Graphic Intensive. Allow time to
Reviving a classic restricted space vertical
antenna design from years ago!
should be considered experimental. The Joystick antenna was used
many years ago as an all band vertical HF antenna under
restricted space situations that would cover from
80 meters thru 10 meters with a tuner and was a great
commercial success! Some hams even had success with it on 160
thousands of hams worldwide used it for many years, but over time,
like other commercial antennas, the Joystick antenna faded from
existence on the commercial market. It was sold by
called Partrige Electronics Ltd in the UK in the mid
1960's and they eventually faded into the ether and the
popularity of the antenna dwindled. There are still a few of them
around being used today as I write this.
I ran across this antenna
accidentally a couple of months ago on the internet with very
little information about it and thought that this antenna
needed reviving for those of you who have restricted space
limitations for HF antennas.
There was little information
about it concerning the construction details so after a couple of
months of searching the reflectors and using the "detective"
work of Rick, VE3FMC, he finally located a source of plans for the
Joystick antenna from Bob Morden, VE3EIM!
Bob and he was kind enough to share the information he had with me.
Also during the research and detective work trying to locate
information about the Joystick antenna, I also found a very nice
drawing of it on the A.R.E.S Niagra web site. The webmaster, Peter,
VE3HM was kind enough to allow us to use the drawing from their web
You will see presented below, two
different designs for the Joystick antenna. One is fed from the top
and one is fed from the bottom. You will also notice some variations
in the wire used for the coil, number of turns, and length
differences in the plans below. You can choose the one you like and
take it from there.
Since you will be
using a tuner with this antenna, nothing is extremly
Please note that Bob provided the plans in graphic files, not
text that can be readily copied.
Just copy the
picture files to your hard drive for future
Now, Bob Morden, VE3EIM, who provided the
plans below to us takes over from
(Note that the "random wire tuner"
article Bob mentions above is not included within this project.
It may follow later.)
You just read Bob' article about the Joystick antenna
as written years ago.
Below is the second version of the
Joystick antenna. You will notice by comparing with the one above,
that the lengths and wire sizes are slightly different and it
is fed from the bottom.
Additional notes for use and
Joystick overall length 90 inches. Coil 14-1/2 inches
long. Fir or oak wooden dowel .735 inches (aproximately 1 1/4
inches) in diameter. Coil constructed using # 14 enameled wire, 219
turns. The Inductance of the coil is 45.158 micro-henries. Copper
pipe .854 (13/16) inches in diameter.
I might add, for those without access to a wood lathe
to turn down the ends of the wooden coil form so the form will fit
into the copper pipe at each end. Using the copper tubing as a
guide, merely pencil around the copper tubing on the centre of the
top and bottom of the dowel and using a Hack Saw (with apologies to
those who use a hack saw properly by cutting only metal!) and cut to
form a square on the dowel the length according to the diagram and
then using a wood file carefully file the square round until it fits
the copper tubing. As I mentioned before, on one end I made a loose
fit so the antenna can be easily dismantled and placed in a trunk of
a car for transport to a portable location. I found a hack saw was
easier to control the cut on the dowel rather using a coping saw
which tends to wander.
I would suggest the builder use copper tubing as the
coil is wound with copper wire as opposed to using aluminum tubing
to avoid reaction between two dissimilar metals which might cause
rectification at those points with eventual poor contact between the
coil and the tubing. The contacts should be covered with Dow Corning
RTV or coax seal to keep out the effects of weather.
Some diagrams show the Joystick being fed at the top
and others from the bottom. I think you will agree if you are using
only 8 feet of wire from the Joystick to the rig, it would be fed
from the top. If the Joystick is hanging from a tree, it probably
would be better fed at the bottom. I have tried both ways and didn't
detect any difference except you will notice that the feed line goes
to the longest length of copper tubing in most cases.
Use 1/4 wave length radials. One or more for
each band if possible. Experiment!
More Joy Stick
Wire Tuner from MFJ
Or many other commercial tuners
designed for random wire use. Check the
Or build your own, do a search on
for all his detective
work in finding source material.
A.R.E.S. Niagara for use of graphic of the
Tom Vince, VE3HM (SK)
(Father of Peter,
Please advise of any and all of your results and
experimentation with an email
Insert in subject
line: Joystick antenna experimention.
Please provide your call sign.