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How high and where to get?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Antennas' started by kd0fx, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. kd0fx

    kd0fx W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    So, I think I'll be able to put up an HF antenna next year. I think I'm going to go with a simple dipole, at least 80 - 10, 160 if I can get the room (at least to start out with and get on the air). What would be the minimum height that a ham would want to get that thing into the air and get half-way decent results? Would 40' be worthwhile to hear some new things?
    What kind of mast should a guy look for? I'd like to find some light weight fiberglass masts that a couple people can put up by themselves. Since it's just a dipole it doesn't need to hold a lot of weight, but 100+ MPH winds could happen a few times a year. I can't seem to find anything like that on google.
    Am I on the right track with this? Or is this a poor plan?


     

  2. packrat

    packrat Active Member

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    Just put something up! A dipole is great, and higher is better, but almost anything will get you on the air. Do you have a tuner? If not, probably best to pick a band and build a dedicated dipole for it until you have a tuner. Multiband antennas are problematic, though, and a dedicated antenna for each band of interest is the easiest if you have the room. Trees? string it up between anything that will support it. Low dipole will be better for local work, but it may just surprise you, too. In short, have fun, put up some wire, and improve your setup as you learn what you want to do and what works best for your situation.

    Good Luck.

    PR
     
  3. kd0fx

    kd0fx W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Well, it'll be next year as that's when I can move, and not to mention afford an HF rig ;)
    I'll be putting something up whether it's perfect or not, but I need to specify a goal.
    So I plan to wire along the property line. The place I'll be moving to has dense trees on 2 sides (which I think would refract the signals too much), and power lines on the 3rd. That leaves 1 side relatively free, but it has no trees to hang off hence the need for poles.
     
  4. packrat

    packrat Active Member

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    Dont worry about trees blocking your signal. Dipole radiates mostly off the sides, not the ends. Non Issue unless you have steel trees. :DDont overthink it. A simple groundplane for 10 is a good first solution. Cheap and simple.
     
  5. kd0fx

    kd0fx W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    I suppose I could start a collection of mono groundplanes...
    But the trees won't stymie me? Am I thinking of VHF or higher? Cause I swear I read the leaves refract the wave.
     
  6. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Foilage attention as it is called is slightly noticable on 2m and quite noticable on 70cm and drastic on the higher bands. As for HF it is not an issue.Many hams run wire antennas thru trees will no ill effects except for the occasional tree fire when running high power. :D
     
  7. kd0fx

    kd0fx W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Ah, OK. that opens up some areas then, as well as would make it much easier to hang an antenna.
    I'll have to go out tomorrow and see how tall them trees are...
     
  8. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    For HF antennas, almost no one has an ideal antenna site, it's all a sort of 'make do' thingy. In most cases, it works just fine. Not the 'best' in the world, but certainly workable. I've done a lot of 80 meter stuff and never had anything close to an idea height antenna (1/4w or about 60 feet +/-), most of them have been close to maybe 20 - 30 feet at best. You do what you can.
    VHF/UHF is different. The antennas are usually smaller/shorter, the 'idea height' much lower, and just more practical in most cases. (That 1/4w for 2 meters of 70 cm is sort of 'short' considering the typical height possible, isn't it? :)) Then again, the 'ideal height' means something different at VHF/UHF, less wavelength related and more 'line of sight' related. Until you can't afford the required feed line, higher is always better. And again, it's whatever you can manage. Don't get too hung up on the 'best' height thingy. Possible and practical are more important that 'best'.
    - 'Doc

    Gotta 'J' pole at about 6 feet that does just as well as a larger 'base' antenna at at least three times that height. Ain't that the 'spits'? Oh well...
     
  9. kd0fx

    kd0fx W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    I understand what you guys are saying about getting hung up on perfection. The enemy of good enough is perfect. But this thread gave me more perspective on what I can do to get good enough. Not what I started out thinking, but it's all good as long as it works.
     
  10. HiDef

    HiDef Active Member

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    40 feet will work OK 60 or 70 would be better. Either will give you plenty of QSOs. If you want to work DX on the lower bands there are better ways.
     
  11. bamacj

    bamacj old ham

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    I use a full wave loop on 75 and up. Its strung up in trees and not any certain shape. Works great at 25 feet. Get you a tuner and some ladder line and put up the biggest antenna you have room for and get to talking. Dont worry about the details, its always a compromise.(y)
     
  12. Railham

    Railham W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    _
     
    #12 Railham, Sep 20, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  13. kd0fx

    kd0fx W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    What?
     
  14. 6 Meters Rules

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    A Good Starting Point!

    Hi ,I Would Recommend a Alpha Delta DX LB Plus Good on 160 -10 mtrs + 6meters as Well, good Antennas & its 100 ' Long Resonant ! on 1600-75-40-20-15-10 & Usable on all the rest W /built in Auto tuner & will Handle Lots of POWER! put it up 20-40 ' & you'll work more DX Than most of your Neighbors fact! I can beat most of these guy's on HF's Pants off with Mine With out an Amplifier & :LOL::LOL: & Make Em Mad Quick like & I Promise you you won't be Disappointed!
     
    #14 6 Meters Rules, Sep 20, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  15. RickC.

    RickC. Hopeless antenna junkie

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    40 feet will be fine. My 80/40 antenna is a trap dipole supported by a tree at 50' on one end, sloping down to a mast I made of 2x3s at 28 feet on the other end. It does everything I need on 75 and 40, and I've worked some European DX on 40 with 100W not even trying to, though DX was not my main objective.

    Would I like to have it at 70'? Sure. Would that make a noticeable difference on the 75 meter nets, 75 AM, and occasional 40M net I check into? Maybe not.

    Wire is still relatively cheap. Just put it up where you can, using good construction techniques and let it play.


    Good luck,


    Rick
     

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