K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

FISTS clubMy FISTS ColumnsCW ProceduresZero Beat CktTeenagers & CWStraight Key UseCW StoriesLists

Simple Wire Antennas

QRP with K3WWP - Column # 92 - I probably get more questions about my antennas than any othe aspect of my hamming. So let me update and re-run a column that originally appeared in the Keynote some 6 1/2 years ago.

It started out this way - HEY YOU! YES, YOU! Aren't you one of the FISTS who has recently been complaining in the Keynote about not having the room to put up a big antenna? Or maybe you're one of those who has written and said that you use simple antennas and are doing well with them, but don't give any specific examples of what you mean by doing well.

Well, I'm sorry I was rude, but it's sometimes a good way to attract attention, and now that I've gotten your attention, let's talk about antennas.

First of all, let me make a statement about antennas I want you to keep in mind. Constructing ham radio antennas is not rocket science. Let me repeat that since it is so important. Constructing ham radio antennas is not rocket science. Most things that are written about antennas may lead you to believe there is something special and very complicated about them. Tain't so, believe me.

I'm going to describe my situation here, then go into detail what I've done with that situation. Not to brag, but to encourage those of you who think you can't do well with less than a huge antenna farm.

First of all my QTH is near to the center of Kittanning which is located in a river valley with hills all around ranging in elevation from 2 to 9 degrees or so. I live in one half of a double house on a lot about 100 by 20 feet. Since the house occupies most of that lot, I obviously have no room for an antenna farm.

My antenna farm or "antenna victory garden" as it was called by my friend Alan, KB7MBI consists of: A 10M sloping dipole mounted on my front porch roof. A 15M vertical dipole mounted on the side of my house with its center perhaps 20 feet high. A 20 meter dipole mounted in a flat-top inverted vee configuration in a room on the third floor of my house which we call the attic although there is a crawl space above the third floor which many would call the real attic. An end-fed random wire that runs from my shack on the second floor outside up to the third floor, then through the third floor and out a back window where it slopes down at something like a 30 degree angle to vertical and ends at the top of a 7 foot pole in the back yard. It's about 110 feet long in all. The random wire is for 160-30 meters. The 15M dipole is also used on 12 and 17 meters.

Since the article first appeared, I now have 6 meter capability with a Kenwood TS-480SAT. For 6 I use a simple rotatable dipole in the attic. My ground system is a wire run from the shack down to a ground rod that is connected to a cold water pipe. There are two radials from the ground rod, one about 17 feet long, the other about 50 feet which is tied into the power company ground.

Except for cutting the dipoles to the correct length for the middle of the CW portions of the bands, nothing was designed or measured. It was just what would fit into the room that I had available. As I said it's certainly not rocket science by any means.

"OK, so what have you done with such a poorly designed system - work your neighbor across town?" I hear many hams saying.

Well, as a matter of fact I did work a ham in the other half of my house, when he lived there a few years ago, but wait, there's more.

Let's get down to specifics. I've made 53,000+ QSOs during the past 17 years or so with the setup I've described. Those 53K QSO's came from hams in 212 different countries or entities as they are now referred to in the DXCC program.

All six regularly inhabited continents have been worked many times over along with quite a bunch of stations from Antarctica. All states have been worked.

Since August 5, 1994 I've made at least one QSO every day in what is commonly referred to as the streak. The streak covers most of my ham activity since I retired in the early 90's and became active in ham radio again. I say that because rather than re-computing a lot of statistics to include 1993 and early 1994, I'll use my streak stats for the following info.

I've worked all 50 states many times over. In fact, the least worked state is Wyoming with 53 QSO's. My QSO totals by band are: 160M - 3,316; 80M - 9,407; 40M - 14,727; 30M - 2,679; 20M - 10,573; 17M - 517; 15M - 6,461; 12M - 245; 10M - 5,529: 6M - 25.

My most worked country besides the USA and Canada is Germany with 1,175 QSOs. My best Asian country is Japan with 173 QSOs. Overall there are 38 countries with which I've had 100 or more QSOs.

I've earned certificates in too many contests to mention here. A couple I'm a little more proud of are the 2002 ARRL DX Contest where I made 633 QSOs, my most ever in any contest. Also coming in second overall regardless of power category in the Florida QSO Party a few years ago really pleased me.

There's much more I could tell you to convince you once and for all that simple wire antennas in a poor location will work, but I'm out of space here. If you want still more convincing, visit my web site (http://home.alltel.net/johnshan/) where you can also see some pictures of the antennas and more info on what I've accomplished with them. 73 -30-