Surfin': Going Vertical
My first Amateur Radio antenna was a vertical: A Hy-Gain 18-AVQ trapped 5-band model. I selected a vertical antenna because everyone I knew in radio used a vertical antenna.
The catch is that I was studying for my Novice at the time and I didn't know anyone involved in Amateur Radio. The "folks" I knew in radio were the AM, FM, TV and shortwave broadcast stations I monitored. They all used verticals; that flavor of antenna seemed to work out well for them, so why not for me?
I found out "why not" the hard way. After assembling and mounting my vertical, I put it on the air and was underwhelmed by its performance. So I began educating myself about verticals and discovered the wonderful world of radials and counterpoise.
I did not have much space for a radial system in the backyard of my family's 50 × 100 foot city lot. I did what I could within those confines and managed to improve the performance of the vertical. It served as my primary HF antenna for years until I received a hand-me-down 55 foot tower, but that is another story.
I like vertical antennas, but they are not for everyone. If you are considering a vertical antenna, do some research. The ARRL Web site has articles that cover verticals on its How Antennas Work page and its Vertical Antenna page. The WC7I Web site provides simple Vertical Antenna Theory and also has the lowdown on Underground Radials. There is also an online Amateur Vertical Antenna Calculator on the CSGNetwork Web site that also includes a vast array of other free online calculators, converters and tools related -- and unrelated -- to Amateur Radio.
Until next time, keep on surfin'!
Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, is horizontally challenged by the forest surrounding his QTH. To communicate with Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU