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.
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.
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 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.
Home made magnetic loop antenna
I have seen many adds for commercial magnetic loop antennas 300 dollars and up in price. I didn't want to spend that much money on an antenna that might …
Folded Dipole Homemade Ham Radio Antenna
NOTE: important corrections have been made on June 16, 2019 to the following text. I have just put up a homemade ham radio antenna. It's a folded …
HF Antenna Wire
What is better to use for antenna wire: aluminum ground wire, old coax, or stranded #12 or #10 copper? I have used all successfully, but I wonder about …
HF Antenna Advice Requested
I need some advice on what kind of HF antenna to purchase. This is where I want to install my first HF all band antenna. Can someone recommend a good …
My Homemade Multiband HF Fan Dipole Antenna Not rated yet
My stacked dipole worked great on 10, 15 & 20 meters but when I tried adding a 40-meter element, it was too big. (See reference at the end of this article) …
My Homemade VHF/UHF Dual Band Vertical Dipole Antenna Not rated yet
I enjoy building antennas. A fellow Ham recommended that I try building a 2 meter / 70 centimeter vertical dipole antenna. I read the article he was referring …
A Study of Ground Reflection Gain Using HFTA Software Not rated yet
The following illustrates the effects of ground refection gain at varying antenna heights above ground. At this location, the elevation above sea level …
A Shortened Centre-Loaded Inverted ‘V’ Antenna for the 160-Meter Band Not rated yet
I needed a 160-meter antenna to fit between two existing support structures. A full-sized 160-meter inverted ‘V’ antenna was too long at a length of …
Build a Vertical Dipole Antenna - My Homemade HF Tri-Bander Not rated yet
This article describes how to build a vertical dipole antenna for 20, 15 and 10 meters. It is only 8.3 feet tall and sports three active concentric ring …
How to Improve an Attic SWL Antenna Not rated yet
I am looking to improve the performance of an attic SWL antenna that I have been using for more than 10 years. I have a Yaesu FRG-8800. I have had the …
73 de VE2DPE
7, Rue de la Rive, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Québec, Canada J6E 1M9
QTH Locator: FN36gb
Is a member
in good standing