Wednesday 10 March 2010

The Antenna that should not work!

When I first moved to this QTH I hurriedly put up and end fed long wire for the HF Bands. This antenna was to be used for both HF Amateur bands and shortwave listening. It consisted of a 50 metre roll of wire which snaked over my back fence, into the empty field behind, over a few tree branches and back towards the house!! It was fed at the far end of the garden with  a 4:1 balun and a series of wire radials buried under the lawn. It worked OK, but was a bit noisy and difficult to tune on some bands. Later I put up a vertical for 10, 15 and 20 metres and made up an inverted L for the other bands. The original wire was cut at the house end, I guess some 15 or so metres was cut off, the remainder, still connected to the balun was thrown over the shrubbery behind my garden. I used that old wire for a while as an SWL antenna but then when the PLT noise (which luckily doesn't affect the ham bands) became too much, I bought my Wellbrook loop. Now the wire is attached to my TS830 and allows me to monitor the bands while my other rig is busy on PSK31.
I have noted that on 40 metres this low slung, random "shortwire" receives very well. I decided to see if I could tune it on transmit and with my MFJ ATU it tunes nicely on 40. Yesterday I tried I few calls on 40 metres and was getting reports, inter-G of 20db over 9. Given that this antenna, at its highest is not more than 4.5 metres up this was surprising, Its nice to use the TS830 again on SSB but I am amazed how well this low wire is working.The question is now do I leave it alone or try and improve it by maybe trying to get it a little higher or measure and cut it properly for the band. No doubt as soon as I try to "Improve" it the performance will get worse!!
I wasn't at work yesterday and in between trying to tidy up the garden and other household chores I managed a short listening session on my Sony 7600 in the sunshine! with the fine weather approaching I am again regretting that I sold my Yaesu FT817 some years back!


  1. Hello Kevin, antennas are strange things. Some of them do work and another don't. It's a way of trial and error. My Miracle Whip and 10 meter works perfect. I can't say the vertical is much better... only my dipole is the best at the moment. 73 Paul

  2. Yes I had a home-brew "loop" for 80 and 160 which, to be honest, was more like a triangular length of wire wrapped around a gutter pipe and a couple of poles around my tiny garden. Got into Europe with it a few times but soon gave up when I got my HF vertical . . .