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Universal Antenna

Nov 2nd 2015, 14:48

Bilbotc2

Joined: Oct 30th 2015, 18:06
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi All, New to the world of Amateur Radio. I was hoping to pick your brains. I know there isn't the perfect antenna for all uses, but I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. Example I use....I teach scuba diving....if you asked me what is the best wetsuit to get I'd ask what type of diving do you plan on doing and recommend the suit that best supports that. Now if you answered that you weren't sure then instead of recommending the 8 major types, one for each discipline and costing you $5000+ I'd recommend the 4.5 Farmer John. It's fairly universal it won't be perfect for each type of diving but it'll work for all of them while you make up your mind. Was wondering what would be the most universal antenna that covers most applications. While I won't say money is no object, I won't buy cheap and hopefully won't have 7 types mounted on the roof as I upgrade. Same goes for what radio will allow me to dip my toes in without having 17 radios gathering dust in a year or so. I know I'm getting a full blown Base Station and a full blown mobile.
Nov 2nd 2015, 15:37

W1VT

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

Ham radio antennas are much different that scuba wetsuits. A simple 10 meter dipole offers good performance at a low price. And, for a beginning ham who wants to do HF voice, it really makes sense to get on right now, while it appears that 10M may still has some life it. Waiting another month or two to upgrade to General and get on other HF voice bands may result you in missing a lot of really good propagation that won't come again for years--the solar cycle is 10 times longer than the changing of the seasons.

Many multiband wire antennas are a noticeable compromise when used on 10M, precisely where most beginners want to use them. Verticals are an even bigger compromise, as they cover all directions equally well. When starting out, it is usually better to have a few really loud signals than more weaker signals. Get on the air, tune around, and talk to the stronger signals. With a vertical it is more likely that your weaker signal will get covered up.

That said, a big tower and multiband beam really makes for a great ham radio experience if you can afford it.

Zack Lau W1VT
Nov 2nd 2015, 18:53

Bilbotc2

Joined: Oct 30th 2015, 18:06
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Thanks Zack, while I get there are differences, was hoping there was an all-round, semi universal antenna.From your comments a Tower and Multiband beam might be the way to go. As i originally said not looking to own 7 antennas as I get into this hobby. Ask me about my telescopes one day......and yes that was plural.

Billy M. KD2JRI
Nov 2nd 2015, 22:06

AI4BJ

Joined: Sep 2nd 2003, 12:14
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
If by "universal" you mean an antenna that will work well on 160 through 6 meters, I'm afraid there is no such beast. A multi-element beam (Yagi or log periodic) provides the highest gain, but such antennas are generally only practical on 20 meters and higher. The usual compromise is to have one or more beams that cover 20M and up, and one or more wire antennas (dipole/doublet/loop/sloper) for 30M and below.

And of course, if you intend to operate VHF and UHF, that will require a separate antenna.

Mark AI4BJ

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