Can you recommend an antenna?

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by hitchcock4, May 19, 2016.

  1. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey+

    Was trying to solve this myself, but I know that there are several more experienced hams that might be able to help here.

    I am looking for my first HF antenna. Here are the facts and restrictions that I have self imposed.
    • Attic install (I know, too bad the wife doesn't want to see it)
    • Price range $60 to $160.
    • Attic: prefer to install in a "flat-top" configuration along the ridge line. There is only 7 foot of space between the ridge line and the floor of the attic, but the antenna would be about 26 feet above the ground.
    • I have about 70 feet of straight ridge line to work with, so I think that several antennas could work. I could "fold" the antenna at either end if need be but would prefer the antenna not "droop down" to block passage through the attic.
    • I think I will mostly use 10 meter / 20 meter / 40 meter. Ability to use other bands like 80m or 15m but I don't need more bands if that means sacrificing signal on the first 3 bands I mentioned.
    • Don't currently have a tuner (and prefer not to buy one at this point).
    • Would like to do QRP at 5 watts. (I want to purchase a X1M Platinum QRP SSB/CW 00-80m Transceiver good HAM Radio 5 Band freely setting or similar multi-band QRP transceiver
    • Want to send PSK31 and SSB (but I do not know CW).
    • My attic does not have any insulation with aluminum backing.
    • A plus would be I can quickly take it down and take it with me (all Windom and end-fed that I have looked at so far allow that pretty easy)

    I was thinking the Carolina Windom 40 (66 feet), but was worried about the 10' vertical radiator (only 7 feet vertical available for my attic)

    Was also looking at and end-fed such as sold here HFedz End Fed 6m-80m HF antenna Ham Radio Antenna (53 feet; there are dozens of end-fed, so it doesn't have to be that one in particular). Another end-fed is HF End Fed Antenna 1000W 40-10m / Ham Antenna NO TUNER NEEDED!! / 63 feet long (63 feet)
    What do you think? Will a Windom in a flat-top configuration work for me? Am I asking for too much?

    I appreciate any/all help especially if you have performed a similar attic install.
    Thanks and 73.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I take it you can't go outside ---

    Have you looked at a fan dipole, sim to this?
    Uv cuss, you won't be able to do 80m with it, but still ---

    Go ahead and buy a tuner, eventually you'll get one or more anyway. And, in all likelyhood, you are going to wish for an antenna analyzer sooner than later (tho' you may be able to borrow one from Elmer.)
  3. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    If you have trees you can hide a wire very well.

    Here is one that does not need a tuner
    AZ Rancher bought one but I dont think he has it up and running yet.
    EFHW-8010 -
  4. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Yeah I know, not only fixing the gate, the post was bent and when I went to put it back to vertical, it broke off, now I need to pull the concrete out of the ground and put a new schedule 40 post back in (4")... I may get around to the antenna next week, I have the eye bolt and the nylon rope, so except for the feed and putting it, I am close.

    AD1 likes this.
  5. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey+

    Any idea how much loss I would have to put it in the attic? It would still be 26 feet above ground...
  6. Idahoser

    Idahoser Monkey+++ Founding Member

    more than you'd have outside.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    It sorta depends. On what you ask?
    nails per square
    roofing material
    any vents (kitchen and bath exhaust ducts
    In other words, there's really no way to know ahead of time. Of course, there will be some, but if your place is somewhat of normal construction, you should not suffer a lot of loss.
  8. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    When it comes down to it, you just need to get something in place and run it. Find out how it work, then tweak to see if you can improve reception or cut noise.

    The data on this antenna says you can run it in any config even zigzag if you need to.

    If you have trees she will never see this or any end fed wire(like the Par/LNR End Fedz I run in my HOA). The wire is black and small than a pencil lead in Dia.

    If you can buy a full 100 watt rig like a 857d it will run on 5W but also do 100. Just sayin.

    And all digital modes.

    If you have multiple rigs then yes go for a qrp rig. If this is rig#1, then stay away from qrp units.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2016
    Idahoser, techsar and ghrit like this.
  9. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey+

    For HF this would be my first rig. But right now don't want to pay $800 to $2000 for an HF rig.
    I have experience (and several radios) for dual band 2m / 70cm.
  10. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    If you can buy this week/end, do it cuz everyone is running specials because of Dayton

    Check this out ....just can about 10 minutes via email but I pulled the Web version for you
    Ham Radio Outlet's Pre-Black Friday Sale Event

    A Yaesu FT450 for under $600

    Or an ICOM 718 for $560


    And you will need a power supply $145

    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2016
    hitchcock4 likes this.
  11. William Warren

    William Warren Monkey++

    I hate to rain on the parade, but the only recommendation I can make is "ANYTHING BUT!"

    Indoor antennas are crippled from the get-go: the roof, even assuming that it doesn't kill all your signal outright, will make it very, very hard to get any kind of coverage.

    I suggest that you put a dipole above the roof, fed with openwire, and keep it a couple of feet higher than the ridgeline. Concentrate on esthetics: paint the supports to match the roof, use black insulators, and keep the feed-through holes tidy. It's likely your wife won't notice, and even if she does, it's always easier to ask forgiveness than permission.


    William Warren
    Tevin likes this.
  12. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    A multi band dipole would easily fit into 70 feet of space and work on all the bands you want except 80.

    And although you did not ask, I must point out that QRP is not for beginners. Yes, it does work but it takes some practice and finesse. Running QRP with an already compromised attic antenna is a really long stretch. I think you're going to be disappointed with the performance of your station.
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
    hitchcock4 and AD1 like this.
  13. hitchcock4

    hitchcock4 Monkey+

    @AD1 @William Warren @Tevin and others,

    Thanks for the above advice. As several mentioned, QRP may not be for the beginner. At this point I am considering foregoing the QRP radio and looking at the Yaesu FT450 (auto-tuner included) and either an end-fed or Carolina Windom antenna. [Can always lower the power to 5 watts to see what I get from an attic antenna]

    Anyone know if the above sales last through Sunday? It says "Black Friday" but not sure that I am ready to buy before I hit the hay tonight.

    AD1 likes this.
  14. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    They are through this weekend as long a Dayton is running.

    Says through monday night

    The 450 is a great rig and everyone I know that has one loves it.

    If it was out when I bought the 857D i would own a 450 now.

    That $589 price is a steal!! And you get the tuner too. Great choice.

    Don't forget you will need a power supply too.

    If you cant afford one of the ones on sale here is a post about a way cheaper version
    Cheap and Dependable AC>DC radio power supply

    Also if you have not found the reviews on the FT-450 yet here you go
    Yaesu FT-450D Product Reviews
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2016
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Worth the check, some autotuners are of limited range and may not tune the entire band. Some will cut back power, and some will refuse to transmit at all if the SWR is out of the range of the tuner.
  16. katzas

    katzas Monkey

    I've seen a lot of suggestions here--most of them excellent. Indoor antennas work--but nowhere near as good as outdoor antennas do. Some have suggested antennas like an end fed or dipole fed with open wire--good ideas--BUT--you will need an external antenna tuner. The radio suggested by some is the FT 450. Good rig with a built in antenna tuner--but the internal tuner will NOT tune end fed or open wire. You will also hear suggestions about using a balun--a four to one impedance transformer. Don't be fooled. A balun will only match an antenna one it's designed frequency. Put up as much wire as you can as high and in the clear as you can and feed it with open wire to an antenna tuner and from the tuner to your radio. When it comes to antennas there really ain't no such thing as a free lunch. I had to put up a limited space antenna and used a 40 meter delta loop (google it). I fed it with open wire at one corner and it worked very well on 40 and 20. The higher bands are mostly dead now due to the low sunspot activity so those two are probably your best bet. Get your General license (at least) and stop monkeying around with toys. You won't regret it. Your wife will complain--but after a week or two she won't even notice it.
    BTPost and ghrit like this.
  17. Idahoser

    Idahoser Monkey+++ Founding Member

    if you try very hard you might be able to spend $10 on the parts to make a dipole to fit that space. Find out for yourself how it works. Then try something else. Add another band to it in a fan. Add a folded section. Whatever, the point is GET STARTED
    (says the guy who still hasn't done it myself :( )
    I agree with every point of this post.

  18. Flight-ER-Doc

    Flight-ER-Doc Monkey+

  19. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

  20. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    I got one of these a month ago for 80 meters and my neighbor got the 20 meter.

    Isotron Antennas, The HF Equation for Success

    Mine hangs at 20' and is phenomenal 600-800 miles out and 3-6 db quieter than my dipole. I'm ordering a 20 meter after Christmas for the attic.
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