Best First Amateur Ham Radio HF Antenna for New Operators

Best First Amateur Ham Radio HF Antenna for New Operators

WARNING – COMPUTER GENERATED SUBTITLES a very good evening ladies and gentlemen ladies and gentlemen welcome to DX
Commander my name is Callum I have a call sign M0MCX I’m an amateur radio
operator was they say in America ham radio operator and I was having a think
today about my first HF aerial setup after I’d recently passed my test and I
was actually thinking about it with a little bit of nostalgia that’s the word
nostalgia could get the word out because I really enjoyed my first error and I
want to show you what it was effectively it was a triangle and it was tuned 440
meters it was in the garden it was about seven meters which is what 25 feet off
the ground in a triangle and it was fed in one
corner with a four-to-one ballon and I’ll show you why in a minute and that
aerial had more use than all my other aerials put together and I even found a
way of getting it on 80 meters and I’ll tell you about that in a minute
but it was a tremendous little antenna and it’s dead a winter now I’m not
standing outside in the dark because we’d need to have some to prompt pounds
worth of flood loads to flood it all out and join the day I mean the office of
course right okay so this aerial and let’s I’ve modeled it in software and
it’s head off and have a look at that fire up the buyer antenna analyzer and
it’s one of my original garden Delta loop here we are so I want you to
imagine that that’s it looking down from the top and the little red dot over here
that was where the four to one bound now you can make a ballon or you can buy a
ballon and I’m not gonna judge you just do you
I bought mine okay so there we are come on I was new at the time and that’s fine
I bought a Ford wanna put my coax on it and then I just ran it out and all the
way around this triangle was about 40 meters I can’t remember the exact length
I think it was about 42 but I don’t know it was definitely 15 meters wide which
is about 50 feet and it was 10 meters deep
if you squash your triangle too much what happens in a minute
doesn’t quite work but we took the inspiration for this and made something
called a mega loop and I’ll cover that on another another day but so that’s it
looking from down from a bird’s-eye view and if I go to my calculator button so
ready let’s put it in it’s a 7.1 megahertz and it says 5 meters above the
ground now reality was it was 7 meters off the ground okay so I’ll hit the
start button and again and if you look back on it the catalog you’ll see it
before this on the right hand side is if you could see the concentration of RF
coming off the aerial would look what it would look like from the pavement view
and the one on the left with the concentration of RF would look like if
you’re a bird’s eye view okay so one of the reasons that I had great time on 40
meters during the day when there was a little bit of you know skip out to the
housing miles I suppose certainly 750 miles yeah I was really strong here
so if you look over here I was eight point six which is a whisker better
actually than a dipole and and it was slightly more compact than the dipole
and even off the side say thirty degrees which is far out to Europe for us anyway
in the in the US that would be almost one coast to the other wouldn’t it and
I’m still getting three DB so I’m 9 DB better off than I was would have been on
that 9 DB we could compare it against a vertical a minute but anyway very
comparable to most any other aerial ok so that was at 40 meters now loops
our resonant on every harmonic every even harmonic which means if you double
14.1 and go to sorry if you double 7.1 we go to 14.2 you’ll see that I’ve got
not a bad match here one point six two one at fourteen point two by magic I’ve
also got a match because my four to one ballot is bringing my two hundred ohm
impedance antenna down to fifty so but I’ve got some other odds lens going on
but let’s not worry too much about the match I can guarantee that by the time
you put a bit coax in everybody house if the rigged end you’ll see about one
point two two one so if we go to the far field plot now it looks slightly
different so the tops come down and the sides are squashing out so the right
hand side of this here my feed point was on the left hand side and you can see
I’ve got a little bit of gain going in one direction by true DX is about five
degrees it could be one degree but let’s just I normally sample everything at
five degrees because then I’ve got a baseline for like most DX and if I skim
around at 5 degrees I’ve got minus five point three here so this little bit of
wire hidden away in the trees is about somewhere between twenty and thirty feet
a triangle around their house and fed it but the gutter point with a little pole
or sunny bit of wood I used to use wooden poles honestly I’m still slightly
better in one direction than it would be with a vertical so that’s pretty good
and then I happen to know the back that was my South America and sort of Mexico
area from England okay America North America was in the dip here as it
happens but on twenty meters I’d still easily contact them as well and three
seven to twenty one aren’t they so twenty one point I don’t know two and
you’ll notice that being a loop it’s got an impedance of around and about two
hundred ohms it depends on its harmonic and its height above ground
but you’ll be safe with a four-to-one ballon and if we go to the far field
plot now it’s looking a bit weird but if I go to elevation five again you’ll
start to see I’ve actually got little points starting to come out and when we
get to 28 in a minute you’ll see them but I’m doing pretty well all the way
around the clock here I would beat a vertical by about certainly in these
areas by a couple of DB hardly noticeable but even so it’s a nice
hidden away aerial and I don’t have any slush at the top there’s no imperative
we can give there’s no snow waste if you know to mean so that’s it if you could
actually see it as you flew around it in airlie copter there my main lobes on 21
that’s a nice interesting little aerial and then if we go to twenty-eight point
zero three five what up twenty eight point four I’m not
quite sure where it’s resident but okay I think we’d have to go up and down
pressing buttons here to find out and maybe to knit a whisker but one point
eight point six again one point six once you’ve got your coax in line you’ll be
seeing about one and a half honestly at the weekend but let’s have a look at the
far field plot now and James and I discovered this we built a version of
this which was a hundred and fifty six meters all the way around called a mega
loop that was the name we called it on the internet now if you google it and if
you go to M zero X X T which is James and I’ve got our own little private club
and it’s a great detail you just google m0x xt mega loop you’ll see it the game
you’re getting on 20 meters was enormous right out to the west coast it was
tremendous but this is looking good for 10 isn’t it and if I do my true DX I’m
now getting 3.4 there 0.6 there but this this is really usable very usable game
by the way now it was a lovely aerial if I had my time again and thinking about
the garden here I might have I might have a DX commander in the
middle of the grass cuz that’ll give me vertical the loop is lovely on receive
and what I’d do is I’d probably put the vertical on one via photos I’ve got a to
be every radio and the loop on the other now be really nice compared to it
wouldn’t then now to get on to eighty meters all’s I did and we’re gonna press
a button here and I’m gonna say divide the wine into three pieces
I’m gonna delete that bit of wine I used to get in the gun in the middle of the
night I might just extend these a bit I can’t remember the actual dimensions and
I haven’t if you remember from last night’s film or Sunday’s film I’m trying
to do these quicker so I haven’t researched I just thought I’ll do this
but I created effectively like a sort of a halo it’s a loop but it’s open in the
middle so these are 280 meter legs and if I head on down to 3.7 say it’s not
gonna be oh gosh ah I know it’s happening here Mme na under point two of
a wavelength isn’t very accurate NEC engine is I’ll just see if I’ve got a
complete mismatch but I would get about two to one SWR turn Ike it was about a
two meter section I just cut out the middle and then I put a bit of paracord
holding it all together and normally I’d have crocodile clips across it and that
would be my loop if I wanted 80 meters I would drop one leg down pull it through
the bush take the crocodile clips off and I’ll be on 80 and that opened up a
whole new but I did really well with that very one it was compact I really
did well if I had my time again on 12 and 10 I’d probably have a look an IMAX
mm or a one of those five eights not half wave if I weighed CB Ariel they
great you know on 10 and 12 meters and I’d have my loop and maybe in all band
dear its commander somewhere tucked away in the garden now the other way of doing
this chaps is you could make a fan dipole for 40 and 20 and that would
give you 40 20 and 50 quite comfortably get a bit of height and if you’ve got a
decent radio I don’t really recommend this but if you use the inbuilt 80 you
and a rig you would probably get 10 meters 10 megahertz as well for the 30
meter band if we wanted to play digital you see it would be enough right there’s
some people out there that say that you know ladder line is the only way in a
big balance tuner look is there’s more ways to skin a cat isn’t there you don’t
have to use ladder line coax is perfectly ample particularly if you’ve
just passed your test you just want to get on the air without upsetting to many
people and a little bit of wire in the air and a bit of coax which is easy to
get to because when you first become a ham it’s it’s you won’t have all the
tools I’ve built up a collection of heavy weight drills and all sorts of
stuff to get through brick walls to put in ladder line through walls and unless
you are very mechanically minded it will take you a bit of time to learn all
those skills so a little hole and a bit of you know RG 2 1-3 – a little – a
balun and there’s some society better coax and the connectors frankly are
easier to put on with the better coax and go down that route and you should
have a lot of fun that way you don’t need a tuner then you just
have your radio and get on the air and that would be my first HF setup in terms
of its aerials cone it saw me do is what rig should we buy when we first start
off in amateur radio or ham radio my name is Callum DX Kamara have a lovely
day and thanks for joining me bye bye now you


23 thoughts on “Best First Amateur Ham Radio HF Antenna for New Operators”

  • My choice for first HF would be and was a yaesu 450d and they was a lot cheaper a couple of years ago, I think I paid £450 brand new from MLS I think it was

  • Best add if you can afford a new radio as a treat for passing your exam, got a 891 for my 2eo and splashed out on a 1200 last week as my m0 reward lol

  • Robert Rittenhouse says:

    I started out with an Icom 718 and eventually sold that and bought a Kenwood TS-590s which I have now. I love it. I really thought that I would have put up more antennas once I bought my house. I have a single 80m ocf dipole up about 60'. You are encouraging me to go find spots to put up some more well thought-out antennas. Thank you 73 DE N8HF

  • Excellent video! I've just moved to a new QTH and have to figure out a new antenna configuration. We're well wooded here and with a second floor shack, 7m should be easy to feed. I may give this loop a go given the performance you showed. My TS-590S should be able to brush up that SWR easily given those figures. Thanks Callum!

  • Cracking video again Callum. I also checked out Kevin KB9RLW on your recommendation… all interesting stuff. My first rig was a KX3 mainly because I didn't need/couldn't use higher power due to my licence and the KX3 covers SSB, CW, digital etc. My only issue was space for an antenna, so built a "Nested Marconi" limited space multi-band as conceived by Mike Dennis, G7FEK []. 73's

  • Nice vid Callum. I have a very small garden so squeeze in a 44 foot doublet fed by 300 ohm ladder line in an inverted-v. Tunes 40-10 and works surprisingly well on 40 for inter-g contacts. Only 23 feet above ground at apex too. 73

  • M6APJ spoke about this antenna years ago with you Callum, excellent. Gain over a dipole and mine was slung up about the height of the eaves of the house. Made my own 4:1 balun and got contacts 4K miles away on voice, so good I had to help my mate install one at his QTH. Flat dweller now, so vertical and mag loops not a patch on the 40m delta loop. Question 1. to maybe inspire you ? : Traps are wound on a former around, so many turns. Can they be wound through the former, tube horizontally ? So reducing the length of a dipole or vertical ? Question 2 : Your, "Banana antenna" would you get better results with coaxial cable shield 1/4 wave length and inner 5/8 wave length for the band you most require ? So more gain over the same antenna and would bazooka coaxial shorting help ? I am experimenting with these ideas, but I have to try as and when with less antenna construction knowledge than other hams with more experience and time than I do ?


  • My loop is 85m long at about 15m high (mostly). It is resonant on 80m and all bands to 6m except 60/30m. Dead short on top band tho…

  • So this video is a bit older, but interesting even still. Antenna modeling and building is very mind boggling to me! It’s getting an antenna past the wife. I was just given a nice fold over tower that I’m not sure is going to be a big hit! Around a $2000 save though. Maybe she won’t notice! -73- KC1KSM

  • I plan on setting one up when it warms up here. I was wondering if a 4:1 voltage balun would work, or if it needs to be a current balun.

  • Rudolph's let himself go these days. Way too big for my garden that triangle matey, but a good antenna for somebody with the room. I'm restricted in garden size, so I have a Windom / Off Centre Fed Dipole, only 20m long which bends the  longest leg around the bottom of my garden, and an imax 2000 on the 10m pole which holds the dipole balun. Dipole does 40 & 20 without a tuner, and the imax does 15m (the whole band almost flat swr), 12 (needs a tuner), 11, & 10.The only thing missing is 17m for me (and 80m+ obviously). I only use the radio's built in tuner, so I could probably get on 17m with either the dipole or imax with a good tuner, but not sure it would put much of a signal out.

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