Antennas – a primer
If you are going to a be a radio amateur you’ll need an antenna, otherwise it is going to be a very quiet and lonely hobby indeed!
The antenna is perhaps the most crucial element in any radio station. If your antenna isn’t efficient it doesn’t matter what radio you hook up to the other end. Yet antennas do not need to be large and expensive to perform well.
While a multi-element beam on a high tower in an ideal location is the dream of most hams, few of us are in the position to be able to erect such a system. For most of us, our antennas need to be more modest.
Typical UK gardens are not usually very large, and the visual impact of the antenna often needs to be considered. This limits the size and type of any antenna that you can erect.
But don’t worry, simple antennas can still be very effective and let you make good contacts around the world when conditions are right.
So let’s have a look at some of the more common antennas, most of which you can build yourself.
But first, and before you do anything else, we should take a closer look at antenna safety.