DON’T READ THIS ARTICLE by Danny-W4DAN
if you are NOT INTERESTED in a good, simple, easy to construct, and inexpensive antenna.
Recently, I vacationed with my family in a mountain cabin near Blue Ridge, Georgia. I am not one that enjoys "roughing
it," so I took a rig and antenna. Planning a portable antenna was somewhat of a challenge because I like to band hop. I wanted
something that would work well, be easy to put up and take down, and capable of working several bands.
I decided to build a wire antenna that would work 80 through 10 meters.
I constructed a half wave dipole for the lowest frequency to be operated, which was 80 meters. This resulted in making
the length of each leg of the dipole 67 feet. I knew that if I fed it with coax, the automatic tuner in the transceiver would
not necessarily match the antenna on all bands. Other problems like stray R.F. and feed line losses could occur. To prevent
these difficulties, I decided to use twin lead to feed the 80 meter dipole. I knew that a balanced line tuner would be needed
which would involve setting up another "box" at the operating position. Not knowing how much space would be allotted for a
station in the mountain cabin, I realized the importance of conserving space. It also seemed a shame not to use the rig’s
automatic built in tuner.
Instead of using a balanced line tuner, I utilized a 4:1 balun with a short piece of coax going to the transceiver. On
the antenna side of the balun, I connected ladder line. My choice was an old Heathkit air wound balun. Any 4:1 balun with
a coax connector at the input and balanced line connectors on the output could have been used. This allowed the automatic
tuner to work very well within its impedance matching range. The antenna was configured in an inverted V fashion for ease
of support. The test set up in the back yard indicated that there should be no trouble when it was hoisted for operation in
I had no idea of what structures or trees would be available for support, so I took one of the MFJ telescoping fiberglass
masts with me. I don’t recommend the MFJ mast because it is very flimsy and does not support well unless you use very
small antenna wire and the small type of ladder line. I used 3/8 inch ladder line and 20 awg wire. The mast came in handy,
though, when tied to the second story balcony rail. I then attached the feed point to the top of the mast, and pushed it up.
All that was left to do was tie off the ends of the two legs and run the feed line under the door and into the cabin. The
worst part was keeping the small wire from becoming entangled.