall trees. The L does require radials. Because I am in a rental I have all of my radials sitting on top of the ground. I just roll them up when I mow the lawn. My next choice would be a doublet cut for the lowest band you plan to use. If you are set on coax, you can run coax from your tuner to an outboard balun then run 450ohm to your antenna. I have a 160 meter doublet but the L works 10 times better because I could only get the dipole up about 60 feet.

    Whatever you do DON'T spend $300 for a wire antenna. Use the money for the ARRL antenna book and wire. There is a lot you can do with some scrap wire and rope.
    KD8ZKE likes this.
  3. K4EEZ

    K4EEZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    i have owned and installed the Gap Titan DX...


    8 Band Multiband DX Antenna

      • Bands
        • 10m 12m 15m 17m 20m 30m 40m and 100 KHz on 80m
      • Bandwidth -- Under 2:1
        • Entire band on 40m 30m 20m 17m 15m 12m 10m
        • 100KHz on 80m
      • Height -- 25 ft
      • Weight -- 25 lbs
      • Mount : All hardware supplied except the 1 1/4" O.D. steel mast
      • Counterpoise : 4 rigid counterpoises 80" long each
      • Ground Area Required : None

    Your latest requests have been for an antenna that's easy to setup, needs no radials, covers 10m-80m in addition to all the WARC bands and uses the same GAP technology found in our other products. In response to these requests GAP is proud to announce the newest addition to the family, the Titan.
    The Titan is a center fed GAP vertical, that provides a host of benefits in a rugged, yet manageable form. The Titan offers broad, continuous frequency coverage in a no tune, easy to assemble format. Designed to work in a limited space or as the perfect compliment to an antenna farm.
    One of the primary virtues of the Titan is the GAP center feed. By elevating the feed the earth loss is dramatically decreased, which means the RF is going out to make the contact instead of into the ground to warm the earth. Reducing the earth loss eliminates the need for a radial system. The Titan requires NO RADIALS.
    Another key benefit the Titan provides is the ability to go virtually anywhere in the HF amateur spectrum, at anytime without having to make any adjustments. The Titan is the ONLY antenna marketed with total continuous coverage under 2:1 on 10m 12m 15m 17m 20m 30m 40m and 100 KHz on 80m. Titan's broad bandwidth and no tune feature make it an ideal antenna for getting those multipliers during contests or switching frequencies as band conditions change.
    The Titan is a respectable 25' tall and weighs a solid 25 pounds. The Titan is configured to mount easily on a 11/4" O.D. mast. This mast can be a length of your choosing and since the feedpoint is elevated this mast can be as short as a foot.
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    Figure 1 and Parts List
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  4. K9ZMD

    K9ZMD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You're kidding about needing advice, right?

    Hmmmm, lots of room, tall trees, and no concern about neighbors' sensitivities. Coax preferred over balanced line.

    Plan A: This situation screams for a triangular arrangement of three fan dipoles, just as high as you can get them, each with elements cut for 160 through 10 meters. A remote switch at the physical center of the triangle would allow you to instantly switch to any one of the three fan dipoles, giving you excellent control over the major lobes.

    Plan B: Two such fan dipoles at right angles to one another would be a reasonable fall-back position, but fight hard for three.

    Plan C: Finally, if your resident aesthetics committee ;) whittles your plans back to one fan dipole, align it broadside to wherever you would like to reach most consistently.

    Let us know what you actually wind up with. You've got a brass pair if you somehow wind up with Plan A. 73

    Gary, K9ZMD/6

    PS - I'll build you six inverted vee antennas for $300, and still make a profit. Don't buy - BUILD!
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  5. K3WRV

    K3WRV Guest

    Best? Best for what?

    You've alredy stated some constraints (no towers) and another (no ladderline) (Why no ladder line?). How big is your parcel?

    I'm a big fan of Rhombics and V-Beams - mostly most bands but they require tuners and are best used with ladder line. For receive, I like beverages for 80/160, and I like Windoms (no feedline - the feedline is prt of the antenna!)

    May I suggest a bit of time with boith the Handbook and the antenna book (early 1960's version preferred). Then we can talk about cone dipoles, Sterbas, lazy H's, and such. I'm also a big fan of EDZ's (extended double Zepps) but they prefer ladder line and "tunas" if you want all bands. Or you could try a wire yagi.

    Can you mount something on the roof? Too many unknowns.
  6. KB7QPS

    KB7QPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    The quick answer to your questions are:

    1) No ladderline because I don't have a direct route to the outside from the hamshack. I've heard that ladderline works best if used straight shot. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    2) Parcel size is 30 acres, so plenty of playroom for antennas.

    3) Yes, I can mount antennas on the roof.

    What wire do you build antennas from and where do you get it?

    The reason I'm asking all this is I've tried a bunch of antennas when in high school in Montana and none of them worked very well. Most were steel and feedline was inefficent or other problems, but I never once worked DX.

    This time around, I have money, space, and time to do it right so I want a great antenna at my place.
  7. KD7MSC

    KD7MSC Ham Member QRZ Page

    1) Remote balun if needed. You can also bring it through a window or bulkhead.

    2) Yes plenty of room!!

    3) Great.

    4) Whatever you can get cheep. I use #12 THHN only because I have a bunch of it. Copper weld is good.

    You have been givin great advise so far from everyone. The best being, get a Antenna book. With the kind of space you have there are so many options. Rohmbic, Loops, Dipoles, Wire beams, Ls, phased verticals, The list is huge. Do you have any Hams local to you willing to help you out? You are not just restricted to wires either. A friend of mine has a tri band beam on a push up mast. I have mounted a A3S on a home built mast that I have mounted in a old truck tire filled with concrete. Good luck.
    73, Sean
  8. K3STX

    K3STX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is what I did when I got back on the air again. I thought it would be "temporary". It stayed up as my mainstay and I basically added to it.

    A 135 foot ladder line-fed dipole oriented N/S up about 60 feet. The ladderline came down to a 4:1 Remote Balun from The Radio Works and it was hooked to my MFJ tuner inside the shack with about 10 feet of RG-213. This antenna was good on all bands except 160. But it kept me very happy for very long.

    I added a fan dipole with elements for 20 and 40 directed to Europe at about 40 feet. For DXing on 80 I added a vertical wire antenna and for 160 a wire inverted L, these antennas shared a radial bed. But the single ladder-line fed dipole was used an AWFUL lot. I highly recommend it. There is lots of gain on 20 with this (just like the G5RV), but you have to pay attention to nulls. I got my wire from Home Depot (12 Ga. stranded) and a Ladder-Lok in the center of the antenna. No need to buy an antenna, it is too easy just like this. With tall trees this should be a piece of cake. I am jelous.

    4 sections of used Rohn 25 bracketed to your house would be a fine temporary tower, it is used all over the place around here.

  9. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have to admit, there's lots of good choices given your options.

    However, if i wanted something I might be able to pickup and relocate, I would consider fan dipoles as a good start - you can get at least 4 wires if you want to - that's 5 bands since 40 works on 15...

    You can simply use 80 or 160 meter sized dipoles and feed them with ladder line, I'd not do the remote balun with really high SWR due to coax losses - you would be better off using a remote tuner at the base of the open line.

    Verticals of all sorts are more or less portable - so you can relocate it when you want to. But you have land and trees, man you are in ham heaven.

    Wire: For a couple of years? Get whatever you can salvage would be my first thought - almost anything that will support the load will work. For 160 meters, conventional house wire might be a bit streatchy. Plan to salvage feed lines but not always antenna wires if you want. Heck, for a couple of years, I'd even soldier together salvage wire.
  10. K9ZMD

    K9ZMD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll see your couple of years and raise you about 50. My (temporary) station at Dad's house in Wisconsin has a doublet cut for 40 meters, using wire that I bought before 1960 for my very first antenna. The feed line is some Belden 300 ohm TV twinlead that I found in the basement there. I don't remember when I got it, but it had to be sometime before 1964 when Uncle Sam beckoned to me. Antenna wire, the reason they coined the phrase, "Works fine and lasts a long time." 73

    Gary, K9ZMD/6
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