Ken's low profile, low-cost vertical antenna

If you need an inexpensive, sturdy, low visibility vertical antenna for amateur radio or swl use, please consider the following design from Ken (N2VIP).

Views expressed in this article are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Accessed on 26 May 2024, 2154 UTC.

Content provided by Ken Hansen (N2VIP).


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Thanks for joining us today.

Russ Roberts (KH6JRM).

Ken’s low-profile, low-cost vertical antenna


Ken’s antenna “deployed” in his back yard.

SWLing Post reader, Ken Hansen (N2VIP), writes:

A few months ago I purchased a couple S9V18 18′ vertical antennas for $65 at, with the intention of deploying a quick HF aerial at my HOA-laden home for ham radio use. I found they work great for SWL.

The S9V18 antenna is made to slip over a 1″ o.d. pipe driven into the ground at least a foot, with 12″ of the pipe rising off the ground. You can pound a two foot pipe half-way into the ground, or do as I did and fill a bucket with cement and stick the pipe in that half-way.

This is a 'close-up' of the bucket. Note the plate the ground radials are attached to, it's from Home Depot, it's a bus bar designed to bond the ground wire for each circuit in a breaker box.

This is a ‘close-up’ of the bucket. Note the plate the ground radials are attached to–it’s from Home Depot, it’s a bus bar designed to bond the ground wire for each circuit in a breaker box.

After adding a reasonable ground plane of 8x 14 ga wire cut about 15′ long I hooked up a 4:1 balun and ran it to my Kenwood TS-570D.

What I found was the aerial not only worked well on 20 meters, it also made a great shortwave aerial! Stations were booming in here in Texas at night.


The antenna slides over the pipe sticking out of the concrete in the bucket. Here is a picture of the bucket before the antenna base is slipped over it.

My ‘discovery’ was that a nice, modest vertical antenna can really improve reception on SW bands… sells the S9V18 antenna on close out for $35/each, the 2′ pipe is a few dollars more, add in a bit of coax and a modest ground plane and you can really up your SWL ‘game’.

Antenna on closeout:

I suggest anyone buying this antenna seriously consider buying additional clamps at the same time, they are just a few dollars and will help extend the life of the antenna:

For shortwave broadcast listening a direct connection without balun would probably suffice, but I used an LDG 4:1 balun to support multi-band ham transmitting:

Just thought I’d share my ‘discovery’…

And we thank you for sharing your discovery, Ken! This is a great, simple solution for those who cannot erect a permanent “high-profile” antenna. I’m especially impressed with how budget-friendly your solution is, Ken.

Post Readers: If you have other suggestions for inexpensive low-profile antennas, please contact me or comment below!

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