That was the exact response I got from a ham whom I had just met about a year ago during my first NPOTA outing. I had brought my HyEndFed (Classic 4 bander – 100 watts) & my Chameleon F Loop out to Lyndon B. Johnson National Park to attempt an NPOTA activation, and as I was setting up, there was another radio group there having a get together and a gentleman walked up and asked me where the other half of the HyEndFed was! I had to explain to him the sort of wizardry & trickery (well I’m sure its a bit scientific – let me be creative here) that was occurring inside of the ‘transmatch box’ at the end of the antenna where the feed point was. He was absolutely baffled! I was shocked to say the least, a guy that’s been a ham for 20 years that’s never heard of the End-Fed antenna? I’m guessing this particular ham doesn’t hang out much online, if he did, he would most certainly see them mentioned as their popularity is ever so increasing (probably due to the influx of people to the cities). If you don’t think the ‘end-fed’ antenna is a popular one, go checkout how many views my End-Fed Configuration poll has over on eHam!
The ‘Longwire’ has some unique characteristics that I really like, such as being broadbanded, easy to deploy, easy to packup, and there are probably a hundred different configurations they can be put in. My favorite though tends to be the classic ‘Sloper’ with the feed point located on the ground. This can sometimes help if there are any nulls towards the horizon on say a full wave end fed. The end fed can be easily assembled according to the popular EFHW design from EARCHI, or you can buy one from many different antenna makers. I’ve experimented mainly with ones from LNR EndFedz, Chameleon, & HyEndFed. I’m going to continue my use of longwires because, as many of you, I’m in a tight situation on a city lot. (That’s hopefully changing soon though! Move is forthcoming and on the horizon!). There are end feds with no counterpoise terminal (which use the coax as your counterpoise), and there are those with, that allow the attachment of counterpoise wires). My experience has led me to believe that the counterpoise terminal is useful to have so you can at least have the option of diverting the current away from the coax shield. In a way, to me anyways, an End Fed that has the counterpoise terminal becomes sort of a vertical, but I think unless you have a proper radial field underneath, using just one or even a few counterpoise wires, keeps it classified as an end fed(?). Suppose it would also depend on the configuration, and I’ve usually never been able to get anything over 30 feet vertical.
The only longwire I have to play with anymore is the LNR EndFedz 10-20-40 (pictured above). Its original wire with loading coil has since been destroyed, which I’m glad, because the loading coil was too heavy for a telescopic pole to hold up, and it always got snagged and bunched up in the trees. Over on LNR’s website though, they’re nice enough to let you know that alternate lengths of wire will work with this matchbox! Awesome! Since this antenna is only rated for 25 watts, I want it to be as efficient as possible. I’ll primarily be using this antenna to compare it to other wire antennas, and even the loop! Why? These are all popular antennas among folks who live in situations like I do, so I want to do as much fiddling, tweaking, experimenting, and crazy science projects that I can with antennas like these! Even if one day I do put up a beam (its inevitable you know!), i’ll never stray from wire antennas, because its important to show folks new to the hobby that you can easily work distances upto 5,000 miles with a wire antenna. The longwire is no exception, if installed correctly…. by that I mean using either the correct length of coax as a counterpoise or by attaching counterpoise wires to your feedpoint. I’ve never had issues in a 100 watt setup using an average length of 50 feet of coax with common mode current, some say 75′ is best, others suggest less. It’s a good thing I have many different lengths to experiment with! Longwires are also popular with SDR folks, imagine how portable a small SDR unit & a longwire is with a laptop? Would make for a really neat setup to experiment with ‘RF noise’ and experimenting with how far away you have to get away from all the madness to drop your noise level!
I happened to have some leftover bare flexweave wire laying around from the OCF I made for Winter Field Day, around 65′ long, I threw a terminal connector on the wire, a wire ferrule on the end with a DX Engineering insulator (these things are great!) and connected it to the LNR matchbox.
Threw it up in an Inverted V with the 31′ Jackite Pole – and immediately attained excellent results on 40 meters – no trimming! 15 meters was also acceptable, with an SWR of 1.5.
The numbers were a tad higher on 20 meters. With an SWR of 2.3 and |Z| of 91 ohms. Though it was a bit more broadbanded in the 20 meter portion, these numbers aren’t too horrible, I may just end up nipping just a bit off the wire to see if I can get 20 meters more in line. I have so much leftover wire from projects, literally a garbage bag full of wire! Rather than toss the scrap, I’m going to make a perfect length for each band, unless I can find lengths that work perfect in more than one band! I’m using the University of Delaware Website “Random Wire Antenna Lengths” as a reference.
This LNR matchbox is advertised to cover from 60 meters to 10 meters. Would definitely be a great option to explore the 60 meter band as well, considering I have no antenna for that band (though my LDG KT-100 will tune my Hustler 6BTV for 60m). I have since sold my other end-feds capable of 100w or more, but now I’ve got the itch to build one with one (or more) attachments for counterpoise wires. Usually the fun part is finding the housing unit, and I’ve got some ideas in mind other than your typical plastic boxes from Home Depot or Lowes. Sometimes I wish I had a 3D printer! Oh the things I would make!
So don’t dismiss this antenna! Still a great option – and I know of radio ops that use them and get DX on a DAILY basis! Though I quickly started noticing, that as I started to add that ‘other half’ of the antenna that guy was talking about, it resulted in a bit better performance. But not so great that I would permanently discount the longwire, just like i’ll never discount the magnetic loop antenna, each antenna has its place and application. Deploying a dipole, or OCF, or any other wire antenna that requires multiple attachment points can be daunting sometimes especially in a portable situation, worse yet if you have nothing to attach to. With a simple telescoping pole, you can be in business with an end fed!
More to come on experimenting with longwires! I’m only limited by the amount of wire I have – (which is about 2,000 feet!) Say What?!
Oh… I almost forgot… Happy World Radio Day 2017!