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Longwire Antenna

Feb 5th 2012, 03:08

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Les, (N7GH)

Thanks for the heads up on the web article on long wire “random length”! Well written and very informative.
URL: http://www.hamuniverse.com/randomwireantennalengths.html

BTW, great looking King Salmon on your QRZ.com bio. Looks like we both like to fish, check my site also for some fishing pictures.

Let’s keep the ideas and comments on long wire (random wire) antennas coming, one never stops learning from all the great Elmer’s out there in the Ham Radio world!

73, Mark
WB8ZTP
Feb 28th 2012, 02:13

chip3655

Joined: Feb 27th 2012, 22:47
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Based on the hamuniverse lengths here is what I made with A 84' piece of 12/2 outdoor lighting (landscape) wire. I cut one of the conductors at 25' This is to be the matching stub. The radiator is the other conductor at the full 84'. They run parallel(molded together) up the back of my house to 22' then go horizontal to my neighbors tree. The 25' Conductor is just cut dead ended next to the radiator conductor. The two conductors are terminated to a PL259. 35' of rg8 feed this with a 8 turn 5" air balun just before the connection to the antenna. The LDG at-600 matches this wire excellent 80-10 meters although i only use it from 80-20. I also run an Ameritron ALS 600 with no problems. No rf in the shack, no counterproise wires - and no zaps or burns. Amazingly it works very very well for such a comprimise antenna. Small property calls for drastic measures. More importantly, being heard is the goal and having fun doing so. Experimient; you never know what will work for your situation.
73, Harold "Chip"
KC2ZVA
Jun 5th 2012, 03:55

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Thanks all for the great info on Long-Wire / Random Wire antennas. I finally had a chance to put one up while on vacation at the Outer Banks, NC (OBX).

Zack (W1VT), Ed (W1RFI) and Bob (WB1GCM) I made sure I had some sort of grounding / counterpoise system with this portable location. I ran an insulated ground wire down the outside of the 3 story house and bared the last 20’ and buried it in the sand. I wet the sand area down every day to try to help... It isn’t the idea ground for sure but it worked.

As for putting it up, it took me ~ 2 hours to access the situation, cut the length I could fit on the lot and put it up. Phillip (KA9WGN) you are so correct, the on the fly knowledge gained was tremendous. As for length, I used the web site that Les (N7GH) suggested:

http://www.hamuniverse.com/randomwireantennalengths.html

It was a great reference for optimal lengths. With the area I had to work with, 84’ was the longest I could put up. Chip (KC2ZVA) exact same length as yours. I used my Yaesu FT-897 rig and an MFJ-949E manual antenna tuner.

With the limited time I had to operate, vacation activities, family and kids I’ve had confirmed QSO’s with UR3HC & UR0IF (Ukraine), UA3QKA (Russia), OV1CDX (Denmark) and many US stations. This is just operating ~ ½ hour a day after everyone left the family room for the night where I had to setup the rig. I even got to check into my favorite net, The Brothers Net (W9BRO) one evening.. The sun must have worn everyone out and they all went to bed early!

I was VERY impressed with this portable location antenna! Thanks all for the info and help.

This topic still seems to be popular so keep it going and let’s get some new ideas and information posted.

73, Mark
WB8ZTP
Jul 4th 2012, 14:20

gw0nvn

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I glad all went well. It's a very nice place to visit. I've worked portable there, when parked up on Route 12 which runs up Cape Hatteris National Seashore.

Because of the location surrounded by the sea you may find that a vertical antenna will also work very well. I used an MFJ 12ft telescopic whip ( the biggest I could get at the time) mounted on the vehicle trunk, a small matching coil across the feedpoint and a counterpoise wire when I operated there. A vertical dipole would have been better. But I had no supports. Something to think about as a backup if you can't get the long wire up.

The ARRL website and books have much information on antennas for use on the sea shore.

73's GW0NVN N1XIH
Aug 13th 2012, 20:54

AG3EK

Joined: Dec 12th 2008, 10:05
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Total Posts: 0
I'm glad I found this thread. I'm just about to put up a random wire antenna. Because of restrictions, this is about the best I could come up with. The plan is to run 148' along three sides of my yard (roughly 28' then a 90 degree turn to the left for another 50' and then another left turn for another 70') along the top of a 6' high fence. I'm planning on running an identical wire as a counterpoise along the bottom of the fence. These would be connected to a 1:1 current balun (MFJ) with coax from there into the house.

I wasn't planning on using any kind of grounding, just the counterpoise.

Does anyone see anything inherently wrong with this picture? I've got all the materials, but I probably won't get around to actually installing it for a few more days so maybe someone will make a suggestion before I run it.

I'll let everyone know how it works out when I'm done.

Marty, AG3EK
Sep 23rd 2012, 09:18

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Marty (AG3EK)
Glad you found the post, it's been very popular! See my comments above, (June 5th, 2012) on running a longwire while on vacation at OBX. I barely had a ground system and it worked great so I would think yours would work fine also. I'm planning on installing a 203' run this fall at the house after the leaves fall.

73,
Mark
WB8ZTP
Feb 22nd 2013, 09:30

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
With over 6000 views we need more feedback and experiences from folks using Long Wire antennas!
73, Mark Pogany - WB8ZTP
Jun 27th 2013, 16:51

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Just wondering if this topic on Longwire antennas should be moved to the: Antennas, feed lines, baluns and antenna tuners section of the ARRL Forums.

73, Mark WB8ZTP

Jun 28th 2013, 15:44

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Hi Guys. My first HF antenna was a random wire. It was about 50 feet of rod#20wire shot over the top of a tree and tied to a small branch on the side away from the house. It was fed directly with about 25 feet of RG8X coax. The shield of the coax was connected to an 8 foot copper ground pipe (1/2 inch) with about 12 nfeet of #20 wire. The coax was suspended about 10 feet from the ground for about 12 feet after it left the house via a first story window.

Probably not the best way to do things, but it worked well and I was able to work 80M-10M (including W.A.R.C. bands) using a manual tuner (MFJ-941E). I am sure that the wire to the ground pipe acted somewhat as a counterpoise, and there was probably a mismatch where the coax connected to the wire over the tree too.

I have used similar setups for sw listening since then, but have had better and more resonant antennas to transmit into since then. Sometimes a random wire is the best you can do in certain situations.

BTW I am now using an 80M dipole made from #18 CopperWeld wire. It is copper-coated steel, very tough and almost invisible unless the light hits it just right.
Aug 20th 2013, 16:16

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Martin (KB0HAE),

Thanks for the description of your early random wire antenna. All ideas help! Like you and others have stated, it’s a good way to get a quick start on an antenna in a pinch. 73, Mark WB8ZTP
Mar 29th, 18:29

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Has anyone ever used an LDG-897 or LDG-897 Plus Autotuner on a random or long wire antenna or even thinking how a wire antenna could be configured on the Yaesu FT-897 with this tuner. I’m thinking about getting one for this summers portable operations. Any info is greatly appreciated on the LDG tuner even if it isn’t on a wire antenna. 73, Mark WB8ZTP
Apr 2nd, 13:50

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0

LDG suggests the use of an external "balun" when feedling longwire or open wire fed antennas.

If you just try to operate the tuner with a wire connected to the center conductor of the PL-259, you still have the return current that has to go somewhere--usually equipment ground. If the equipment had a good RF ground, this wouldn't be an issue, but typically, the reason for using a simple long wire antenna is to avoid installing a good RF ground. Without a good ground, the "zero" reference voltage used by the circuitry may actually move around quite a bit, upsetting proper operation.

http://www.ldgelectronics.com/assets/manuals/RBAManual.pdf
The balun manual describes how to connect a long wire to their autotuners.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer
May 18th, 16:50

W4TL

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
I have recently moved into a 55 and older community that prohibits antennas. I also have another problem most of the houses here are plagued with the Eaton AFCI's that are very susceptible to RF (Ihave 18 of them in my house). Eaton supplied replacement AFCI's that are supposedly immune from RF. I recently tried a Buddipole on 20 and 40 meters and the new AFCI's are still tripping. I am considering trying a random length long wire antenna.to see if it will help the RFI problem with the AFCI's. I have both a SGC 230 and a Yaesu FC-40 tuner. My question is which tuner should I use; what length random wire should I use and will just a good ground connection to an 8' ground rod suffice. I plan to use 20 ga. black wire, for stealth and the antenna can come up about 12' before going horizontal to some trees about 100' behind my house. Any comments, suggestions on this type of installation will be greatly appreciated. If I can't get my RFI with the AFCI's under control I am probably going to have to leave the hobby after 50 years, something I don't wish to do.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or help.

73,
Terry Jones, W4TL
Jun 14th, 23:45

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
The 2014 vacation radio setup at the Outer Banks (OBX) this year was my Yaesu FT-897D with the newly installed LDG AT-897 Plus Auto Tuner. My RG8X coax with alligator clips on the end (For portable operations and quick setup; Longwires, Baluns, Unun’s, Dipoles…) ran ~ 30 feet out a window from the Great Room corner that I commandeered to an LDG RU 4:1 Unun with a short bared coax stub to clip the alligator clips too. From the Unun antenna post a 41’ piece of insulated copper wire ran from the top house deck rail down to a fence approximately 6’ high. From the ground post connection on the Unun (counterpoise) I took copper wire straight down the side of the beach house and had the bare copper wire in the sand running parallel out to the fence under the antenna wire. It worked great! I was able to tune every band I wanted to work (80,40,20,10 meters), SWR was good on all the bands. After folks went to bed one evening I worked stations in Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and the Ukraine. Didn’t do much daytime operations, too much sun and beach to be inside at that time of day! 73, Mark WB8ZTP
Nov 29th, 16:57

WB8ZTP

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
W4TL - Terry... N7GH has posted a great web site in this forum for picking the proper lengths for a Long Wire / Random wire antenna. I’ve used it many time to make sure my temporary antennas for my vacation trips work properly. Here it is again in case you missed it.

http://www.hamuniverse.com/randomwireantennalengths.html

73, Mark WB8ZTP

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