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How to build

a high gain vertical antenna


for the UHF amateur
or CB bands

You can use low-cost coaxial cable to make a simple,


high performance, omnidirectional vertical antenna that
is ideal for both home station and portable applications.

cctinear antenno has bee^ scxnetNng thai offers o respectable


THE
around a long time. Various amount of goin and can be osserrbled A collinear fro m coax
ver*cn$ enjoyed popularity on with Ittte mofo bonus.
effort is o
the amateur VHF and UHP bonds To make a cofinear antenna from
The coiUneor antenna to be
in the eras Before orvj after World War coaxial coble, a number of elements,
descrbed offers considered© goin and
R. But the coHnear fen out of favour
each an efocMcat haft wavo<er©lh
improved bandwidth over the
when the Yogi array beccfne popukx long, are joined together with the inner
conventional greundplane, coaxial
stee the late 50s. Ihe Yocfs popularity conductor and the shiefd Droti
dfceto. Stim Jims' or similar antennas it

is atrrcutatte 'o its feature of gwng Ihe


Iransposed at each joint, as ilustrated
is simWe to construct and erect since
"best bang fCftheDuclC.ftjItt isa beam
in Ftgue I An even number of elements
it does not recuse tuning or pruning,
is required. By transposing the coo^s
which requires rotating and uses cheap, commonly avaJabte inner and ouler conductors at each J*
With the rise in poptfanty of FM quarter-inch' coax
operation on Ihe VH= and UHF bonds each hat wave element is fed out of
The word coVneor moans in line*, the
since the 70s. the proliferate of phase.
elements of fre coiroor antoroa being
I first ran across fh& form of the
commercial amateur rigs, and the placed *n ine. end to end. Two haW
development of repeater networks cafoear h a scientific publcaflon h the
wave d(x)*os p*oced end to end and earty 70s. The published paper
around the country, the demand for fed out of phase make the simplest
omnidirectional antennas grev/ opoce
described a monstrous. AOO metre
two-eiement coflinear
A lot ol fm mobile, v*th a
activity is
'cog KM element array used for a
degree of base or home station
operatcrx too. Far the krtte* opWcatoa
an ommdiectkxvai antenna with tja*i
odvanrage* particutorry
offers distinct
where comparatively low-powered or nryrxrt
mobile r^s are used of home.
The growth of UHF CB has fc*owed a
sifter path, boosted by Ihe avatabrtty
ol t>caVrnonufoc tired transceivers
soing olorgjtfe imports. Open access
ftgure I A coaxial co#neor consists
repeoiers neoed the growth of UHF Cft
of an even number of eiements
too
mode of coaxai ca&e. eocn an
A heme-corutfucted antemo can electrical hott wavotengfh long,
save you big bucks. Many constructors
joined end to ena with the inner
rvoke up a Mmp» grouncjpiane <*
conductor and outer conductor
coaxial dipofe, which nave the transposed at each joint
advantae© of simplicity. However.
2
Figure Coaxial cofineors
maybe fed at the centre.
as Bkjstrated here- or at
the end wMcfiis used In
the antenna described
(seef&*e3X

50MHz odor located at Jteamarca


i m soMfoa and you get a drect match to
Peru, used probing the bnosphere
Tor SOorm coati
The beamwWth o* ft* wonder was However, you can't >jjt connect the
repeated to be fust one degree* coax to the end of the array, the
The number of elements used radottonfrom the elements w* coup*
determines tho gafi. beamwWth and onto the outer conductor (shield braW)
bandwidth of a coaxial coiineor erf the coax and you get a "hof Ine.

antenna The gain Increases by 3dB There are various ways to overcome
•very fine you double the number of this, but one of the simplest to
element* Two elements provides a gon implement is the addition of two
of 3d9 corrpored to a dpo:o. four groundptone elements at right orgies,
elements would give 6dB, eight a quarter wavelength betow the
elements 9d& eta f eedpoint These groundpkine
For the technically inclined, the elements, just like those on a
bocdwid*h is generaly defined as the conventional quarterwave ground-
part at wheh the gain degrades due plane, are a few per cent longer than
lo phase variations greater than one* a half wavelength tip-to- tip. You con
tfrth u radons on the end elements. more thon two If you wish.
i

Figure 3 The general form of the UHF


You can calculate the borxfcvWth frcrrt
baixtwWth - 2f/(3n + I) coaxial caXnear antema described
where T is the centre frequency of Dimensions are shown for the TOcm
operation, and f< Is the rwnber of Making It ornate** Band and the UHF CB bona
elements cn th© array. (h brockets)
TNs H one of my favoufte do-»-ycwetf
The investing TNng Is. if you use bssy
antenra as it's easly made, is not
coax the antenna's performance critical on dimensWs, needs no tuning the vefactfy factor of the coax must be
improves wfrhcvt markedly decreasing
adjustments, matches dfrectty to taken hfooccount As eiectr<xnagneftc
the goft or Increasing the beamwWth
Herce the use of corrvnorvor-oarden
SOohm coax ond goes together In ener^ traveb stower in the efceiecrrieof
qtick-smart time- You can buy <* the the coaxta* coble, a wavelength is
RG5#
bits and make it in less than a do* and physical shorter The vetodty foctor of
have ft on the c* the same evening. common RG58 is approximately
The general arrangement and 046-G66
dlmerttlons of an 8-e*ement coaxfcS n is forhrote that the bandwidth of
Feeding H colnear cnay are shown In R<jxe 3 The the coined ks qiite brood - about
dfc-nenstoro shown put the antenna's 15N«z, or cround 8 per cent - as tNs
You have two opportune* to connect olows plenty of tolerance In the
centre frequency on 4365MHz for the
a feedpomt to the coaxial coinear - in 70cm amateu band the dmenslorain dmensteos. Around plus/minus 5mm
the mkfcde. or in the end When centre
brockets put the antenna's centre octuoty.
fed the teedUne is connected across Buy three metres of RG59CU coax
frequency on 47&9MHL the mkMe of
the centre Krttf, as lustroted hi figure 2
the UHF CB band Thb mokes the array and get good quctfy cable- such as
As you may a»eady appreciate, tti* of a size which la reotSy handed - one wtth a ML-C-W specmcattin (If*
b a balanced correction and recces about two metres taH fa the 70cm often referred to as 'RG58CU
a bctonced ineora boKm transformer version and about 18 metres tc* for the Cammerck*> Retolers such as Dck
to connect unbalanced coaxial UHF C6 version Smith Electronics, Captain
ee*ne. The eedpoint rnpedance is a
f f
There are two bond segments CorrwTxjrtcations and f mtrortcs cony
few hundred otms, atowng the use of 'reserved* on the TOcm amateur band suitable RGKS tn addition, you wi need
a ttmpie 41 balun tor FM simplex and repeater operatkxx 500nvn of 95mm or 127mm dkimeter
feedng a coHnear in the mkJdto
But these be*>g d3302$-4M 975MHz ond heatshrir* tutfng and about 50mm of
Is a**ward when you worn to moon* ft 43602&-439 975MHL Thus. 4365rv*fc Is &4mm heatsrvtnk.
verflc* The feedne must cexneawe*/ Inthemidcf© As you would opprectate, the
from the array at right anc*ei So, As said earter. each element is an
I
coHnear & not setf-supportln^ Ifs
feesrg i from the bottom is the electrical htff wavelength tong. That cfctmctty ftoppy. To hold rt up, attach tt

RAOfO EXPERIMENTER'S HANDBOOK


to any non-conducting supporf.
Dcwsirg rod from voir local hardware
store greet (or this fob and it comes
In standard two metre length! which tt

(ust Choose 127mm or ttmm


right
Bgute 4 Each element is cut from a
cicmeter dowel to sutt yoursetf piece Ct RG56 50 Q*vn cooxtf cototo
Now. oo through the following ana the ends prepared &e rfr$
procedure step by step and youll find
your cdlriear goes together qufte
eerily.
fJThe very first thing to do ts prepare fc* a few seconds to heat it. thenoppty mechanical support, its prrre purpose
the ecu-ear's ftpport using a 127mm the soWer- Use thin gouge, resirnxxed is protection.
or t9mm dometer wooden dowel rod sc*der But remember to only eppty JO) Now for the feedpoint ana
Ths is cheap. reoc*y avt*abte ona enough solder to fcghtiy wer the groundp4ane You'll have a short ter^fr
s*rcog enough for the jet). The dowei conductors. of RG58 left over. Attach a sudobto rv
should be thorougNy seated with on 7,) Now to solder the elements line connector, such os a BNC mole, to
outctoor wood stah or Knseed cA paying together. fi'St sip a 35-40rrm length of one end and prepare the other end os
particular attention to the ends Stcnd 9,&nrn or 127mm afcmeter heatslrink per Ftgue 4.
tt astde to 4y property. on eoch element Solder the elements Measue bock along the ccfcle. from
2; Now for the coUnear ttsetf. The together, end to end. os shown in t-gure the end of the shield braid, a Quarter
•working' length of eoch element Is the & with eoch JoW, after it has cooled, wavelength (this time, free space'
dstonce Between the ends of the (yatf apply si cone sealant to the area of the wave engtn> For the 70cm amateu'
1

To tfnptfy matters, ond to dtow for the <int to seal tf. thea whle the s*cone is band tNs *s tfOrrm fci the UHF C8
<xW error, cut eight lengths of RGSS, sti pWkx sfo the heatshrink tii*^ over bond 155nva Work this poM.
eoch 250mm tong for the 70cm the >^f and opply a b*ast of hot ai' (tx* Usng o 0»unt knife, or caretdy using
amateur band or 230mm long for the dryers are great for the) But don't a sharp krtfe. make two cuts around the
Dhf CB bond These length* make overdo the ho* air, though, or you're cable's outer sheoth, eoch o few
allowance for cutting ond stripping ftety to soften the outer sheath of the milmetres etther & de of this onr SV
r

bock the ends of the elements to make coax and possibly damage tt. the sheath between the two cuts ona
the joints 5) The top ek*rent needs to be remove the secton to expose the shtete
3) Prepare each end of seven seoied, Appty a dob of siicone sealant braid Jsir^aholiroaquckVondighty
elements, ond otfy one end of the to ft. slip on a 30-40rrm length of fcn the Uad
S<p two 3040mm
lengths
eighth element, o* detailed m Rgure 4. Wtppi ^oatstYinK whie it s stw scft, then of Mmm<*crr>eter heatshrK* down the
The e»j^th etement wH become the apply a short bOst of hoi air to shrink it cable, placing them either tde of the
'top* element of the anterro. n place, exposed shield orakJ
Cut the coax's outer sheath 16mm P)The next step is to attach what two lengths of tinned copper
JJJCut
bock from the end us*ig o t*jnt you've (ust completed to its support. w»e or tyazhg rod to sJze each 360nvn
penfcrrfe or hobby knife It should be Plastic ip-up coble hes are great for lorg for the 70cm amateur bam ana
blunt so os to avokJ rfeking the sh»*d trfe as ore the ptostk; zfrtock ties that 330mm long for the UHF C8 band (see
braid here. Co not unravel the shield ccme w*h pockets o* garboge bogs. F<wre 3) If you're us-ng tnned copoer
brafcl Tie the colinear to the dowel storting tf first* Ths can be cone
wt^e. straighten
4) Now cut the brc*a tt*s time using with the top etemen!. putting a tie either by clamping one end m a vise, graso^
o shoro knife. 8mm bock from the end side of eoch joint. The top element the other end wHh a pair of p:iers orx3
Take core rot to cut through the should oe tied about 50mm below the g?«*g rt a good tug I w* bow a bit after
de*ecMc to the centre conductor. top era. The other elements should Do youtokettoutof the vise, but then you
Combined use of a sharp knffe and near the >>tnts. can stroighten it eosJy by hand. Tin the
sharp pointed sidecutter* con be Whle the coftrear shcx>3 be kjkj centre of each groundpiof*e e:emenl,
effective ond restft in o neat cut. strcighT *t>en tyng K To the dowel don't 12) Now attach the prepared cctte to
5; Next, cut bock the dielectric 8mm aopfy too much tension to avod the feedoc*r. maldng a joint os per
boc* from the end to expose the fracturing the solder*ng at the }3Jit5 F*guro S, Sea* rt and cover it with
centre conductor- Do this careMly so Don't depeno on the heatshrirk for toalshrirw. Put a tie either side of the
you don't rtck the stranded centre
conductor wfre* Otherwise, later you
moy get o break in the centre
conductor, or a stray strand moy s/xxt
the joint ether way- your antenna wont
work property*
<ywm the ends of ol the elements
prepared os per Ague 4 row tin the
exposed cento conductor and shsetd
bccfcl on eoch Use a hot iroa preferably
o temperature controled type. A flat* attmnfe ona tbo joint of the
faced Cspode') ftp is best lex thb Job. feedpofott* mode ft* this
Apcty the tip to the part to be tinned

24 RADIO EXPERIMENTER'S HANDBOOK


though it's better to poy more and got
a ccble with the towest-loss feHden 9913
h the bos* c/ the flexible ncrf^ncn cables
around and stocked by t>ck Srrrth
rfs
Electronics You're next best choice
would be *RG213 foam: wt*ch is c*so
available from Dick Srriih Electrodes
vou most mount the cortneor we*
eleor of other vertical structures,
parlictforty if they're metalfcc The
antenna descbed is reodty mounted
on a standad IV chinney mount, or
even a borge-boara mount.

Performance
An eigh? element onay hke tr*$ rxa 9dB
ot Qor\ over o dpo*e Your K> watt rig
Aim You moke tho (youndpbne in thts manner Be sure to thoroughly
6. wil sound like an 80 wott rig on a Slim
seat the area of the exposed (you ot descried in tte text. jhx or like a lOO watt rg on a
groundpkme irs cheap golrt A
-
transistor poweramp to toke voir r*g*$
joint to secuefy to tho dowel
how teavxxafY ties and apply o little sfcoro output from K>W up to 80- or K)0
coax to the
rerrporarity tfc The seatant around the groundOane Joint. watts wil cost you S2 per won <y more.
Now.
(jowoi near the exposed sNe*d brad Whte the siicone is stili pta&nc, sip the So this ccwir>ear costs ctoout one* tenth
Tns wil secure wt*e you attach (ho
it two pieces of hoatshrtnk tubing atong the price c4 o power <yvc So. how
Qro^ndpane element* Position each to cover the groundptane jo rt and
f

much power wi it tofce*5 As much os


groundpane element on tho exposed oppty a blast of hot air. Afterwards, you re tegdly o*owed to tun \o the
brotf and sotior them in p*oce at r*ght cover the Jont thoroughv with slfcone iflck.'
sectant (you don't want water petting If you tve n a vaOev and hope lh*s
angles to each other loke care to
sotdor them propo*iy out not to nto the coax> an^enro wil got you out*, expect the
damage tho coax «mer (a hot on i
r
10 Put ties around the dowel and unexpected may make things worse
It

witho spade tip is best for trts> coax either Me


of the grouncptona because of its tow radiation angte The
then another tie a rttie below tno gain is ocNoved by compressing the
0) When the ]cnnt is cod take off the
grourxfcJon© to secure the 'fying ieod. verttea" icxSation angle try it. you it

leaving a stack kir*' in the cabte so that don't get the ^improvement expected
any tension is tokon by the bottom- chop off the top four elements and fry
PARTS LIST most he agon. It sounds we*d but know of one t

Two metres of &G58CU (MOC-CT 19 Lost dl put some sort of cop


ol constructor who successMy performed
preferred) over The too end of the dowel and seel this operation, to his wptfw but not

500mm ol 96 <x 07mm it to prevent H weathering. A drnip

cjometei heatshfir* dowel degrados the coilnears I have made venous versions of
XX)mm of Wmm heats^nk performance, so use a rubber furniture aoax>c« colneors over the years, for
in^ne coox connecter to smT bung olthe right size* O. o short length both temporary, permanent and
(BNC suggested) of hootshrink tubing of the right portable appitcations A portable
80Omm ol IB gauge trned dometer. tied off and shrunk in place. coftnear b eas>y mode bv tvmg or
cocoft' wVe oi txazing rod Thai comctotos the coratructtofi Now toping the coox elements and lead
Two metre length of 127 mm or to erect it As indrvdual circi/Ttftances coOe to o length of hemp rcpe in use,
19mm dometer dowel vary widely, IK ]usi &vo <* rtn+s and the top end of the rope is tied off to
Ftve or s* caWe ftes tips somethng sutabte. *e o tree branch
Sicone sealant The tohem ©rva ot The dowel can be or other fc/rn of 'skyhook*, ona the
SokJOr ctamped to the top of a most us>^g bottom erxJ a either tied ctown or
I
Qutocxy wood ston or inseed ort
hose or muffler clamps that ore weflhted so that the array u hew
I
tightened with o worm -drive vertCal lAfhen no* «n use. jost rol it up
mechorism. Use two clomps spaced I've made four-element coax
Todi^ you'llTneed aoarta little to fxeperry support the colineois for 2m. both *hxed* and
Sharp penknife or 'hot*/ knle dowel portable versions, an eight-element
Sharp, pointed sidecutters The feedine from yojr co'bnocr to cenire-ted hor^onlal mcrater some 15
So*denng iron, pfeferabty your ng stouid be a good quatty, »ow- metres long for ?*x metres> ona LIHF
temperature controlled loss coax. The k»ge diameter -hdf.inetv versons ronging from a four-element
l shrft ng sparine variety is readily available, and job for mobilo use to o to elomonl
>f neede-TOse affo-dobie for these frequencies. phdK; symbol nearly four metres to* •

RADiO EXPERIMENTER'S HANDBOOK 26