I’ve been thinking of a way to use a cheap homemade center insulator for elevated Verticals, and think I may have found an easy solution to an excellent DX antenna (short of having something expertly 3d printed!). I’ve had great success with elevated verticals with one or just a couple radials elevated over the ground about 5-10 feet in the air. Elevated verticals allow you to do away with ridiculous amounts of radials underneath a typical ‘ground-mounted’ vertical. This antenna does circles around my Hustler 6 band trap vertical. The components I used to create the Vertzilla antenna using the tripod, shock cord whip, choke balun, Buddipole Versatee, etc. were expensive components. The idea was to create the same kind of antenna but using a telescopic pole instead of the tripod using nothing but an SO-239 connector, some wire, and some simple hardware. I chose 22awg wire to keep the antenna as light as possible. Total cost was $8
There are other center insulators out there on the market like the Budwig center insulator (pictured above) that might work just as well (but will cost you $20). I wanted to be able to attach it to the telescopic pole to keep it secure, and figured why not just drill a hole through the center of a piece of cutting board, and use that? Total cost was about $10 to make this antenna, versus the nearly $350 that I paid to setup the same kind of antenna on a tripod. It’s so lightweight, I plan on making one for every band. You could even attach terminals to the disc below so that you could attach different lengths of radials & vertical elements on the same center insulator, but that adds just a pinch of weight. I attach my radials to whatever is available! If there’s nothing to attach them to, then you can use electric fence posts like pictured below ($1.99 from Tractor Supply).
I enjoy monoband antennas immensely – they are so easy to adjust & trim. They offer performance like no other antenna that I’ve used before, short of using a 2 element beam! No lossy matching units, no retuning, and a low angle of radiation? What’s not to like!? The antenna is very close to 50 ohms when elevated as well. This antenna is actually recommended in the ARRL antenna book as a great portable antenna option. Don’t have a telescopic pole? Change the center insulator up a bit and hoist it up in a tree, you might need to find something to provide a strain relief for the coax though, especially if you need an air wound choke (I’ve never needed a choke for elevated verticals though).
Prefer more radials? Not a problem, just drill some more holes around the disc and spread them out. I chose 2 as a ‘satisfying compromise’. Deploying more radials in a portable environment can become quite cumbersome. Depending on what time of day it is determines where I point my radials. Now if I were to deploy this antenna at home? I’d definitely throw at least 4 radials underneath to ensure a more omnidirectional radiation pattern. With 2 radials it will have slight directivity in the direction of the radials. If you don’t have anything to attach the telescopic pole to, not to worry, these poles are usually self supporting if they are guyed well. I can usually avoid guys though by attaching to a fence post or the like.
DX is tough right now at this point in the solar cycle… and I guess you could say I’m trying to use the right tools to maximize my chances of those far off contacts. Getting a dipole flat topped at the right height can be difficult sometimes resulting in quite the cloud burner. Experience has shown me that this antenna reaches out just a bit further (even more so if you’re at the beach!).