Friday, December 30, 2011

Antennas: What’s Important?

This question will garner a wide range of responses.  I am kind of a simplistic guy so my answer will sound that way especially to the crowd with degrees in engineering.  Here’s the simple of it in two parts.

One – An antenna should not damage your radio.  Keep the SWR below 2:1.  Even lower is better.

Two – You are able to talk to other hams.

Once these two have been met you are on the air.

It does not mean that you have done all you can do to improve you signal, but unless you can more than double your signal’s effective strength*, it is unlikely anyone will notice a difference.

So what are some things to keep in mind when you are ready to put up an antenna?

SAFETY FIRST!   Where are the power lines?  Too many hams have been killed by a mast or wire coming in contact with overhead power lines.

Generally the higher an antenna further your signal will reach.  This is especially true on 2 meters and up. 

SWR adjustment will be the subject of future posts.

* - This refers to Effective Radiated Power (ERP).  ERP is effected by a number of thing.  This will be the subject of a later post.

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