Home Antennas

Space limitations at home, and not wanting to put up anything obtrusive, have left me somewhat challenged for an antenna for home use.

While there are lots of tricks and tweaks, the fact that remains that the more metal you have, and the higher in the sky you can get it, the better.

I’ve now got three aerials with different compromises, but the overall approach seems to work well.

1) A home made “J Pole” for 2m and 70cm.  This is normally hooked up to the FT-817 to access local repeaters.  With 5w I can reach a fair selection.  If there is a “lift” allowing VHF/UHF to travel further than normal, then I can swap it over to the IC-7000 for higher power.  This is installed in the loft for protection on the elements and fed with about 5m of RG-58 coax.

2) An end fed wire that runs from the roof level across the back garden to a tree, then has a vertical section ending a few feed above the ground.  This seems to have some EMC issues on 80m (it kills the ADSL router when I transmit), but otherwise is reasonably effective and I’ve been able to work central and eastern Europe on 5w using either 20m or 40m.  It’s pretty much deaf to anything local, and also picks up lots of noise – typically S7 or so of background chatter, though the noise filter on the IC-7000 takes much of that out.

Both of these are permanently installed.

3) I bought the Superantennas Rotatable Dipole kit with a 15′ tripod.  This is basically a kit of pieces that will let you build a dipole for anything from 2m to 80m, or a pair of verticals.  Each one has to be correctly tuned for it’s band, and setting them up takes a bit of experimentation.  I typically take the 817 and SWR meter out to the garden to tune it, then hook it back to the IC-7000 for actual use.  It has the downside of needing to be set up for use each time – I’m getting better at that.  But it has a couple of advantages:the obvious portability, and also helping me to not waste time on the radio when I should be doing something else: I have to make a conscious effort to “do radio” and set it up.

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