The story behind the card #29 Louis Varney G5RV

G5RV and his eponymous antenna design is well remembered world wide,  and I am proud to have met and chatted with him more than twenty years ago at a 60 year celebration party held by the late Arthur Milne  G2MI  R.L. Varney A.M.I.E.E. was a professional radio engineer and systems planner employed by the Marconi Company Ltd.   He obtained an Artificial Aerial Licence (call 2arv)  in 1927 and became G5RV early in 1929 when living in Sunbury-on-Thames.

I have one of his early QSL cards that he sent to G5JO for a contact in April 1929 when using just 4 watts on the forty metre band.   His employment resulted in some remarkable ‘globe trotting’  and he lived and worked in at least 56 countries holding a great range of callsigns including VP4RV, VP5RV, VP6RV, VP7RV, PJ5AA, PJ5CA, PX1RV, EP2RV, ON8RV, 9Y4RV, 8P6DF, VK9LV, YJ8RV, FO0RV, PY1ZAR, TU4AJ etc.

In 1957 when working in Venezuela Louis succeeded in obtaining a “Vacation Licence” from the Director of Communications of the Netherlands Antilles.  This was the first licence to be granted to a non-resident foreign amateur and led to inter-Governmental discussions in 1964 and ‘65 which eventually culminated in the widespread introduction of reciprocal licensing agreements between the UK, USA and many other administrations.

This was published in the RSGB Bulletin for July 1953 and was a breakthrough with its innovative anti-TVI circuitry and construction.

It helped me and many others combat the TVI menace through the 50s and 60s.

Louis always freely admitted that his multi-band antenna design was far from ideal and instead he advised the use of a twin tuned line all the way from the antenna centre and an ATU.   My experiences with the original G5RV revealed the antenna’s shortcomings, and my advice is to ignore the commercially advertised models and do not waste your time and money making a home-brew version.

The G5RV antenna was designed for 75 ohm coax in 1946 and even when constructed correctly will show dreadful SWR measurements on most amateur bands.   Much of the radiation, because of mismatch at the junction of the balanced line and the coax comes from the vertical feeder wires and cable.

I know some folk swear that a G5RV gets them S9s on 40 or eighty over the UK and near Europe but so will a few feet of properly matched wire in your loft if it is correctly tuned and matched.   How many Contest stations or Expeditions have you come across that were using G5RVs ?   I shall not draw details of the G5RV but instead its high performance, all-band re-placement, the humble Doublet.

John Heys G3BDQ – March 2006.

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Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa