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Old 10-10-2015, 06:33   #1
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DIY Rope Antenna

Is there any DIY Rope Antenna plans for HF?

Pictures?
Schematics?
Drawings?
Instructions?

I am not clear on it yet? Is it just a single wire or coax wire?

Any pictures or directions would be great.

Thanks
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:48   #2
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

Do a search for posts by btrayfors. He has described an alternate backstay antenna that may be what you are looking for. We use one based on his description and have been very satisfied. Good reception and clear contacts on both ham and marine ssb frequencies. Btw- we made ours from coated 3/16 lifeline wire


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Old 10-10-2015, 07:32   #3
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

Single wire >25' long (depends on boat height capacity - longer is generally better) connected to the coupler antenna lug and hoisted up with a halyard. You can either use insulated wire like lifeline, or feed a 10g wire through a length of rope.

Very simple. Provide strain relief at top and bottom so the wire is not holding all the force.

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Old 13-10-2015, 23:51   #4
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepthought View Post
Is there any DIY Rope Antenna plans for HF?

Pictures?
Schematics?
Drawings?
Instructions?

I am not clear on it yet? Is it just a single wire or coax wire?

Any pictures or directions would be great.

Thanks

Years ago we used a long length of GTO coated wire and ran it from a corner of the transom and hoisted it to the masthead with a halyard. Worked great on all the Ham bands and SSB. It was simple, cheap and fool proof.

http://www.defender.com/product3.jsp...068&id=1195844

Think you can buy 100' spool for about $60

Good luck

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Old 14-10-2015, 07:48   #5
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

See Johnís comments (ka4wja)
Rope Antenna for SSB
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Old 14-10-2015, 08:05   #6
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

you are telling me the coaxial cable like used in your home to run cable to television from box to tv can be used for an antenna for ssb ??? swr ???
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Old 14-10-2015, 08:13   #7
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

GTO is not coax - it is the stuff commonly used to connect the antenna to the coupler (in other words it is commonly used as antenna wire). It is just 10AWG or so wire in a heavy insulator.

I suppose one might be able to use coax as an antenna wire if the shield and conductor were connected together at each end. Maybe even just using the shield.

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Old 14-10-2015, 09:03   #8
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

is 10 or 14AWG better?
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Old 14-10-2015, 09:17   #9
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

Heavier is better up to a point. I would consider 14AWG as too light simply from a physical strength standpoint. It is fine electrically. If that is what you have, and it is difficult to source differently, then just be doubly sure to provide strain load relief so that the wire isn't under any tension.

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Old 14-10-2015, 10:19   #10
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

I don't know if the links above mention this, but on a related note, an old salt who was also an experienced HAM showed me that you can turn a metal toerail or the stern pulpit/lifelines of your boat into your ground plane instead of needing to run copper foil to thru-hulls or installing a ground plate in your hull.

We had a ~15 ft length of coaxial cable feeder wire (with a crimp-on RG59 plug) running from the back of our autotuner, through the cabin and outside to the stern of the cockpit. From there, the coax is split into 2 wires:
  1. The inner core wire was stripped back and crimped to a homemade rope antenna made from some hollowed-out Home Depot rope with a long single wire strung through it. This wire was strung up on a halyard.
  2. The braided foil jacket surrounding the coax inner core insulation was exposed a few inches back, a slit was cut in it, and the foil was twisted into a new "wire". This wire was crimped to a length of electrical wire, which was then run to the stern pulpit/toe rail and secured metal-to-metal with a hose clamp.
  3. All connection points were insulated and protected from the elements (though sometimes the elements got in anyway and we had to redo the connections)

The foil jacket acts as the antenna ground, and if you connect it to a large enough surface area of metal it will provide sufficient "platform" for the signal to "push off" from the antenna wire. You could also simply toss the end of the jacket wire into the ocean and get an awesome ground plane, but the wire will corrode extremely quickly this way. Our radio setup was a little janky, but we were able to talk to Florida and Wisconsin from Panama on a good day.

If you have the money to install a cleaner system, by all means do so, but if you don't . . .
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Old 14-10-2015, 18:02   #11
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

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you are telling me the coaxial cable like used in your home to run cable to television from box to tv can be used for an antenna for ssb ??? swr ???
There's a reasonably common type of Ham antenna called a double bazooka which is made from coax (the heavier the better - I'd use at least RG-8, although I've seen effective ones built from RG-58). Google it for details on how it's made - it probably doesn't work like you think. The braid is actually the radiating element, with the braid coupled to the core at the ends with a 300 ohm load (usually just wire). I've only seen them installed horizontally, but it might work ok as a sloper. I'm not sure I'd pick this for a boat, but since you asked....
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Old 15-10-2015, 06:40   #12
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

The double bazooka is a single-band (tuned) antenna similar to a dipole, so it would not cover general usage.

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Old 15-10-2015, 06:55   #13
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

I have made 2 rope/inside wire ones in the past. For this boat I made one from 1/8" coated lifeline wire. Seems to work fine, reception maybe not quite as good.
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Old 16-10-2015, 14:18   #14
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

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The double bazooka is a single-band (tuned) antenna similar to a dipole, so it would not cover general usage.

Mark
Actually they're a little better at being wideband(ish) and multi-band than a random wire antenna like a backstay. I've never tried one (but probably will be soon at home) to be sure, but based on typical results they should tune across the HF bands at a better SWR with a good antenna tuner (e.g. AT-140) than a random wire rope antenna.
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Old 16-10-2015, 14:47   #15
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Re: DIY Rope Antenna

Regular 10 or 12 guage copper wire won't last very long in a saltwater environment.

I strongly recommend an antenna I've used for over two decades on my own boat, and have installed on lots of client's boats. It is what I call an "alternate backstay antenna". It is made of insulated s/s lifeline, generally 3/16". It will last for many years in the marine environment, which many other designs will not.

If your sailplan will allow, and if you have a clear run from the masthead to one side of the pushpit, the alternate backstay will work just as well as a traditional backstay, and for most cruising boats is $600 to $800 cheaper (no need for $300 ea. insulators).

Length is relatively not critical: about 40' seems to work well for both ham and marine bands.

Use a spare halyard or a dedicated halyard (just rig a small block near the truck of the mast) to hoist it. Tie the lower end to one side of the pushpit. Use GTO-15 feedline to reach from the automatic tuner underdeck to the lower end of the alternate backstay. Several ways to connect these; I have used bent bolts, Nicopress sleeves, etc.

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