Monday, April 15, 2013

ARRL Wire Antenna Classics

I've been looking in to antennas for a while, specifically meant to be placed in a small space. A 40m yagi isn't in my domain for sure! However, I still really want to get on HF. What can I do?

Enter ARRL's Wire Antenna Classics. There is maybe 50 or so articles on how to construct wire antennas, ones that serve all kinds of purposes. Many of these don't apply to me, as I'm still limited in space, but there was definitely a couple which I should be able to take advantage of.

Here's a few nuggets that I learned from this book. First of all, you can bend the last third of a dipole, and it won't significantly change the amount of radiation which comes from the antenna. Specifically, the last third of the dipole, as measured from the center, doesn't contribute much of the energy. That saves me a ton of room!

The other very interesting tidbits were in the form of two antennas, one of which I am almost certain to use, at least initially from my attic. The first of these is called an Off Center Fed Dipole, or more commonly known as OCF. These consist of two dipoles, one of which is 1/4 wavelength, the other at 1/8th. Thus, the 40m dipole has one length of 45', the other at 23'. They also need to be fed using a ladder line, cut to a specific length, and a balun, which varies depending on which frequency you wish to speak on. If you do this, you can talk on 40, 20, 15, 12, 10, and even 6m, all with a single antenna, all in resonance, without an antenna tuner!

The other antenna is also known as the "Magic" antenna. It is simple a 40m loop of wire, positions to take up as much area as you can, all horizontal if possible. This also talks on most frequencies between 6-40m. It has a radiation pattern which is extremely flat, essentially acting as a high gain antenna in every direction.

Bottom line is, if you want a quick introduction to making your own wire antennas, this is a great starting point. It is a bit technical, but as a whole, is fantastic. I highly recommend this book! I am most definitely going to use the concepts, and probably a few of the designs, in my own antenna projects!

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