For our first three years back home in Michigan, Sylvia and I used simple antennas. Thirty feet of TV tower provided the main support for a collection of mostly wire antennas. I used the driven element from a C-4XL as a 20-meter rotatable dipole. (That tower would not have supported the entire beam.) The results were not spectacular, but they were satisfactory!
Most of those antennas are described in the book, Simple and Fun Antennas for Hams, which is published by ARRL. Three of them are worth special note.
The K8SYL 75 and 10-meter dipole was featured in the July 2002 issue of QST beginning on page 32. This is a 75-meter dipole that is resonant in the upper part of the band. Sylviaís net meets on 3940 kHz, so that was our target. Capacitance loading at 8 ft 3 inches either side of center move 10-meter resonance into the desired range. A quarter wavelength of 75-ohm coax is used to match the 120 ohm feed-point impedance on 10-meters. This makes very little difference in SWR on 75 meters. With the center at 26 feet and the ends at 10 feet, this works very well for regional communications on 75 meters. It also works well for DX (long distance) contacts on 10 meters when propagation is good.
The 15-meter HVD (Half-wave Vertical Dipole) is described in the book, Simple and Fun Antennas for Hams. My friend Dean Straw, N6BV, convinced me to try this. I was very pleasantly surprised by the results. For DX contacts, it usually beat the modified 40-meter dipole that I also used on 15 meters. It wasnít a beam, but it was pretty good. Unlike a beam it required neither a support structure nor a rotator. I had a lot of fun with this wonderful antenna until an ice storm followed by strong winds brought it down.
The 2-element 15-meter beam is also described in the book, Simple and Fun Antennas for Hams. Itís small, light-weight and very effective. I mounted mine at 30 feet. I even made a contact with Myanmar (Burma) with it. A 17-meter version appeared in QST for August 2007 starting on page 30.
Today, a C-4XL at 72 feet is my most-used antenna. Sylvia still uses her 75/10-meter dipole most. A 30-meter ground mounted vertical keeps us active on that band. Computer modeling has encouraged me to continue with a couple of experiments. Iíll report the results, once the experiments have been completed.
This stuff sure is fun. Isnít it?