WB3AAL's Butternut HF9V Project

Update 18 November 2012

 

Hello,

Today we had a very nice day in Eastern PA to do work on my Butternut HF9V. I removed most of the decorative stone that covers the DX Engineering radial plate. It looks like the day I first made all my connections to the radial plate. I then turned my HF9V antenna 90 degrees so that the 75 ohm matching coax is coming straight out of the PVC conduit to my connections. I did this because the 75 ohm matching coax was coming out of the conduit and doing a 90 degree turn. Over time the coax insulation would crack and break open. The final look of the base of my HF9V. I still want to find a black bucket or something to place over the base of the vertical to keep the snow off the Q coil in the winter time.

73

Ron de WB3AAL

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November 12, 2012

Hello,

I wanted to do some work on my ground mounted Butternut HF9V base, click on the link to see the picture. As you can see I had to do some weed pulling and raise up the stone with sand. I first ran a new coax out with a new 75 ohm matching coax. I cleaned up the connections with steel wool and placed electrical joint compound on the clean connections. I did clean the stone away from a quarter of the DX Engineering radial plate to see what everything looked like since May 2006. The connection on the plate look like they did when I buried them six years ago. This is a closer look at the connections. I want to get more stone to place down in the circle. I plan to take all the stone off the plate to inspect all my radial connections, I will take pictures. This is the final look after the weed pulling was completed. Note: I do not want to use weed killer on or around the antenna. My garden is located close to the antenna and I am not a big fan of pesticides. My connection between my coax run and 75 ohm matching coax looked clean and dry. I wrapped it with 3M electrical tape. The barrel was clean and dry. Wished I used 1 1/2" or 2" PVC conduit when I placed it into the ground. I have 1" PVC conduit in the ground and it is a little tight in the 90 degree bends.

73 Ron de WB3AAL

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May 2006

Hello,

I finally had a chance to pin down all my radials into the grass. Now I have all 120 radials at 66 feet long in place and the antenna tuned for the CW portion of the band. Some of the radials are shorter due to the house and the neighbors yard, but they are no shorter than 23 feet long. I used the DX Engineering Stainless Radial Plate and their Radial Wire Staples to hold the radials in place. My yard use to be an orchard back in the early 60's and they just cut the trees down and covered with dirt. So the ground is very un-even. I used a total of 1200 radial staples to hold everything down. I paid special attention to the area close to my neighbor's yard. All radials have a lug crimped to the end and soldered. When all radials were in place and tighten on to the plate, I took clear acrylic spray and coated the plate and the wires with the lugs. Since I am a QRP'er I tried to tune the antenna for the QRP calling frequencies. I used a MFJ Antenna Analyzer, MFJ-269. It took me a while to space all the radials. The best way was the KISS method. I placed four main radials and then split the difference and laid more radials down.

During my earlier test I could not tune the 10 meter section to where I would like the SWR's. I took off the 6 meter and 160 meter section of the antenna. I now have the antenna tuned to where I would like it to be. I even dressed the base up a little to make it more appealing when you look at the antenna.

HF9V Base  HF9V View  HF9V Radials that you can't see in the grass

80 Meters  40 Meters  30 Meters

20 Meters  17 Meters  15 Meters

12 Meters  10 Meters

Please feel free to ask me any questions via e-mail. I am sure I forgot to write something in the report. Check back later for an update. I plan on taking out the RG-8U coax and placing 9913 coax in line sometime in June, my coax is ran underground in 1" PVC.

73 Ron de WB3AAL

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January 2006

Hello,

Since my posting back on May 2005 I took the radials off the grass due to having to cut the stuff. Never got a chance to burry them into the ground. Back in October 2005 I placed the 160 meter coil on the antenna. I took it off today, 28 January 2006. The coil changed the SWR's and bandwidth on the other bands. I only had the 8 radials down but the bandwidth on 160 meters did not justify the coil being on the antenna. I know that I should have more radials down.

I placed more radials on the grass today. I laid out another 9 radials at 60', 2 radials at 22', 2 radials at 25', 1 radial at 38', 1 radial at 40' and 1 radial at 45'. What is the reason for the short radials? Where the antenna sits to the house and to the neighbors property I placed short straight radials. I did not want to bend them because I plan on placing more radials on the ground. I also am buying a DX Engineering SS Radial Plate to place in the ground. It is becoming harder to place more radials on the antenna.

Anyway, here are my reading for now. When I receive the radial plate I plan to burry the radials and place more down in the ground. Then I might play more with the 160 meter coil before I sell the coil.

80 Meters   40 Meters   30 Meters   20 Meters

17 Meters   15 Meters   12 Meters   10 meters

6 Meters

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Hello, well I finally got some time to play around with the antenna and radials. I added eight 60' radials to the existing eight that are in the ground. The day is dry and we have not had any rain for a while. My SWR's have changed since my original readings back in Sept. 2004. Look below for the Sept. 2004 readings.

I took SWR's readings before I placed the eight new radials on the ground.

All readings were taken on 14 May 2005 which was a dry day.

80 Meters    40 Meters    30 Meters    20 Meters

17 Meters    15 Meters    12 Meters    10 Meters

6 Meters

SWR's readings after I placed the eight new radials on the ground, they are on the grass right now, total of sixteen radials. I will take other readings when I place them in the ground.

80 Meters    40 Meters    30 Meters    20 Meters

17 Meters    15 Meters    12 Meters    10 Meters

6 Meters

My resonant frequency has moved up the band and the bandwidth is sharper. I will have to think about if I want to place any more radial down or even place this set in the ground.

Lot Layout

I am thinking of not angling my radials out on the short ends. I just might cuts them short to fit the lot size.

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September 2004

Since moving to a new QTH in June of 2004 I have been planning my antenna farm. The first antenna I placed up in the 120' x 40' yard was a portable vertical that I use on the Appalachian Trail. I did not operate with the antenna, I just erected to see what comments I would get from neighbors. I did make around 30 QSO's with the antenna. No complaints of TVI or any interference. This was a good sign. A few neighbors did ask me what it was for and I told them. I said to let me know if they ever have any interference. Since a TV was about 10' away while I was transmitting with a clean picture, I knew I was going to be ok.

So that is when I purchased a New Butternut HF9VX antenna. I proceed to dig the grass up where I was going to place the antenna. It took me a little while to get the antenna up since I was very busy with other things at the QTH. When I finally had the antenna up the neighbor that is adjacent to the yard did make one comment. She told me that she likes the new shinny antenna better than the old black one. Wow, that made me happy.

I plan on doing extensive testing on the antenna. This will be the very first time in my 29 years as a ham that I actually have a vertical ground mounted. Check out my old QTH antennas. You can see I packed a lot of stuff up on that flat roof. My old Butternut HF9VX was mounted at 35' with elevated radial system. I could work any DX or State side stations that I would hear. So this is the reason for this web page and my testing. Hope this helps anyone that is interested in verticals.

I did do a lot of reading on radial systems for verticals. The best one that helped me a lot was printed back in QST's July 1971 issue. "The Ground-Image Vertical Antenna" written by Jerry Sevick, W2FMI, can be found on the ARRL's web site in pdf format. So on with the test, remember this is only a test.

 

Equipment:    Butternut HF9VX                      Coax:    75 Ohm Coax Stub (Stock with antenna)

                    MFJ-269 SWR Analyzer                        40 feet RG8U Coax

 

I drove a short piece of PVC pipe into the ground that was just a little larger that the mounting pole of the HF9VX. This way I can pull everything out if needed. I drove a 8' ground rod into the area of the antenna and connected it with #4 AWG solid wire. I tuned the antenna the best I could which was not very efficient without radials. I did not bother to take any SWR reading across the bands. I made a small error when I first erected the antenna and placed my first set of radials down on the ground. I got on the air as soon as I re-tuned the antenna. I placed eight 60' long radials on the ground in the NNE to SSW direction. They were #12 THHN AWG solid wire with sheathing still in place. I did not purchase or make a grounding plate. I used Brundy Crimp Lugs on a group of four wires and placed them onto the base of the antenna. At first I was using a mechanical lug that was a screw type fastener. When I changed over to the crimp lugs the change in SWR was unbelievable. Poor connections was the main problem. I worked the following stations with my K2 at 5 watts output.

Station Time UTC Freq. MHz RST Sent RST Received
OM3SEM 23:34 10.111 579 579
G3HGE 22:15 14.021 599 569
TI8/DL4MO 21:44 14.011 599 599
VK6HD 22:58 10.104 599 569
SP6IEQ 21:30 14.011 599 569
FP/NN9K 10:37 10.116 599 599
LA6UH 21:10 14.013 589 449
G2AFV 22:57 10.105 559 559

Not bad for just playing around. Unfortunately I had to cut the grass so I had to pull up the radials. I tried to lay them down in the grass but that did not work. I have a flat shovel and that would not cut the grass. The grass is so tight that I have very few weeds. I found out that the grass is Zoysia. I went to Lowe's and purchased an edger that has a shape knife blade on the bottom of a plat with a holding bar. It cut the grass fine but needs to be sharpened after planting the 8 radials. I made a cut and laid the wire only about 1/8 to 1/4" below the dirt surface. I also used 9/16" wire staples for house wiring to hold everything into the dirt. I also ran my coax in 1" PVC conduit under ground. I took some readings on 27 Sept. 2004 and found that the SWR's on the entire antenna changed to out of band. It actually made the band width wider but it also lowered resonant frequency out of the bands. So after spending most of the day re-tuning the antenna I came up with the following SWR readings.

All readings were taken on 27 Sept. 2004 which was a dry day.

80 Meters    40 Meters    30 Meters    20 Meters

17 Meters    15 Meters    12 Meters    10 Meters

6 Meters

The weather on 28 Sept. 2004 is heavy rain and the SWR's did not change. If anything the band width is a little larger. I am very happy with the reading so far. I still have to play around with 17 m, 15 m and 10m to bring the resonant frequency into the CW QRP frequency area. The resonant frequency is there for the bands, I just need to make a minor change to raise it. It is around 00:30 UTC and I need to shower. I might see what I can work on the bands if I am not too sleepy.

I plan on having a total of 40 radials. I am going to be adding them in a group of eight radials at a time. The next set with be laid down in the NNW to SSE direction. I plan on taking the SWR readings again and making another post. So stay tuned, I can be a fanatic with antennas.

 

 

72 Ron de WB3AAL

Last updated on 18 November 2012 @ 20:00 UTC