(HOME) Station AJ8MH - Marquette, Michigan

Notebook Series - Horizontal and Vertical Doublets (Dipoles)

[ Austin, TX ]  Here are two antenna projects that show the simplicity of home-brew antennas that perform remarkably well.  So, before you spend big $$ on commercial antennas, take a look at these.
While living in Texas and surfing the WEB, I ran across a site hosted by W4RNL.*  One of his many pages described a doublet that would fit in a limited city lot.  I've played with a couple variations of his 44 ft and 88 ft designs, and they all worked great.
I've used open-wire feed, 300 ohm TV ribbon cable, 300 ohm ladder-line, and 450 ohm ladder-line with good results.  Of course, a balanced antenna tuner should be used with this type of antenna, and they can be easily built, too.  All my tuners use choke baluns.  (Note:  I haven't had any tuner heating issues tuning these antennas.)
Another interesting and surprising antenna is the vertical doublet.  I used one for many years in Texas (without radials) mounted just a couple feet off the ground.
When compared to a horizontal doublet at 19 feet above ground (neighborhood constraints), the vertical was superior for DX on 20 meters.  This antenna was a surprising performer.  It even loaded well on 40 meters with a balanced tuner, and did a respectable job.  I've been thinking about linear-loading this type antenna, but haven't followed-through.
Note:  I finally got around to linear-loading this vertical doublet after moving to Michigan, and details are included in my Notebook Series - Linear-Loaded Vertical Doublet (Dipole)
Construction details can been seen to the left and below.

Notebook Series - The Inverted-L

[ Marquette, MI ]  Don't have room for a full size 160 or 80 meter antenna?  Want to capture a little DX on these bands?  How about an inverted-L?  It's another simple antenna that does a good job, but keep in mind that my installation is not optimum.  It's a compromise, built to take advantage of what I had available and the constraints of my location.
The basics:  Each "L" and each elevated radial are a quarter-wave.  That's 130 feet for 160 meters and 67 feet for 80 meters.  Cut the wire long and trim as necessary or use a tuner like I do.  The vertical portion of the "L" should be as high as possible.  Use the remaining length for the horizontal portion.
Since I removed my antennas for 40 and 30 meters, I also use the 80 inverted-L on 30 and the 160 on 40 with a 40 meter trap made by Unadilla.
For an efficient antenna, 3 or 4 elevated radials are required for each band.  Because of yard constraints, I only use 1 radial for 160, 2 for 80, 2 for 40 and none for 30 meters.
At one time, I used one feed-line for both inverted-L's, but decided on separate lines just to minimize interaction between antennas.  50 ohm, 8 foot feed-lines run from an auto-tuner in the shack to 1:1 chokes mounted on the 36 foot tower.
Each vertical leg runs up the side of the tower to the 32 foot level and separated from each other as much as possible.  Each wire passes through an insulator that is tied off to the tower top.  This keeps each line a little over 2 feet away from the tower.  The 80 meter wire continues horizontally to a tree.  The 160 meter wire continues to another tree.  Each end is about 30 feet off the ground.  A spring tension system inside PVC tubes is being used at both feed-points.
Note the attachment points for the ends of each inverted-L and the above-ground radials in the pictures below.  I use a "T" pipe mounting off the side of the tower about 7 feet off the ground.  All wires are insulated from the pipe mounting.  Look at the pictures to see how the radials are run along the property fence line.  Radials also run out the side yard to a couple trees.  One 80 meter radial is bent 90 degrees.  Radials are 7 to 10 feet off the ground.  This is certainly not optimum, but works OK.  Keep the elevated radials high so foot traffic can cross under the lines.
(September 13, 2017)  I have added static discharge components to both inverted-L antennas.  I placed them across the coax on the radio side of the choke in the junction box.  One 2W, 1M ceramic composition resistor and one 2700V gas discharge tube were placed in parallel and connected between the center conductor and ground.  You can see the components in the picture of the inverted-L junction box.  The components were tested at 500 watts and I'll watch for any strange behaviors over the next few months. Mouser Electronics: Ohmite Resistor OY105KE - Bourns GDT 2095-270-BLF
(January 24, 2021)  My above ground radials for the two inverted-L antennas have now been reduced to one radial per band.  The trees that supported the 2 radials for 40 and 80 meters had to be removed.  Both Ash trees were attacked by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive beetle in North America imported from north-eastern Asia.  Both trees died within a year of being attacked.  The two trees are pictured on the right side of the layout drawing below.

Junction Box for Rotor, 2-mtr, and HF Cables      Junction Boxs for the Inverted-L Antennas
Invereted-L Junction Box showing 1:1 choke and Surge Componants      Inverted-L Above-Ground Radials at Feed-Point
Inverted-L Feed-Points Showing Tension Springs      Inverted-L Above-Ground Radials at Feed-Point
Above Ground Radials on Fence      Above Ground Radials on Fence
Yard Diagram

Joe (AJ8MH)
*L. B. Cebik, W4RNL ~ 1939 - 2008 ~ SK as of April 2008

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