Antenna planning for the fall and winter.

I'm looking at (in my spare time) an antenna I can use over the winter  months and then when the spring comes and more time on my hands to then further explore antenna options at the new QTH. At this time I have two options......the first is to setup the MFJ 1788 mag loop in a wooden shed that is at the back of the property. For this option I would have to first see how the loop and wood shed react with each other. If there is no issue this may be a good option for the winter as the antenna is protected from the elements. The other option is an antenna I have had in the drawer and really have not used, it's the W1SFR Endfed 6m-40m antenna. With this antenna I can secure it to a tree at one end of the property were it would be about 30 feet off the ground. Then terminate it out by the shed were it would be about 10 feet off the ground. The Endfed antenna is 35 feet long and is not a problem fitting on the property. With the antenna being secured to a tree at one end I have to take into consideration the swaying of the tree in a wind. I was going to put an eye hook into the tree and then a short spring and then attach it to the Endfed housing this I am hoping will allow some flexing via the spring if a wind picks up and the tree starts to sway. The W1SFRR housing is not meant to be premaritally outdoors as the case is not water proof but water resistant. I plan to wrap the housing in self amalgamating tape which would no problem keep the water issue at bay. The advantage to this antenna is I don't have to keep retuning it like I do with the MFJ Mag loop. Once my Icom antenna tuner programs into it's memory the tuning of the Endfed I hope I can just tune across the band and not worry about tuning as I do with the MFJ loop.
Any input from fellow hams who have faced such an adventure would be great.
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

12 Responses to “Antenna planning for the fall and winter.”

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    The spring idea sounds good as long as it’s stretchy enough to accommodate the sway of the tree. I have a 57′ end fed wire suspended about 40 feet up in a spindly locust tree and it sways a lot. I can’t climb up to add any fittings so I just have to leave the wire slack. It’s almost horizontal when it leaves the transformer box.

    A trick I’ve seen in several ARRL books is to hang a pulley in the tree and run a rope through it to a free hanging weight. The antenna attaches to the other end of the rope. But your spring idea sounds simpler.

    I’m a bit skeptical about trying to make an outdoor housing completely watertight. I’ve always managed to get water inside regardless of how much tape and silicone caulk I used. My preference is to make it as tight as I can on the top and sides, but leave an opening in the bottom so water can drain out. But I haven’t tried self-amalgamating tape, so it may work.

  • Jim Smith K3RTU:

    I have been using end fed wires for years when backpacking with my QRP equipment. All I use is a 30 to 60 foot insulated wire that I hang in a tree or I sometimes attach the wire to a 30 foot fiberglass Jackite pole when no trees are available, such as at a beach. At the rig end I use a 9:1 UNUN to help in lowering the impedance so that the auto tuners in my QRP rigs (I have three different rigs: a FT-817 with an LDG Tuner, KX2 and KX3). I frequently do not use a counterpoise wire on the UNUN, but if I can’t use at least 30 foot of coax like RG-176 I use a counterpoise of a half wavelength for the band in use. These simple antennas have served me well both in the field and at the home QTH.

    Hope this helps,

    Jim Smith K3RTU

    I use two of these end feds and 9:1 UNUNs at my Home QTH, which work very well. By the way making ones own 9:1 UNUN is quite simple…there are plenty of designs in radio publications.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Dave and thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment, the endfed antenna here will be 35 feet and as far as I can tell the tree does not sway all that much. I will for sure leave some slack in the wire as that will help with the swaying of the tree. I have seen the ARRL pulley system and it just seemed a bit complex, I have emailed some hams who use a spring at each end with a little slack in the wire antenna and all seems to work fine. With regards to the enclosure it’s true that silicone and so on can not be 100% and it’s very true that water will find it’s way in. As for self-amalgamating tape I have used it over and over again in the trade at the hydro and for the very reason of making something water proof. It have never failed me in that profession so I am going to give it a go with the Endfed and see that happens.
    Have a great weekend Dave,

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Jim and thanks for the comments and input regarding the antenna, it great to hear another positive story regarding the Endfed antenna. I am very much looking forward to getting it up and giving it a go. As for a counterpoise in my case it’s the coax and I am told by the manufacture it has to be at least 25 feet and that will not be an issue once the coax gets into the shack. I too have found online instructions on how to make a 9:1 UNUN but at this point in time since I had an Endfed just laying around doing nothing I thought I would use that. As for a tuner I have the KX3 and the Icom 7610 and I feel they will both be able to handle the job. But if the Icom tuner gives me issues I do have an LDG tuner and the Icom interface cable.
    73 and thanks for your input.

  • Larry VE7VJ:

    Just another option. I’m a fan of full wave loop antennas. When I was up in Ft. Smith I rigged an 80m loop up on a town lot. It was in a square(ish) configuration with highest corner about 12m and the lowest about 8m off the ground. Took part of a morning to get it set up, but I did get lucky with my rope toss into the trees. The tuner in my TS590 tuned it on all bands from 80-10 except 30m. Worked well enough. Even with only one tree you can put one up in a delta configuration.

    Larry VE7VJ

  • k7zov:

    Hi again,

    A bit history dealing with you wire antenna. I ran across the design back in 1998/1999. The Hawaii Emergeny Amateur Club had instructions on how to make it as well a mono banders for 40 and 20 meters and a 80 meter version of the 9:1? PAR forced them to pull the mono banders, since in reality they were exact copies of what PAR (Now LNR) was selling. However the 9:1 unun stayed. Here is the link to it Cheap and simple to make. I have used this antenna on and off since 2000 and it really works. Adding more wire will actually make it work better and with 50-75 ft you have 80 meters to play with. I say go with the wire antenna…but with a warning. Your IC-7610 ATU might not like this matchbox 9:1 unun and not have the tuning range you might need at 100 watts.. Switch the radio to the Emergency mode and you will have a ATU that is a respectable 10:1, but you power will be 50 watts max, or less then 1 S-Unit below 100 watts. That said using the wire that was supplied to you will easily load all band from 40 meter to 6 and work quite well. As I said earlier, making the length 50 to 75 ft and you should have no problems getting and 60 meters to make nice.

    As far as the MFJ goes, I also have one. There will be some drift, but putting it up about 20 or more feet in the horizontal configuration worked great for me. I have a lot of wind, and being in the mountains lots of snow some years, like last year. I had my MFJ loop up for 6 yrs before I had to pull it down and put a new motor in it. Mine was not new. I was the second owner and he had it up in Florida for I believe he told me 8 or 10 yrs before I got it. In general the loop help up really good, all things considering.

    If you want detailed information on all the different endfed wire antennas, including a not tuner needed 40, 20, 10 meter one email me directly. If you have any question about how your wire 9:1 match box really works, I am more then happy to share my on and off 20 yrs of using that design at home, traveling and in camping.

    Take care and enjoy you retirement and growing lack of time… As you will be finding out sooner or later, once you retire you enter a new universe that warps time… LOL

    73 to you and yours

    Harry K7ZOV

  • ei3ea:

    Mike what I use is an end fed ant.
    I have a small bolt with an eye attached to the wall of the house.
    Attached to the eye it is a Bungee cord with a quick release clip.
    It has great stretching abilities I have one at each end of the ant.
    Keep it simple best of luck Gerard.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Larry and thanks for the great idea, I see from your QRZ page that you have just retired as well and that telescope on your page looks amazing! Before I venture into a loop antenna I was wanting to just use what I had. I am interested in the noise levels down here and propagation. It’s a great suggestion and my be a project for the spring.
    Have a great weekend Larry and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Gerard and always nice to hear from Ireland, funny thing I never came up with the idea of using a bungee cord. I am in full agreement with you and that is to keep it simple. Most of the feedback I have been getting is voting toward the Endfed antenna. I do like the MFJ mag loop and it has served me well when in a condo and limited space but it would be nice to be able to hop from band to band without having to retune all the time.
    73 and have a great weekend.

  • Christian KD2LIN:

    Re waterproofing via tape or silicone – there is one very important factor that is too often overlooked. Both depend fundamentally on the seal to material – wire, insulation, whatever. It’s important to *clean* the material, especially of oils – skin oil from handling, for instance. A small spray bottle of rubbing alcohol with do it, or the alcohol applied any other way.

    Without this treatment, water simply wicks through that invisible gap.

    Christian, KD2LIN

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Christian, very good point with using the rubbing alcohol never even thought about the oils from my hands. The good news is the owner emailed me regarding the antenna and he has had his in the outdoors for 3 years and never an issue with water.
    73 and thanks very much for the info

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Top of the evening Harry and very sorry I totally missed your email in the group for some reason, agree with the IC 7610 tuner but I do have the 100 watt LDG AT-100pro tuner with the interface cable to the 7610. The package Endfed I have now come with a 35 foot wire but there would be no harm in replacing it with a longer wire to bring in 80m. Im thinking I will send an email to you for more info on the Endfed. Since I am retired now time is on my hands and the more information the better. I tried the link you provided for a cheap and simple Endfed but it came back as “account suspended”. I have had my MFJ loop for 6 years now and with no issues thus far but it has not been our in the full elements. I have had it under a cover and at my other location in and out from from the balcony. If the Endfed works fine I am still going to keep the MFJ loop as I have leaned my lesson……as soon as I sell something very near in the future I find I need it!
    Thanks very much for all the info and taking the time to pass it along.
    I will in the next few days send out an email to you regarding the info for the Endfed antennas.

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