How To Add 17 Meters
and the "Ugly Balun"
I bought this used Hy-gain 18AVT 5-band (80/40/20/15/10m) vertical in the mid 80's. I mounted it 12" off the ground in California, it sort of worked but I was NOT impressed with few DX contacts. Now with +40yrs of HAM'ing, all the internet articles, and QSO's that continue to tout HF verticals being the theoretical best antenna for DX it was time to resurrect my moth-ball from the rafters.
Here is what I did to restore my 18AVT, making it one of my NEW FAVORITE HF antennas at my Ohio country home.
First, I refurbished the antenna making
all joints shine, again. Applied liberal amounts of Penetrox to all
joints, replaced all clamps with stainless steel clamps, made new top hat
radials (using copper coated steel brazing rods - bird strong),
cleaned up the 80m coil and re-hot glued it back together. I replaced the
old stinger cut for 3925 with a new stinger cut/tuned for 3800 (what a
hassle that was to buy from MFJ/Hy-gain).
I dislike ground radials due to all the
required work to install properly; so here is where I was going to
experiment. I mounted the AVT to the fence post of our new chain-link
I've read about the attributes of the Ugly-Balun, here was my opportunity to test it.
My Ugly balun is made on 4" PVC with 26 wraps of RG-8x (~30' of wrap), used hot glue at the holes and electrical tape on the ends - easy. Bent up some mounts and attached itto the fence - high enough to insure the lawn tractor misses it too. The fence has anadded bonus of providing a nice off ground coax run to the house.
Ugly-Balun really made my vertical a performer. I now got into EU, Med,
Africa, and Asia (as well as all
points North America). This
vertical NOW impressed me and was living up to vertical DX claims. Using my IC-746P and MFJ-989c I was making
solid DX contacts even during
flaky band conditions. I only need to use the tuner for
75m outside 3725-3875 and the
extreme edges of 40m SSB due to >2.5:1 swr. The recheck
of my 18ATV center frequencies
showed all to be 1:1.But I was
still not happy with the 18AVT as it isonly five-bands (80/40/20/15/10m),
myfavorite day time band is 17m.
Also see an updated refurbishing project
on the same antenna here!
Hamuniverse.com uses Green Geeks Web Hosting!