Best Quick Antenna for a Desert Camping Trip?


Premium Subscriber
Mar 9, 2008
Cordova, TN
Hi there friends!

Soon I'm going solo camping out in the Arizona desert and I plan to take my Shortwave radio with me. I have the Grundig Satellit 750. It has an external antenna connector on the side that takes a random wire in the positive side and (I presume) a wire attached to a ground stake in the negative side.

I want to construct a fast antenna for some very good reception. I was thinking of a long random wire. I am pretty sure I'll have opportunity to suspend said wire around 12 feet in the air, probably tied to a rock formation. I was wondering, how long should I endeavor to make this random wire? After a certain length, does length no longer matter with this kind of antenna?

Is this the best type to construct, of should I be focusing on some kind of loop antenna or something else?

I attached a pic of the side of the Grundig radio. There is a BNC connection marked SW Ant. It is 50 Ohm. I'm wondering if I should use that instead?

I don't want to spend a ton of money on pro equipment, this is all just for fun! I want to see what I can receive in the dry desert and I plan to keep a log of my findings. Any expert insight would be greatly appreciated!



Jun 30, 2006
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I would recommend a 9:1 transformer and about 50ft of wire with coax back to the radio, no need for a ground rod. Or a loop on the ground with the same transformer might work well since you will have a lot of space.


Wiki Admin Emeritus
Jul 22, 2002
Bowie, Md.
No ground rod, but it may (or may not) help to attach a length of wire to the ground of the 9:1 transformer or the radio if you are using a random wire. Experimentation will show you which does better. Yes, length does indeed make a difference. In general, depending on the frequency and the environment, longer antennas become bi-directional off their ends. You would need a different transformer for these, but at 50 foot a 9:1 makes some sense. And beware of static - I understand from folks having served in desert environs that it can be pure hell on front ends. If you can toss the box together that is discussed below, you will benefit from the extra protection.