Over the past few days, I've been reviewing some of my old antenna notes. Like the late Lew McCoy, I keep most of my ideas in an antenna notebook for future reference. Any notebook will do, as long as you keep yourself organized and have sufficient room for drawings, meter readings, and other perameters. Although there are many good, inexpensive antenna design programs, I prefer the old style of jotting down thoughts in a notebook. I'm not a technophobe, but after immersing myself in the latest digital, whizz-bang equipment and programs at the radio station, I just feel the need to retreat to a simpler time as far as amateur radio is concerned. Anyway, I've accumulated 20 or more student composition notebooks full of radio ideas, failed experiments, and occasional successes. Some of my early antenna designs were quite pathetic, but that's how one learns.
While I was going through a notebook dated October 1976, I came across a very simple 40-meter antenna that has served me well over the years. Nothing can beat a 1/2 dipole fed with RG-8, RG-58 (if that's all you have), and even RG-6. Get that dipole up as high as you can, trim for lowest swr, and feed the skyhook with 50 watts or so. Depending on the time of day, band of choice, and propagation, you should be able to work many stations. If you prefer 40-meters, just measure out 65' of whatever wire you have (I prefer #14 gauge, but use what you have available), cut two segments of 32', 6" each, attach and weather proof your coax connection. The antenna will do a satisfactory job on 40-meters and will probably be useable on 15-meters. You may have to attach some "outrigger" wires with clips to make the antenna more workable on 15-meters. This is about as basic as it gets for a functional antenna. If you have space problems like I do (very small backyard), you can make an inverted "vee" dipole by using a 30-35' pvc mast. The dipole will perform a bit better than the "vee", but the vee only needs one support. I'm using the vee now, and I find it satisfactory for my needs.
In future posts, I will review some of the antennas that have proven successful in my restricted circumstances. Meanwhile, it's back to work. Have a great day and get on the air. Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.