Let's Build Antennas!
When it comes to getting the most enjoyment out of Amateur Radio, there is nothing more important than your antenna system. You can purchase the best ham transceiver on the planet, but if your antenna system is poor, you're not getting the full benefit of your investment.
When you think of an antenna, what sort of image appears in your mind? Do you see a gleaming steel tower, majestically supporting huge rotating antennas? That’s the vision most of us conjure. The radio tower is an ancient icon in our hobby. It symbolizes the art and mystery of radio itself.
But ham antennas come in almost every design imaginable. Some are little more than strands of finely tuned wire. Others are thorny javelins of polished metal. Some sit atop towers. Others don’t. Some look like monstrous spider webs, while others are modern-art sculptures of aluminum tubing.
Each antennas represents a compromise between dozens of different variables, like forward gain, elevation angle, front-to-back ratio, size, cost, ease-of-construction, availability of materials, VSWR bandwidth, appearance, and so on.
Many presentations at our club meetings revolve around antennas and antenna building. Some members go for the "build it now" approach, while others like to experiment with modelling antennas using (often free) computer programs in the hopes of design that perfect antenna for their needs.
Have a question about an antenna? Ask on the club Google group.