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Random wire along fence top

Aug 16th 2012, 13:59


Joined: Dec 12th 2008, 10:05
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I'm another sucker with antenna-unfriendly CC&R's where I live. At least I can say I lived here before I became a ham, so I have that excuse.

Anyway, I'm planning on putting up a random wire antenna. Because of restrictions, this is about the best I could come up with. The plan is to run a total of 148' of wire 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. However, where the balun is going I do have the ability to drive a ground rod and attach to it. It's on pretty much the exact opposite side of the house from where the house wiring ground rod is located, though.

I have an LDG AT200Pro-II auto antenna tuner at the radio.

Does anyone see anything inherently wrong with this picture? Maybe just something I could do to get better results. 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 plan on using this for 160m-10m, or whatever subset of that I can get to tune up well enough to use. I think it will work just fine for NVIS work, maybe not so much for DX, but I'll take what I can get. I've got plans for an attic antenna in the future that should do better for DX, but that's down the road.

I'd appreciate any and all suggestions.

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

Marty, AG3EK
Aug 17th 2012, 01:22


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
One of the best indoor antenna designs--it can work really well with a radial system (buried, so nobody can see it)

An All-Band Attic Antenna
Kai Siwiak, KE4PT, describes how to make an effective inverted L with an Icom AH-4 autotuner. QST October 2007 pp. 33-37.

Even with CC&Rs, it is likely that you can put up a flagpole vertical.

Congress passed the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which invalidates CC&Rs that prohibit such displays. Many hams have taken advantage of this law and installed flagpoles, and then used them quite effectively as antennas. I have one in my front yard--a 20 ft flagpole that works quite well with JT65--I've worked New Zealand, Australia, Alaska, Africa, and many Europeans with just 5 watts.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer

Aug 18th 2012, 15:41


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Many Hams have also installed antennas inside a PVC "flagpole". If your fence is a wood fence, that idea may work better than you think. I have a low 80m dipole here. At the highest point it is 17 feet (at the center) sloping gently to 5-6 feet at the ends. It works surprisingly well on 80m-10m. I have used a Hustler 5BTV in the past with good results. With projections removed and a good ground radial system, one should work fairly well and fit into a PVC flagpole. Some reasearch on the net will get you some other ideas for stealth antennas. Much of the time I have trouble seeing my dipole. it is made from #18 stranded speaker wire, reinforced in the center with #12 solid wire.

The point is that a wire is hard to see, and many people seldom look up. #18 copper-clad steel wire is very tough to break (baring it getting kinked) and will not be easy to see at 15 feet or more. Painting the wire can help, and will usually not make any difference to how the antenna works.

Random wire antennas have worked well for me when used with a counterpoise.

Just a few thoughts...
Aug 18th 2012, 23:52


Joined: Feb 20th 2004, 08:11
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Total Posts: 0
I have a similar CC issue and have used a 67' wire into the trees in the rough at the golf course. Using a LDG At100Pro and a LDG 4::1 balun. It tunes 80 and 20 meters without ant problem. I have used it on 160 briefly as a test as well. I have tried 40m w/o success. After 5 plus years, I have converted to a home brewed OCF dipole with a 45' leg over the house and a 90' leg into the rough. This antenna tunes 160, 80, 60,30, and 20 meters. It uses a 4::1 current balun and may also tune other bands. Good luck.
Aug 28th 2012, 16:07


Joined: Dec 12th 2008, 10:05
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
We do have one other factor to consider... our home backs up against a tennis park. There's a good couple of hundred of feet of trees between our back fence and the actual tennis court area. I thought about just running a wire up a tree and making a vertical antenna, but that's uncontrolled area. The park crews keep the trees and bushes a good 3' or so from touching the fences, but I've seen deer go walking through that pathway and I'm pretty sure there are people that use it fairly regularly as a shortcut.

I'm not so keen about putting live RF on a wire that someone might grab on to. Beside the fact that I would run the risk of the HOA and/or the city parks department having a problem with my doing it.

Plenty of nice tall trees just past the fence, though. It's awfully tempting...
Nov 24th 2013, 15:18


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Marty, did you ever complete your fence-mounted antenna project? I am in the exact same boat and was considering the same solution. I've been using an AlphaDelta DX-EE , 4 band fan dipole in my attic with surprisingly great results; I've worked into the Pacific, West Coast, Africa, all over Europe and South America as well as VK/ZL, you name it on 100 watts. But I can't get on 80Ms and that bugs me a lot, plus I just got a 600 watt amp and not sure I want to tempt fate and run that into the attic antenna. So I'm looking at my 700 feet or so of 6 foot tall wooden fence aroud the back yard as a place for a stealth wire antenna. Your results will assist me in deciding if I go that way or save some money up and get a good flag pole antenna next spring? (Hope my HOA isn't reading this, HI)

73, Bill, N4SV

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