Endfed vs Nor’easter!

My Endfed antenna was put up on October 2nd with a few issues that I blogged about but mostly have been sorted out. Today was the test to see how it held up with some strong winds, today was the arrival of a Nor'easter here in the Maritimes. There was high winds and lots of rain, I did find that as it continued to rain the SWR on 40m could not be tamed by the LDG antenna tuner. All other bands were just fine. I was outside at one point when the rain slowed a bit to take out some trash. The one end of the antenna is just outside the back shed and I gave the Endfed wire a bit of a pluck like one would do to a guitar string. Water came off the entire Endfed antenna. I went back into the house and gave 40m a go again and all was well. I'm guessing a collection of water on the antenna affected 40m and I imagine over time more water would had affected the other bands.
Now back to wind vs Endfed antenna, the 9:1 balun enclosure is mounted in a tree with the other end mounted at the shed. Before putting up the antenna I had to devise a way of overcoming the tree sway  and the stress it would put on the antenna. I thought about using a spring but when I went to the hardware store here in town there were none  I felt would flex before any stress was placed on the antenna, the springs just had to have to much tension before they would start to flex. A comment I received on my blog regarding this very issue was to use bungee cord. These were easy to come by at the hardware store and I decided to use it. My installation consisted of 2 bungee cords just incase one became effective and let go.
Today as the wind gusts picked up I noticed the tree that the 9:1 balun was on was swaying a lot but the bungee took up the flex and allowed the Endfed to hardly even move. Up to this point in time the Endfed only had to deal with a slight breaze but today it was put to the test and it passed without issue.
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

12 Responses to “Endfed vs Nor’easter!”

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    Clever idea, using a bungee cord! I’m curious to see how well it holds up being out in the weather.

    That gives me an idea. I use an end-fed random wire with a transformer, similar to what you have. The transformer enclosure is rigidly mounted 15 feet up on the end of my mobile home, which acts as a dandy counterpoise. The far end of the wire is suspended by a rope tossed over some locust trees at the back of my yard, about 35 feet up. I have to leave the wire really slack to accommodate the sway of the trees so it’s almost horizontal when it leaves the transformer.

    Maybe if I hang the transformer from a bungee cord and use a loop of flexible braid to hook it to the trailer, I can pull the wire up higher without it breaking in the next wind storm.

  • Trevor AG7GX:

    I attached my box to the arm of a DirecTV dish (no longer in use) with plastic ties and ran the wire out to a pole attached to the top of a playset. So I haven’t had to worry about trees. But I have had to replace the plastic ties once already (in 3 years). And so far the wire has survived the Utah weather!

  • Bob VE3ETE:

    I like the idea of the bungee cord for providing tensioning for the EFLW. I have just put one up here in N. Ontario and I know we get pretty strong winds here in the spring and November months. My “tree” is 2 10 ft lengths of 2″ PVC pipe nesting one in the other, and supported around the joint by 4 2 & 1/2′ lengths of steel strapping screwed into the pipes. I put it up by attaching the bottom 5′ to a wooden fence on the property line. But there is a definite lean in the direction of the antenna, so I plan to take it down again and add rope support in the opposite direction, guying to a fence post. But after reading your latest, I’m looking for a bungee cord! Thanks for the idea!

  • Gordon VE7OW:

    Bungee cords are great but if tension is important then the longer the stretch the greater the force according to Hook’s Law. A fall weight and a pulley will provide a constant tension on the antenna regardless of tree sway.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Dave thanks for taking the time to add a comment, yes the bungee cord was the simplest way of doing things I could think of. As for the weather and how it holds up I have 2 bungee cords holding the Endfed in place. I am hoping that when they do go bad one will go before the other and I can see that I am down to only one bungee and replace them both. The were very cheap at Home Depot for a bag of six of them. The wire of my Endfed has a little slack in it and as the wind blows and the tree moves the wire will tighten up a bit and then not to tight as the bungee will not all that.
    73 Dave

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Hello Trevor very nice to hear from you, yes the weather and sun takes it’s toll on the plastic ties. But they are cheap and easy to replace and best of all they do the job.
    73 and have a great weekend.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Bob, yes the PVC pipe for sure would have some sway to them in the wind and with being in Northern Ontario you would be subject to some good wind and cold snowy weather. I picked my bungee cord up at Home Depot and it was a bag of six for not much money.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Gordon thanks for the input, I was in contact with the designer of the Endfed that I have and he informed me that to have a bit of a droop in the antenna is just fine. The Endfed does not have to be under tension so the pulley system (which I also considered) is not required.
    Thanks for taking the time and stopping by Gordon

  • Karl WA8NVW:

    Welcome back on the air! Some safety points to ponder:
    Beware of trucker-style bungee ‘cords’ where the rubber strap is exposed to the elements and sun. These will deteriorate over time and weather, then fail catastrophically. Murphy’s Law predicts it will happen when you are least able to recover from the break (Think DX Contest weekend combined with a nor’easter or blizzard.
    When you use two elastic cords in parallel to share the load, and the first one fails due to weathering, the second is likely to also fail very soon due to shock of the immediately doubled load.
    If your antenna could fall across a driveway or sidewalk when the bungee cord breaks, include a loop of safety wire or poly (Dacron) rope.

  • Ronald Bunch W4FEK:

    Thanks for the idea. I often throw up a field day antenna and use a couple bungie’s. But for the QTH I will be replacing the bungie’s with a pulley & weights for a longer term installation.
    Ron W4FEK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Karl and thanks for taking the time to comment, yes bungee are not a permanent solution that you just leave and forget. I plan to replace it spring and fall each year just like a smoke detector battery. As for an surprise break with the bungee and you are very correct Murphy will have it happen during the most critical time! The coax behind the 9:1 balun has a drip loop in it and then it is screwed to the tree via a zip tie. This way if the bungee was to let go the Endfed would drop about 6 inches. BUT if the whole system fails the Endfed just falls into the backyard.
    73 and thanks for the great advice.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Top of the evening Ronald, I am not using the spring and pulley system but many do I opted for the bungee as it’s fast and I may not be using this Endfed for a long period of time. I also had issues finding the type of spring that would work for me. So thus the bungee cord idea.
    73 and have a good end of the week.

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