Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Reference Antenna By N9PUZ :

Hams who are new to HF frequently have a lot of questions about antennas. They are in my opinion one of the more fascinating aspects of Amateur Radio. The number of antenna related questions that come up here bear make their importance obvious. If you never built anything but wire antennas you could spend a lifetime tinkering and having fun.

Whether your interest in Amateur Radio is in experimenting or you don't care so much for that and simply want to communicate antennas are a fact of life. I encourage everyone to either build or buy a simple mono-band dipole as a point of reference. Good choices if you are new to HF are either 20 Meters or 40 Meters. There is a lot of activity on either of those bands.

Why a mono-band antenna? Simply that they are simple. There is little to go wrong if you pay attention when building one and they are good performers. A local ham here that was one of my early Elmer's has a back yard full of mono-band dipoles and boxes and boxes of QSL cards from
around the world.

A simple antenna that you know performs in a certain way is invaluable when you go to add something "better" to your arsenal. Is your new Windom/OCF dipole performing well? Listen to a week signal and switch back and forth between it and the simple dipole. Does your new long-wire really have a bit of gain in the direction it's pointed? Have the station on the other end give you a report first on your "reference" dipole and then on the long-wire. Is the vertical or the horizontal dipole better for that particular distance?

It's all well and good to compare things theoretically. You should do this to get an idea of what you expect to see with the real thing. When it comes right down to it though, a genuine A/B comparison factors in all of the peculiarities of your QTH. The power lines, the local noise levels, the metal siding on the barn, etc. all get nicely factored in to the comparison. Few if any of us can put up the perfect textbook antenna. A nice simple reference will let you know whether that new antler is working well for you.

Courtesy : OM Tim N9PUZ (hamradiohelp egroup)

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