What other HF Antennas Are Out There?

If you realize that almost all antennas are really just dipoles, it gets pretty easy to see that the cheapest way to get on the air is with two wires of equal lengths cut to the appropriate frequency and feed with a feed line.

Commercial beam antennas are just dipoles (fed with a feed line) with passive director and reflector elements in front and behind the “driven” element. The extra elements “beam” the signal forward creating gain and lessening the antenna’s ability to hear signals from the back or sides.

Loop antennas are very interesting.

If you’ve got the room for a full-size loop antenna it will perform as a low-noise DX antenna. The loop doesn’t have to be round. It can be almost any shape but the height above ground should be the same everywhere and the higher the better.

There are small transmitting loops (magnetic loop antennas) which are usually less than 1/10th of a wavelength in circumference. The are very small in size and highly efficient but have a very narrow tuning range often measured in a few kHz before needing retuning.

Loops can be used inside the shack (or attic) and do work.

Here’s a link to everything about loops.

Another way to hide your antenna at the home station is to put a vertical wire into a tree and feed it into a weather-sealed tuner at the base.

A 43′ vertical wire fed into a tuner and working against a well-hidden ground-radial system can be an excellent DX antenna on all bands from 80 to 10 meters.

Commercial vertical antennas are available from DX Engineering among others that cost over $1,000 and will work no better than your humble 43′ wire feed into a tuner. Commercial stations and guys with tons of $$ buy these for their contesting stations where reliability trumps cost.

Same thing for some of the very expensive travel or portable type antennas. Most wire verticals or dipoles at 1/4-wavelength above ground will work circles around them. Guys buy these because they make for a neat package.

Having said that PAR antennas make a very interesting single-band end-feed wire antenna that only need one end up in a tree and are feed at the other end into coax. These antennas need to be trimmed using a tuning meter (SWR bridge) to work properly but are excellent Field Day or portable antennas. They will also work being hung out a second- or third-storey window.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing and yoga. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.
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