Some operators ask, "How do I build this thing?" It's meant to be simple where we do much of the hard work on our end. Remember, the one-sheet inside the antenna shipment box is the parts list and the exact order of parts as they are to be assembled from the bottom to the top.
We hope you enjoy our series on "Customer Installs." Meet, Rob in Colorado.
Getting on the Air
Rob Freedman WC0R
10 August 2020
As a frequent participant in the LARC Hamlet Net each Tuesday evening I have learned that many participants are anxious to get on the air and upgrade their privileges to enjoy HF voice QSOs. I also have learned that many of us live in covenant-restricted homeowners associations that almost always restrict antennas to TV or satellite dishes.
I have personally been at the intersection of both of these and thought I would share my journey through these issues. The key takeaway is neither is as difficult as it first may appear.
Despite my Amateur Extra license, I consider myself a newbie. I passed the test in 2009 but really had little current experience. I had an ICOM 7000 in my 4Runner and mostly QSO’d with amateur radio work colleagues on VHF FM (not about work, of course). The 7000 is capable of UHF/VHF, and HF voice and digital modes but I had no satisfactory HF mobile antenna to effectively QSO on HF—and talk about distracted driving!
When I retired in January of this year, as many of you, I was anxious to get back on the air. I had plenty of time to do some research. ARRL publications such as “ARRL’s Wire Antenna Classics” (now with volume 2), and Radio Society of Great Britain’s “Stealth Antennas” provide a rich list of home-brew low-profile antennas. Although some of these boasted superb performances, many had limitations or were hardly systems that would go unnoticed by HOA neighbors.
Some HOAs do not enforce covenants and restrictions very aggressively or at all. However, I would not count on this as a strategy, especially if you do not want to be the new cause of friction in your neighborhood. Moreover, there are family members who might have something to say about stringing wires, baluns, and feedlines all over the back yard.
The solution that would seem to work best for our neighborhood and our family would be
something that did not look like an antenna because it wore a disguise. How about a flagpole that functioned as a multi-band, highly efficient, dipole antenna? After a little more research, I came across an outfit called Greyline Performance (https://greylineperformance.com). They have designed complete antenna systems either in a strictly vertical format or with all the trappings of a flagpole.
You can get these kits (some assembly required!) from 12 feet to 28 feet, either with flag kits or just as a plain vertical. It is an off-center-fed dipole which means no radials are required for optimum performance. Visit their website for RF plots and user testimonials as proof.
We chose a 20’ flagpole antenna, submitted photos to the HOA for approval regarding the design and location on our property, and got approval soon after.
Greyline recommends a solid foundation of concrete 18” in diameter and 36” deep. In the center is a PVC pipe that goes to the bottom of the hole to support the flagpole and insulate it from the ground.
The directions are clear and no special tools are required.
The antenna is now installed and tested and Old Glory waves—if there’s a breeze. My remaining task is to run RG-213 (low loss coax) between the antenna and the shack. I did jury rig a spare cable and did some testing from the garage, copying beacons from Madiera, California, and Caracas on 20 meters despite marginal solar flux conditions (an article for a different day).
The antenna went together as advertised. The fit and finish are excellent, and I am very happy with the result.
Greyline writes: We are hearing reports some put together the antenna in an hour or two, others take a half to a whole day to enjoy the project and process. Whatever you choose, this is a weekend project indeed and when it's up, it will stay up for a very long time. (note the citings on quality and fit.)
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73 Greyline Performance