. . . . Your First Antenna(s) . . . .

Recently Darrell, VE7IU posted great advice to the Ten-Tec Eagle reflector.  Darrell has granted me permission to re-post his Info here:


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From: TenTec_Eagle@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TenTec_Eagle@yahoogroups.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 5:41 AM
To: TenTec_Eagle@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [TenTec_Eagle] PWR-OUT and ANTENNAS

 I have helped many hams set up or improve their stations over the years. Two things I find most hams new to HF want to do, that may not be the best choices are:


  1. Want their antenna to work on all bands that their transceiver is capable of.
  2. Erect their horizontal antennas far too close to the ground.

Years ago, I think it was the ARRL, who found that most hams setting up HF stations for the first time, purchased a new transceiver, an R8 vertical antenna, and coax, and mounted the antenna on a pipe hammered into the ground.

My experience has been that a common antenna chosen by a ham new to HF is a G5RV about 20 feet off the ground.

Sometimes severe practical considerations dominate all others, and a poor antenna is still better than no antenna.  

However, I think a much better tact is to see what aspect of HF amateur radio most appeals to the ham starting out on HF. (DXing is a common answer).

Then choose one or at most a few bands to concentrate on.


The choice of band depends on the ham's objectives, the sunspot cycle, the part of the world they are located in, the surrounding terrain, the ground conductivity, the times of day they will operate, and their modes of preference.  Then find an antenna that will meet as many of these requirements as possible and the constraints of cost / the yard / XYL / HOA / etc.

Often one can find an antenna that will work well on a single band and produce good to excellent results even if it is only in a single direction.  Often these antennas can also be forced into service on other bands with a  good antenna tuner and can generate at least some contacts on those other bands.

In my mind, having an effective station on one or two bands (or even one or two directions on a single band) is much better than having a poor or mediocre station on all bands and directions.

In mountainous terrain, certain directions may be more favourable than others. Some directions poor regardless of antenna. So choosing an antenna that maximizes signals in a particular direction can be a very good choice.

Rick, you make an excellent point about a mast.  [Note:  see next post below - Rick] Height is such an important factor for horizontal HF antennas. Not only high, but the right height.

Radiation angle plays a huge part in an effective antenna system.  And ground losses (don't get me started on this topic), but even a single wire on the ground under a horizontal antenna can make a significant difference where poor soil conditions exist.

Antennas systems are definitely not a one size fits all proposition, and need to be designed based on many factors. Prioritizing the band(s) of operation and azimuthal direction(s) of interest (or NVIS if that is the ham's interest) can make a big difference in the pleasure one gets from this great hobby.

A good example of this was a ham I knew a few years ago that lived in a
mountainous area. From his location he was mostly surrounded by mountains, but had a low horizon towards Europe. So he built a multi-element wire antenna for 20 metres with its maximum radiation pointed towards Europe, optimized the height for best radiation angle for that path, and had a lot of fun working stations from all over Europe.


73, Darrell  VE7IU

to be continued . . .