Horse fence antenna: progress report and request

In my recent post, More from Dayton 2012, I reported on the horse fence antennas made by KF4BWG, mentioning that every time I see them, I get the idea to try and make my own. Well, yesterday, I went down to Tractor Supply and bought 500-ft. of 2-in. PolyTape fencing material and some clamps. I even got lucky and got the tape on sale. Instead of $64.99, it was on sale for $54.99.

The clamp makes good contact with the conductors in the poly tape, but now, how do I connect it to the center insulator?

This evening, I started playing around with it. The first thing I did was to clamp the tape with the clamps I bought. What I discovered is that the clamps really don’t make contact with all the conductors. They tend to bow, and some of the conductors in the center of the tape were open.

To get around that, I used an X-Acto knife to separate the conductors from the tape and bend them back so that they lay on top of the tape. Now, when I tighten down the clamp, I get a good connection on all conductors.

The problem I’m having now is how to connect the Hy-Q dipole center insulator that I have to the tape. What I need is some kind of clamp that will connect the solid copper wire coming out of the center insulator to the tape clamp. Anyone have any ideas? I can see drilling a hole in the tape clamp to secure the copper wire.  Not only would that connect the tape to the center insulator, it would take out the bow in that clamp and make an even better connection to the conductors in the polytape.

Comments

  1. I would get a wire ring connector
    http://media.digikey.com/photos/Molex/19070-0040.jpg
    that accepts the diameter of the wire from the center insulator and both crimp and solder it onto the wire. Then remove a bolt from the tape clamp, place the ring connector hole in place on the tape clamp and re-insert the bolt through it and tighten.

  2. What about a small flat piece of metal between those two bolts. If it ran right on top of the clap it should hold that wire nice and tight. You might have to put a washer under each side to get the right height for the wire thickness.

    I am not sure how long those bolts are but you might need slightly longer bolts as well.

  3. Jeff, KE9V says:

    I think you may be discovering why the gentleman who sells these “ready-made” has a viable business. :-)

    Good luck in the endeavor!

    73, Jeff KE9V

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      Actually, what I’m discovering is that, with a little tinkering, I’m going to have an antenna that cost me less than 25% of what I would have spent on a KF4BWG antenna (not that I’m begrudging him that). And, I’m having a lot of fun doing it.

      I’m also glad that I got a couple of my readers to flex their mental muscles a bit. Thanks for the tips, guys!

  4. This may sound crazy, but hear me out. What about using two latches from seat belt assemblies? I’m talking the “old school” domestic auto ones, that had a friction cam in there to fix the buckle on the belt at a specific location.

    If you got two of those buckles and ran your dipole sides through them, then bolted each buckle to one side of your insulator, you’d be able to tune it even, assuming that you could get good continuity through the buckle. It would be a tight friction fit so I bet it would actually make fine contact with the conductors.

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      That’s not a totally crazy idea. In fact, one of the “accessories” they sell for the polytape fence is a “splicer.” You can use this to adjust the length of the polytape. You can then tie your rope to the end with the “V.”

  5. One recommendation would be to wrap the fencing material around the plate a few times, then clamp it down with the other plate and bolts. I’d probably throw a split ring washer between the plates too.

    Being a total newbie to ham (just got my technicians license), I’m not sure how wrapping the material would affect the usability of the setup.

  6. Don Robertson says:

    Norris lives in the wide open spaces; lots of room for any antenna he desires. City lots – most limited to perhaps a 66 foot long wire-type antenna might be at a disadvantage???

    Wanting to operate 4o meters / 80 meters with a dedicated antenna could mean an unconventional layout, yes?? Center pole — four outer poles spaced say 50 foot to 65 apart in a rectangle around the center pole?? So if the center is used for the apex of the “V” then outer poles might be utilized to support the remaining wire?? A “V” with the excess forming a horizontal plane — a’zig-zag’ so to speak?? The pattern might skewed yet very effective for both local and DX?? I dunno — just wonderin’.

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