On the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list, there was recently a discussion of end-fed antennas. One guy wrote:
I plan to use a QSO-King end-fed antenna with my new Kenwood TS-590. Does anyone have any experience with this antenna? I’ve read good reviews from many people.
I chose this antenna for several reasons. The biggest is that I lease my house and this will have the least physical impact on the house. It will also be relatively unassuming. I will string this between two telescoping antenna masts that I can stick in the ground and attach to each side of the house.
Well, after taking a look at that antenna, I replied:
I’m not so sure that I’d believe all the claims that he makes for this antenna, but you should be able to make some contacts with it. Most end-fed antennas are single-banders with a matching network that provides a match to 50 ohms on that band. This guy’s just using a balun to bring down the SWR to something that your rig’s internal tuner can match.
Instead of spending 70 bucks on this thing, why not buy some ladder line and antenna wire and make your own end-fed Zepp antenna? Google “end-fed zepp” for plans. Using ladder line will be a lot more efficient than using coax.
The “QSO King” is an end-fed antenna, but it’s not an end-fed, half-wave (EFHW) antenna that most us think about when we hear the term “end-fed.” I’m not even sure what you’d call this antenna, except maybe an end-fed random wire, with a balun connected to it to try to bring the SWR down to something than a rig’s internal tuner can match.
Another ham, who’s noted for more caustic remarks than I usually make wrote, [The antenna's Web page] “cleverly interlaces demonstrable facts (like the voltage withstand of Thermaleze wire and waterproof enclosure) with subjective and anecdotal statements of performance. No where in his ad does he state any measurable performance parameter.”
In response to the statement in the ad, “Important Note : The antenna works best if the coax is at least 33-ft. long,” this same guy wrote, “Warning, Will Robinson! Beware the design that requires a specific feedline length. It can only mean it’s radiating, or it’s ballast.”
Finally, he advises, “If all you’re looking to do is run a tuner-fed random wire with or without a radial or counterpoise, just run the wire, jack it into the tuner and be done with it. No point in sending this guy money just to get the same (or worse) result.” Amen.