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Saturday, 18 May 2013

That'll Never Work - Will it?

Well,

The VHF antennas here have always been somewhat of a compromise. Recently I moved my 4M or 70MHz antenna from the side of the house and put it on top of the HF antenna on the main mast. I also took down and filed (in the hedge) a 6M or 50MHz antenna. I saw this a while ago and wondered... could this really work:

InnovAntennas 4 & 4 ele

So, you guessed it, I bought one.

Here's the antenna as it starts to go together:


As you can see, there are 4 elements for 6M and 4 elements for 4M on the same boom. The thing that I didn't (and still don't) understand is how the thing works electrically as the 4M elements are all parasitic (there's no wires connected to them from the RF supply). The antenna has a direct coax connection without any kind of connector:


There's plenty of self amalgamating tape under the white PVC tape you can see, the connections themselves were then coated with Copper grease. The antenna also needs a coax wound balun - this is preventing me from feeding the antenna directly with Westflex 103 - it's just too thick to wind tight enough. I've had to connect a length of RG213 to the antenna, use that for the balun then have a join to the 103 close to the boom.

I then brought the tower down and changed the antenna on the top for this one:


While the antenna was in this position I attached the analyser thingamabob; the 70MHz resonance looked really good, but the 50MHz resonant point was more like 55MHz.... hmm I thought, perhaps I should raise the antenna and see.... no change at all.

I scratched my head for a while and re-checked all the dimensions - they seemed correct to me, here's the diagram I was following:


Suddenly I realised that the element centres that are labeled as 1800mm on the diagram are only 1500mm on the antenna! A quick email to InnovAntennas confirmed that I had indeed got the wrong parts.

The antennas are back in the air:


But the 6M or 50MHz elements on the top antenna are currently exactly 300mm too short.

Useless, hugh?

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