Posts Tagged ‘Endfed antenna’

Issue with my feed line.

Troubling reading of coax 
Faulty PL259 

Last week I posted about a wonky SWR reading I was getting and I figured it may be the result of a loose PL259. The issue returned again but not as bad last week. Since moving my Endfed antenna to be able to extend the wire the coax was also moved and now has to be buried. I needed to place the coax in some PVC conduit and not direct buried underground. It was a nice day and I decided to place the coax in the PVC conduit. While I had the coax disconnected from the Endfed antenna to feed it through the PCV conduit I thought I would connect my Fluke multimeter to the coax. With both ends of the coax disconnected, I placed the multimeter leads across the centre and barrel of the PL259 just to make sure my reading was "OL" and low and behold it was not! 
Outdoor soldering station. 

As I wiggled and moved the PL259 the reading would rise and fall. Truth be told this PL259 was a plastic moulded factor installed connector that I was not too keen on but for some reason decided to leave it on. Just to confirm it was the PL259 I cut it off the coax and then retested the coax from the centre conductor to braid and the meter read "OL" Fortunately I just installed 120-volt outlets in my shed so it was a matter of running an extension cord from the shed to an outdoor soldering station I set up to solder in a new PL229 connector.

Tweaking the Endfed antenna.

I have been doing some reading regarding Endfed antennas and the length of 44 feet kept coming up as the length for a short Endfed antenna in small lots. My Endfed was just extended from 34 feet to 41 feet which I spoke about in my last post.   My plan now was to try the 44-foot length of wire and see what the results were both using a counterpoise and not using one. This was going to be a trial project so the extra 3 feet of wire I am to add is not at this point going to be permanent. 
I cut a 3-foot piece of wire and placed soldered terminal ring connectors at each end. My plan was to remove the antenna wire from the balun end which already had a terminal ring connector on it. Then bolt antenna ring connector to the 3-foot piece and the other end of the 3-foot extension that was to be connected to the balun connector. This would give me the extra 3 feet needed to extend things to 44 feet. Once the 44 feet was stretch out I found out very quickly that 44 feet is the maximum length I can use between my shed and tree.
Three feet of wire

With the counterpoise attached, I went into the shack and ran through the bands using my MFJ 259B antenna analyzer and recorded the results and then once again with the counterpose removed. As a side note, one of the best purchases I made was the antenna analyzer, it makes short work of most antenna testing tasks. I do have a second antenna analyzer which is the Funk FA-VA4  its a nice unit but because its menu-driven I find it to be a bit cumbersome.  With the MFJ unit, you select the band range with one knob and with the other knob spin to your desired frequency and then read the LED readout. 
Well back to the Endfed experiment and below are the results with the added 3 feet of wire.

Results without a counterpoise:
     Band              Freq               SWR

  1. 80.              4.000.             7.5
  2. 80.              3.500.             6.7
  3. 40.              7.001.            3.2
    40.              7.070.            3.3
    30.              10.100.          5.0
    30.              10.150.          5.0
    20.              14.001.          1.8
    20.              14.070.         1.7
    17.              18.068.         1.6
    17.              18.168.         1.6
    21.              21.001.         2.6
    21.              21.070.         2.6

Results with a counterpoise:
         Band              Freq           SWR

  1. 80.              4.000.            9.1
  2. 80.              3.500.            9.6            
  3. 40.              7.001.            4.4
    40.              7.070.            4.4
    30.             10.100.           5.0
    30.             10.150.           5.0
    20.              14.001.          2.4
    20.              14.070.          2.3
    17.             18.068.           2.0
    17.             18.168.           2.0
    21.             21.001.           2.6
    21.             21.070.           2.7
As you can see from the above results (not sure where the 1,2,3 numbers came from but I just can't seem to remove them without screwing up the chart) the counterpoise only made things worse again. The results without the counterpoise were decent on some bands (80m and 20m) but overall when the Endfed was at 41 feet it was not that different from 44 feet. The one deciding factor for going back to 41 feet was when at 44 the wire was directly connected to the tree. I was not able to add my bungee cord to allow the antenna to have some flex in it when the winds picked up and the tree started to sway. I was not able to add a bungee cord either as this made the antenna wire hang really low. 
bungee allowing for flex when 41 feet long. 
As you can see in the picture the bungee cord allows the tree to sway in the wind but not affect the antenna with the stress of stretching. The red parachute cord you see is there as a backup if the bungee snaps. It was a nice experiment trying the 44 foot but the results were not drastic enough for me to keep with the 44-foot length. The antenna is not back to 41 feet and my curiosity has been solved. 

Revamping the Endfed antenna

The new location for Endfed....Shingles are my next project
When we moved into our place last August I set up my Endfed as a temp setup and as with most things temp soon becomes long term. My excuse was I just had major house "things" on the go that required my attention. Over the winter the temporary support at one end of the Endfed was starting to show some major wear. I decided to stick with an Endfed antenna as with my lot size it was the best option for me.
The new spot for the antenna
 I was doing some reading on the internet regarding Endfed antennas and the ideal wire lengths. For the size of my lot, the length that was ideal for me was 41 feet. My plan was to remove the balun from the tree it was located in and mount it on my newly renovated in the pictures the shingles have not been done yet but that is my next project and the shed will be complete. The 41-foot Endfed antenna wire would extend back out to the tree. I guess you could say I just reversed the setup. This setup allowed me to lower the balun to about 6 feet off the ground and have the antenna slope in an upward direction. This setup would allow me to add a counterpoise to the Endfed. When the Balun was located in the tree it was about 25 feet off the ground and I was advised by Ultimax antenna the balun was too high off the ground for a counterpoise to work, I did try it without success. 
Splice making 34 to 41 feet
I first tried the antenna with the counterpoise and was not pleased with the results I removed the counterpoise and gained some better results on some bands. Below are the results with and without the counterpoise. 
Results without a counterpoise:
       Band Freq SWR
    80. 4.000. 7.5
    80. 3.500. 6.7
    40. 7.001. 3.2
    40. 7.070. 3.3
    30. 10.100. 5.0
    30. 10.150. 5.0
    20. 14.001. 1.8
    20. 14.070. 1.7
    17. 18.068. 1.6
    17. 18.168. 1.6
    21. 21.001. 2.6
    21. 21.070. 2.6

Results with a counterpoise:
         Band Freq SWR
    80. 4.000. 9.1
    80. 3.500. 9.6
    40. 7.001. 4.4
    40. 7.070. 4.4
    30. 10.100. 5.0
    30. 10.150. 5.0
    20. 14.001. 2.4
    20. 14.070. 2.3
    17. 18.068. 2.0
    17. 18.168. 2.0
    21. 21.001. 2.6
    21. 21.070. 2.7
Below is the SWR reading when the Endfed was 34 feet long and located with the Balun in the tree. 

Results without a counterpoise:
Band Freq SWR
    80. 4.000. 7.0
    80. 3.500. 8.1
    40. 7.001. 1.8
    40. 7.070. 1.8
    30. 10.100. 3.3
    30. 10.150. 3.3
    20. 14.001. 4.6
    20. 14.070. 4.6
    17. 18.068. 2.5
    17. 18.168. 2.5
    21. 21.001. 1.5
    21. 21.070. 1.5

Results with a counterpoise and the balun 25 feet in the tree:
Band Freq SWR
    80. 4.000. 6.5
    80. 3.500. 9.1
    40. 7.001. 5.2
    40. 7.070. 5.2
    30. 10.100. 2.2
    30. 10.150. 2.2
    20. 14.001. 4.9
    20. 14.070. 4.9
    17. 18.068. 2.7
    17. 18.168. 2.6
    21. 21.001. 1.6
    21. 21.070. 1.5

Comparing 2 Endfed antennas.

At my location with the lot size, the best antenna for me is an Endfed. Now I am not at all complaining because just a short time ago I was in a condo using the MFJ 1788 loop antenna. My first Endfed antenna was the W1SFR 6m-40m. I will once again repeat myself saying this antenna is great I have kept mine for portable operations once the summer comes.  The top rating for this antenna is 100 watts and since I operate digital at power levels that could be beyond this antenna rating. I did not want to overdo it and lose this great antenna. I then purchased the DXextreme Endfed from DX antennas. Mine is the 33-foot version which is the shortest but is the right size for my lot. While using my W1SFR Endfed on FT8 I monitored it's results on PSK reporter and captured these results with pictures. I wanted to see if there were any noticeable differences in results between the two antennas.  The new antenna went up on February 28th and I have been monitoring PSK reporter and taking pictures of the new antenna results. The mode of operation has been FT8 and the power output for both antennas was 60 watts. The location for the new antenna was the same as the old and the old antenna was 35 feet long and the new antenna is 33 feet long. I was not really expecting any differences but I was surprised when I compared the results.
The first comparison was 20m during the day between 14:15-14:45 local time. The first picture is from W1SFR's Endfed antenna at 14:16 and the second picture is at 14:40 from the DXextreme Endfed antenna.
W1SFR 20m

DXextreme 20m

To my surprise, the DXextreme antenna seemed to make it into Europe and a few other spots the W1SRF EndFed did not. I do have other pictures from other times as well that show the same results but I did not want to fill the post with them as I have other bands to show.
The next band is 30m and again these pictures are from early afternoon at 14:50 local time for W1SFR's antenna and 15:40 using the DXextreme antenna.
W1SRF 30m

Once again I noticed that my spots in Europe were more with the DXextreme antenna over the W1SRF.
Regarding 40m I was happy with the W1SFR antenna compared to my balcony mounted MFJ 1788 back in the condo as I really had no luck reaching Europe on 40m with the loop antenna. The W1SFR allowed me to get into Europe and I was happy with that. But the DXextreme really opened things up for me overseas.
DXextreme 30m
Overall I am very happy with the performance of the new antenna it also allows me to rest at ease knowing I am not overtaxing the W1SFR Endfed in the digital modes.

W1SRF 40m

DXextreme 40m

The Ultimax DXtreme

The retired W1SFR
For the past few days, our weather here on the East coast has been excellent nice warm weather (up to +10) with no rain and just great sunny skies. On the second day of this great weather, I decided it was time to put up my new Ultimax DXtreme EndFed antenna. The antenna I have at present is the W1SFR KX3 helper EndFed antenna.  As I have said past posts this is a fantastic antenna, very well built and works as advertised. So why am I replacing this antenna with yet another EndFed antenna, this is a very good question and was answered in this post.
Ultimax size difference
When I took the KX3 helper down I was pleasantly surprised how great the balun enclosure looked. It has been up for over 6 months exposed all kinds of weather and looked as new as the first day it went up. The first step to get the new antenna up was to install the counterpoise that I ordered with the Ultimax antenna. The configuration for my EndFed antenna is the Balun end is in a tree about 25 feet high with the wire extending down to my shed and is terminated about 8 feet above the ground. This is the same configuration I am going to use for the Ultimax antenna as well. The counterpoise from Ultimax antennas consists of a single wire for about 6 feet and then it splits into 2 separate wires. I used a staple gun to secure the counterpoise to the tree trunk.  The only choice I had was to place one counterpoise leg on one side of the tree trunk and the other one on the opposite side. The tree is only about 1.5 feet around so the counterpoise wires are not that far apart. At the bottom of the tree, each counterpoise goes along the ground in opposite directions for about 15 feet.
The Ultimax antenna is rated at 2KW SSB with 14 gauge wire along with a hefty insulator. Since my max output will be 100 watts CW and tops 80 watts DATA the insulator and wire on the Ultimax is a bit too heavy duty. Plus my support at the wire end is a wooden pole that is not meant for heavy-duty support.
Ultimax is up. 
The idea was to use the wire from the W1SFR KX3 helper as so I thought at the time it was only 2 feet longer than the Ultimax antenna wire but very light. I folded over the wire to bring it down to 33 feet to match the Ultimax wire length and check the SWR on 80, 40, 30, 20 17 and 15m both with and without a counterpoise. The results show when using a counterpoise the SWR was not as good as without. I am guessing this is because of the position of the counterpoise, I was running out of time and not able to play too much with the counterpoise. We are expecting a very large snowstorm tomorrow so the antenna play is done for now. I am going to leave the antenna up without the counterpoise attached. BUT having said that the counterpoise is very easy to attach if need be.

Results without a counterpoise:
     Band              Freq           SWR
    80.              4.000.        7.0
    80.              3.500.        8.1
    40.              7.001.        1.8
    40.              7.070.        1.8
    30.              10.100.     3.3
    30.              10.150.     3.3
    20.              14.001.     4.6
    20.              14.070.     4.6
    17.              18.068.     2.5
    17.              18.168.     2.5
    21.              21.001.     1.5
    21.              21.070.     1.5
Results with a counterpoise:
         Band              Freq           SWR
    80.              4.000.        6.5
    80.              3.500.       9.1
    40.              7.001.       5.2
    40.              7.070.       5.2
    30.              10.100.     2.2
    30.              10.150.     2.2
    20.              14.001.     4.9
    20.              14.070.     4.9
    17.              18.068.     2.7
    17.              18.168.     2.6
    21.              21.001.     1.6
    21.              21.070.     1.5
Results from W1SFR EndFed:
         Band              Freq           SWR
    40.              7.001.        1.9
    40.              7.070.        2.5
    30.              10.100.     4.4
    30.              10.150.     4.5
    20.              14.001.     4.5
    20.              14.070.     4.3
    17.              18.068.     1.5
    17.              18.168.     1.5
    21.              21.001.     1.8
    21.              21.070.     1.8

Arrival of new antenna

The End-fed antenna I have now is the W1SFR KX3 helper End-fed antenna. It's a great antenna and is working nicely. It is very well-made along with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, I have been very happy with mine and have used it without issue as a full time antenna. So with all this positive feedback why am I looking at and purchased another End-fed antenna? The W1SFR has a maximum rating of 100 watts. With my digital operations I have to be mindful that my End-fed is only rated at 100 watts max and I imagine that is an SSB rating. The other "thing" is the W1SFR uses the coax shield as the counterpoise and it has been causing me some grief at my  home station, some lights and our washing machine. I wanted to stay with an End-fed antenna as it fits on my property nicely and over all I am very happy with the performance of the End-fed type antenna. The antenna I decided on is from Ultimax Antennas and it's their Ultimax DXtreme, their 33 foot model. You can order the Ultimax antenna with lengths from 33-124 feet. I chose the 33 foot model as it just fits my property nicely, it would be great to go for something longer but at this time I am going with easy and convenient.
On the Ultimax site it says that the DXtreme antenna covers 6m to 160m and that ALL DXtreme models are of a different design that work most efficiently with the length of wire it is sold with. This End-fed antenna has a rating of 2kw which is more than enough of a buffer for me. Unlike the W1SFR End-fed antenna the DXtreme has provision for a counterpoise. I ordered the counterpoise that Ultimax offers for their antennas. As with most End-fed antennas an antenna tuner in needed and I have my new LDG AT200proII. I will be interested to see if I can get the antenna to tune on 80m! I would imagine the bandwidth may be narrow but that is where the AT-200proII tuner comes into the picture with its ability to call up a memory tune in no time.
The DXtreme antenna arrived here last week but the weather has not been co-operative for me to install the antenna. I don't want to rush the installation as some heights are involved and at my age, I don't bounce very well anymore!

Kazakhstan in the log.

The other day I was very pleased to work a new one using FT8  Kazakhstan UN7CBY Vladimir. I had seen him in the waterfall in the past but was very happy to get him in the log on 30 meters.

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