Antennas Can Be A Total Mystery

The real action in the world of ham radio is generally in the high frequency bands. Despite the name, these are relatively low-frequency bands by modern standards and the antenna sizes can get a little extreme. After all, not everyone can put up an 80-meter dipole, but ham radio operators have come up with a number of interesting ways of getting on the air anyway. The only problem is that a lot of these antennas don’t seem as though they should work half as well as they do, and [MIKROWAVE1] takes a look back on some of the more exotic radiators.

He does note that for a new ham radio operator it’s best to keep it simple, beginning work with a dipole, but there are still a number of options to keep the size down. A few examples are given using helically-wound vertical antennas or antennas with tuned sections of coaxial cable. From there the more esoteric antennas are explored, such as underground antennas, complex loops and other ways of making a long wire fit in a small space, and even simpler designs like throwing a weight with a piece of wire attached out the window of an apartment building.

While antenna theory is certainly a good start for building antennas, a lot of the design of antennas strays into artistry and even folklore as various hams will have successes with certain types and others won’t. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation so the important thing is to keep experimenting and try anything that comes to mind as long as it helps get on the air. A good starting point is [Dan Maloney]’s $50 Ham Guide series, and one piece specifically dealing with HF antennas.

13 thoughts on “Antennas Can Be A Total Mystery

  1. 71′ nonresonant stealth sloper 15′ high end, 6′ low end over concrete parking area that has steel rebar. 9:1 unun, 50′ of coax, common mode choke at transceiver. No tuner needed 30 to 10 meter ham bands. Tuner used on 160 – 40 meter bands. SWR 1.8:1 or less on all HF bands including WARC bands. 100 watts SSB from California have worked Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Europe, Mediterranean, Africa, South America. Also get solid 59 signal reports on daily 80 & 40 meters West Coast SSB nets. Low cost and lots of fun an all bands! – K3MAH

  2. I’m 10ft from a fantastic antenna location, and it’s completely out of reach. Instead I’m working a magnetic loop antenna for HF. It’s impact, as magloops are, but it’ll do for now. 10 watts and it can reach around the world. (Yes, I’m using FT8; no, I don’t care if you despise it.)

  3. Outback rural cattle fences. Just play with opening gates at different distances until you get one that works. Used it a bit back in the day for HF comms exercises to Europe in the army.

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