• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

New to HF and looking at antenna options.

Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
1,853
Location
Burlington County, NJ
#61
I am starting to feel like getting into HF radios was a bad idea.
It's not a bad idea. Relax. I suspect you are overthinking the antenna installation. Antennas don't have to be complicated. I think you have two anchor points and the antenna does not run under or over power lines. Put rope to the two anchor points and hoist your antenna of choice. If the feedline drags on the ground, use another rope to lift it up. Straight, angled, whatever, just so you don't hang yourself or a family member walking in the yard. Hook up the transceiver and antenna tuner you bought, and get on the air. Relax. Have fun.
 

graywoulf

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
191
Location
Millers Creek, NC
#62
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...
Zig-zag the @#$ thing! See if it's acceptable. LOL! :ROFLMAO:

Thanks for the advice. I think I am going to buy the ZS6BKW antenna and just get on with the program. I will just have to get creative with the ladder line but the coax will be easy. The ladder line will definitely have to be laid out horizontally and a zig-zag pattern will be necessary as well. I'll figure out something when it gets here.
 

graywoulf

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
191
Location
Millers Creek, NC
#63
Well after all of the posts here and the suggestions and information, I have finally settled on buying the ZS6BKW dipole. I am going to use RG8X coax with it and I have it all pretty much figured out on how I am going to set it up. Since I can run the ladder line across the roof towards the opposite side of the house, I can keep it pretty much horizontal by supporting the end of the ladder line at it's end then completing the installation with about 30' of coax. And don't try to talk me out of it... LOL!!
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,657
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#64
Why not make the antenna? I will be a lot cheaper and you can probably do a better job than some of the mfrs on Fleabay.


Well after all of the posts here and the suggestions and information, I have finally settled on buying the ZS6BKW dipole. I am going to use RG8X coax with it and I have it all pretty much figured out on how I am going to set it up. Since I can run the ladder line across the roof towards the opposite side of the house, I can keep it pretty much horizontal by supporting the end of the ladder line at it's end then completing the installation with about 30' of coax. And don't try to talk me out of it... LOL!!
 

graywoulf

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
191
Location
Millers Creek, NC
#65
Why not make the antenna? I will be a lot cheaper and you can probably do a better job than some of the mfrs on Fleabay.
As many skills as I possess, antenna building as of yet is not one of them. And for one thing, I have not seen any plans and parts list for the ZS6BKW. It is a nice thought though.
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,657
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#66
The antenna is just 450 ohm ladder line and wire with some insulators. The parts list would be 50ft of ladder line, 100ft of wire and three insulators. Then you need a common mode choke which can be a $7 ferrite core and some coax on the low end or a commercially made choke.

As many skills as I possess, antenna building as of yet is not one of them. And for one thing, I have not seen any plans and parts list for the ZS6BKW. It is a nice thought though.
 

graywoulf

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
191
Location
Millers Creek, NC
#67
The antenna is just 450 ohm ladder line and wire with some insulators. The parts list would be 50ft of ladder line, 100ft of wire and three insulators. Then you need a common mode choke which can be a $7 ferrite core and some coax on the low end or a commercially made choke.
Where would I find a source for all of this?
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,657
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#68
This will make a medium duty ZS6BKW with some extra insulators for another day. The last one I made had Davis RF 13ga copper clad steel wire and 14ga ladder line with a bullet proof ladder line to wire interface I made because a hurricane knocked some trees down and tore up the original.

MFJ-18H050 50 Feet Twin Lead Ladder Line, 450 OHM, 18 GA, Solid Copper/Steel 650619005035 | eBay

Davis RF WM-511 - Copper Clad Steel Antenna Wire, 14 Gauge/7 Strand - 100 feet | eBay

8 BLACK NYLON DOG BONE ANTENNA END INSULATORS.Dipole Ends SOLID. MADE IN USA | eBay

Where would I find a source for all of this?
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,657
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#71
I solder a PL-259 right to the ladder line. Cut one leg of the ladder line long enough to reach the center pin then solder. Cut the other leg long enough to solder to the rear of the connector. Stuff some styrofoam around the center pin wire inside the connector to keep it from shorting then cover the rear of the connector to several inches up the ladder line with hot glue heat shrink for moisture prevention and strain relief.
 

graywoulf

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
191
Location
Millers Creek, NC
#72
I solder a PL-259 right to the ladder line. Cut one leg of the ladder line long enough to reach the center pin then solder. Cut the other leg long enough to solder to the rear of the connector. Stuff some styrofoam around the center pin wire inside the connector to keep it from shorting then cover the rear of the connector to several inches up the ladder line with hot glue heat shrink for moisture prevention and strain relief.
Sounds like what these guys did. I watched this video last night and between your suggestion to build my own ZS6BKW and their video, I am thinking of doing just that.

 
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
189
#73
I would agree with the make your own idea. Antennas are just not that complicated. There's no "secret" or magical things about them, and 'looks' mean absolutely nothing to RF. If the #$% thing works is the important part.
 

graywoulf

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
191
Location
Millers Creek, NC
#74
I would agree with the make your own idea. Antennas are just not that complicated. There's no "secret" or magical things about them, and 'looks' mean absolutely nothing to RF. If the #$% thing works is the important part.
You are absolutely right. I have found a local supplier of antennas and parts that I am hoping to buy supplies from. I even think I will use PVC pipe for insulators and for the center section. I am going to look at Lowe's to see what kind of wire they have as well.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
189
#76
I think 18 or 22 gauge wire is a little small for a wire antenna. Its a mechanical thing, not electrical. The size of wire makes little difference as far as the electrical part of this stuff. The important part is that there can be a lot of stress on it, it may break. Something like 14 gauge will typically handle the strain. Its your wallet, get any size wire you want (or what you happen to have already).
This particular antenna is advertised as not needing a match box or tuner. I think having one is still a good idea. (And no,tuners are not very lossy if adjusted correctly). There will always be some variation in input impedance, no two antennas are ever exactly alike, which is normal.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
189
#77
... another thing to be careful of is the advertising -never- tells you the "rest of the story" and in some cases is what you typically find in a fertilizer store...
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,657
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
#78
You will have almost 100ft of wire out there and if you don't have a center support there will be at least 50lbs of pull on the wire to keep it taut. Soft drawn speaker wire is not designed for that. 14ga stranded copper clad steel is a good choice or even 14ga solid THHN house wire will work fine.

Another question. Will 18 or 22 Ga speaker wire work for the dipole? Seems to be an inexpensive alternative.
 

graywoulf

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
191
Location
Millers Creek, NC
#79
I am not sure yet if there will be a center support as I have several options. Now that I know that this antenna needs to be installed as a flattop, I have had to rethink how I am going to do this. I am still not sure about how high I am going to be able to stretch the antenna out at. I will be using chain link fence top rail for the mast on one end. I already have my J-Pole mounted on a two section mast of this rail and I don't think that three sections will stand without support and I am limited in options to do that. Two sections achieve a 21' height and that may not be high enough. It seems that there is always something else to have to consider.
 

W5lz

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
189
#80
Has to be a 'flat-top'? I don't think so. It can take a little bending/sagging with no particular problem. Keeping it nice and flat and straight is certainly nice but as long as it doesn't get too bent out'a shape it'll work.
Along with keeping things sort of symmetrical and high, there's the practical side you will have to contend with. get as much height as is practical for your installation. As long as it's higher than you are tall, it'll probably work okay. I have never had an antenna that was at the "perfect" height. In fact, I think I've only seen one that even came close, and it was military so sort of impractical for regular folks, you know?
 
Top