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Help a Newb Pick a SW Base Station Radio Antenna


New Member
Apr 6, 2022
Hi. I've been listening to police and fire scanner traffic for years, but I've recently been bit by the shortwave radio bug. I have a penchant for vintage equipment, so I bought a Realistic DX-200 on ebay. I'm writing to ask advice about getting the best antenna for my radio. I realize that what I want to listen to and several other factors will heavily influence the choice of antenna. I'm mostly interested in utility stations from around the world, if that helps. My budget is a few hundred bucks, I'm a solid DIYer, and I live in southern California. Can someone make a suggestion for a premium outdoor antenna? Thanks.

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Sr. Member
Dec 7, 2005
Western Washington
Receiving antennas are easy: A piece of wire as long as you can afford, up as high as you can get it. Back in the early 1960s I bought a secondhand Hallicrafters SX-99. All I used for listening was a piece of wire running diagonally across the ceiling of my bedroom/shack. This was back when Radio Moscow, HCJB, The Voice of the Andes (Ecuador), Radio Japan and many other DX broadcast stations were on the air daily. For general listening, you should do fine with something like that, but I would put a good portion of the antenna outside, and again, up high.

Wire Weasel

Senior Moment
Dec 13, 2008
What Beetle said. Just a simple piece of wire. Whatever you have laying around. Small gauge wire is fine. Around 50 feet would be great. String it up outside in the easiest way possible. Get the end up in a tree branch the easiest way you can arrange. Don't spend hardly any money on this project - totally unnecessary.
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tell the devil im gettin there as fast as i can,r
Jun 30, 2018
i use a few longwires cut to diffrent band lengths. bought a 200 ft roll copper wire few pieces of secdual 80 2inch pvc and made mine for about $30. but copper wire has come up sharply in price too


Sr. Member
Jul 19, 2014
Absolutely build a wire antenna. Dont waste money buying one. Dipole, longwire, loop, inverted v, sloper, etc. The list goes on. Suuuuper easy, cheap and quick to build, have you on the air in an hour.
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Captain Kilowatt

Professional Amateur
Staff member
Apr 6, 2005
Nova Scotia,Canada
Buying an antenna for SW listening is a waste of money in my opinion. I used to do some pretty serious SW and AM broadcast band as well as long wave listening years ago and all I ever used was a wire antenna as long as I could get it and as high as I could get it. I ended up with 600 feet long but only 15-20 feet high maximum. It was amazing what I could hear but half that was the really good receiver I had that allowed me to listen between two strong stations since it had really good filters. Your limiting factor is going to be that DX-200. It is fairly wide but the bands are not as crowded today as they once were. Throw up some wire and save your money.


Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
Miniwhip, but must be properly installed., Otherwise don't work.

@sp5it , As it happens, I just bought one of these to fool around with. What is "properly installed"? I have read the documentation and some info around on the internet, but I'm interested in your insight.
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