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Getting an HF antenna to work (Part 1)

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Getting an HF antenna to work (Part 1)

I received email communications from Ralph Bilal (WD0EJA) from Isotron Antennas on HF antenna operation and I thought it really did a good job of explaining antenna theory. I enjoyed these emails and I hope you find them helpful also.  You might want to check out Isotron Antenna's website here:  Here is Part 1. 

Last time a metal mast was recommended to mount your antennas on. However if you choose to use a non-metallic support much of this information will still apply.

You have chosen the spot your antenna is going to be installed. Now you are needing a feedline. Our comments will be concerning coax. It is good practice to run your coax from the antenna to the station as neatly as possible. Secure the coax down the mast or tower either right to it or with an appropriate stand-off, then exiting the mast or tower where needed to run to the station. If you need to run the coax along a roof or exterior wall, use stand-offs. This is for your safety and it will maintain a neat appearance. If it doesn't work at least it will look good.

How much coax to use? On an antenna that is resonant my preference is not to use a choke made from a coaxial coil. You can always add one later if needed. A neat run to the station and leave a few feet extra to be comfortable with the connections. Coiling 50 to 100 feet of extra coax will change things and you will need to be pretty schmart with antennas to figure it out. Of course you are going to be in time.

What about grounding? Back to the mast or tower, ground the bottom of these structures to at least a 4 foot ground rod near the structure. If your mast or tower is elevated from ground, then an applicable ground wire should be attached to the bottom. The ground wire should NOT touch the building, so use stand-offs. This is for your safety. Also keep the coax and ground wire as separate as possible.

Inside start initially with no extra ground wires other than the ground connection to your electrical source. Normally this is all that is needed. Once you have the antenna system working and you want the comforter of more ground wires you can add them. You will know if the extra ground wire is causing a problem this way.

The next article will be on more details on getting the antenna to work.


Ralph Bilal

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