How to Make a Homemade Flagpole Antenna for an Amateur Radio

Written by ray anderson
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Many homeowners' associations have covenants and restrictions that prohibit antennas on or about the residences that they govern. Their reasons include the prevention of perceived property valuation losses as well as minimising eyesores. Amateur radio operators, or hams as they like to be called, are unable to practice their hobbies without antennas, however, and have therefore developed numerous stealth antennas. One of these is the flagpole antenna that hides a vertical antenna inside its mast.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Vertical antenna
  • 50-ohm coax cable feedline
  • 14 feet 2-inch-diameter thin-walled PVC piping
  • PVC pipe reducer
  • PVC pipe cement
  • 12 feet 1 1/2-inch-diameter thin-walled PVC piping
  • Lanyard
  • Toilet tank float ball
  • 5 feet, 1 1/2-inch wall pipe
  • 5 feet, 1 1/2-inch copper pipe
  • Flagpole truck (pulley)
  • 2 flag clips
  • Mounting bolts, nuts and lockwashers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Assemble the vertical antenna, including its 20-meter and 40-meter "loading coils," according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that all connections are tight and waterproof.

  2. 2

    Connect the coaxial cable to the bottom of the vertical antenna and mount it into the upper end of the 2-inch-diameter PVC pipe. Let the antenna's radiator extend out of the top end of the pipe and string the coaxial cable out of the bottom end.

  3. 3

    Push the PVC pipe reducer over the antenna's radiator and glue it with the PVC pipe cement to the 2-inch-diameter PVC pipe.

  4. 4

    Mount the flagpole truck with a mounting bolt and nut three inches from the top end of the 12-foot, 1 1/2-inch-diameter PVC pipe. String the flag lanyard through the truck and attach two flag clips according to the spacing of the flag’s rivet holes.

  5. 5

    Push the 1 1/2-inch-diameter PVC pipe over the antenna's radiator and glue it with the PVC pipe cement to the protruding end of the PVC pipe reducer. The antenna is now hidden inside the 26-foot flagpole mast.

  6. 6

    Attach the toilet tank float ball on top of the 12-foot section of the 1 1/2-inch-diameter PVC pipe. This will keep rain and snow out of the flagpole and will serve as the flagpole's top ornament.

  7. 7

    Drive the 5-foot, 1 1/2-inch wall pipe four feet into the ground where you want the flagpole to stand. Your flagpole will fit over the foot of protruding pipe and hold it firm.

  8. 8

    Drive the 5-foot, 1 1/2-inch copper pipe four feet into the ground. Locate it within six inches of the flagpole. This will be the antenna's ground connection.

  9. 9

    Connect the shielded end of the coax cable from the hidden antenna to the 1 1/2-inch-diameter copper pipe to make the ground connection. Run the cable out of a hole that you've drilled in the bottom of the flagpole.

  10. 10

    Mount the finished flagpole over the 1 1/2-inch-diameter protruding wall pipe. For additional stability, you can drill two holes six inches apart starting three inches from the ground through both the PVC pipe and the 1 1/2-inch-diameter wall pipe. Insert two bolts and tighten with nuts and lock washers. Your flagpole will now sustain above-average winds without crimping over.

  11. 11

    Dig a small trench toward your home and bury the coax cable. Cover the trench and run the cable inside to your radio station. Plant low plants or flowers around the bottom of your functioning flagpole, and your vertical antenna will be hidden from sight.

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