Tuesday, June 9, 2020

6 Meter Antenna Up and Running

And it only took me about three hours from start to finish.

The center is about 9' above the ground, just about a half wavelength, which is very good for a simple dipole.

And it's not super taught, but nice and straight. This is looking to the South along the wire and support ropes.

It's running in a line 30* West of North, so along a line 330*-to-150*, which is as "Broadside" as I could get it the the USA. It's up high enough to where it *should* be somewhat directional, but with the house and gutters being 1/2 wave away, and my 90' wire antenna located about 15' above it (they cross at about a 40* angle), the pattern is gonna be pretty wonky!

The North anchor point is a 5' section of mast clamped to the fence:

And the South anchor point is a screw eye into a tree. This way gives me lots of line on all three mounting points along the antenna so I can completely drop it to the ground for inspection and maintenance:

 The center point is hoisted through a "floating" pulley and tied down with the excess rope wrapped around a small halyard further down the tree. You can also see the coaxial cable "choke" about as close as I could get it to the feedpoint.

The wire and the support rope are belayed to the end insulators with several cable ties. I've been doing this for years, and never had one slip. Since I drop my little antenna farm yearly for inspection and maintenance, I'll catch the cable ties deteriorating before they break.....usually.

A view from the "backside":

I can't post a graph of the SWR because I can't get my antenna analyzer program to run on this PC, but running it manually shows the VSWR is less 1.3:1 @ 50MHz, dropping to about 1.1:1 @ 51MHz, 1.2:1 @ 52MHz, and peaks out at 1.9:1 @ 54MHz.

Whether it radiates well is anybody's guess at this time. I can hear the beacon down in Aurora, a about 60 miles away. He's running 50 Watts into a "Halo" antenna mounted at 30', so that definitely shows it's working to receive.

It's probably too late at night to get any propagation, but I just finished connecting my SignaLink, so I'll snoop around on some of the digital frequencies for signals. The digital modes are amazing because you can actually make solid contacts with stations at or slightly below the noise floor, which is running around "S5" here.


  1. I admire your work even though I don't understand any of it. I don't even listen to the radio in my car.

    1. Thanks, WSF.

      It gives me something to do besides play with big and little cars!

  2. I dabbled with all that, just a little, back in high school. Always wished I'd learned more, so your posts are tres informative. :)

    1. I was first licensed at age 12. It lead me into a very interesting career in Electronics, and even when my license was expired, I still owned a short-wave receiver so I could at least listen.

  3. I'm in the same boat as Well Seasoned Fool and Rev. Paul.
    I don't understand much, but I really like learning a bit from someone who knows what they are talking about.
    I do know rigging, good job.

    1. Thanks, John. It's a lot of little things I've learned over the years. Dipoles are pretty simple, and if you have the length correct, and they're about 1/2 wavelength above the ground, they work quite well.

  4. Good to see it!

    The Sporadic E has been rather Sporadic this year. Europe was apparently getting in to the NE coast (NE and down to maybe the VA/NC state line. I heard maybe one or two 15 second transmissions from Spain yesterday. The activity is very sparse so far today.

    I listened a little on CW and SSB but the activity is a tiny fraction of the 50.313 FT8 action.

    Now... does he keep the FT-847? Update to a newer rig? Stay tuned for the exciting updates.

  5. I had a lot of fun that one time 6 was open and I had the radio connected to a proper antenna. Signals come booming in, kinda like on 10 Meters, and then poof! They're gone!

    Monitoring 50.125 right now, and zip. I'll get WSJTX fired up in a bit, and just park the radio on one of the freqs and see what happens.

  6. YOW....just tuned to 50.313 and there's a ton of stations on FT8!

  7. And there's been station fading in and out on 50.125, the SSB "Calling Frequency". Sometimes they're "20 Over", and then they fade down into the noise.....

  8. Replies
    1. Thank you, sir!

      Just had a nice 15 mine voice chat with a guy in Kentucky. Not bad for 10' of wire hanging in a tree.....


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