What other HF antennas?

Some hams say if they could have only one HF antenna it would be a multiple-band vertical. There was one on the Ontario Swap Shop recently for $50 which for an antenna which can get you on four or more bands without switching or extra coax is pretty good.

The vertical antenna while somewhat noisier in receiving than a dipole (as noise tends to be vertically polarized) does have the advantage of very small footprint (you can mount it in the back garden or on the roof of the house) while capable of working real DX (as the vertical antenna has a low-angle of radiation compared to a dipole which if not high enough tends to radiate a lot of energy almost straight up).

Verticals that are ground-mounted need a bunch (10-20) of ground radials placed just below the surface of the lawn (insulated or non-insulated wire of any size will do and the longer the better with a minimum of 8′ necessary) to work. The coaxial cable can be buried under the lawn as well. (Any coax can be buried but there are specific brands designed for burying that are available from distributors.)

Verticals mounted on the roof or anywhere above ground work best with tuned (meaning cut for the frequency) elevated ground radials. The good news is four tuned radials will often outperform 20 or more radials buried underground.

BTW if you happen to live near a salt marsh or you’re going on a DX-pedition to an ocean front property a vertical mounded in the saltwater flats will outperform just about any other antenna. A world record was set using this setup by a QRP (low power) contest group some years ago.

Verticals come in single-band (for DXing contesting) and multi-band versions that can cover all the HF amateur bands in one antenna.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. 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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