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New to HF and looking at antenna options.

w2xq

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#41
I haven't used the MFJ-901B but it looks reasonable. Read reviews here https://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/678 on eham. That said, you might peruse hamfests or club estate sales for used tuners. Short of lightening damage or exceeding power levels, an older unit should suffice. I had two DenTron DenTron Super Tuners capable of handling even a 10-foot wire on 160m. It looks like you are on the right path. Don't overcomplicate your life. As you commented before, KISS works. Plug 3.5 MHz into this Antenna Length Calculator KD4SAI calculator and you'll see why I suggested a 135 feet wire. Go to it. Good luck.
 

TailGator911

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#43
Question - If I replace a 40-ft wire on an end-fed PAR dipole with 135-ft wire, keeping it end-fed, what can I expect? What, if any, adjustments would I have to make? Sorry, I don't mean to hijack the thread but great info here that I am soaking up prior to antenna replacement/additions I plan to make this summer, thanks. The calculator is a great link - thanks for that!

JD
kf4anc
 
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#44
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.
An engineer I worked with at Motorola once told me the best antenna is a single-band antenna--since he specialized in antenna design, I'm inclined to take his word for it. On the other hand, I knew a ham in Chicago that put up a shortened vertical for 160M and designed the loading coil at the bottom so that he could change operating bands of the antenna by physically changing the point at which he tapped into the loading coil--so in effect it was still a single-band antenna (fulfilling the requirements given me by the Motorola engineer). I hope this helps...
 

w2xq

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#45
Question - If I replace a 40-ft wire on an end-fed PAR dipole with 135-ft wire, keeping it end-fed, what can I expect? ... The calculator is a great link - thanks for that!
JD, I don't have any antenna modeling software (using a tablet) but the concept of an end-fed half-wave dipole is foreign to me, to whit
The dipole antenna, how industry defines it etc. 135 feet should be a half-wave on 80m, something end-fed PAR claims to be. Glad the calculator link helps.

Back to the OP's original post, he had just two anchor points for an antenna and could only feed it at one end. My suggestion was to install a simple, cheap, inverted-L wire sufficiently long to get onto 75/80m. HTH.
 
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#46
The 901 tuner is built similar to the MFJ-945 series with a large diameter coil on its side. I've had two MFJ-945s over the years and they both arced from the coil to the case with only 100w. I had an MFJ 949 briefly and sold it recently for $50. Looks like it would last a bit longer than some of their other models.

If the OP is considering a resonant End Fed Half Wave, the 40-10m versions don't really need a tuner. The 80-10 version should need a tuner only on 80m.

Looking back at your recommendation on using an external tuner, I have been researching various brands and models and I found this one which has the balanced line input which is the MFJ-901B. Would this be a good choice or do you have a different recommendation?
 

TailGator911

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#47
Well, I have been fairly satisfied with the 40-ft antenna which delivers to an inside splitter and then had fed to an Icom R75 and my old battleship FRG-7, that is until got an IC-R8600 and went to a website with an online 'live' SDR HF radio and I started chasing the frequencies to test my reception. I came in last, if at all. I found that my HF reception capabilities were severely lacking. I get ok reception, but DXing would be impossible. After the summer I plan to redo the antenna and add a loop to my options, see if that helps. I'm interested in what the OP decides on and how it performs and watching this thread for good information.

To the OP, if you have a lot of land and space and could do whatever you want, a good beverage antenna would be cool to build. I've never done it, but it sure sounds like fun. Whatever setup you end up building, let us know how it goes!

JD
kf4anc
 

graywoulf

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#48
I had an MFJ 949 briefly and sold it recently for $50. Looks like it would last a bit longer than some of their other models. If the OP is considering a resonant End Fed Half Wave, the 40-10m versions don't really need a tuner. The 80-10 version should need a tuner only on 80m.
I am considering the 80-10m version. I have to wonder if the TS-570D's internal AT would still handle the job on it's own or if my best bet is to get an external one.

I'm interested in what the OP decides on and how it performs and watching this thread for good information. To the OP, if you have a lot of land and space and could do whatever you want, a good beverage antenna would be cool to build. I've never done it, but it sure sounds like fun. Whatever setup you end up building, let us know how it goes! JD, kf4anc
Well JD, I'm interested in getting this figured out to be honest. I wish I did have a lot of space to set up whatever I needed but I don't. That is my biggest issue here. All of the trees on my property are on one side and I am surrounded on another side with power lines as well as power lines that run across my back yard. There is a side road where the power lines are and across that road are high tension power line towers which go across the road in front of my house to a small sub station. Not a good situation at all. But stay tuned as they say and I will post the results hopefully soon.
 
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#49
I just spoke with a friend a minute ago who has a TS-570 and a ZS6BKW and he says it tunes the antenna on 80m just fine. He doesn't do a lot of 80m and hasn't mapped the whole band out but it does work.

The power lines and station could be a problem.

I am considering the 80-10m version. I have to wonder if the TS-570D's internal AT would still handle the job on it's own or if my best bet is to get an external one.


Well JD, I'm interested in getting this figured out to be honest. I wish I did have a lot of space to set up whatever I needed but I don't. That is my biggest issue here. All of the trees on my property are on one side and I am surrounded on another side with power lines as well as power lines that run across my back yard. There is a side road where the power lines are and across that road are high tension power line towers which go across the road in front of my house to a small sub station. Not a good situation at all. But stay tuned as they say and I will post the results hopefully soon.
 

graywoulf

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#50
I just spoke with a friend a minute ago who has a TS-570 and a ZS6BKW and he says it tunes the antenna on 80m just fine. He doesn't do a lot of 80m and hasn't mapped the whole band out but it does work.

The power lines and station could be a problem.
I have my fingers crossed that there is not any or much interference from the lines. I have a CB radio that has an external antenna that is mounted fairly near the lower power lines and there is no interference on any of the 40 channels. But I know that the HF radio and antenna is going to be much different.

Thanks a lot for passing the information along about the ZS6BKW antenna. I really like it's specs. Do you know how he has it set up as far as height and coax type? And one more question. Do you think I should invest in a external tuner anyway? I may have a chance at a deal on a MFJ-949E tuner if I need one.
 
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#51
My friends ZS6BKW, (which I think I built) is really compromised being maybe 20ft off the ground and running very close and parallel to the power lines into his house for about half its length. I think the coax is about 50-60ft of RG-58. With all that its performing quite well. He puts out a similar signal to another friend in town with a 40-10m EFHW at about the same height and he seems to hear well. I've been in TX listening on 20m to the two So Cal stations mentioned above and they were close in signal level.

I'm not a fan of MFJ products. The way I look at things like that is if the price is cheap enough to experience it and sell it later without loosing any $$, then you can't loose. Unless it breaks. I see some have sold used recently in the $80 range, so if you get it cheaper its probably safe.

I have my fingers crossed that there is not any or much interference from the lines. I have a CB radio that has an external antenna that is mounted fairly near the lower power lines and there is no interference on any of the 40 channels. But I know that the HF radio and antenna is going to be much different.

Thanks a lot for passing the information along about the ZS6BKW antenna. I really like it's specs. Do you know how he has it set up as far as height and coax type? And one more question. Do you think I should invest in a external tuner anyway? I may have a chance at a deal on a MFJ-949E tuner if I need one.
 

W5lz

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#52
I don't think that '901 would be one of my choices of a tuner, just too small. What harms a tuner is voltage. Voltage limits are determined by the spacing of capacitor plates. Bigger/wider really is better. You probably won't need a "bread slicer", but the capacitor(s) in that '901 probably won't handle what you'd like.
 

graywoulf

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#53
Decision made. I purchased a MFJ-949E tonight. And since I bought that, I am reconsidering the EFHW "EASY-TENNA" rated for 10 to 160 meters that first caught my eye. I have looked at my house and property for days trying to figure out the best way to mount an antenna and it is only 98 feet in length and will need a minimum of 50 feet of coax to complete the counterpoise. I think I can swing that installation without having to get too involved. Trying to keep it simple you know. ;) :) I also received my Kenwood TS-570D today. I'm getting there. (y)
 
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#54
An EFHW only 98ft long cannot cover below 60m and certainly not 80 or 160, so the EASY-TENNA is not an End Fed Half Wave, its a 9:1 un-un with a non resonant length of wire. I wish I could demonstrate the difference between the two and a guy up the street from me recently went from a MyAntennas 40-10m resonant EFHW to a similar antenna you are looking at to get on 80m. Now his signal on 40m is way down. He can work all bands, but not very well on any of them.



Decision made. I purchased a MFJ-949E tonight. And since I bought that, I am reconsidering the EFHW "EASY-TENNA" rated for 10 to 160 meters that first caught my eye. I have looked at my house and property for days trying to figure out the best way to mount an antenna and it is only 98 feet in length and will need a minimum of 50 feet of coax to complete the counterpoise. I think I can swing that installation without having to get too involved. Trying to keep it simple you know. ;) :) I also received my Kenwood TS-570D today. I'm getting there. (y)
 

graywoulf

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#55
An EFHW only 98ft long cannot cover below 60m and certainly not 80 or 160, so the EASY-TENNA is not an End Fed Half Wave, its a 9:1 un-un with a non resonant length of wire. I wish I could demonstrate the difference between the two and a guy up the street from me recently went from a MyAntennas 40-10m resonant EFHW to a similar antenna you are looking at to get on 80m. Now his signal on 40m is way down. He can work all bands, but not very well on any of them.
Well, you have told me things that I have to admit that I have no clue about. I have never heard of an unun until you mentioned it but I looked it up so now I know what it means. As I have said before, I have limited options for mounting a antenna on or near my house due to power lines all around the house. The EFHW antenna seems to be my best option. The "Easy-Tenna" comes in a 10 to 80 meter version as well but about the same length. I have attached a top down (Google Maps) satellite picture of my house. The power lines that did not show up in the picture are marked by yellow lines. The arrow is pointing to the high tension lines across the side road. Take a look at it and let me know if you have any other recommendations. Thanks.
 

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#56
It all boils down to compromises. A full size half wave dipole is a standard everyone can relate to performance wise. If you only have room for a 40m dipole at about 63ft and you want to operate on 80m that needs 133ft but you don't have that much space, you have to compromise and that can go many different directions with many levels of (poor) performance.

The resonant End Fed Half Wave will be a half wavelength long on the lowest band its designed for, so a 40 through 10m version will be about 63ft long. Hang it in the exact same place as a 63ft long center fed 40m dipole and you cannot tell the difference, but the center fed 40m dipole will only work on 40m and maybe 15m where the EFHW will work great on 40, 20, 15 and 10m.

Now compare that to the 9:1 un-un with a non resonant length of wire, but similar in length to a 40m EFHW and you will need a tuner and it might be usable from 80m or even 160m through 10m but with much reduce performance over the resonant EFHW. And you will have potential problems like RF on the coax, because the 9:1 types rely on the coax as a counterpoise and the coax can radiate almost as much as the antenna wire. You must use a good common mode choke with these or you can actually get RF burns of metal parts of the radio or even the microphone. Bottom line here is a 63ft 40-10m EFHW will greatly outperform a 9:1 with 98ft of wire (EASY TENNA) on 40-10m but it won't go below 40m.

Then you have the ZS6BKW, which works different than the two end feds I just mentioned. Since its a center fed dipole and an amount of it is fed with low loss balanced line, it can cheat in ways the others can't get away with. Its about 94ft long and will put out a much better signal on 80 through 10m than the 98ft EASY TENNA thing you are considering. And it will probably have a better match on most bands 40 through 10 than the easy thing. 80m on the ZS6BKW will be in the 7:1 VSWR range but it will still perform very well on 80 and leaps and bounds better than the easy thing.

Many of us have experimented with the same antennas you are considering and know how they work and I am trying to get you the best antenna that will fit your space rather than see you end up with a dog of an antenna. And beware of antenna advertisements, their only designed to sell antennas and not necessarily to make good on air contacts.



Well, you have told me things that I have to admit that I have no clue about. I have never heard of an unun until you mentioned it but I looked it up so now I know what it means. As I have said before, I have limited options for mounting a antenna on or near my house due to power lines all around the house. The EFHW antenna seems to be my best option. The "Easy-Tenna" comes in a 10 to 80 meter version as well but about the same length. I have attached a top down (Google Maps) satellite picture of my house. The power lines that did not show up in the picture are marked by yellow lines. The arrow is pointing to the high tension lines across the side road. Take a look at it and let me know if you have any other recommendations. Thanks.
 
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graywoulf

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#57
Point taken and appreciated. I can say that I am smart enough to know when to take good advice. My biggest reservation concerning the ZS6BKW antenna is what to do with the ladder line and coax. I can't get this antenna up to the recommended 40' in height and then to get use of the 10 to 80 meter range it needs about 70' of coax from what I have read. I am starting to feel like getting into HF radios was a bad idea.
 

TailGator911

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#58
I am starting to feel like getting into HF radios was a bad idea.
Nah, don't let it get ya down. It's a hobby that has to be kept up with. It's a hobby that demands you chase technology or get left behind. That's half the fun of it, learning new things and having to come up with the moo-la to play with them. Some people take it to the extreme but you can shop smart and get your own little system going, like SDR, etc. It all depends on how far you are willing to go and what you want to do with it. Always remember, a good radio is only as good as it's antenna. Have fun with it!

JD
kf4anc
 
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#59
If you can run the ladderline sideways to your house it will not hurt anything. The 70ft of coax is from some advertisement and has nothing to do with what the designer of the ZS6BKW has to say. 70ft of cheap coax will give a better match at the radio that 15ft of LMR400. If your tuner will handle the mismatch on 80m with 15ft of LMR400 then that will work better than 70ft of cheap coax.


Point taken and appreciated. I can say that I am smart enough to know when to take good advice. My biggest reservation concerning the ZS6BKW antenna is what to do with the ladder line and coax. I can't get this antenna up to the recommended 40' in height and then to get use of the 10 to 80 meter range it needs about 70' of coax from what I have read. I am starting to feel like getting into HF radios was a bad idea.
 
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#60
Height certainly is nice, but sometimes it just isn't practical. Ladder line can be run in any direction, not just up-n-down. Can you run it diagonally, side ways or a combination of those? Just don't run it back onto it's self. Zi-zag the @#$ thing! See if it's acceptable...
 
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