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My shack
My Antennas
Leicester skyline

So, not being content with my OCF Dipole, I started to investigate alternative antennas. My basic criteria were as follows:

  • Support as many bands as possible
  • Directional so that the majority of European stations are not S9+20
  • Fit in my 7m (23 ft) x 30m (100ft) back garden

After experimenting with an UnUn fed long wire and having less than stellar results, I decided to try an OCF Dipole (aka Windom). The benefit of this is that it exhibits good multiband performance without taking up much more room than a random length of wire and without the need for ground planes etc.

I did quite a lot of research on which design to go for as there seems to be lots of (dis)information on the Internet about this particular antenna type. I finally settled on W8JI's design for an OCF dipole with the long leg being 80% and the short one 20%. The website describing his design is here.

I have been experimenting with a number of digital modes recently including PSK31/63 and RTTY but I came across an interesting article about JT65a and decided to give it a try.

So I downloaded the JT65-HF software and had a play!

The first thing that you will notice about JT65a is how structured the QSOs are. This is due to the limit of 13 characters per "over" and the fact that each over takes 1 minute (actually 48 seconds transmitting and 12 seconds waiting).

After weeks of searching for the "holy grail" of multi-band antennas, it does appear that it really doesn't exist!

In an ideal world, I would love an antenna that performs well with a low SWR on 80m-10m and fits into a reasonably small space but I fully understand that it probably doesn't exist.

My back garden is a fairly spacious 30 metres (100 foot) long and is only a bit wider than the house at about 9 metres (30ft) wide. It does have a saving grace though as at the end of the garden is a covering of 30ft trees just waiting for an antenna to be attached to them!

zx-11372My first attempt was a simple 40M end fed long wire antenna from Radioworld. That comes with an MFTF weatherproof balun (actually an UnUn) and claims to support 80m to 10m. 

I managed to erect a 2m pole attached to the side of my house, and connected everything up. As you will remember, my garden is only 30m long (a slight miscalculation on my part) so I was faced with finding somewhere to run the remaining 10M of wire.

I tried simply folding the wire over to make it effectively 30m long and also letting the remaining wire hang down (attached to fence) but neither of these approaches were massively effective so I suppose that I should really decide whether to cut the antenna in half and make it 20m long or just live with it?