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With the possible exception of vertical dipoles, most 1/4 wave length vertical antennas need a good ground radial or counterpoise system to function at peak efficiency. The radial system supplies the "missing half" of the vertical antenna.
In this well-made tutorial from Dominic Smith (M0BLF), we see a properly installed ground radial system used with a Hustler 6-BTV multiband HF antenna.
Although there is no "hard and fast rule" governing the number of radials for a 1/4 wavelength vertical antenna, 16 to 34 radials seems to be a good compromise. Of course, property limitations will determine how many radials you lay down. Put down as many radial wires as you can.
If this plan seems too tedious or time-consuming, try 4 to 6 elevated radials. This system appears to work well for some radio amateurs.
Dominic does a good job of showing the basic installation process. He enjoys many contacts with his new radial system.
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http://www.arrl.org/arrl-audio-news (a weekly podcast which is updated each Friday afternoon).
Thanks for joining us today.
Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).