Perhaps the biggest thing my station is missing is an 80m antenna. I really don’t have room for a full, half-wavelength dipole, so I’m looking for options. For a while, I used a W3EDP antenna, but to be honest, results were mediocre at best, and since the tuner I used was in the shack, there was always RF in the shack. I took down that antenna when the tree supporting it had to be cut down, and I never put it back up again.
As far as I can see, I have three options:
- End-fed, half-wave (EFHW) antenna. My EFHW 20m antenna is a decent performer, so I’m thinking that an 80m version could be an option. Googling around, I found a commercial design for $75 and a homebrew design that I could make for a lot less. The schematic of the homebrew matching unit is shown below.
- 43-ft. vertical. A couple of days ago, I worked a station in Maine that was using a 43-ft. vertical. I asked him if it worked well for him on 80m, and he was very enthusiastic about its performance. I do have an automatic tuner that I could put very near the base, and one advantage of this antenna is that I could use it on other bands as well. A couple of disadvantages are that it would cost a fair amount and I’d have to run some radials.
- Shortened, loaded dipole. Another option is a shortened dipole using loading coils. A design by VK3JEG is only 66-ft. long, about the size of a 40m dipole. Another design by KG0ZZ is a little longer, but resonates on both 40m and 80m. Basically, the loading coil is operating as a trap. More designs can be found by Googling “80m loaded dipole.”
At this point, I’m leaning towards the EFHW, but any of these antennas seem like interesting options. If you’ve had experience with any of these antennas, I’d love to hear from you.