John's antenna page

Antennas (my Latin education squirms a bit, but no one uses antennae) are fun to make and very satisfying when somehing really simple and cheap works really well!

This page has the most recent stuff first:

13cm DL6WU home brew 12 element beam

With the 13cm transverter construction well and truly under way I needed an antenna for tests. The DL6WU designs were working well, so another was built for 13cm. Construction is like the others, though it is so dinky! - it's only about 40cm long. The balun is tiny, in RG316, and has a tail with an SMA connector on the end for attaching the feed.

13cm 12 ele DL6WU

It has worked very well in receive tests to date, and I'm looking forward to making my first 13cm contacts with it soon.

2m diameter dish antenna for 23cm and 13cm

As an astronomer (before I retired!) I knew about dish antennas for use across the electromagnetic spectrum, so it was only a question of time before I built one for amateur radio. For me it has to be portable, as I have the ambition to use this thing from the top of a really high hill on a beautiful sunny contest day, and get lots of DX contacts! It's built simply and cheaply and more photos are on the page for this project.

2m diameter dish antenna

It hasn't been out much yet, but perfomed very well indeed for VHF field day in 2011; with my 5 Watts from the transverter I was able to manage a solid contact with the Lincoln contest station over 300km away, with The Cheviot in the way!

70cm DL6WU home brew 8 element beam

This antenna was the result of leaving my other 70cm antennas down in Dumfries and Galloway when I needed one to track one of the amateur high altitude balloons from Edinburgh. I had been very pleased with the 23cm DL6WU design, so decided to throw another one together for 70cm. Again my version uses 21.5mm plastic plumbing pipe for the boom and aluminium rod for the directors and reflector. The folded dipole feed is made from brass tube (from B and Q, like the aluminium elements). This design has a balun, and as for the 23cm antenna, my version uses a BNC connector mounted onto a small perspex plate screwed to the boom.

70cm 8 ele DL6WU

It is great as a small portable antenna - it straps to the back of a rucksack - and has seen use from some SOTA summits and even Tuesday evening UKAC events, for which I really should use an antenna with higher gain. However the performance of this small antenna is really excellent; I find it greatly superior to the 6-ele commercial antenna I also have.

23cm DL6WU home brew 15 element beam

To test the 23cm transverter properly needed a real antenna. I decided to try a design by DL6WU, and this is written up fully with a link to the design software. My version uses 21.5mm plastic plumbing pipe for the boom and aluminium rod for the directors and reflector. The folded dipole feed is made from solid copper rod (from the junk box). The design has a balun, and my version uses a BNC connector mounted onto a small perspex plate screwed to the boom.

23cm 15 ele DL6WU

This antenna has had a lot of use especially in the Tuesday evening RSGB UKAC events, and also from some SOTA summits.

23cm quad loop

With the 23cm transverter approaching completion I needed something quick and easy to test out the receive section. This design by DL5NEG appears in the International Microwave Handbook which is where I came across it. My version is hardly modified at all from that on the web. It uses wire from some old "flat twin and earth" mains wiring (hence the old UK mains colours - it wasn't worth stripping all that plastic). There's a BNC connector for the feeder which is fastened into a loop made in the copper reflector wires. The ends of the quad are supported on bits of wire sleeving glued onto the radiator and reflector.

23cm quad loop

In its first outing this antenna was just the job to pick up a local beacon.

2m lambda loop loft antenna

My home QTH is not a good location for amateur radio; it's a flat, it's in the city, it has a very small garden surrounded by high buildings, it's in a conservation zone where "unsightly" additions are frowned on, and it's on a north facing slope with hills to the south. Not very promising, for either HF or VHF. To allow me to chat to the locals on 2m SSB I decided to do something about it - and about the best I can do is an antenna mounted in the loft, as high as possible. This is also described in more detail as a small project.

2m lambda loop

It seems to work well for chat across central Scotland with the bare FT-817.

70cm DK7ZB 12 element home brew beam

These DK7ZB designs seem to work, so I decided to try one for 70cm. It uses exactly the same construction as the 2m designs below; the result is shown here and described more fully as a small project.

70cm 12 ele Yagi

It was quite tricky to set up the feeder to get a good SWR but I think it's OK now, though it needs some more testing in the field.

2m DK7ZB 7 element home brew beam

Being pleased with the success of the 5 element design described below, I decided to try for a bit more gain with a 7 element design that could also be taken to the top of a hill. The result is shown here and described more fully as a small project.

2m 7 ele Yagi

It certainly is considerably more directional than the 5 element beam, and will get more outings in contests.

80m inverted V

A long time ago I used to help Guy G3ZHL set up his portable station consisting of a homebrew 80m transceiver powered by a very heavy car battery, and an 80m inverted V set up on a very heavy collapsible pole. We now have some excellent modern materials and the pole is certainly a lot lighter - I have the SOTAbeams fishing pole described below, and also now a Spiderbeam 12m pole which is a lot stronger. Here's the Spiderbeam pole with an 80m inverted V; click on the photo and you should be able to see the choke coil at the top of the feeder.

2m Yagi

2m DK7ZB home brew beam

The B and Q components used for the 6m beam (below) are pretty good, and I found some (cheaper and) better aluminium tube - not anodised - on another outing there, so some was bought to make a 2m beam.

I used the design tool on the DK7ZB web site; I went for a 5 element 50 ohm design. Reflector and directors are 6mm tube, lengths as specified; the reflector needed an extension to get the full length (over 1m, and the tube is sold in 1m lengths) which I did by using an internal screw to hold the extra few cm on one end.

The radiating element is 8mm tube, mounted in a plastic 10mm tube - a good push fit, but with screws to locate the inner end and act as electrical connections. I'll add a diagram when I have time.

The boom is plastic plumbing pipe 22mm diameter; it's over 1.5m long so I may make a two piece version which would be marginally easier to pack.

This antenna had its first outing on 18 October 2008 from Billinge Hill - a little hill near my birthplace in Lancashire, but a SOTA summit nontheless which was duly activated.

2m Yagi

The activity was great fun - 13 contacts in an hour including a Jamboree on the air station GB2JAM and a new distance record for me on 2m - Don, G0RQL, in North Devon - about 320km. I'm looking forward to getting this antenna going when the band conditions are better.

6m home brew beam

The 2m beam worked so well I was enthused to try a 6m equivalent. This is made from components from B and Q, and I will write it up more fully in due course. It had its first outing on 13 September 2008.

6m Yagi

It's a pretty spectacular beast considering that it all collapses into a 1m long package. However its frst outing resulted in no QSOs. It does work though - I could hear a beacon really well and proved its directionality with that. However my Morse is very rusty - never really listened to a beacon before - so didn't note down enough to identify it (on about 50.050 MHz). Ho hum - nothing like experience. Didn't realise beacons say a lot more than their callsigns!

I was on Scald Law to activate a SOTA summit (21 September 2008) and carted the 6m beam up there. No QSOs on 6m unfortunately; I picked up a broadband interfering signal from the south, which was pretty well nulled out off the side of the beam (pointing E or W) and even quiet off the back of the beam - so at least I know it's got some decent directivity! I also used this antenna in October 2008 - the 50MHz contest day - but unfortunately at low altitude (near sea level in the south west of Scotland), so with my 5W didn't manage to work anyone, though heard quite a few stations (GD0EMG a big signal, and I must have been off the back of his large beam) and was able to test the antenna nicely. I decided that I needed to make a linear amp for 6m to improve my chances.

Latest update: with the 6m linear working, this antenna worked OK in the same contest in 2009, even though it was very windy and I had to keep the antenna low. I discovered when dismantling that in my haste I'd assembled the elements incorrectly, so it's still not had a proper test under contest conditions!

2m SOTA Beams antenna

With the idea of getting up the hills to do some operating, and the discovery of SOTA, this seemed to be the ideal companion to my FT-817. I first used it getting towards the top of Cairnharrow (SOTA GM/SS-191); I didn't get to the top - the mist came down and prudence comes first. It's a SOTA Beams SB270. It seems to work very well, and gave me a couple of solid contacts on SSB from Cairnharrow; it's shown here vertically polarised, used from the Mull of Galloway.

SOTAbeams antenna for 2m

The fishing pole that comes with the complete kit is great, and I've used it for an 80m inverted V as well - unfortunately forgot to take a photo so that will appear later.