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 Antenna Advice.....?

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Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 / M7VIC
Posts : 5803
Times Thanked : 352
Join date : 2019-11-10
QTH or Location : Bedford
Equipment Used : Various

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PostSubject: Antenna Advice.....?   Antenna Advice.....? Icon_minitimeWed Mar 27, 2024 6:14 pm

Hi All,

I hope you're keeping well and enjoying your radio exploits. Antenna Advice.....? 1f44d

When I first came back to the radio interest a few years back I was offered a barrage of 'advice' for my radio operations. I still believe a lot of it was well intended and given in good faith but my situation didn't always allow me to follow some of the advice given....

I didn't have a lot of money, (in fact none to start with!), and being disabled left my options for self erected antennas somewhat limited. 

Thanks to the kind help from my wonderful wife, digging through a neighbours skip for wire, (length of electric lawnmower lead), slinging the missus up into the spider infested attic we managed to string up an antenna, (after some shorter attempts before lengthening it all), and came up with the following :-

Antenna Advice.....? Attic_10
This was all fed with some homebrew ladder line (from more electrical mains wire Wink ) and a homemade ATU or antenna tuning unit.

I did receive the 'advice' that resonant antennas would be better, it wouldn't work in the attic, (as somehow the roof tiles would block RF?), or be barraged from QRM or noise from my household electrical appliances and that a horizontal antenna wouldn't allow me DX contacts instead needing a 'vertical', preferably one with a low TOA or take off angle.

Well the low 'take off angle' theory might have caused me an issue due to the veritable 'caldera' I inhabit :-

Antenna Advice.....? Bedfor11

Yep, that's me in the middle near Bedford at a mighty height of maybe 30m ASL or above sea level (yet 60+ miles away from the sea!) surrounded by 100+ metre hills.....bugger.

However, the odd piece of advice was to give it all a go and see how I fare plus a lot of scouring around the internet assured me that it should all work. It does too and I can 'tune' or match the damn thing to work everywhere from 160m (1.8MHz) to 6m (50MHz) thanks to the efforts of my homebrew ATU.

Now, I'm not a DX station by any stretch of the imagination being limited by low power restrictions, (although the Amateur Radio jump from 10W to 25W should help a little), and a 'diminutive' setup with radio equipment that doesn't sport the latest colour screen waterfall wonderfulness.

I've got to admit that I also bored of the "Repeat please...M7 what?.....Repeat please....M7VIC?.....Ah yes, you are 5 over 9 QRZ". Rolling Eyes 

Maybe that was all my own fault with my non-resonant, horizontal antenna and low power? Maybe the 'advice' was right?

Yet choosing such things as digital-modes, some SSB, an attempt or two at CW and anything else that gets me on air, (instead of sniffing flux fumes from my soldering iron with the latest electronic construction project!), has rewarded me enough to keep my interest. Yep, including CB contacts as well as Ham radio.

Today, (and for most recent weeks), I was busy trying to organise things or help out whilst our Daughter and three grandchildren make plans to move into a new home after residing with us for over a year, (due to a terrible relationship break up). I didn't have the time for my beloved radio interests but did leave WSJT-X scanning for a few hours on 10m to see what was out there.....

Antenna Advice.....? Horizo10

Yeah, some will bore with the "FT8 is not proper radio" (still?!) quote but these are all proper radio signals from proper stations emanating radio waves from across the planet and picked up by my 'cr*ppy' antenna.

None too bad for a non-resonant horizontal antenna made from a bit of wire stuffed in my attic.

In the past I've contacted stations or in reality people from 95 countries (that DXCC still eludes me but boy is it fun trying!) across the world often with as little as 5W of power. Yeah, a little 'sadistic' I suppose but it's the fun of QRP operations. Wink

My point?

Well it certainly isn't to argue about "antenna theory" or what constitutes 'proper' radio and I'll leave that to those that 'enjoy' such debates.

If offered 'advice' don't procrastinate or put off your plans because they apparently won't work.....

Instead hook up your radio no matter what it may be, (vintage, cr*p or otherwise), sling up whatever antenna you can afford or can build whether that be at home, mobile in a vehicle, sat in a field or up a hill and simply enjoy what the radio Gods reward us with. You'd be surprised at what even an apparently 'poor' setup can achieve and especially if the radio conditions are good.

Enjoy your radio, no matter what. Antenna Advice.....? 1f44d 

All the best,

cadco, glenn dog, Alan Pilot, 2AL454, SangueG, Tonyvic, DerekF and like this post

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Call Sign : 14-CT-019 - G1DBS
Posts : 69
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Join date : 2024-02-17
QTH or Location : Montreuil sur Mer
Equipment Used : XIEGU G90 - President Lincoln 2 +

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PostSubject: Re: Antenna Advice.....?   Antenna Advice.....? Icon_minitimeWed Mar 27, 2024 8:21 pm

Hi Vic. I've noted you mentioning your disability in other threads, but I've not commented on that. (don't want or need to pry) But you have a wonderful wife willing to venture into spider territory, no doubt armed with hammer, nails, and screwdriver, several times by the sound of it, to fine tune your antenna. But it works, and that's not just credit to your design, but to your wife's efforts - and all for your hobby.

I know what you mean by living in a valley, my location is somewhat similar. I live in the 7 valleys region of the Pas de Calais. But I do have a reasonably slight incline to the east and west. (I'll link to a YT video that I posted making my first very nervous drone flight in the garden) But until I can move back into my 'girl cave' when repairs are completed, I'm stuck with operating from my campervan on our front driveway. But it's not ideal because of RFI from my solar charge controller and diesel heater!

When you mentioned the 25w that you are limited to, I had to go take a look at the OFCOM licensing schedule, I had no idea of the constraints. Do you have any plans to move 'up', or are you happy with QRP?

I'm on the fence about FT8. On the one hand, I can see that the contacts made give you an overview of propagation conditions. But on the other hand, I feel it's a bit of a cheat not actually using your own experience and inspiration to make the contacts in person. I also agree that short exchanges of '5/9 bye bye' can also get a bit tedious. I'm new back in the hobby, and not felt confident enough to 'chew the rag' with any of the established hams that I hear daily on 40m. I guess that will come though.

Our hobby should be enjoyable, and despite some morons, music players, and 'know it alls', I for one am determined to make it so for me.


Victor, Alan Pilot, Miura and steve74 like this post

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CT Directors
CT Directors

Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 / M7VIC
Posts : 5803
Times Thanked : 352
Join date : 2019-11-10
QTH or Location : Bedford
Equipment Used : Various

Antenna Advice.....? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Antenna Advice.....?   Antenna Advice.....? Icon_minitimeThu Mar 28, 2024 5:12 am

Hi Deb,

Oh I agree wholeheartedly, my wife Teresa is amazing and has supported me through thick and thin including my exploits with the radio hobby enthusing me every step of the way. Along with some wonderful people including many here at Charlie Tango I fulfill my life rather nicely with what would otherwise be a limited existence. I certainly can't thank others enough for every ounce of support I've been given.

The main reason behind my posting was to try and enthuse others with their radio interests by showing that things such as limited budgets, less than perfect locations and even not apparently having the room for antennas can be overcome with some self application. There are unfortunately those that whether misconstrued or otherwise will impose limits on others ideals dashing any hopes or dreams they may have to succeed.

The radio hobby certainly doesn't need to be all about expensive equipment or the best-of-the-best of everything to enjoy it and the humblest of stations can be operated with a successful smile.

FT8 and other digital modes certainly brings about a 'marmite' response and people are free to choose any aspect of radio activities they please but often it helps to keep ones mind open about such things. 

My approach is to study and check propagation conditions usually by simply turning on my radio rather than rely on 'here is the weather' type predictions before I go about my activities. You can simply start an FT8 transmission cycle and hope for the best with almost automated responses which will usually garner results but I like to track down transmissions and give them a try on an individual basis. Along with a methodical approach of start/stop manual transmit and receive cycles and even timing QSB fades to garner a contact or watching shifting propagation I find it all rather exciting, especially when using the lowest power possible to make contact. 

You can blast out many Watts and await the responses filling your logs relentlessly but I know I would soon tire of that so enjoy my more tentative or thoughtful approach to it all.

Yes, I could well 'move-up' the licence system garnering more Watts and apparent privileges as I go but must admit that I enjoy the QRP aspect of it all. On the face of it getting out and receiving the piddly signals we emanate across the planet is quite an amazing feat really. There are easier ways to communicate with people around the world nowadays but not with the random fashion or exciting possibilities of simply contacting a fellow radio enthusiast sat at their station.

I agree completely with you there Deb, our hobby should definitely be enjoyable no matter how we choose to enjoy it and so long as we allow the same freedom of choice to others. Antenna Advice.....? 1f44d

All the best,

(BTW, loved your drone video showing your beautiful location and delighted in the tentative movements as you carefully controlled it. Something I've never tried so very well done and thanks for sharing with us all.)

Alan Pilot, 2AL454, steve74, VanRougeT4 and Brendan like this post

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Major contributor
Major contributor

Call Sign : 26-CT-3971 / 2E0LMI
Posts : 1180
Times Thanked : 68
Join date : 2021-01-30
QTH or Location : Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Equipment Used : Little radios, home-made antennas

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PostSubject: Re: Antenna Advice.....?   Antenna Advice.....? Icon_minitimeThu Mar 28, 2024 1:49 pm

Good post. Totally agree with you Victor. Hope others come across your posting and get inspired to get on air with whatever they have and enjoy themselves.

glenn dog and Victor like this post

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Call Sign : 2-CT-167
Posts : 14
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Join date : 2020-05-22
QTH or Location : Huntsville, Alabama, USA
Equipment Used : AT-5555, FT-840, Ten-Tec Omni D

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PostSubject: Re: Antenna Advice.....?   Antenna Advice.....? Icon_minitimeMon Apr 01, 2024 2:28 am

This is indeed, true ham radio! I've had more fun with QRP than with any other aspect of ham radio.
This is the sort of thing espoused by the late Reverend George Dobbs G3RJV, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few times. If you haven't read any of his work, I recommend it.

Victor and Alan Pilot like this post

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Call Sign : 163-CT-371
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Join date : 2024-01-31
QTH or Location : Pembroke....(Pembrokeshire )
Equipment Used : Yaesu

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PostSubject: Re: Antenna Advice.....?   Antenna Advice.....? Icon_minitimeMon Apr 01, 2024 4:36 pm

As they say any antenna is better than no for ft8 🤣...nah not for me but whatever you enjoy...all understood on the contest... asking for call sign several times and then it's 5/9 you in the log ..bye !!! far as logs are concerned my logs are what I manage to scribble down on scraps of paper..
Who cares ..good enough for me 😁
Best wishes 73... 2w0mct
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