Homemade ham radio antennas

Written by andrea colburn
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Homemade ham radio antennas
You can purchase a ham radio antenna or make one at home using simple materials. (antenna image by Madrider from Fotolia.com)

Ham radio, also known as amateur radio, is a means by which an individual can communicate within designated frequency ranges directly with other radio hobbyists. Some hobbyists choose to make their own antennas at home.

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Background

Radio amateurs use allocated frequency ranges throughout the RF spectrum. Once licensed, radio operators can broadcast freely within designated power limits, utilising a government-designated call sign as a means of identification.

Antennas

The antenna is crucial to the success of a ham radio, as a weak or nonfunctional antenna can seriously hamper even powerful receiving and transmitting equipment. There are various categories of antennas in common use -- such as vertical, dipole, reflector and loop antennas -- all of which can be made at home with the proper knowledge and materials.

Homemade ham radio antennas
Ham radio enthusiasts employ a variety of antenna types to receive and transmit broadcasts. (antenna image by fotografiche.eu from Fotolia.com)

Homemade Antennas

One of the easiest antennas you can make at home is a ground plane antenna, made by soldering copper wires to a ham radio antenna adaptor plate, bending the wires to an appropriate angle and attaching the apparatus to the ham radio receiver with a coaxial cable. You can find detailed instructions for constructing a ground plane antenna, as well as other types of antennas, on ham radio websites.

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