Skip to main content

Simple Ham Radio Antennas--N4KC's Top Five Multiband Antennas. Post #973.

N4KC's Top Five Multiband Antennas
Author:  Don Keith (N4KC).
Accessed on 06 December 2016, 00:25 hrs, UTC.
Please click link or insert title link into your browser search box to read the article.

Don Keith (N4KC) is one of my favorite amateur radio authors.  He has a genuine talent for making the overly complex simple for us non-technical folks.

Such is the case for his latest article on the website.  In this article, Don lists what he considers the top five five multiband HF antennas for radio amateurs.  He also includes two honorable mentions that are gaining in popularity.  The best part of this essay is Don's encouragement for you "roll your own" antenna and just have fun experimenting with antenna designs.

Based on Don's personal experience, here are the top five HF multiband antennas for ham radio operators:

The G5RV antenna designed by the late Louis Varney (G5RV). While this antenna can be used on all amateur radio bands between 40 and 10 meters, it does best on the 20 meter band where it works as an efficient 3/2 wavelength antenna.

A dipole fed with open wire parallel line.  This antenna comes closest to being called the "universal" HF antenna, since it can work on all HF bands, if the dipole is designed for 3.5 MHz and fed with 450 ohm ladder line, 300 ohm television twin lead, or homebrewed 600 ohm balanced line.  The only drawback to this antenna is the need for a balanced antenna "tuner" or a balun/tuner combination to keep SWR under control.

The off-center fed Windom Antenna.  This legacy derivative of the dipole is best fed with balanced line into an antenna "tuner."

The Fan Dipole.  This antenna is a set of dipoles cut for each band of use and fed in the center with 50 ohm coaxial cable.  Tuning is a bit critical since the dipole elements are close to each other.  This antenna is a good choice if you want an inexpensive multiband antenna connected to a single coaxial cable feed line.

Trap verticals and dipoles.  These antennas are well-suited for small backyards where space is at a premium.  Trap verticals require a ground radial or counterpoise system to work efficiently.

Honorable Mentions:

Hex Beams.  These antennas are fairly small and can be supported by a sturdy mast.  Although commercial models are available, you may want to build one yourself with locally available materials.

One wavelength loops.  Horizontal loops fed with balanced feedline make excellent NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave) antennas for ARES volunteers, local and regional nets, and general shortwave listening.  Loop antennas are generally quieter than vertical antennas and can be made from locally available materials.  An intriguing design for the "Loop Skywalker" antenna can be found in various ARRL publications.

There you have it--five great ideas and two up and coming contenders for the top HF multiband antennas available for radio amateurs.  Have some fun and build one of these great antennas.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and information, please visit these websites: (breaking news for the radio amateur).

For the latest science and technology news, please visit this site:


Be sure to check out the blog sidebars for more antenna and propagation articles.

Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today!

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).


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