Skip to main content

Simple Antennas for the Radio Amateur--a continuing series

How would you like to build a cheap, easily erected, and efficient antenna for your small yard?  I've pondered that idea over the past several days after a cold front and its associated high winds made a mess of my temporary, homebrew vertical next to my garage.  Since I had a few days off from my substitute teaching assignments, I decided to build another sky hook with materials I had in my "junk box."  I still had a good pvc mast, about 100 feet of number 14 housewire, and an extra 4:1 balun stashed in the corner near the washing machine.  Along with 50 feet of 450 ohm twin lead and about 20 feet of RG-6 coax, I was in business.

The antenna would be an inverted "vee" inspired by a variety of articles in the ARRL Antenna Book, various amateur radio forums (e.ham, net), and a 1998 paper entitled "The $4 Special" by Joe Tyburczy, W1FGH.  The antenna won't rival a mono band beam on a 50-foot tower, but it will provide hours of good contacts at a small cost.  Since I'm financially conservative by nature and now settling into a "semi-retired" state, expensive antenna projects will have to wait until the xyl and I move to our property in the Puna District (20 miles southwest of Hilo).  With that in mind, I spent most of this morning lowering my hastily made novice class dipole (as mentioned in the last post) and reusing the parts for the inverted "vee".  I was able to attach two, 33-foot lengths of  #14 gauge  house wire to each side of the 450-ohm twin lead with an angle of about 120 degrees separating the wires.  I ran 50 feet of twin lead to a 4:1 balun attached to the garage.  The balun was attached to approximately 20 feet of RG-6 coax, which then ran to a Drake MN-4 ATU.  A short 3-foot jumper cable made from RG-6 connected the ATU to the old Swan 100 MX. 

The antenna works well between 40 and 10 meters.  The ATU is happy, the old Swan is happy, and I am happy.  In the original article by W1FGH, the cost of the antenna was around $4.  But that was back in 1998.  Nowadays, everything is more expensive.  Nonetheless, I was able to make this antenna out of materials I had in the shack and in the garage.  Since I'm a packrat, I had no trouble finding wire, connectors, rope for guy wires, cable, twin lead, and tools to finish the project.  And like my previous vertical antennas, I can lower the structure and its elements when I'm not using them.

For my modest station, this inverted "vee" provides plenty of contacts from this isolated chain of islands in the Central Pacific--even at qrp levels of 10 watts or less.  When the neighbors aren't home, I run a little more power (around 50 watts).  The mast is painted a light green to match the local surroundings.  The antenna is barely noticeable from the street.

Building the inverted "vee" was lots of fun and it gave me plenty of exercise outdoors.  Antenna and kit building are some of the areas we amateur radio operators can explore without spending too much money.  My favorite radio store is the nearest Home Depot or Ace Hardware Store.  Of course, there are some specialized parts that must be ordered from mainland sources (Mouser, Digikey, Jamco, and others), but, generally, a well-supplied junk box will give you most of the parts you need for simple antenna projects.  Besides, one gets a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from building something from "scratch". 

That's all for now.  A few household chores remain before I can fight the qrp on the lower edge of 40 meters.

Have a good weekend!

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM--BK29jx15


Popular posts from this blog

G5RV Multi Band HF Dipole Antenna. Post #1555.

If you can't see the video, please insert this title URL into your browser search box: This well-produced and richly illustrated tutorial on the classic G5RV HF Dipole Antenna was presented to the Brandon Amateur Radio Society in Brandon, Florida in 2017 by Bernie Huth (W4BGH).  Bernie does an excellent job of  explaining the pros and cons of this popular HF antenna from the late Louis Varney (G5RV).  Although Varney envisioned his design primarily as a 3/2 wavelength antenna for the 20 meter Amateur Radio band, radio amateurs have used the antenna for multiband use.  The G5RV is an excellent choice for the 20 meter band.  Performance on other HF Amateur Radio bands is good enough to qualify as stand alone HF antenna if you can only erect one HF antenna. For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please visit these websites: (a wee

Amateur Radio Bicycle Mobile Setup. Post #1554.

If you can't see the video, please insert this title URL into your browser search box: Here's a way to use Amatuer/Ham Radio while you work on shedding a few pounds in useful exercise.  Why not equip your bicycle for 2 meter/70 cm mobile operation? In this short, well-made video, "taverned" shows us how he used a mag mount antenna, a simple C clamp, and a basic ground system to convert his mountain bike into a mobile station.  The project is straight forward, simple, and gives you emergency communications while you peddle down the road. For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please visit these websites: (a weekly podcast which is updated each Friday afternoon). (Amateur Radio News & Information).

An 80-Meter Vertical Helix

Like many amateur radio operators, I live on a small lot surrounded by neighbors, utility lines, and civic-minded citizens concerned about the "attractiveness" of my community.  Whether by design or outright fear, I've adopted the "stealth" approach to ham radio antennas.  It's the old "out of sight, out of mind" idea applied to amateur radio antennas. The amateur radio press is full of articles describing the struggle of amateur radio operators to pursue their hobby under the burdensome regulations of CC & Rs, HOAs, and other civic minded citizens who object to antenna farms.  So far, my modest verticals, loops, and inverted vees have blended well with the vegetation and trees bordering my small backyard.  Vertical antennas have always been a problem because of the limited space for a radial system.  There are times, however, where a shortened vertical for the lower HF bands (such as 80/75 meters) is necessary where horizontal space is lack