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Friday, March 16, 2007

Amateur Radio Antennas System & How To Avoid Lightning

YG1CRR Antennas
In wireless telecommunication, two important aspects are how effective and efficient your antenna is. In this article, I would like to share several tips on how to make your antenna more effective and efficient. My explanations valid for general, could be used not only for Amateur Radio station, but also for every equipments use antenna to spread/receive signal. My explanations derived from my own antennas.

I am using 3 antennas for DX. In 28 MHz, I use 3 el. Yagi, and 2 inverted Vs for 3.5, 7, and 21 MHz. At the photo, top of inverted Vs hang slightly under 3 el. Yagi. One of inverted Vs serves 2 bands: in 7 MHz works as 0.5 wavelength, and in 21 MHz works as 1.5 wavelength. Second inverted V works for 3.5 MHz. Both inverted V fed by only 1 coaxial. To understand why 1 coaxial could serve 2 antennas, you should read antenna handbook. It’s the matter of resistance of energy. Inverted V works omni directional.

Conductor used for antenna should be as conductive as possible. In my case, for my Yagi, I use big diameter of alumunium, and for inverted Vs, I use big copper wire. These are to ease current flows inside antenna, thus strengthen radiation. Coaxial cable used to feed antenna should be as short as possible. This is to minimize loss of signal inside coaxial cable.

Another consideration is about height of antenna. Put antenna too high is not good, because too high antenna means too long coaxial cable (big loss). But too low antenna is not good either, because signal from/to antenna would collide obstacles around antenna. Best consideration is putting your antenna so antenna could maximize signal goes to/comes from sky & reflection by ground (sky & reflection by ground wave).

Another tip like: your radiator (antenna elements) should be as long as possible. Antenna which radiator too short, would not radiate anything to sky. Long better. With long radiator (and match impedance), energy transferred from/to your transceiver would be maximized. Another tip like: use bigger diameter of coaxial cable, like RG8 rather than RG58. Bigger coax will ease electron to flow inside.

Give protection to your transceiver from lightning storm. The way is absolutely easy, and can protect your expensive transceiver from being destructed. Prepare big diameter cable, attach that cable to metal body of your transceiver. The other end should be connected to metal water pipe (if that water pipe buried deep), or other end of your cable should be buried deep into ground, at least 3 meters deep. When lightning attacks, positive pole from that lightning would try to find absolute negative. Ground cable acts as absolute negative. Positive lightning bound to absolute negative, and gets rid from expensive components inside your transceiver. So ground your transceiver now, and keep receive and transmit although you are in the middle of lightning storm. Your transceiver would be wonderly saved, you don’t have to waste time waiting storm over, and you don’t have to unattach your coaxial cable in lightning storm.

Last, keep away your antennas system from rust or corrosion. You could give anticorrosion paint (eg. zinc) to your antennas system, and give another materials that could block oxygen and salt from touching the metal.

With all these tips, thank God, I did so many DX (international communication) up to 20,000 km away (half around Earth). So, Good DX, and hopefully you would get as many as DX stations as possible, especially in the increasing era of atmosphere ionization now, up to maximum atmosphere ionization around 2011/2012.

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