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Fascinating video from Kevin (KB9RLW). The short answer is yes, depending on ground conductivity and the local noise environment. Kevin shows us that a "ground antenna" does work if you're willing to accept less than stellar performance. There have been some SOTA (Summits on the air) events where ham antennas have been located at high altitudes without the benefit of trees or other supports. Contacts were made despite the limitations of height above ground. It's also worth mentioning the "Grasswire Antenna" from K3MT which seems to work fairly well. Check the blog sidebars for the K3MT "Grasswire Antenna" page, which gives the specifics for this antenna.
While on-the-ground transmitting antennas may not perform well, receiving antennas mounted a short height above ground seem to produce excellent results. The classic beverage antenna is one example of ground-hugging antennas that work very well in the receiving category. At my vacation home in the Puna District of Hawaii Island, I have a 500 ft/152.43 meters "long wire" receiving antenna stretching from my ham shack to the overgrown "jungle" in my backyard. The antenna is only a yard/meter above ground. I use this antenna for SW and MW receiving projects. The results have been gratifying and enjoyable.
Even though Kevin's experiment does work, you may want to use "ground-hugging" antennas for reception purposes only. Why not try Kevin's idea for yourself? You may be pleasantly surprised just how well this antenna works.
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Thanks for joining us today.
Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).