Sunday, March 1, 2015

Simple Ham Radio Antennas: Rain Gutter Antennas. Post #383.

Rain Gutter Antennas: Rain Gutter Antennas (http://www.eham.net/articles/33775).

from Greg Danes, KJ4DGE on February 22, 2015
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Rain Gutter Antennas

Pic courtesy of N6CC website
By Grey Wolf

I got this idea about writing about my antenna because I had one once in the condo that worked very well down to about 40 meters. First YOU have to use a tuner! Mine was a MFJ “travel tuner”. Very simple and the system worked for me.

I ran a open length of coax cable to the aluminum gutter and to a screw at the base, no ground was used as this caused noise on the feed line. It was really resonant at 20 meters and higher. I made my first European contacts on 15 or 17 meters using the gutter antenna.

The whole length was close to 125 feet in an inverted “U-shaped” configuration. Since I could not turn the condo around with a rotator it worked a nice North-South path. It also worked greyline East-West fairly well also making contacts in NM, NV, WA and CA. I also worked quite a few State QSO parties and special event stations with it. Try it if you have a HOA that prohibits outside antennas. It is stealthy but I do not recommend running over 100 watts into it.

Again you really need to tune the thing and I would find the settings that worked best after loading it was 5 watts, writing down the 3 settings for the tuner for each band so I could get to the ballpark quickly.



I am no “gutter expert”. I do know if you don’t clean them they can be a problem. As far as using them for antennas this has been around a long time. You have to be careful with the tap point not getting rusted as this causes SWR’s and other bad business. Take a brillo pad to the feed point tap. Also if you have a Non-aluminum gutter (plastic) you can snake wire inside as well and load that. The point of course is stealth. The links at the end of the article are really good idea joggers.

Of all the things in this hobby antenna design and use is the most fun for me. Nothing beats a good OCF dipole high in the air between trees in your backyard. Some of us though are strapped with condo living or communities where this is not an option. With the gutter antenna you may get some surprising results as I did.

Try it and let me know how it works for you!

73

KJ4DGE

http://www.sgcworld.com/raingutterinstall.html

http://www.n6cc.com/tactical-antenna-systems

http://www.arrl.org/soapbox/view/8465

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Comment:

I found this interesting article on rain gutter antennas on the eham.net website.  I built variations of this antenna when  I lived in several rental homes on Hawaii Island shortly after getting my Novice Class Amateur Radio License back in 1977.  Unlike Gregg's gutter antenna, the spout and long horizontal section were  made from  plastic.  So, I just ran an appropriate length of #18 AWG speaker wire inside the plastic downspout and horizontal section (sealing the ends with waterproof silicone caulk) and attached the antenna segment to the main wire of some RG-8 coax, while I connected the coax ground braid to  buried counterpoise wires.  Using a simple MFJ "random wire antenna tuner", I was able to cover 40 through 10 meters without a problem.  The main attenna was cut for 40 meters as was the counterpoise wires (2).  I worked many stations running around 25-30 watts from my old Heathkit HW-101 transceiver.  I had no complaints from the neighbors.  The antenna was nearly invisible.  And like Gregg, I was able to enjoy ham radio living in a HOA and CC&R community. Gregg has a great antenna idea. Try it before you give up on amateur radio.

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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).