Finally an antenna in the air

The fiberglass mast is attached to the fence, and the antenna is finally up in the air!

After pondering a few options for the mast, I decided to prop it up against one of the 4×4 fence posts and secure it in place using some hanger strap material.

Mast secured to the fence
Mast secured to the fence

By standing on a ladder so that I can reach the clamps, raising each of the mast sections is fairly easy. The hard part is not getting tangled up in the antenna wires and feed line while raising each section.

The antenna is a little more conspicuous than it was at the old house. With all but one of the mast sections extended, the center of the antenna is somewhere between 25-30 feet up in the air I think.

Lowering the antenna can be done by either lowering it from the rope (like a flag) or lowering the mast sections. With the mast sections all the way down, only a couple of feet or so of mast are left sticking up above the fence.

A quick look at SWR with my antenna analyzer suggests the arrangement isn’t optimal. The proximity of things like the house, fence and mast might be interfering with the window line segment of the antenna. Getting high SWR readings on 40 m, and 20 m looks marginal. 6 m and 10 m look ok, and parts of 80 m and 160 m might be doable (although the low-ish SWRs there might just be because of coax loss).

I haven’t connected the radio yet, so I don’t know how much noise there is yet. One of the antenna legs comes pretty close to the AC condenser outside, so there could be a fair bit of noise when the AC kicks in. With one quarter of the antenna more or less sandwiched between two houses, there’s no telling what the radiation pattern will look like.

3 thoughts on “Finally an antenna in the air”

  1. As I recall your dipole is a pretty full-sized thing. You may want to consider a trapped dipole or an end-fed sloper. Relying on the ladder line isn’t good.

    1. The window line is part of the ZS6BKW antenna design. Given that the mast isn’t super difficult to raise or lower, it makes it easy for me to play with different antennas now.

      I’m going to have to get some more coax though. The 100′ coax running from the shack just barely reaches the mast.

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