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What’s the dumbest antenna I’ve ever tried on 630-meters?

– Posted in: 630 Meter General Topics, 630 Meters

A colleague asked me the other day what the most ridiculous antenna I had ever tried on 630-meters was.  This sounds like the start to a pretty good joke but the reality is I had an answer for him.

In January 2014 I examined  a variety of antennas that might be accessible to the average ham in order to get on 630-meters.  It was not a scientific study, rather only a snapshot of when and where the experiment was performed.

All of the antennas tested were in a vertical configuration with base loading and a radial system of varying degrees.  Power to each the antenna was 100 watts and WSPR was the evaluation method of choice.

All of the antennas tested actually worked on 630-meter.  I guess one has to define what makes an antenna dumb but rather than taking the time to do that I will interject my own prejudice and declare that the dumbest antenna in my experiment was the 8-foot tall base loaded pipe.


full 102 whip setup

and again, yes, it did work and I did not start any fires during the test.  WSPR results below:


WG2XIQ 012414

Perhaps equally dumb and much more labor intensive to set up was the Gap Challenger vertical, supplied by Jerry, KB6OJE:



Again, this antenna worked but losses were incredibly high and tuning was a mess.  I literally heard this one fade into the noise as I was listening to it from 1/2 mile away as the tuning shifted.  Fortunately no FET amplifiers were hurt in this experiment.  Incomplete WSPR data below:



A pretty good antenna was the helically wound 16-foot tall fishing pole using the same radial field as the 8-foot pipe.  This antenna would have been killer with a little top loading but the wind loading was non-existent and had a very serviceable signal around North America:


fishing pole

WSPR data follows:


FPThe absolute best small antenna tested was a home brew G5RV base loaded as a Marconi-T and fed against 3 short radials over high quality ground.  There are no pics of the antenna because wire just does not show up well, but here are some WSPR results at 100-watts.  They look like the results I see at home running the big vertical:


WG2XIQ 011814

On any given night, the results could have been radically different but one could find success on 630-meters using antennas such as these some of the time.  Its worth experimenting to see what can be made to work.  73 and good luck!