Technical Articles

Part 2: How to Build Antennas from a Blind Ham’s Perspective (and if You’re Not Blind, You’ll Learn Something, Too!)

Editor’s Note: Over the next several months, OnAllBands will be featuring a series of articles from Harry “Trippy” Brown, AC8S, longtime amateur operator and antenna builder/tester who’s never let his visual impairment stop him from enjoying the hobby he loves. As the title of this series states, we hope these articles provide you with invaluable insights as you pursue your own successful antenna projects.

Some Basic Questions You Need to Answer Before Building Your Antenna

  • Where do you live? Can you put up an antenna outside or only inside?
    These questions are important because they will inform you of what kind of antenna you will be using.
  • Whether outside or inside, how much room do you have? Note: If you don’t have enough room to put up and string a dipole inverted-V combo or end-fed antenna all the way out, I have fantastic news for you. Because of coiling, you can have the room to install an antenna of your desired length using coiling, which I’ll cover in a future post. I have done it with inverted-V antennas and dipole inverted-V combo antennas with great results on CW (on all bands) using 15 watts, on 40 meter SSB with 15 watts, and on all bands with 100 watts.

Right now, I have a dipole inverted-V combo on my balcony only eight feet off the ground (not touching metal), and the signal is getting out fabulously. For example:

  • On March 26, 2021, during the CQ WW WPX SSB contest, I made a contact with a station 370 miles away on 75 meter SSB, and he got me on the first call!
    • On July 3, 2021, I used a 1 wave dipole inverted-V combo that was hanging on my balcony and worked a station in Rhode Island on 40 meter SSB from Michigan, with only 15 watts on my Elecraft KX3.
    • On July 10, 2021, I worked four stations on 20 meter SSB in the IARU HF Championship.

So keep checking this blog and you’ll read in a later post about how to make this possible with coiling.

  • What band(s) do you want to work?
  • How much money do you have to spend on antennas and coax?
  • Will you have to build the antenna yourself because you don’t have enough room to install a pre-built model?

Next week I’ll be discussing SWR. Here’s a link to my previous blog post introducing the series. Questions? Comments? Reach me at hebrown3rd@gmail.com.

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