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New to HF and looking at antenna options.

graywoulf

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191
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#1
Well I did not even get much use out of my Technician ticket and I already passed my General so I am going into HF as well. I just bought my first HF rig which is a Kenwood TS-570DG so I am going to need an antenna. The problem is that my house is situated near a lot of power lines and the only tall trees are on one side of the property. I am looking at a end fed dipole that covers pretty much all of the bands and is 98 feet long. The maker of this dipole says that it is compact enough to use in most any configuration. I quote... "The antenna can be installed as a sloper, an inverted "V", an "L", or even bent 90 degrees to fit a longer wire into a smaller lot."
It is priced at around $70. A friend has suggested a vertical multi band HF antenna, the "Maldol HVU8" as an alternative but they are over $300 and I see reports that they do not do well on 80 meters which is the most active band or so I have been told. So, I thought I would throw out a line here and see what comes back to me on this from you seasoned HF hams. I hope I have given enough information but if not, just ask. Thanks in advance for any help on this.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
1,852
Location
Burlington County, NJ
#2
Put up a wire (endfed dipole?) with an antenna tuner, and you'll have fun. From 1975, as a Novice>Extra, I had an endfed 135' wire running in an inverted-L configuration. I used it for 6 years, all bands, until moving out of small-lot suburbia. No reason to spend a gob of money. A hamfest: wire, a few insulators, rope and a connector. Learn propagation, grayline DXing et al and you'll make a lot of contacts. Good luck.
 

graywoulf

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Aug 22, 2015
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191
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Millers Creek, NC
#3
Thank you w2xq for the advice. One good thing about the TS-570D is that it has a built in antenna tuner. I was just at a hamfest last weekend but at that time, I had not purchased the HF rig. I'm on a huge learning curve right now as it is. Propagation is high on the list.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Burlington County, NJ
#4
The antenna tuner within the transceiver may not be sufficient to handle an endfed wire on all bands, but a external antenna tuner should be easy pickings at a hamfest. If you opt to get one, get one with a balanced line output. That just opens your options for the future. I prefer tuners without metering. Decent antenna tuners don't go bad. Standalone SWR meters--if needed--can always be replaced. Hope that helps.
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,638
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#5
What make/model 98ft end fed are you looking at? Many of these are a 9:1 balun and a length of wire that will resonate on many bands. These are not my favorite as your coax becomes a radiating part of the antenna and they are not as efficient as the End Fed Half Wave resonant version. The resonant types will be about 64ft long for one that covers 40, 20, 15 and 10m with a 133ft version covering most bands from 80 through 10 and maybe 6m. And all this usually without an antenna tuner.

The Maldol HVU8 is not so good and a $20 hamstick on your car will work a little better. There are some center fed dipoles that cover most bands from 80 through 10m like the ZS6BKW, which is a modern computer designed version of the popular G5RV. I ran a ZS6BKW for many years and it worked better than a number of other similar size antennas. You can make one for the cost of the ladder line and wire. Now I'm using a MyAntennas brand 133ft 80-10m offset center fed dipole and I'm really happy with that.

There are lots of antennas to choose from and many you can make yourself for cheap and still have really good performance.

Well I did not even get much use out of my Technician ticket and I already passed my General so I am going into HF as well. I just bought my first HF rig which is a Kenwood TS-570DG so I am going to need an antenna. The problem is that my house is situated near a lot of power lines and the only tall trees are on one side of the property. I am looking at a end fed dipole that covers pretty much all of the bands and is 98 feet long. The maker of this dipole says that it is compact enough to use in most any configuration. I quote... "The antenna can be installed as a sloper, an inverted "V", an "L", or even bent 90 degrees to fit a longer wire into a smaller lot."
It is priced at around $70. A friend has suggested a vertical multi band HF antenna, the "Maldol HVU8" as an alternative but they are over $300 and I see reports that they do not do well on 80 meters which is the most active band or so I have been told. So, I thought I would throw out a line here and see what comes back to me on this from you seasoned HF hams. I hope I have given enough information but if not, just ask. Thanks in advance for any help on this.
 
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Messages
7,638
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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#7
Aah, one of those. Its a 9:1 transformer and see where it says in the ad "Important Note : The antenna works best if the coax is at least 50 ft. long. Any coax length in excess of 50 ft. will also work just fine. " That's because the extra coax loss helps match the antenna and the coax is a radiating part of the antenna.

A friend on RR had the larger high power version of that same brand antenna and was using it with some military manpack radios and was not having much success with contacts. I set him up with an easy to make and cheap Half Wave Resonant End Fed and using the same radio at the same location they could then make contacts. You can buy a commercial version from various mfrs like LNR Precision (PAR) or MyAntennas, etc, or I can post the plans again to make one.



This is the antenna that I am referring to. I am clueless when it comes to HF antennas. I just know that I do not have a good space for a long dipole antenna. This one is about as long as I could find a way to set up
END FED "EASY-TENNA" -- 160-10 meters -- Stealthy -- Base/Portable -- 300 watts | eBay
 
Joined
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Ontario
#10
Not much I can add other than I am in the same situation. Small lot, height restriction and with power lines right across the back of the yard. Have tried bazookas, G5RV, end fed , dipoles etc... the small lot and not running parallel to the power lines to minimal success. Has some pretty funky bends going on.....lol

The ARRL books are IMHO a good read and I used them in my experimenting on antenna builds.

No one has addressed the noise from the power lines yet. Just thinking in advance but they can be noisy and can be a problem. Just a thought.
 

W5lz

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Feb 28, 2019
Messages
183
#11
That feed line length is acting as the antennas "other half", or counterpoise/ground. It will work, but also opens the possibility of other problems.
Another possibility is an "L" or "bent" vertical antenna. The "catch" to that is that they really do require a good ground system (That other-half of the antenna). Forget a ground rod, need a "real live" RF ground system. Cut that wire's length to a 1/4 wave on the lowest band of use.
 

graywoulf

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Millers Creek, NC
#12
The ARRL books are IMHO a good read and I used them in my experimenting on antenna builds.

No one has addressed the noise from the power lines yet. Just thinking in advance but they can be noisy and can be a problem. Just a thought.
You hit one main factor that I have to deal with. Power lines. Not only the usual wooden utility poles in my yard, but parallel to those and right across the side street are high tension power lines and towers. Then to top it all off, across the road from me is a small sub station and a cell tower. So, with all of that to deal with, I really have limited options I guess.
 
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#13
The Half Wave Resonant End Feds don't need a ground or counterpoise, they operate fairly independent of their surroundings on the bands where they are resonant. Its still a good idea to use a common mode choke in the feedline near them to isolate them further and keep noise down.


That feed line length is acting as the antennas "other half", or counterpoise/ground. It will work, but also opens the possibility of other problems.
Another possibility is an "L" or "bent" vertical antenna. The "catch" to that is that they really do require a good ground system (That other-half of the antenna). Forget a ground rod, need a "real live" RF ground system. Cut that wire's length to a 1/4 wave on the lowest band of use.
 

W5lz

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Messages
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#14
prcguy. - You are mistaken, it will still require that "other half", or that second terminal. Without it, current can't flow, so no signal.
To explain why would take up more bandwidth than I'm willing to put into it. It deals with what impedance is composed of (resistance and reactance), and how there are almost unlimited combinations of those two that will result in an SWR reading of 1:1. All that is common knowledge, look it up.
Oh, there was an article that came out several years ago called, "SWR Make You Stupid". Does a really nice explanation of this sort of thingy...
 
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#15
No need to explain why unless you feel really compelled.

In the Resonant Half Wave End Fed using a transformer in the range of 49:1 to 64:1 there is no ground connection and there is no counterpoise needed beyond stray capacitance and maybe a few feet of coax between the transformer and choke balun. You can ground it if you wish for lightning, etc, but its not needed for operation.

Several people did in depth studies on this antenna claiming "it needs a counterpoise!" and their final calculations called for a tiny counterpoise about 1/20 of a wavelength long. Turns out stray capacitance between the antenna wire, transformer and coax is sufficient as predicted by other engineers.

Of course don't rely on me, just ask Danny Horvat the old Cushcraft engineer who sells thousands of these under his MyAntennas brand and they all work great and much better than the non resonant 9:1 types that do rely on a counterpoise which is the coax. I've built and installed dozens of these and also purchased a couple from MyAntennas and they are a very good performing antenna, about the same as a half wave dipole of the same size fed with coax or balanced line but without a lot of installation hassles.

Also look up the original offset center fed Windom antenna. It was a single wire feeder to a resonant half wave fed off center. This is not fed with coax or ladder line or any other kind of balanced line, it was fed with a single wire from the transmitter to the half wavelength of wire overhead. Pretty much all the power you put into the wire excited the resonant half wave wire and it radiated basically the same as a coax fed or balanced feedline half wave dipole. No counterpoise, no ground.


prcguy. - You are mistaken, it will still require that "other half", or that second terminal. Without it, current can't flow, so no signal.
To explain why would take up more bandwidth than I'm willing to put into it. It deals with what impedance is composed of (resistance and reactance), and how there are almost unlimited combinations of those two that will result in an SWR reading of 1:1. All that is common knowledge, look it up.
Oh, there was an article that came out several years ago called, "SWR Make You Stupid". Does a really nice explanation of this sort of thingy...
 

I_am_Alpha1

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#16
LDG KT-100 $159.95
ALPHA-DELTA DX-EE $149.95

hamradio.com -- free shipping. The Kenwood radio has been discontinued (not saying it's bad...lots of people prefer older radios) and has been replaced to 2 generations. Hopefully you acquired it for a song. The radio tends to be the cheapest piece of your project. Give these two items a peek--the tuner has been discontinued, but still available.
 

graywoulf

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Millers Creek, NC
#17
I knew the Kenwood radio was discontinued when I bought it but it is still a popular rig with some great features including a built it antenna tuner. And yes, I got a good deal on it and it was within my budget. :D

That being said, I had one of the well seasoned and most experienced members of the ham radio club I belong to come by and give me some recommendations as to my best option for a HF dipole. He also is known in the club as the "antenna guy" based on his knowledge of antennas.

And according to him, my best option is the MFJ-17758 40-80 meter dipole. He said that a multi band antenna will not serve me well here in my location and guess I should respect his opinion based on his experience. So, that means that the end fed antenna is out of the picture.

I do appreciate all of the information and feedback on it though. ;)
 
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#18
With my experience and if you have just 9 more feet to spare over the MFJ size, a ZS6BKW will run circles around the two band MFJ giving you at least 7 bands to play with in 94ft of antenna. And its probably cheaper. I've run dozens of antennas here and the ZS6BKW was always high on my list.

If you must stay with a two band antenna that fits in 80 something feet, I would recommend the Alpla Delta DX-DD over any MFJ product. Every MFJ product I've ever purchased has broken or failed prematurely and way many people share the same experience.

I knew the Kenwood radio was discontinued when I bought it but it is still a popular rig with some great features including a built it antenna tuner. And yes, I got a good deal on it and it was within my budget. :D

That being said, I had one of the well seasoned and most experienced members of the ham radio club I belong to come by and give me some recommendations as to my best option for a HF dipole. He also is known in the club as the "antenna guy" based on his knowledge of antennas.

And according to him, my best option is the MFJ-17758 40-80 meter dipole. He said that a multi band antenna will not serve me well here in my location and guess I should respect his opinion based on his experience. So, that means that the end fed antenna is out of the picture.

I do appreciate all of the information and feedback on it though. ;)
 

W5lz

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Feb 28, 2019
Messages
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#19
AC or DC, there has to be two "terminals" or current doesn't flow. That second terminal may not be user supplied, or apparent, but it's got to be there. Antennas are the same way or no current f2fglow so no radiation. That's about as simple as it gets.
 

graywoulf

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#20
With my experience and if you have just 9 more feet to spare over the MFJ size, a ZS6BKW will run circles around the two band MFJ giving you at least 7 bands to play with in 94ft of antenna. And its probably cheaper. I've run dozens of antennas here and the ZS6BKW was always high on my list. If you must stay with a two band antenna that fits in 80 something feet, I would recommend the Alpla Delta DX-DD over any MFJ product. Every MFJ product I've ever purchased has broken or failed prematurely and way many people share the same experience.
I do appreciate the suggestion of the ZS6BKW antenna. I do like the specs on it and I have found so many 5 star reviews on it at eham.net and Amazon. I think that in my situation that I won't be able to get it much higher than 25 to 30 feet high in an inverted V setup. The supplied coax will be more than long enough to reach it's destination. I like the fact that I will not need an external antenna tuner with it as well.

I have researched so many antenna options in the last few days that my head hurts. :giggle: I hope that this one will fit my needs. I found it for $69 including shipping. Amazon wants $147 for it. :eek: I hope it will work well at that height and that I do not get too much interference from all of the nearby power lines but I guess I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
 
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