The 43 Foot Vertical

The 43 Foot Vertical

The 43 Foot Vertical

Bill Leonard

N0CU

9/3/2016

This presentation is based upon charts from:

“The 43-Foot Vertical” by Phil Salas -AD5X [email protected]

(Comments in BLUE are mine, not Phil’s)

Multiband Antenna Options

1) Multiband Fixed Height Vertical using Traps

2) Multiband Variable Height Vertical using the SteppIR BigIR III

3) Multiband Fixed Height Vertical using an antenna matcher in

the shack – such as 43 footer

4) Multiband Fixed Height Vertical using an antenna matcher at

the antenna base – 43 footer again

5) Forget the vertical and get a multiband dipole

Multiband Antenna Options

1) Multiband Fixed Height Vertical using Traps

2) Multiband Variable Height Vertical using the SteppIR BigIR III

3) Multiband Fixed Height Vertical using an antenna matcher in

No one antenna is best for all applications!

4) Multiband Fixed Height Vertical using an antenna matcher at

the antenna base – 43 footer again

5) Forget the vertical and get a multiband dipole

Concept Behind the 43 Foot Vertical

- Take a resonant vertical monopole antenna that

works good one band, but is unuseable on most

other bands, and change it so it is useable on a

number of bands.

- The 43 foot length is non-resonant on any band

(impedance matching is required on all bands)

AD5X Outline

- Why a vertical?

- Important characteristics of a vertical antenna

- Ground Losses and Antenna Efficiency

- Why a 43-foot vertical?

- SWR-related coax and unun losses

- RF Voltages

- Matching Networks for 160-and 80-meters

- Building your own 43-foot vertical

(Last two topics not covered in this presentation)

Why Use a Vertical?

Advantages:

- Generally are inexpensive

- Relatively unobtrusive

- Self-Supporting

- Easy to ground mount

- Low angle of radiation (maybe, maybe not)

- Good DX performance (maybe, maybe not)

- Omni-directional (no rotator needed!)

Disadvantages:

- Omni-directional (no gain or F/B)

- Needs a good radial system for best performance

- Needs good ground characteristics for best

performance

Important Characteristics of a Vertical Antenna

- Efficiency:

- How much of the transmitter power is being radiated

- Can be a significant problem with vertically polarized

monopole antennas

- Determined by:

- Antenna design (radiation resistance)

- Ground characteristics in the NEAR FIELD (~1/2 wavelength)

-Conductivity & permittivity

- Pattern

- Is the transmitted power going where you want it to?

- Peak gain

- Take-off angle

- Determined by:

- Antenna design

- Ground characteristics in the FAR FIELD (~10 wavelengths)

Important Takeaway

- A vertical monopole antenna installed over a poor

ground with no radials will have:

- Very poor efficiency and

- Poor pattern (low gain and high takeoff angle)

- A vertical monopole antenna installed over a poor

ground with an ideal radial system will have:

- Near 100% efficiency and

- Poor pattern (low gain and high takeoff angle)

- A vertical monopole antenna installed over an

excellent ground (without any radial system) will

have:

- Near 100% efficiency and

- Good pattern (good gain and low takeoff angle)

Vertical Antenna Efficiency

- Radiation Resistance (Rr) is the “effective” resistance

of the antenna

- Hypothetical resistance (not a real resistor)

- Value varies from milliohms to thousands of ohms

- Ground loss (Rg) is power lost due to heating of the

ground

-Antenna Efficiency (%) = 100 x Rr/(Rg + Rr)

-Assumes X is tuned out by impedance matching network

X

Antenna

Rr

Rg

Simple Calculations

- 43 foot antenna on 160 meters:

Rr = 43/128 X 36 = 4 ohms

- EZNEC = 3 ohms

C = 3.5 x 43 = 150.5pf = -j580 ohms

- EZNEC = -j640 (VNA actually measured –j580)

- Nearby objects add some stray capacitance

Efficiency Calculation

- A ¼-wave vertical has a radiation resistance of 36 ohms

- Assume 10 ohms of ground loss

- Probably a much better ground than most hams have

- SWR = 1.09:1

- Rr + Rg = 36 + 10 = 46 ohms

- SWR = 50/46 = 1.09

- Antenna efficiency is 78%

- If you have a 100 watt transmitter, you will radiate 78 watts

Note:

- Higher ground loss can result in a BETTER SWR!

Electrically Short Antennas

- The shorter the antenna, the lower the Rr

- A Hustler 6BTV 80/40/30/20/15/10 meter vertical is 24

feet tall

- On 80 meters, it is only 0.092 wavelength long

- Rr decreases approximately as 1/(length)

2

- So Rr is approximately 5 ohms

- With 10 ohms ground loss, the efficiency is 33%

- Assumes no trap/inductor losses (trap loss could add 2dB)

- Now your 100 watt transmit signal results in only

33 watts being radiated

Electrically Short Antennas (cont’d)

- A Butternut HF-9VX with TBR-160 160M loading coil is

26 feet tall

- On 160 meters, it is only 0.051 wavelength long.

- Rr decreases as 1/(length)

2

- So Rr is approximately 1.5 ohms

- With 10 ohms ground loss, the efficiency is 13%

- Assumes no inductor/loading coil/matching losses

-Now your 100 watt transmit signal results in only

13 watts being radiated

Matching losses could easily drop this number below 10 W

The 43-foot Vertical Antenna

Advantages

- Still can be self-supporting & moderately unobtrusive

- Approximately 3x higher radiation resistance than the typical

trap or loaded vertical.

- No trap or loading coil losses to worry about

- Modest compromise SWR from 60-10 meters when fed with a

1:4 unun.

(UNUNs are designed to work with resistive loads!)

Disadvantages

- Take-off angle is not optimum on 12/10 meters

- More on this later

- You need an in-shack tuner (remote tuner is much better)

43-foot SWR over Perfect Ground with 1:4 Unun at the Antenna (EZNEC)

14.1

18.1

21.1

7.1

Note:

- These values will be different with a real (lossy) ground

- Many built-in HF antenna tuners only go up to 3:1 SWR

28.5

Efficiency Comparison

- The Hustler 6BTV on 40 meters

- The 24-foot Hustler is 0.188 wavelengths long

- Rr = 20 ohms

- Efficiency = 67% (assumes Rg = 10Ω & no coil losses)

- Note:There are multiple inductors (traps) in-line on 40 meters

- The 43-foot vertical on 40 meters

- Antenna is 0.34 wavelengths long

- Rr = 65 ohms

- Efficiency = 87% (with Rg = 10Ω with no coils/traps)

- The required tuner may have more loss than coils/traps

43-foot Antenna Disadvantages

- Can be moderately

(very) expensive

- High take-off angle above 15 meters

- DX performance >1/4-wave vertical 60-15 meters, but 5dB

down from 10 meter ¼-wave vertical at 10 degree take off

angle (but higher Rr compensates some)

- Really needs base matching on 160/80-meters

- Regardless of what the 43-foot antenna vendors say

- Example: With Rg = 10Ω

- 160 Meter SWR = 324:1, 80 Meter SWR = 41:1

Matching & Coax Losses

- Some 43-foot antenna vendors claim the antenna can be

matched from 160-10 meters with your in-shack tuner.

- One vendor says to use 150 feet of RG-213 for best all-band

operation of the 43-foot antenna (so you can tune from the

tuner in your shack). Another vendor says to ADD 150 feet of

RG-213 to your cable run.

- The typical 160 meter base impedance of a 43-foot antenna with

the 1:4 UNUN is 2-j183. 150 feet of coax transforms this to a

matchable 38 + j180 (?) at the shack.

- But the antenna SWR is ~ 150:1 resulting in 12dB (two S-units) of

coax losses due to the SWR at the antenna. Plus about ≥6dB

ground loss. Total loss ~18dB.

-TX = 100W results in 2-watts radiated

(No! 2 W reaches ant)

Some antenna mfgs don’t understand the basics!

To Maximize Efficiency

- Minimize coax loss:

- Use shortest length possible

- Heliax semi-rigid cable

-

LMR-400 coax

-

RG-213 coax

-Do matching AT the antenna

- Install the best radial system you can afford

- Do the matching at the base of the antenna

- For high power & high SWR, may need to use relay switching

- Matching on 160/80 meters is difficult

- The mismatch may be too great for most manual/auto antenna

tuners

- VERY high RF voltages & currents

RF Voltage & Current

- An electrically short antenna has high capacitive

reactance. This WILL cause high RF voltages across a

matching network.

- Example: Assume 1500 watts and a perfect ground

system (Rg = 0) on 160 meters. In this case all power

is delivered to Rr.

At the base of the antenna:

I = √(1500/3) = 22.4 amps rms

|Z| = √(3

2

+ 600

2

) = 600 (?)

So, Vrms = 22.4 x 600 = 13,440 and Vpk = 19,007 volts (?)

Don’t overlook UNUN current & voltage limitations

Matching Network Issues

- Any antenna with low Rr will have large RF current

-Inductor & capacitor heating & contact degradation on

switches & relays

-Any antenna with high X will have large RF voltage at

the feed point

-Safety concern!

-Capacitor/switch/relay breakdown in matching network

Vertical Antenna Pattern Over Real Ground

Ground characteristics affect both efficiency and radiation pattern

¼ Wave Monopole

-Peak gain down 8 dB

from ideal vertical

-Peak gain @ 30 o

(not 0 o

)

Perfect Ground

Lossy Ground

- Lossy ground results in:

Peak gain down 6 dB compared to dipole

- Lower gain

- Higher takeoff angle (pattern may be no better for DX than a dipole)

Vertical Antenna Pattern Over Real Ground

Ground characteristics affect both efficiency and radiation pattern

¼ Wave Monopole

Perfect Ground

Lossy Ground

Dipole @ ½

l

- Lossy ground results in:

- Lower gain

- Higher takeoff angle (pattern may be no better for DX than a dipole)

Pattern Over Real Ground (cont’d)

- Peak Gain for 43 Foot Vertical:

~ 5 dBi @ 57° for 10 meters – impressive, but high angle

~ 4 dbi @ 37° for 15 meters

~ 1 dBi @ 16° for 20 meters – nice low angle

~ 0 dBi @ 25° for 40 meters

~ -2 dBi @ 29° for 80 meters – this is quite functional

~ -8 dBi @ 23° for 160 meters – lossy, but it does work

- Peak Gain for a Dipole is 5-9 dBi (depends upon height above ground)

Pattern Over Real Ground (cont’d)

- Peak Gain for 43 Foot Vertical:

~ 5 dBi @ 57° for 10 meters – impressive, but high angle

~ 4 dbi @ 37° for 15 meters

~ 1 dBi @ 16° for 20 meters – nice low angle

~ 0 dBi @ 25° for 40 meters

~ -2 dBi @ 29° for 80 meters – this is quite functional

~ -8 dBi @ 23° for 160 meters – lossy, but it does work

- Peak Gain for a Dipole is 5-9 dBi (depends upon height above ground)

Dipole @ 0.1

l

Dipole @ ½

l

(260 ft @ 1.8 MHz)

Summary

- The more metal in the air, the better the antenna

- Radiation resistance increases as the square of the length change.

- Increased radiation resistance improves antenna efficiency over real

ground.

- A 43-foot antenna is very

(?) good for 60-10 meters

- Modest to low gain

- High takeoff angles on higher bands

- Not a very good DX antenna for 160/80 meters, but probably better than

a dipole up only 40 ft (if the losses are low)

- A 43-foot antenna needs base matching to provide good

(?)

results on 160-and 80-meters.

- Detailed matching network details at www.ad5x.com

Summary cont’d

- This is not a cheap antenna (>$1300)

- Antenna $400

- High power remote antenna tuner $800

- High power UNUN $150

- Radial system $100

-Vertically polarized antennas installed over poor ground are not

good DX antennas

- Not an easy antenna to install

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