Ken’s low-profile, low-cost vertical antenna

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Ken’s antenna “deployed” in his back yard.

SWLing Post reader, Ken Hansen (N2VIP), writes:

A few months ago I purchased a couple S9V18 18′ vertical antennas for $65 at cheapham.com, with the intention of deploying a quick HF aerial at my HOA-laden home for ham radio use. I found they work great for SWL.

The S9V18 antenna is made to slip over a 1″ o.d. pipe driven into the ground at least a foot, with 12″ of the pipe rising off the ground. You can pound a two foot pipe half-way into the ground, or do as I did and fill a bucket with cement and stick the pipe in that half-way.

This is a 'close-up' of the bucket. Note the plate the ground radials are attached to, it's from Home Depot, it's a bus bar designed to bond the ground wire for each circuit in a breaker box.

This is a ‘close-up’ of the bucket. Note the plate the ground radials are attached to–it’s from Home Depot, it’s a bus bar designed to bond the ground wire for each circuit in a breaker box.

After adding a reasonable ground plane of 8x 14 ga wire cut about 15′ long I hooked up a 4:1 balun and ran it to my Kenwood TS-570D.

What I found was the aerial not only worked well on 20 meters, it also made a great shortwave aerial! Stations were booming in here in Texas at night.

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The antenna slides over the pipe sticking out of the concrete in the bucket. Here is a picture of the bucket before the antenna base is slipped over it.

My ‘discovery’ was that a nice, modest vertical antenna can really improve reception on SW bands…

Cheapham.com sells the S9V18 antenna on close out for $35/each, the 2′ pipe is a few dollars more, add in a bit of coax and a modest ground plane and you can really up your SWL ‘game’.

Antenna on closeout:

http://www.cheapham.com/s9-v18-18-vertical-antenna-closeout/

I suggest anyone buying this antenna seriously consider buying additional clamps at the same time, they are just a few dollars and will help extend the life of the antenna:

http://www.cheapham.com/products/S9V18-Replacement-Clamps.html

For shortwave broadcast listening a direct connection without balun would probably suffice, but I used an LDG 4:1 balun to support multi-band ham transmitting:

http://www.cheapham.com/rba-4-1-voltage-balun/

Just thought I’d share my ‘discovery’…

And we thank you for sharing your discovery, Ken! This is a great, simple solution for those who cannot erect a permanent “high-profile” antenna. I’m especially impressed with how budget-friendly your solution is, Ken.

Post Readers: If you have other suggestions for inexpensive low-profile antennas, please contact me or comment below!

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6 thoughts on “Ken’s low-profile, low-cost vertical antenna

  1. Don KPC6NDB

    I couldn’t find any of those last winter ’14-15 but decided instead to use a collapsible flagpole to make a Dallas Lankford LF Low Noise Vertical. Pretty much the same thing but is hollow inside and much more sturdy. Hardly sways in any wind so far. Mounted it to the side of the house with two each large size 2in TV mast clamps holding the bottom section. Insulated the clamp bolts with small diameter hose so they would not rub into the fiberglass. Mine was on clearance and is ~28ft and I have put a 14ga solid wire inside. I used a wood dowel in the ball at the top to tie the wire to. Made a small hole in the sturdy foam bottom to run the wire out to a 81:7 balun (110T x 16T) box. One antenna side goes directly down to a 8ft ground rod. Then about 100ft of RG-6 to the shack. Works good for beacons.

    Reply
  2. Mario Filippi

    These are great antennas, too bad they are being closed out. I bought two of these, the 43 and 31 foot versions when the company (S9 Antennas) first began manufacturing them. Very lightweight, easy to erect, and withstand winds pretty well. I have my 43 footer up for at least 4 years with no problems whatsoever, it’s an excellent product and the price is nowhere near most other commercial verticals. A great ham and SWL antenna. My favorite antenna in all my 38 years of being a ham and 50 years of being an SWL

    Reply
  3. Bill

    How stable (“tippy”) is it in the wind? I’m sure if a big “Texas wind” was coming you could easily lay it down.

    Good job.

    73,
    Bill

    Reply
    1. Ken Hansen

      The antenna should stand tall in all but the most aggresive wind – it has very little surface area (at it’s widest, at the base, it is less than 1.5″, zt the top it’s just a fishing pole tip).

      Reply
  4. Matt

    I made a simple amplified loop (like a welbrook) using stripboard and some 22mm pvc pipe. Works great in the loft and outperforms my 43′ vertical and 88′ horizontal doublet on the lower bands. Being able to rotate it and null out local noice helps too.

    Reply
  5. Robert AK3Q

    I have a friend who has similar restrictions and he had a privacy fence like the one in the photo here. He ran a wire along the top third of the fence around the circumference of the yard and had a nice 80m antenna which also worked well for SWL. Might be a nice secondary antenna??
    Cheers!
    Robert

    Reply

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