[AMRadio] Antennas

rbethman rbethman at comcast.net
Tue Jul 8 17:51:53 EDT 2014

I will have to echo Don's excellent summation.

Nothing will ever beat a well constructed, and adequately spaced away 
from the shack and any interfering structures.

I've seen some of the craziest installations in existence.  Most 
wouldn't do worth squat.

I've spent an hour or so with several that were trying to get licensed.  
All that time was spent with them and their antennas.

They were *much* happier after I had shown them the difference between 
what they "thought" might work, vs. what I left them with that *did* work.

Antenna construction appears to some as a "black art" for reasons I 
cannot fathom.  Inverted Vees will work quite well if the center is 
elevated enough.  You can't always get a "pretty" dipole up in some of 
the lots that folks live on.

I've only been fortunate twice in being able to get "pretty" dipoles in 
the air, and high enough.

The ideas presented in manuals, such as ARRL Handbooks, ARRL Antenna 
books, the West Coast Handbooks are nice and "pretty". What I mean by 
pretty, is that they are stretched out nice and straight, have the 
"purported" height above ground, and all nice and tidy.

I consistently tell, and show folks, that you can have a Dipole up, and 
it does NOT have to be all nice and straight!  The same is true of 
inverted vees.   If space doesn't permit the antenna to "look" just like 
all the manuals show and teach/preach, you'd be surprised to find how 
well it *will* work - if you have to bend one end down at an angle a 
bit, or even change direction in a horizontal plane.

A little ingenuity, and a bit of experimentation, and voila!  You end up 
with a good radiating antenna that doesn't match any of the manuals that 
"only" give you a purely textbook view of how to do it.

One of the two locations that I "could" get it up high enough, didn't 
allow for a straight dipole.  So the center was off about 20 feet from 
center, making it a flying Vee.  It did just fine, and didn't exhibit 
any directionality that I could tell for the several years that I was 
stationed there.

I made contacts from New Zealand, to Key West, with many points way 
north and in all directions.

If I could hear them, then it was almost a guarantee that I could talk 
to them.  I rarely had to turn on my HB GG-813s.  They got reserved when 
I finally needed to bore through the old "Russian Woodpecker".  We all 
remember that mess!

My suggestion is to read and understand what all the textbook theory is 
presenting.  Then do what you can, and if it won't fit like the book 
espouses - go for it!  Bend the rules some if you have to!  Don't be 
afraid to try!

You may well be pleasantly surprised!

Now just don't go out there and put 5W on the antenna and think it will 
do it all.  Sometimes it will, then there are times it won't!  You may 
even get surprised to hold a QSO over 150 miles distant with an 
ungrounded dummy load!  Been there, done that.

It was NOT intentional!  It just happened one time.  The other station 
did remark that I didn't sound up to my normal signal.

That was when I saw the coax switch was turned to the dummy load.

My $0.02 worth, and you'll get everything you paid for too!

Just keep these ides in mind.

Bob - N0DGN

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