Antenna Projects Gone Wild

My project last wkend, April 21-22, 2012, was supposed to be to install the new solid-state rotor controller box that was delivered a few wks ago and is just sitting there on the shack table, doing no good at all unconnected.  However, this trumped by the excitement of building and testing a new antenna for portable ops I learned about 2 wks ago from some SOTA operators in NC.  Called the Iditarod portable dipole it is made from speaker wire (I used 22-ga but the one in the instructions was made with even lighter 26-ga).  Sunday I built the first section, for 20m, tuned it up and made a qso.  Then I built another 6′ or so for 30m, tuned and pruned, and qso’d.  Ran out of time and daylight Sunday so I finished it up with another 10′ on each let to make 40m.  This segment tuned up right away without any pruning!  Made a qso with K3JRR, Larry, in Virginia and he gave me 579 on Yaesu 817 at 2.5 watts, so it must be working!

Working on this project caused me to miss my QSO365 string for 4/23/12, the 2nd one I’ve missed this, except for travel when I excuse myself fm QSO365.  I’ve enjoyed qso365; it’s made me improve my operating skills and diligence, and will still try to keep it up, but will no longer be obsessive about it.

My antenna distractions got worse Saturday at our monthly Decatur Hams and Eggs breakfast when Newt, N4EWT loaned me his Buddipole to try out that he happened to have in his trunk.  Doesn’t everyone ride around with Buddipoles in their trunks?

So, I’ve got to try that out before I have to return it so my rotor controller may stay on my desk with its warrantly quietly expiring while I try new things with due dates.  Meanwhile, my tower is pointing due south so I can make good qso’s with Latin America!

4 thoughts on “Antenna Projects Gone Wild

  1. I tried to build an iditarod antenna today using the plans I read here: I started with a 10 meter dipole then the next section was for 20 meter. They tuned up nicely.

    Then I disconnected the 20 meter from the 10 meter and check the antenna with the analyzer again. I expected to see some change in the 10 meter segment but to my surprise the unit was still resonant on 20 meters! The swivels must have bonded the two sections together so well that electrically it performed like I never took the connectors off. So I’ve ended up with a 10 meter dipole and a 20 meter – when connected either by the swivels or the connectors it’s a 20 meter. Not what I was looking for. I had planned on doing a 10,20,40 but if I can’t hang the whole thing and just unplug the segments, then it wasn’t worth my time to continue.

    I’m glad you had good luck.


    1. Rob, good to hear from you.

      Those are the plans I used, too, but I built it for 20, 30 and 40. Works well on 20; haven’t tried it in the field on 30m; and works ok on 40m but hard in the field (I use it for SOTA so you never know in advance what the conditions will be) to get it up high enough to be real effective.

      Did you just make your own calcs for the 10m segment? I guess it’d be pretty short.

      Do you operate portable, and what other antennas to you use. I’m going to try an end fed antenna next.

      73, Wayne

      1. Yes, those are the plans I used but i did start higher with 10 meters. I’m a new CW operator so I still want to work SSB. I was so disappointed when I unplugged from the 10 to 20 meter sections and it still tuned on 20 but couldn’t touch 10 until I completely disconnected the 20 meter segments.

        When I do work portable, which isn’t often enough, I typically use a purchased 20/40 end fed. I launch a line over a tree with a slingshot and so I’m typically in an inverted L configuration and I use the tallest tree I can find. I used to use a dipole but sometimes I cant find two tree’s close enough – the end-fed is really simple to use.

        I really need to work on code. I can send about 10 wpm but my copy is around 5, so it’s really hard for me at times.

        Have a great week.


      2. Rob, I don’t quite comprehend why it would be a isappointment to find the antenna doesn’t tune 10 when set up for 20. Maybe I am misunderstanding something but that seems logical to me. And, the way my segments are set up, shortening or lengthening is easy (if I can reach the wires, that is!).

        As for code, may I suggest joining, a slow-speed CW club? I like it. There is also G4FON’s excellent software for code learning.

        gl, Wayne

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