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HF Choices

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by 2W0CSS, Nov 6, 2009.

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  1. 2W0CSS

    2W0CSS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm a young ham from the UK, must about to move over to HF. There is not much space to put up really big antennas on the property.

    I did think of a loop under the eaves but from what people say it wouldn't do much good.

    What other choices do I have, 1/2 size G5RV? Verticals, Dipoles. They must be cheapish as well.

    Opinions and ideas please.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Vertical antennas are excellent choices for restricted spaces. However, a properly installed vertical antenna is going to have a fairly low angle of radiation and thus will be very good for working DX. Unfortunately, the low angle of radiation doesn't make for very good relatively short range contacts.

    I have had a HyGain HyTower in use for over 37 years. That antenna is considered to be the "Rolls-Royce" of vertical antennas. I also have a full-sized 40 meter vertical that I can phase with the HyTower for 40 meter operation (or I can use the 40 meter vertical by itself). In addition, I have wire antennas for 40 and 80/75 meters that are relatively low. For working stations out to around 700 miles the wire antennas win "hands down" in virtually every situation. For working stations over 1000 miles away the verticals win virtually every time. But, for working stations between around 700 miles and 1000 miles away I never know which antenna is going to work better. Sometimes the wire antennas produce a stronger signal, sometimes the vertical antennas produce a strong signal, and sometimes it is a "toss up" as to which is better.

    I also use the HyTower on 30 and 17 meters and it works very well. For 160 meters I have a quarter-wave wire fed in parallel with the HyTower that also works very well. For 20, 15, 12, and 10 meters I have yagis so I don't need to use the HyTower.

    A G5RV is a good antenna for 20 meters. However, when used as an "all band" antenna the performance generally ranges between dismal and mediocre.

    Glen, K9STH

    Glen, K9STH
  3. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Any antenna is better than no antenna. If a dipole under the eaves is all you can manage, then do it and get on the air until you can do something better.

    When I was a Novice back around 1971 as a kid, a 40 meter dipole under the eaves of our house was all my parents would let me have. It was only about 10 feet off the ground, maybe less. Yet I managed to make about 400 CW contacts that first year, almost all of them practically on top of the Radio Moscow shortwave broadcast station. So it will work.

    As Glen suggests, verticals are good choices for limited space. For example a ground mounted Hustler 4BTV, 5BTV or 6BTV will get you on the most popular bands. You put radials on the ground or buried in the ground, the longer the better and the more the better, but you can get usuble results even with half a dozen short ones if that's all you can manage. Elevated mounting with tuned radials will do really well for you.
  4. W7IVK

    W7IVK Ham Member QRZ Page

    try a loop

    hello agian
    now that you mention it I am a young ham too:)
    if you didnt see my post on the other thread:

    i have a loop cut for 80 m and i tune it for ALL bands
    works great on 20m:D
    with loops the bigger and longer and higher is the better
    you really cant screw up a loop just use a tuner for all bands
    even if the match isn't great it will still put out a signal;)
    if you cant cut it to a certain length just make it as long as possible
    really simple just feed it directly with coax or twin lead
    NO BALUNS!!!
    loops don't need them
    results are excellent
    Ive worked tons of DX off of several different loops
    but don't expect low angle radiation like the verticals or the beam
    dont give up on loops yet
  5. W4JFA

    W4JFA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with TBB. Make a loop if you can. If not then throw some wire up where ever you can. You'll make contacts. Remember 99% of us have a compromise antenna. If you're not happy with the way it works, then change the configuration of the wire and keep trying. You'll have fun.
  6. KL1HB

    KL1HB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I moved to a cabin in the wilderness of Alaska and became a ham in 2002. My first antenna was just 32 ft of wire and managed to talk with a good bit of the world. Like stated above hang some wire where you can and enjoy. Don't feel it has to be 'by the book'.
    Good Luck
  7. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are any number of ways to go, but first off, I'd suggest you start hoarding wire - free wire makes antennas inexpensive.

    Not knowing a lot about your available antenna supports...

    For 80 meters, an inverted 'L' is not terribly large. It requires counterpoise wires however.

    Parallel dipoles make good use of a single dipole support pair, if you want to minimize the need for a tuner. If you don't have room for a full-size dipole, you can build them shorter - see the good antenna books for details on loading a short dipole.

    Verticals for 20 meters and up are inexpensive and not too tall to build yourself. Aluminum nesting tubing makes great 20 meter verticals, and if you install it up 10 feet or more with elevated radials it will perform well. You can build a copper pipe 15 meter 1/4 wave, but that's about as tall as you want to go with copper [it gets floppy]. You can also suspend a wire vertical in a tree. As noted, they are great for DX more than local.

    Any time you do a random wire, you want to make sure you have some sort of RF counterpoise [or as others have said, RF's gotta go somewhere] to make tuning easier and efficiency higher.

    Keep in mind that any outside antenna is better than any inside antenna.
  8. AD5ND

    AD5ND Ham Member QRZ Page

    If price is a factor, then wire antennas are the way to go. If you don't have the money for a tuner then put up a resonant dipole for each band you have the space for. On the lower bands use a 1/4wl end fed antenna. They are shorter than a dipole but require a counterpoise. Anything big metallic and grounded will work, such as a metal building, or even a metal roof.
    A closed loop under the eaves will work if it's 1wl long and a open loop will work if it's 1/2wl long. But they work better if they are in the trees as compared to wrapped around the house. If you can acquire an variable capacitor and wind a coil, you can build a tuner. Then the fun begins.
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