The Evolution of the G3BDQ Grounded Antenna – by John Heys

Part 1. The Mark II Antenna Fig.1.

My article in the February 1964 “RSGB Bulletin” (now RadCom) described a grounded quarter wave vertical for use on the 80 metre band, and it was reproduced in the Hastings Radio Club magazine “Vital Spark” in February 2010.

In the early 1980’s I decided to spend some time during the winter months CW DXing on 160 metres, but after some time using my end fed horizontal wire found it difficult to contact stations outside Europe. I experimented with different wire lengths (between 150 and 220 ft) but eventually concluded that I needed some vertically polarised radiation. At my new QTH in Guestling I at first just had a 35 ft pole (later raised to 50 ft), and used it to hold up my end-fed wire which had its final thirty odd feet dropping down vertically to a group of three earth rods. These were five foot lengths of 2 inch diameter aluminium tubing (see Fig.1).

g3bdq-vertical-grounded-antenna-p1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early tests on 1.8 MHz showed that I could now have North American QSOs, and a few contacts with stations in Africa and Asia (on CW). This early version if a grounded wire was matched to the transceiver with my ATU, and I quickly discovered that the antenna could be used effectively on all the bands from 1.8 to 30 MHz. To achieve greater of efficiency I eventually raised a 5O ft mast, and the longer vertical section of the antenna then proved better than the shorter length, but was of course still ‘ short‘ when compared with a full sized quarter wave vertical on 160 metres, which would need a 130 plus feet of mast height. This early version of the grounded wire enabled my working much DX and a DXCC on the 1.8 MHz band in March 1987. In the October of that year we experienced the “Great Storm” which brought down the 50 footer which was never replaced, and since then I have had to make do with only a bent 35 ft of tubing.

If a metal pole is to be used with antennas of this type the vertical down-wire must be spaced at least 20 ft from it.

John Heys G3BDQ from Vital Spark July 2010.

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