Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Simple Antennas for the Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Operator--a continuing series

While I was perusing the 03 January 2012 update to eham.net, I came across an interesting article by Bob Raynor, N4JTG, entitled "Where do we go from here?  Some thoughts on your first HF Antenna."  Bob does an excellent job of explaining the basics of antenna design that even techical neophytes such as I can understand.  Bob belongs to the school of "homebrew antenna design" with a goal of getting on the air with basic, cost saving, and easily built antennas.  I'm all for that, considering my reduced income as a new retiree.

WHAT TYPES OF ANTENNAS ARE AVAILABLE AT A LOW PRICE/

Bob explores the design and building of several simple, yet effective antennas that are suitable for the space and financially challenged (that means me and thousands of other hams who are living in antenna restricted areas).  Included in his short article (with pictures) are the familiar center fed doublet fed with twin lead, the fan dipole, the basic dipole and inverted vee, and the wire gain antenna.  About the only antennas he didn't cover in the article were the vertical, sloper, and the loop.  I've built and used the antennas described in the article and they work given sufficient height above ground.  Best of all, these antennas won't empty your wallet.  Most of the materials are available at your local hardware store.  If you're a pack rat like me, you probably have wire, connectors, and a balun or two stuffed in your "junk box".  If you prefer coax cable feedlines, don't overlook RG-6 from your local cable installer.  He may have some short runs suitable for patch cords or even the entire feedline itself.  The 75-ohm impedance can be handled by most rigs.  Connectors suitable for mating the RG-6 "F" connector with UHF connectors can be found on the internet.  I've use RG-6 for several years with no harm to the old Swan 100-MX or the venerable Yaesu FT-7.  As long as you keep the power below 100 watts you should have no problem.  The RG-6 can also be used for matching sections.

I have nothing against commercial antennas marketed by the leading manufacturers.  They work fine and can save you a lot of time over the homebrew variety.  However, like the author of the eham.net article, I prefer to "roll my own".  That's half the fun.  Build it and see if it works.  Each project adds to your knowledge.  Coupled with a few good antenna books or antenna design software, you'll be building skyhooks that may rival the commercial products.

It good to see other amateurs willing to invest the time and energy in building something they can call their own.  So, check out the article and see what you can do.  Let me know how your project turns out.

Have a good week!  Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM (Russ)