Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

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Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby Alfie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:17 pm

I am looking at putting up a homebrew hf antenna but dont know where to start?

I have a scanking for everything above hf but nothing for hf sw. I have a low budget but am told making one out of wire is just as good as buying one? I also have a couple of trees in the front and back so can go from the house to one of those. I have a drum of wire to play with and plenty of coax cable. So what length should I use? i would like to get 31mhz 27mhz and the shortwave and hf bands below. I initially thought going out of the living room and up the wall over the front then over thre roof and drop it down the back but from reading online I think having the wire close to or touching the building and roof would give me much loss and interference?

I would really appreciate any advice anyone could give me??
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby m0lsx » Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:33 pm

I now use a few meters of wire attached to the telescopic of my portable SW RX, or a few meters in the back of my old Trio. For SW you do not need anything special, just a few meters of wire sraight to the radio.
What is your radio??
If it is a portable radio more than about 5 - 6 meters is likely to over load it, so keep it shortish & just clip it to the telescopic.
If it's a half reasonable base set, then it should have a screw on the back for attaching a long wire & one for a earth & the earth is going to make more difference than you can imagine. So put a metal steak into the ground as close to the radio as you can. The reason being, you don't want it becoming resonant & picking up noise.
A coax fed antenna strung between two trees & with a balun to isolate the coax from the antenna is a good idea & something like a Off Centre Diploe makes an excellent SWL antenna,
If cash is tight, then just put a wire in the back, it's what most of us use & if you want to be flash add a 9:1 un/un & a earth stake & feed that via coax, as that keeps the house noise out of your antenna.
If you want a well made 9:1 have a look at Nigel M0CVO's site, or search M0CVO on ebay. His baluns are also sold by the likes of Waters & Stanton & Lamco sell Nigels antennas etc under their own labels.
http://m0cvoantennas.webs.com/
Also if you want to listen & don't mind using Java, take a look at the University of Twente SDR, it's free to use & take a listen at what a "mini whip antenna can achieve, as it's all they use.
http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby Alfie » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:55 pm

thank you for the advice alan

I have bought a realistic DX394 but i am not having much luck it came with the telescopic antenna and i have been experimenting with a copper wire in various positions which doesnt seem to improve on the telescopic. i can just about hear volmet and not getting any improvement using a wire ? I also tried it in my vhf/uhf antenna and its not so good either ?
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby m0lsx » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:18 pm

How much background noise are you getting??? Look at the S meter..Many of us have very high levels of local electrical QRM..I regularly see S9 of noise where I am...
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby Alfie » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:37 pm

Yes i am getting a lot of noise and the signal meter will go up even when there isnt a valid transmission

Are there any frequencies good for testing and can someone tell me the busy ham hf bands as i am not picking up much. i can pick up some shortwave am stations but i was looking for actual good two way sb talking coms and not broadcast. the kind of thing like long distance hams talking and military and marine and odd things like pirates and number stations.

I read about volmet and have been trying these two which i can get but very weak on 5450.0 raf volmet and 5505.0 Shannon Volmet they are very weak and the only 2 sb transmissions i have picked up after a lot of scanning. I have read about 5680.0 and 3023.0 for raf kinloss and had each on for a few hours but heard nothing though i figure you have to be tuned in when there is an actually emergency. Any other pointers would be very much appreciated.
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby m0lsx » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:15 pm

I find that the area around 3.7 MHz (on 80 meters) is reasonably busy most weekends & it will be especially so this coming weekend with JOTA (Jamboree on the air) 80 meters SSB is 3.6 to 3.8MHz. 80 meters can be busy any day, but most amateur bands are quietish weekdays..
On 40 meters SSB is 7.060 to 7.2 MHz & is busy most of the day & evening..
20 meters is 14.125 to 14.300 & is only really busy during daylight hours & busiest at Weekends.

Also listen out for Radio Merlin Int on around 6350khz & Laser Hot Hits who put out a good signal most evenings on both 4026khz & 6915khz..And listen around 6200 to 6400khz most weekends for other free radio stations...
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby Alfie » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:21 pm

This is great info i cant thank you enough. are these all usb or lsb ?
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby m0lsx » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:44 pm

All amateur bands below 10 MHz are LSB & USB above 10MHz... Also have a listen around about 5.9 to 6.2 for international broadcasters....
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby Alfie » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:49 pm

m0lsx wrote:All amateur bands below 10 MHz are LSB & USB above 10MHz

That is very usefull thank you. in all my research and web searching i had not noticed that.

My antenna now is something i want to imrove. is bigger better on hf ? i could use up to 40 metres of copper wire cable which i have on a rung (good quality stuff) and make an antenna in the loft and drop coax down into my radio area ?
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Re: Ideas for a good low cost HF shortwave antenna

Postby m0lsx » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:59 pm

Take a look at...
Shortwave DX blog..a list of free radio stations heard by one keen listener....http://shortwavedx.blogspot.co.uk/
Alfa Lima..A free radio forum, where the occasional PX announcement is found..http://www.alfalima.net/index.php?sid=6 ... 3625bf91dd
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