Brushbeater: The Inverted L Antenna And NVIS

For your information and (hopefully) execution.

How is your S6 shop coming along?

Remember: Listening is >2x more important than talking.

27 responses to “Brushbeater: The Inverted L Antenna And NVIS

  1. This is a durable, simple to build, and very low-profile antenna for NVIS communications.

    This article provides a detailed explanation of why this particular antenna configuration is four times better than a typical Inverted-L, and twice as good as a full length (260 Ft.) dipole for NVIS on the 160 and 80 Meter bands. Construction is simple, and includes instructions for building a simple, high-efficiency DIY matching unit with minimal outlay of funds.

    We are answering questions posted in the comments over at Brushbeater’s place. Hope to see you there.

  2. And Winter Field Day is this weekend –

    Get on the air and practice your operating skills!

  3. Getting more people licensed is a goal of the League of the South.

    That said, it’s somewhat like herding cats via Dobermans.

    There are those that think that “after the balloon goes up” they’ll be able to use any and all radios, no problem. All without any idea of the technology required, even to use the 2 meter repeaters systems, many of which are on emergency power.

    Still, it’s worth continuing to move more into the amateur bands, with real transceivers instead of FRS and GMRS walkie-talkies.

    • “Licensed”? It is easy to cram for the test without being able to perform. I’d rather people gain the skills than the government permission slip. If they gain the ability while evading the government enforcers, then so much the better. That’s rather difficult with all the amateur operators who get excited by tattling on the non-licensed, so getting the paperwork first is an easier route. The joke goes, ‘it takes two hams to hold up a pig’s ass’, and if you think of the pig as a LEO the joke works even better.

  4. Kudos to NC Scout and the post’s author, Lode Runner. That being said, the making of that antenna, is a tough construct for the vast majority of current HF radio operators.

    I get it, that current and projected sun stuff and atmospheric conditions are going to require people to re-think band useage. Eighty meters is maybe not going to be good for local comms, for a few years. I am hearing that almost nightly, now.

    So it is a real fine idea to get cracking on 160 meters. My house antenna, a dipole cut for 3910, cannot be tuned for the 160m band. I’m nugging out end-fed possibilities for 160m. Big deal: choosing the type of 40′ mast, and then erecting that mast and hoisting up the wire. It will get done.

    As a side note, I have found that the Australian site for HF prediction, is pessimistic as I have experienced good comms contrary to its modeling. My advice, keep searching the various propagation sites, and learn from those sites what actually works for you and your radio.

    Don’t get too discouraged about height requirements for Lode Runner’s antenna construct. He did us all a favor by putting out his experience. But the problem can probably be solved with an easier construct. If you can do his, then fine. If you can’t, there are easier ways to get on 160m.

    • Agreed, there are other options for a 160M NVIS antenna — a 135 foot wire, hung 20 to 40 ft. above ground in whatever shape you can manage, will get you on 160 Meters, and you’ll be heard reasonably well with 100 watts. I used just such a “random wire” for 80 and 160M for years.

      But if you have the space and a couple of trees to support it, the 3/8 wave Inverted-L will give the same results with only 10 to 20 watts (power budget for when you have to run on batteries), or you will have a signal that is 5 to 10 times as strong with that same 100 watts, vs. the “random wire” antenna.

      And it’s not that difficult to construct and raise. It consists of a 200~210 foot length of wire (14ga THHN stranded wire from Lowes, Home Depot, etc is fine) two lengths of rope, a ground rod, and a “2-bay” weatherproof electrical box (or any weatherproof box of about 4X4X3 inches) to house the feedpoint. The trees/supports can be anywhere from 140′ to 200′ apart – if needed the last 10 to 30 feet of the antenna wire (unterminated end) can hang down – this shortens the span of the antenna without making a substantial impact on its performance.

  5. Listening is “only” twice as important?

    Add a couple of zeroes to that, and you’ll be getting close…..

    • Tis better to receive than to give.

    • For those beginning, it’s not just the content that is worth listening for. Take note of where the signal is coming from, as well as its relation to your position. Are the great oracles of propagation telling you the truth, a lie, or is the practical reality somewhere in between? Why are you, or why aren’t you, hearing what you are? Lots to glean just from the receive side of things, taking a few notes, and looking at a map.

  6. If I may be so bold: get licensed at the General level. Skip the Technician phase and the Boefang militia, 2meters in general, and the current use of repeaters not controlled by you. When they go away, your commo plans will be fucked.

    Get a decent HF radio, and learn from online military manuals the hows of building your own field expedient antennas.

    You have been presented with some information on how to be a winner when the cell phones don’t work and when the interwebs are down. Use the info, don’t be a loser. Now, is the best time to start learning.

  7. Quietus, you cannot skip the Tech License and start with the General License. You must get your Tech License first before testing for the General License. You also must have a General License in order to test for your Extra Class license..

    • I believe you can take all of those tests one after another on the same day.

    • wendystringer48088

      You don’t need to pass the 13 word per minute morse code test to get a General class license these days?

      • No code.

        “…License Restructuring

        In December 1999, after a lengthy review of the Amateur Radio licensing system, the FCC began issuing major changes. In April 2000, the number of license classes dropped from six to the current three. In addition, in February 2007, the FCC discontinued requiring Morse code proficiency tests. The FCC issued these new regulations to streamline the licensing system and bring the Amateur Radio service into the digital age. While the new license system might not make it easier to get into Amateur Radio, licensed operators can move from the beginner to expert level more quickly…”


        • wendystringer48088

          Believe it or not not I’ve been licensed as a Tech class since 1979 and just found this out now.
          (I barely passed the 5 wpm multiple choice test so definitely was not hot on taking the 13 wpm test for the General class).
          Well, written tests I can certainly do, already know all the basic electronics stuff (work with it all the time). Now it just looks like I got to come up to speed on the new modes.

  8. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.

  9. Ill Leave the Comms to the Professionals.

    • wendystringer48088

      You are a professional.

      You are not a medic but I assume can do enough trauma medicine to keep someone from bleeding out.

      You surely know enough electronics to troubleshoot basic automotve and home electrical circuits (test and replace car battery / repace alternator / replace light switch / install duplex ac outlet).

      You can learn this stuff.

      Click to access StudyGuideQPool2-GCLM_8th_ed.pdf

    • Learn it or be pwned by those who do. Obviously, this applies to far more than just comms.

  10. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m shooting for going from proficient amateur to licensed Extra class this year.
    And while no code is required, a person with the time and inclination would be a fool not to make the effort to learn it.
    There’s a reason it’s still taught in the .mil.
    Might come in handy for…things.

  11. It can be done, and as someone who lives in a suburban HOA governed community i have developed quite the commo toc for my neighbors and fellow operators. I can actively communicate locally, regionally and nationally if need be, but expect all/most comms to be local/regional in nature with passive listening to be local/regional/national in scope.

    I have various folks to thank, NC, LR, S31, DM76, and many others who have graciously offered tips/tricks and encouragement.

    Don’t kid yourself folks, all bands are important and so is RX gonna talk to your tac teams/local folks w HF only? me thinks not and don’t forget that not all vhfuhf/frs/gmrs has to use repeaters.

    I can simplex in my AO out to 20-30 miles from the j pole mounted in attic, and on low power have perfect area/neighborhood comms. My discone in attic, connected to Uniden Home Patrol II and my pc based SDR rig connected to discone in attic, gets me wide area passive listening ability.

    All perfectly hidden/covert…

    Now i am into HF, and have made several qso’s using a dipole and end fed using a painters mast, and 5 gal bucket w concrete and 2″ pvc pipe as base…Even done some cool greyline NVIS stuff <150miles, regionally with another operator.

    My next goal, and actively working on it as i type this for this weekend WFD FTX, and just to see if i can do it, is the random length longwire for 80/160…i think it will work with my balun/ldg tuner and hf rig… i have a 1k ft roll of shielded 14ga wire that i will string thru trees that line our street and see what happens..

    You have to be licensed, have to use kit, gotta start somewhere, even the crappy little baofengs everyone bitches about, but gotta tell you that was the gateway drug into amateur radio for me, and many like me. Now, many of us, myself included, have gone full retard, buying better kit, adding to knowledge base/skillsets with actual field work, getting edumecated by more knowledgeable Elmers and just plain doing shit vs talking shit.

    When the SHTF because of: martians/rapture/chicom paras/ebt/snap card disruptions/truck stoppages or just plain disaster stuff like ice storms or some other event beyond our control, you WILL NOT automagically know how to be a hi speed commo dude unless you have been doing it beforehand.

    Personally, i'd rather have guys with cheap shit, and lots of it, who actually know how, and have been using it, than some guy who has a shelf full of the latest hi speed shit and never turned it on or is not licensed….Now, if said fellow wanted to donate hi speed kit to the comms team, so be it….

    End of rant..

    73's to my fellow Hambonze..