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Elmering a critical need to help create antennas and such

If there ever was a time Elmers were needed in Ham Radio it's right now. We don't know the derivation of he word Elmer as tutor, mentor or teacher, but that is what it has come to mean in this little corner of the world.

So, if you do have some questions you'd like answered and we can help, please feel free to contact me at WA1R@arrl.net that's the email forwarder I use for my ham radio questions. Please don't be afraid to use it, either, because there's one thing I've found out in more than 30 years as Ham, and it is that this is the most fun when it is an interactive hobby.

Easy-to-make antenna

In other words, it's easy to go out and buy your radio and antenna and cable and tower, but, then what's next, how do you hook it up? Do you need a ground wire? What about a restrictive covenant in your home owner's agreement?

Would you know how to do any of this, if you have no help? That's where your Elmer comes in. One of my own has moved down South, while three others are now what we call “Silent Keys,” hams who have passed away. Who they were is unimportant, but, what is important is the enthusiasm they imparted for the hobby. They were the people who showed helped with antenna creation and installation. Indeed, they showed us how to make antennas that worked using only three piece of wire and an calculator. That' all it takes!

And, that's the problem with the hobby at the moment. With the explosion of new hams joining the ranks, there are just too many who are becoming hams (you don't need to know Morse Code unless you want to learn it) who are being cranked out by the system and then they are left high-and-dry. That's where I hope I can help you out.

Take some math and wire...

So, to help you out, a bit, we'd like to help you design your first single-band (10 meter) antenna. Why did we choose this band? Since we're approaching the top of Sunspot Cycle 24, 10 meters is a band you're probably going to a) work every day for new countries b) the only HF allocation a technician licensee has.

The procedure from here is very easy:

  1. Find the length of a half-wave on 10 meters (roughly 20 feet) by dividing 468 by the frequency of choice (468 is assumed to be the speed of a radiowave with objects nearby), say 468/28.300. The length of the wire is about 20.3 feet.

  2. Divide the 20.3 feet by 2 and you will have two quarter-wave segments

  3. Obtain a chassis SO-239 connector from a radio store or parts shop

  4. Tin (run some solder) onto each piece of the quarter-wave

  5. Obtain some 14-40 crimp hardware and tools

  6. Insert the SO-239 connector into a vice so you can do this work

  7. Using your hot soldering iron, tin the center connector of the SO-239

  8. Heat the center connector of the SO-239 and, using needle-nose pliers, hold one of the tinned quarter-wave pieces as you heat the connection quickly. The solder should bubble

  9. Insert the quarter-wave section of wire into the center and allow it to cool. When cool, wrap it in electrical tape to ensure that there will be no shorts

  10. Crimp a 14-40 wire connector to the other half of the quarter-wave and, using 14-40 hardware including nut, bolt and washer, tighten the hardware down. (at this point, you're nearly done)

  11. Take a couple of egg insulators and attach a length of rope to the insulator and attach the antenna to a conveniently place fence of tree, doing the same to the other wide. The wire is attached to the insulator directly and tied back on itself (if does facilitate tuning)

  12. Attach a length of feedline to the SO-239 and to and SWR bridge.

  13. Attach a jumper from the SWR bridge to the antenna output of your radio and begin to tune the antenna. You should find a good match in short order and, after locating the final point where you'd like to place the antenna install it.

Ask anything you'd like

That was pretty easy, wasn't it. It actually take more words to describe the process than it does to make the antenna. We're preparing a slide show of this so you can see how this is done more quickly.

If you have any further questions, please email them to me at WA1R@arrl.org.

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