Newbie with equipment questions

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by NUMBIE, Jan 17, 2010.

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    NUMBIE QRZ Member


    I guess I am showing my ignorance, but I thought a verticle antenna would be mounted on a tower which is installed in ground in concrete. I was hopinjg to install the tower relatively close to my home, with brackets connected to house. That way, I may not have to have a long run of coax under ground. I think I need to do a lot of research on the antenna!!
  2. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Lifetime Member 279 Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Most verticals are installed on the ground with an extensive system of ground radials, long wires buried in the ground that extend outwards from the base of the antenna. You don't *have* to have radials, but they greatly increase the effectiveness of a vertical. You need enough space to plant the radials, which can be a problem depending on how large your lot is.

    Some commercial verticals, like the Cushcraft R-series (R-5, R-7 and now R-8) utilize a number of fairly short "counterpoise" radials about 3 feet long or so and designed in such a fashion you can mount the vertical on your roof. A chimney works fine, assuming it's brick and sturdy enough. You can use a simple TV antenna mount from Radio Shack with a piece of 1 1/4 inch or so metal pipe long enough to suit, and put the antenna on top of that (they are designed to fit on top of a pipe). DON'T use the 10 foot mast you get from Radio Shack. Those are designed for light-weight TV antennas.

    Towers are used to hold beams, horizontally polarized antennas that provide gain and directivity. You can also hang wire antennas off of towers. You generally don't want to put a vertical up on a tower. That creates problems with those pesky radials needed for maximum effectiveness.


    NUMBIE QRZ Member

    New rig


    I understand better now. I think I like the idea of a tower better. Am I correct in understanding that you can mount a rotating motor to turn the beams to desired bands?

  4. W0VYE

    W0VYE Ham Member QRZ Page

    To desired directions, not bands. But yes. Be aware, however, that this is a very expensive project; almost certainly several thousand dollars at the very least, and likely much more. An HF Yagi "beam" antenna, all by itself, can easily run $1,000, without the tower, rotator, etc.

    Be sure to check with your city engineer or building inspector before spending any time on this. Many local governments have made it all but impossible to erect a tower.

    Please, please get some experience before planning anything like this.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010

    NUMBIE QRZ Member

    New rig


    I have located a local HAM club so hopefully, they will have some suggestions. What type of antenna set-up do you recommend? In my rural county, the building restrictions are few. Land area is no problem either. I have been trying to research different anntennae on the Net, but I haven't been able to find an appropriate model.

    Thanks again for your patience and time.

  6. W4PG

    W4PG Super Moderator Lifetime Member 279 Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Every ham's library should contain a copy of the ARRL's "The Antenna Book."

    You will find almost every answer to every question on antennas you could imagine. It's a wealth of information.

  7. K2ER

    K2ER Ham Member QRZ Page

    What are the criteria that are dictating for you what is "appropriate?"

    Glad you found a club to hook up with. I think you really should experience some ham radio activities as an onlooker before you are able to clearly formulate what you want or need. And what your level of commitment/effort will be, which will at least initially determine the level of license you work towards, and by association the types of activities that said level allows you to partake in.

    If that was clear... :)

    I got into ham radio because I thought hearing stations in far away places was fascinating. So I knew I needed HF antennas, and I had to maximize what I could install at my (then) parents' house with practically no money to spend as a 13 year old kid. Those forced restrictions led me to experiment with building "creative" antennas, and developed an interest to keep doing so even now, 30 years later. I have no real financial limitation but my parental restrictions have been replaced with those of a wife. :D
  8. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    While I am not sure what your specifics are for your antenna, I will toss out another idea of looking at a hex beam. There are plans from G3TXQ and K4KIO, as well as a very active Yahoo Group. You can also purchase a kit from companies like Traffie Technology or DX Engineering.

    The antenna can be mounted on a mast or on a tower and turned by a rotator. The 5 band hex beam is built for 10/12/15/17/20M, so you would still need some sort of antenna for the other bands the hex doesn't support. I have been very pleased with my hex, at only 20'. Worked more DX in a few weeks with it up than I did with my new vertical (SteppIR BigIR) that was up for 3 months.

    It is a compromise antenna, but for what money can buy, especially if you homebrew it, you cannot beat it.
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