Ten Meters

    When I re-entered the world of "high frequency" - that is, the radio spectrum under 30 mHz, my main problem was deciding just where to roost!  My home simply won't support a large antenna.  While small antennas for the lower high frequencies do exist, they tend to be either inefficient, or limited in bandwidth.

    I did have the space to erect a "fan" dipole that would provide full coverage of the 10 meter band, with a reasonable take-off angle, so I decided to adopt 28 to 29.7 mHz as my new haven.

    The basic design of this antenna was described by L. B. Cebik, W4RNL.

    I took some liberties by substituting 1/8" phosphor-bronze wire rope for the 14 AWG wire specified, and also placed a Hammond 5mH RF choke - "weatherized" by enclosing it in a silicone sealant - across the feed point (The idea of the choke is to drain off any static charges which might develop).  The RG-8 coaxial feed line incorporates a W2DU style "bead balun".

    Sources that you might find useful, when gathering parts:  Texas Towers, Max-Gain Systems, DX Engineering, McMaster Carr.  You can find all of these easily via your favorite search engine.  Ferrite beads for the coaxial feed came from Surplus Sales of Nebraska, and are held in place by sturdy heat-shrink tubing sourced from eBay.

    While this is one of the simpler antennas available to the home constructor, it required more time to assemble than I had anticipated.  From starting the construction to final mounting took several week-ends!  Hopefully you will be more efficient.

   Do be careful if you decide to roll your own - watch those power lines, and remember that if you tumble off the roof, it won't be worth it!  Safety first - it's only a hobby.

    The hard work did pay off - measured SWR was under 1.5 to 1 over the entire 10 meter band, and upon firing up the rig (a little Yaesu FT-840), contact with another station was immediately made.

    Once my initial excitement subsided, I found "Ten" to be a far more populated band than 6, quite as friendly, and "open" much more often - but far from daily, at this low point in the sunspot cycle (late 2007).  I made about twenty contacts (one over a 4,000 mile plus path, more than double the distance of my best 6 meter DX) during the three months that I used this as my only antenna.

    Still, lower frequencies called to me every time that I the spun the dial and heard only static!  Out of boredom one afternoon, I loaded the little fan up on 15 meters, and was surprised to net several nice RTTY contacts.  Whoa!  A light bulb went off - efficient "digital" modes allow hams to effectively use inefficient antennas!  This prompted me to erect a broadband vertical.



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