Short Ham Antennas
For HF

You may have heard that short ham antennas are not as efficient, nor as effective as a "full length" half-wave dipole, regardless of the configuration chosen.

Good news! I describe in this article the only exception I know of ... that actually works!

To be honest, even if effective, the antenna described below will tune somewhat sharply (narrower 2:1 SWR bandwidth) than full half wave dipole.

When you don't have the space, you have to accept a few compromises.

However, this "shortened" antenna will not disappoint you! John, OZ3PAX built one for the 17 meter band. Read his comment here.

I believe the details of this technique were first published a while back by John Stanford, NN0F.

Linear Loaded
Short Ham Antennas

For many ham radio operators, it is not feasible to put up a a full length dipole on HF.

But, a linearly loaded dipole just might fit in your available space!

A linearly loaded dipole, as illustrated below...

  • ... is about 30-35% shorter than a "classic half-wave dipole" at the same frequency of resonance!

  • ... has a radiation resistance around 35 Ohms. (You will need an impedance matching tuner at the other end of the coax!)

  • ... just as effective as a "full length" half-wave dipole! :-)

Linear-loaded short ham antennas for HF.

Note that it "looks" like a folded dipole, but the top part is open! You should add a ceramic end-insulator in the opening, to add mechanical strength. (The insulator is omitted in the drawing to make the opening obvious;-).

Shorter Dimensions!

Here are "ballpark" dimensions for a linearly loaded dipole for each ham radio band. These dimensions are intentionally slightly long! You will have to obtain the final dimensions experimentally, on site, by "pruning" to resonance.

Forgot the technique to prune a dipole to resonance? Refresh your memory on the page about the ham radio dipole!

Linearly-Loaded Dipole
Approximate Dimensions

10M (28.5 MHz)  3.5 m. (11.5 ft.)
12M (24.9 MHz) 4.0 m. (13.2 ft.)
15M (21.1 MHz) 4.73 m. (15.5 ft.)
17M (18.1 MHz) 5.51 m. (18.1 ft.)
20M (14.1 MHz) 7.08 m. (23.2 ft.)
30M (10.1 MHz) 9.89 m. (32.44 ft.)
40M (7.1 MHz) 14.06 m. (46.14 ft.)
80M (3.6 MHz) 27.74 m. (91.0 ft.)
160M (1.85 MHz)53.97 m. (177.08 ft.)

Construction Of Linear Loaded
Short Ham Antennas

I use commonly available 390 Ohm "ladder line" with #14 stranded, copper-clad conductors. It is sturdy and lasts for years. 450 Ohm ladder line will work just as well.

For the central "attachment" I use two LadderLoc center insulators, head-to-head (available at Radio Works).

I recommend 3/16 in. Mil Spec Dacron® rope to tie the ends to tall supports such as trees.

Bonus Configurations!

Linear-loaded short ham antennas do not have to be limited to horizontal installations!

You can save even more space by installing them as "slopers", inverted "V"s and inverted "U"s.

I describe these configurations in detail on space-saving ham radio HF antennas.

Have fun! See you on HF.
73 de VE2DPE

73 de VE2DPE
Claude Jollet
7, Rue de la Rive, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Québec, Canada J6E 1M9

QTH Locator: FN36gb

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