All ham radio antennas involve compromises. Here is how to choose the set of compromises that will best fit your particular situation.
Virtually all ham radio operators use the same antenna for both receiving and transmitting on a given amateur radio band. That is a compromise in itself.
The high performance yagi type antenna in the picture is one of the best set of compromises available for a multi-band operation on HF.
The greater the number of frequency bands you want to work with the same antenna system, the greater the number of compromises you will have to live with. But few of us have the space or the money to have individual antennas for each band!
Here is a common example of the worst possible setup, all too often encountered on the HF bands.
Avoid being . . .
The amateur radio operator calling "CQ"
while feeding maximum legal power
into a multi-band trap dipole
or, worse, a multi-band trap vertical!!!
Such an operator will often not "hear" the hams answering his calls!
Because of the poor receiving efficiency of such ham antennas even if, when installed properly, they may be effective radiators!
Under full legal transmitting power, the signal can be detected so far away that the antenna cannot detect the signal of the DX (far distant) station responding to the call!
There are ways to avoid unbalanced HF operating conditions such as described above.
You can even design your own "dream antenna" using a antenna design program and build your next homemade ham radio antenna.
Every ham radio antenna is full of inevitable compromises. Some antennas have more than others as we will see here.
When choosing or building a ham antenna (amateur radio antenna), the most common compromises you have to make will fall in the following categories:
The above are by no means the only types of compromises. But dealing (playing) with them constitute the kind of challenge I like to take up.
If perfect antennas were possible I would make them and become a millionaire!
The bad news is that the perfect antenna does not exist, even in theory! The theoretically perfect antenna can never be built ... because theory itself is not perfect!
However, the good news is that experimenting with homemade antennas is one of the most accessible and enjoyable aspects of amateur radio. With patience and determination you will sometimes come close to the "perfect" solution to your needs... such as this multiband HF antenna!
There is nothing more satisfying than building a few prototypes and getting better results with (almost) each new one.
Trust me. I know because experimenting with homemade antennas is the part of ham radio that I love the most.
The parts I love best are...
...then starting all over again!
I especially love playing with wire antennas and stealth antennas, such as attic antennas.
In fact, when you hear me on the bands its likely because I am testing the performance of my latest "baby".
For example, take a look at my "VE2DPE 160M Special"!
Don't have the horizontal space for a 160 meter ham radio antenna? Then try your hand at building a much smaller . . .
These are easy and fun to built and use on the air!
If you do not have the real estate to put up a "classic" half-wave horizontal dipole, don't despair! Here are some space-saving configurations of the ham radio HF antenna that might do the trick!
For even more space saving ideas for HF antennas, see this page on short ham antennas and this one on a "loaded" short dipole.
For those of you who are looking for a seperate receive antenna, which is not susceptible to interference (EMI or RFI), I suggest you have a look at the small active loop.
Know A Thing Or Two About Ham Radio Antennas?
Would you like to share details about your latest homemade antenna? Do you have something to say about your commercially made amateur radio antennas?
Tell your fellow hams about it. Share your observations, tips and techniques about your ham antennas.
I will dedicate an entire Web page to your article. You can add up to four (4) photos or drawings. You can even embed Youtube code in your text to further illustrate, with a video, what you want to communicate to other hams interested in antennas!
You can post as many articles as you want. Even start your own mini forum on ham antennas if you wish!
You will get full credit for your article ... and get the recognition you deserve for sharing your experience with fellow hams around the world.
It's easy. Just use the form below.
Click here to read what other amateur radio operators have already posted.
Do your ham radio antennas have anything worth writing home about? Don't just write home. Tell the whole world, from right here, right now!
Write about what you love (or hate) about your antenna. Make fellow hams drool with envy ... or shed a tear of compassion!
Click the links below to read the heartfelt accounts that other visitors of this page have shared with the world about their antennas.
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Next ...Tips on choosing appropriate ham radio antennas.
73 de VE2DPE
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