Mike's Zero-Five 43' Vertical Page

Last updated 12/03/08



I'll make this disclaimer at a personal level before we get started. 

I  don't actually think it matters if your vertical comes from Zero-Five (05), DX Engineering (DXE), or if you build your own from scrap aluminum you picked up from the recycle yard. If you choose a package from a commercial source you have the benefit of nicely milled, TIG welded, solidly constructed, matching piece parts, complete unit, but you will pay a price. As far as performance goes, my gut and experience tells me "it just doesn't matter"! 43 foot worth of aluminum pipe sections stacked up and worm clamped together are all pretty much the same. 

So this is NOT an advertisement for any given mfg. it just happens that I bought stuff from these various places. I'm not a big believer in "snake oil" claims like you tend to see in any hobby, like in the audiophile world where they sell "100% oxygen free copper wire for speaker cables at $20/foot". Good sound electrical engineering practice wins every time.... 

Additionally, you may believe verticals suck in general, trapped verticals are the only way to go, dipoles, G5RVs, Carolina Windoms, end fed Zepps, or whatever... are the only antenna of choice. That's fine! 

Here's my philosophy, Live and let Live. To each his own. Everyone has an opinion. It just so happens I tried a 43 foot vertical. I have no religious belief regarding any antenna whatsoever, and as an engineer and experimenter will try anything once. So this is a chronicle of, experiences regarding, and lessons learned from this particular project. 

If you have constructive comments, or observations, GREAT! If you want to get into some deep, dark, philosophical, religious, flame war.... Save it for someone who cares! In this hobby we seem to find way too many reasons to gripe, moan, and argue about EVERYTHING, and very little just exchanging technical info. and ideas.

My .02 ...... flames > /dev/null

Mike - N3EAQ - n3eaq@n3eaq.net


I decided to write up this page to help other folks in the planning, installation, and debugging of 43' vertical antennas for amateur radio use. This project has been going on from 5/07 until 11/08 since my goal was to do things 100% by the book and ultimately have a vertical installation that would:

  1. Last a very long time,

  2. Have the best possible transceive characteristics, and low take off angle for DX,

  3. Will accept legal limit power from my Alpha Amp on General HF SSB -OR-  The BC-1H AM Broadcast Xmitter on 160M,

  4. Be unobtrusive for all the HOA Nazis in the neighborhood!  

So, with the intention of passing on what I've done and learned over the last 18 months.... Here we go!

History of the Antenna, Parts List, Getting together what's needed from where......

I bought the piece parts for the antenna itself from Tom, A9KW, of Zero-Five Antennas (05) around 5/24/07. The Vertical includes a mounting plate that couples the antenna to the post in the ground (see picture), and allows you to raise and lower the vertical as needed, 2 bundles of aluminum tubing that make up the vertical sections of the antenna, stainless steel worm clamps to hold the sections together, and misl. mounting hardware. 

The base with the 1st antenna section and balun attached, looks something like this...

On 5/25/2007 I bought the associated AS-200-T Balun (more on this later!) from Bob Naumann, W5OV, of Array Solutions (AS). This includes the balun that was recommended for the installation (at that time) by both AS & 05. The kit includes a torroidal 5Kw, 4:1, W2FMI Type 200:50 ohm balun in a weather proof plastic (NEMA type) case, with all stainless mounting hardware (HW). Also included in the package is an aluminum mounting plate, mounting screws, and a clamp to affix the unit to the antenna/pole. (We'll talk more about the balun and feeding of your vertical later!)

The balun w/out mounting plate, out of the box, looks something like this...

Much of the other hardware Items I needed I picked up from DX Engineering on 6/12/2007. I also picked up the radial wire on Ebay, and the "terminal lugs" at the local hamfest, and other misl. items at the local Home Depot. Your sources may vary, but here's a shopping list of other "Things You'll Need", or at least what "I" wanted. Need is a matter of opinion <grin> since I admit this installation is "by the book", and most will say "overkill":

Penetrox A Anti-Oxidant - 8 oz Squeeze Bottle - DXE-P8A


Used between the antenna sections before clamping

Use Penetrox A electrical joint compound to affect a substantial electrical connection between metal parts such as telescoping aluminum tubing or other antenna pieces. Assures high conductivity at all voltage levels by displacing moisture and preventing corrosion or oxidation.

Radial Plate, Stainless Steel w/ 20 Sets of SS Radial Attachment Hardware - DXE-RADP-1P


Clamped to pole that is mounted in the ground to attach radial system to. You'll need to pick up 40 MORE SS nuts & bolts too, so that you have 1 for all 60 holes.

Radial Wire Metal Anchor Pins, 300/pack - DXE-STPL-300P - AND - Radial Wire (Ebay)


Staples are used to hold the radials to the surface of the ground. No digging or burying required!

Radial Steel Wire Anchor Pins are perfect for fastening radials below the grass line to eliminate the risk of damaging your radials during lawn maintenance. If you want to save money, but increase the time spent on the project. I also went to Home Depot and purchased 2 x 100' rolls of "bailing, or fence wire" and made my own staples from this (Thank you N3VNG for this cost saving idea!). At $16.00 for 200' it's not a bad deal, if you want to spend a few hours rolling your own staples.

The Radial Wire should be #14 AWG copper Stranded and Shielded! I used 600v "automotive wire" that I purchased in bulk off of EBay. Good deals can be had in "spool ends" at 500' and more quantities! I bought enough wire for 120 x 43' radials, that's 5160 FEET of wire (almost a mile!). You do not NEED this much, but that is the "optimal" amount. (see theory below) 

Terminal Lugs from the local hamfest


Large enough "eyes" to fit the SS hardware provided w/ the ground plate. Large enough crimp sleeve to accommodate TWO #14 wires twisted together.

2X 8' copper clad ground rods, mounting clamps and ground cables X3 - Home Depot


The above pictures are "approximate". ADDITIONALLY while at Home Depot pick up your 2" x 8' Aluminum mounting post to be driven or cemented into the ground!

**OPTIONAL PARTS "I" Chose to use! You may decide to go with less expensive parts!**

8 Port RF Antenna Switch, 5kW Key-Down Rated, with CC-8 Controller - DXE-RR8-HP-P

  Mounted outside the house between the shack & the antenna. Feeds to all my HF antennas from this point and a single feed back to the shack.

Not required, but handy if you have more than 1 HF antenna, and don't want a slug of cables feeding back into the shack. Also since I opted for hardline, it allows ALL the antennas to have the benefit of H/L from the switch point back to the Xcvr. I used some 8 conductor LVDC alarm cable I had on hand for the controller to unit cabling. Most folks just buy (or grab some scrap) Cat 5 cable for that run.

Andrew FSJ4-50B 1/2" "super-flex" cable w/ Andrew 44ASP UHF Connectors (4x)

Not required, but will give absolute MINIMUM loss in your system! Yep, it's OVERKILL on HF. Be aware that the 44ASP UHF connectors are discontinued by Andrew and are almost impossible to find! You almost NEVER see them on EBay, some places have them as NOS on their shelves but you will pay from $35 to $55 PER CONNECTOR! You may want to consider using N connectors!

NOW you have everything you need to start building your 43' Vertical Antenna!!!

Vertical Antenna Theory & Practice:

Continued on a separate page see link below

I'm Not going to re-write the book here, but rather republish a lot of excellent information from other sources available on the net. With credit, of course, to the original authors & sites.




First, here's the "quick" version for the attention span limited :-) . 

It's on a pole that is sunk 6' into my God-awful rock-clay soil. with 2' above ground to clamp the antenna to.
It's in the middle of the back yard about 75' from any structure, tree, or other obstruction.
I've got a DX-Eng. Stainless ground plate mounted to the pole, about an inch above the soil, with 120 ~43' radials extending from the 60 hole plate.
The radials are crimped, and soldered onto lugs, that are bolted to the plate with SS hardware, 2 wires per lug, and the wires are #14 AWG shielded, stranded wire, mostly bought bulk off of EBay as leftover "Automotive 600V Wire". 

The radials are fairly evenly spaced around the pole in a wagon wheel arrangement. I also have an 8' ground rod driven in at the plate, and connected to it w/ heavy cable.
I'm using an Array Solutions 5Kw, 4:1, Current Balun, mounted to the pole, and connected to the antenna's + and - points with the provided jumpers (looks like a #18 or 20 wire w/ lugs). I also have a heavy cable connecting the - point of the antenna to the ground plate to be sure the only path to the radial plate and ground rod is not the clamps to the pole. 

I'm feeding this whole deal with 1/2 inch Andrew hardline from the shack to the antenna, with only a DX-Eng. 8-pole, external coax switch mounted roughly in the middle. (one of the positions of the switch has RG214 going to the Alpha-Delta, and another has the remaining hardline, buried, going to the vertical). I also have another 8' ground rod driven in at the coax switch and cabled to it for safety. 

I've swept the line from my shack with my TDR and it look 100%. I see the tiny bump @ the coax switch, and then the balun/antenna. and a beautiful flat line everywhere else! It does indeed load everywhere with 0 issues. I use my Elecraft K3 as the transceiver at the end of the coax, and have an Andrew copper ground bus that ties all equipment in the shack together and to RF ground.

The Gory Details, for those with time on their hands!

OK, Here we go with the construction details. (pictures at the end) 


First order of business was selecting a spot in the yard for the antenna. I have a fairly large back yard, but it has a lot of trees and bushes in it. I pulled out my handy 100í tape measure, unreeled 50í worth of tape, and looked for the spot, closest to the center of everything that had the least amount of trees, bushes, shrubs, or other obstructions within a 50í radius. With that spot found, I made a spray paint spot on the grass, and went looking for my sledge hammer, and the 2Ē x 8í mounting pole.

(Mounting Pole - Mast)

Many folks have lent advise as to the best way to drive this into the ground. Every suggestion from a post hole auger, to my power washer shoved down the pipe to power away the ground as I drove in the pole. Note that I have very hard clay, rocky, poor soil, with very little top soil. Perhaps 2 inches worth, yech! Thus I expected putting the pole in the ground was going to be a real chore. However, I simply laid a 2Ēx4Ē board scrap over the end of the pole, to protect the end from damage, had my wife hold it straight, and pounded away with the sledge. In no time at all I had 6í worth in the ground and 2í (24Ē) sticking out, ready for me to start mounting things.  

(Mounting to the Pole)

First to mount was the ground radial plate. I allowed about an inch, or so, of space between the plate and the ground, and tightened the clamp to the pole. Donít get too carried away with the tightening and deform the shape of the pole by over tightening.  

Next, slide the antenna base/mounting section onto the pole, and tighten it into place. I allowed 3 or 4 inches between the radial plate and the antenna base section. And there was still about 4 inches of pole sticking above the top of the antenna base.  

(Assembly of the Vertical)

I then assembled the vertical itself. Laying out each section on the ground and arranging them in size by descending diameter order. Then taking the smallest section first, coating the lower end with Penetrox thoroughly (I use my fingers), then slide it into the next larger section to the mark provided by the mfg. and finally tightened the clamps, with a screw or nut driver, until well hand tight. (donít use your electric drill, or impact wrench, youíll damage things.. good, solid, hand tight, is all you need!). Repeat this until you have no more sections left, and you have a 43í tapering rod completed. Carefully maneuver the rod into position at the base and align the bottom (swivel or fulcrum) mount point. Insert the first attaching bolt and nut, and loosely screw together. CAREFULLY, walk the rod into the upright position and insert the upper bolt, fastening the rod to the base, and again loosely screw together. You should be able to do all this by yourself with no difficulty, but hey, a second person never hurts!  

(The Antenna Feed-point) - (SEE BALUN MOD. & FEED POINT COMMENTS BELOW)  

Attach the Balun ( or whatever you have decided to now use, after reading the feed point comments). I attached the AS-200-T balun to the mounting plate with the supplied screws, and then attached the assembly to the top of the mounting pole with the supplied clamp. This deviated from the recommended 05 instructions of mounting the balun to the bottom half of the base of the antenna (see the pic from earlier in this article). First, it seemed like a bit of a tight cluster to do it that way. Second, the supplied U-bolt was not of sufficient diameter to fit around that part of the antenna. Third, theoretically, the location of the balun makes no difference to operation, so why not put it where I did and make it easy to get to, and work on. Clear of the antenna itself?

The AS-200-T came supplied with 2 connection wires with lugs at each end, to connect the balun to the antenna itself. I connected one from the + side of the balun. (this is the SS bolt sticking out of the NEMA case with the red dot next to it) to the upper mount bolt of the vertical. (i.e., the 43' portion above the green insulator). The other wire went from the - side of the balun to the lower mounting bolt of the antenna (i.e., the grounded part of the system). I then tightened all bolts, nuts and hardware.

I'll discuss this further below, but in the long run I wound up needing to modify the supplied balun to make it an UN-UN. Also, I added some grounding leads in addition to what was in place. Also, I wound up disassembling the balun to antenna connections I just described and did some doctoring to these connection points. Read on for these details!

Finally, the wires that are supplied with the AS-200-T look to be about #16 or 18 AWG which seems a little light duty compared to the 5Kw capacity this unit is supposed to be handling. Also, my thinking is that if I'm running hardline, and using heavy duty everything, having the very last step be a little, tiny, thin, piece of #18 wire seems kinda dinky? I notice DXE sells tinned copper straps for use with their baluns and verticals. This makes a bit more sense to me. Especially when I remember back to my BE days where we fed our 1Kw carrier Xmitter to the tower base with a whomping big hunk of braided, copper strapping. I plan on swapping over to something a bit more substantial, such as what DXE is using (probably make my own), any day now.

(Cabling - Station Grounding)

I had picked up 200' of brand new Andrew FSJ4-50B on EBay a while back, and decided to use it to feed the vertical. I went on a internet hunt for the matching 44ASP UHF connectors, and finally found a fellow who had a bunch of NOS items on his shelf. I bought all he had for $35/connector. Why the UHF connectors? Well, all the equipment, from the Balun, to the coax switch, to the poly-phasers, to the rig were UHF connectors (i.e., PL259), so why go with N connectors, have to buy adapters for N to UHF, and ADD losses? I spent the shekels and got the UHF type hard line connectors, and went from there.

I dug a trench, about 4" deep from the base of the antenna to where I was going to mount the outdoor, DXE coax switch. I actually just used a hoe, and hacked my way the 75' from point A to point B. I added the ASP44 connectors as per the Andrew instructions (pretty easy actually!) laid out the cable, and covered it over.

I drove a section of old "Radio Shack" aluminum antenna mast into the ground, close to the house, and mounted the DXE coax switch onto it. I also drove another 8' ground rod in next to the switch and ran a ground cable to the switch/poly-phaser from the rod. (As a former BE, I still subscribe to "Radio-World" a GREAT newspaper for broadcast types. In the last few months they ran a series of articles about, "How to Ground Your Station". [ http://www.rwonline.com/pages/s.0047/t.15657.html  ]I used their recommendations. Since I remembered that this is was how we did things back in my BE days, and we weathered all the thunder-boomers without mishap, I figured it was the best practice for my humble set-up as well!) 

Anyway, the practice is as follows: Ground at the antenna, Ground at the entrance to the station (building), Ground all the station equipment to a common point, connect the electrical service ground to that common point, ground that point to the outside (entrance to the station) station ground.  (this is for lightening protection, not RF).

So that's what I have. All the equipment in the shack is chassis grounded to a copper bus plate. The copper bus plate is grounded to the cold water piping of the house (copper). The electrical main to the house is grounded to the cold water piping of the house. The cold water piping of the house (the common point) is grounded to a 8' rod just outside the back of the house, in series with a second 8' rod outside the back of the house (where my satellite dishes are grounded to), to a third 8' ground rod that is at the coax switch we were discussing. Finally, there are 2x 8' rods, in series,  in the front yard connected to the same cold water pipe (copper) that the back of the house is bonded to, as described above. Bottom line.... I get NO RF in or out of the house, no stray currents anywhere, and have never had any lightening issues. period. YEP, I'm a grounding freak.

I ran another section of hardline from the coax switch to the shack through the poly-phaser, and the 8 conductor control cable from the switch controller to the switch via the same path.

(Base Ground and Radials)

First order of business, and the MOST time consuming, is to make and lay down the radials! Don't expect to do this in a day. It took me months, AND the help of my In-Laws who were visiting us from Russia (and had nothing better to do while they were at home alone, and we were at work!) to finish the radial construction and laying down. From the mile of wire that was purchased from EBay I measured out and cut 240, 43' sections of #14, stranded, shielded copper wire. The lengths are approximate, but at a minimum, 43' each. The recommended varies from 43 up to 50 foot per radial. It's up to you. 

I then stripped the ends of 2 sections, twisted them together, crimped them onto a lug, soldered them in place, and moved to the next. Until I had 120 sets of radials. Off to the back yard we go! I bolted each set of radials to one of the available 60 holes that are cut into the perimeter of the DXE ground plate, using their SS nut, bolt, washer, lock washer, and star washer combo. I then took one of the DXE "Yard staples" and stapled each pair down to the earth at the ground plate. I unrolled each pair of radials, and put a staple at the end of the individual wire, at their 43' terminus (at the end). I then walked the length of the "radial pair" putting in staples about every 6', or wherever the radial seemed to stand above the ground. (i.e., where there was unevenness in my yard, and the radial was standing an inch, or more in the air.). You WILL go through a LOT of staples! I bought 2 batches of 500 from DXE, then I bought 2 batches from some guy on EBay (they are too small, and pretty much WORTHLESS!), finally I started rolling my own from bailing/fence wire from Home Depot ($8/100' - best deal, if you have the time to make them!). From the pictures at the end of this article you can see the results. I laid down the radials in batches of 32. Fist 32 in spring 08, then another in summer 08 (now 64). Another dozen, or so, in late summer 08 (~76), then the final batch to get me to 120 (THANKS to Alexander and Tatyana Kommisarov !!!!) in 10-11/08 (Finally the full 120!! See the theory section, 120 is overkill.). 

Spread them out in a wagon wheel pattern, 360 degrees around the antenna, try not to overlap them. If you do this job in phases, which you probably will, as I did. The overlap part gets difficult, since the yard "eats" the previous batch of radials, and you're not quite sure where they are. Just do your best! The whole overlapping, and 360 degree thing won't kill you, but your pattern just won't be "perfect"... As we say in the old country... BFD ... Close enough for government work. Many recommend laying down "chicken wire" for the first several feet/yards around the base plate, and bonding it to the plate as well. Yes, we did that in the BE world. Often NOT to enhance the ground as much as to not get tripped up in the radials while walking, standing, working at the base of the tower. What I've installed is overkill, consider that step uber-overkill. It's your choice.

Finally, and more for lightening/safety protection than anything else, I pounded in an 8' ground rod at the radial plate, and tied it to the plate with a heavy cable. (see pictures). Also see the bottom of this article for a tutorial on surface mounting of ground radials.  

Construction Complete!

Testing & Debugging:

First test was with the antenna when I had 32 radials laid down. The performance sucked! The Alpha-Delta DX-LB+ (AD) I had been using was beating this set-up on all bands, all conditions, all distances, every time, all the time. PERIOD. Very disappointing. 

I laid down the next batch+ of radials, so now I'm at about 72... Same as above!!!! In A/B comparison the AD is getting me about 2x the S-units the vertical is, the only exception is 40 meters, where the 05 seems to be beating the AD. I start writing Emails to Tom at 05, and he makes a few suggestions. Check that the antenna is really put together correctly at 43'. (it is). "We usually mount the balun on the antenna itself." (I try it, no difference). 

I then have the In-Laws lay down the final batch of radial to get me to 120. STILL no real difference. At best the 05 is in parody with the AD on some bands, under some conditions, but overall, nothing I'd write home about! I write another note to Tom at 05 pretty much detailing everything I wrote above. No real good input.

It occurred to me that in addition to the ground cables I had installed at the coax switch and at the radial/ground plate. The only path to ground for the antenna itself was the clamps to the mounting pole I had pounded into the ground. So, I connected a heavy cable between the lower bolt (-) part of the antenna assembly and the radial/ground plate itself. Thus, the only path to ground for the (-) part of the coax/balun/antenna was NOT via the clamps and mast pole/pipe, but rather via a dedicated cable. While I was at it, I used a wire brush to clean and "score" the metal at the baluns bolts, and the points where the leads connected to the antenna's + and - points. Just to be sure that a good contact was being made. 

I use my TDR to sweep the line from the shack to the antenna, looks perfect flat to the switch, a tiny bump, flat to the antenna. 

Then I post this all to E-ham forums. They unanimous comment back is that the AS-200-T balun being sold by AS for the 05 43' vertical is actually a "voltage" balun, and NOT a current balun, and thus NOT the appropriate device to use to feed this antenna!

As I had mentioned earlier in this article, I had questioned AS about this at the start, they were SURE this was the correct balun configuration. My next step in my personal debugging process was going to be to replace the AS-200-T with an L-Network, much like we used to use in the BE world. Many folks believe that the only way to truly feed a vertical is via a tuner at the base, and NOT with one at the shack. This is probably NOT such a bad idea!

So, I got in touch with AS again and asked the question: "Is the AS-200-T the correct feed device for the 05 43' vertical antenna?" below is the answer I received! Start at the bottom (Original Message #1) and work your way up (to Original Message #5)! 



-----Original Message----- #5

This is excellent news Mike! I'm sorry our oversight caused the delay. You should be good to go for a lot of good QSOs now. - Bob W5OV


I just hooked it back up. Working WAY better! Listening to a QSO on  1845 and now the 0-5 is 3 to 4 S units higher than the alpha-delta  dipole. A first for that! I was going to take a few pics before I closed it up. I wish I had now :-(  ..  Thanks a bunch!!     > Mike - N3EAQ

-----Original Message----- #4

Subject: RE: Array Solutions Order # 4602

It sounds like you did it correctly.  Do you have a digital camera? If so, please send me a photo.  Regarding arcing, as long as the spacing is maintained between the  center pin and the outside of the connector, there should be no problem.

-----Original Message----- #3

Hi Bob!

OK, When I opened up I found:

Left hand bolt connected to 1 end of the black winding on the  torroid, and the black jumper to the SO-239 center Right hand bolt connected to 1 end of the white winding on the torroid.

The other end of the white and black winding (from the torroid) on  the ground lugs of the SO-239

I removed the black jumper from the SO-239 center to the left hand bolt (the black wire end of torroid winding REMAINS on the left hand bolt) I remove the white & black ends of the winding from the SO-239 ground side, and move BOTH to the center pin. I make a jumper from the removed black wire, and connect from the SO-239 ground side and ADD it to the white winding end from the torroid on the right side bolt.

Just double checking that I have this all correct... Is that it?  I'm a little concerned about arcing, since there's not a lot of room in there, especially between the SO-239 center pin and ground. Should I be? I just let the lugs on the B&W winding I soldered to the center pin since it didn't seem like I had enough wire if I removed the lugs, and then tried to solder direct to the center pin. THANKS!!!  Mike

 -----Original Message----- #2

 Subject: RE: Array Solutions Order # 4602

 Hi Mike,

 Yes - those folks are right, and I have my AS-200-T in my shack right  now looking at it to modify it to work properly with my Zero-Five vertical antenna too. I think that the 200-T was originally intended  for use with ungrounded antennas where the configuration did not matter and when we started using it with the verticals, no one considered that there might be a problem in a grounded configuration. Yours can be modified in about 10 or 15 minutes. You have to unsolder and move a couple of the connections. Are you OK with a soldering iron? If not, we're going to have a program where we'll do it for you  if you send it in. If you want to do it yourself, here's how.

 Remove the balun from your vertical and bring it inside. Remove the cover and position the balun with the SO-239 pointing towards you.

 Loosen and remove the #10 bolts on both sides. Keep all washers &  nuts for re-installation later.  Use a pair of strong needle-nose pliers to hold the wires as you heat  them up so you don't burn your fingers. Then, make these changes:

 1. Unsolder and remove the wire that goes from the SO239 center pin to the left hand bolt. Put the removed wire aside - it will be used  later.      

 2. Unsolder and Move BOTH wires connected to the SO239 Ground lugs to the SO239 center pin. You may need to cut one of them to fit into the center pin and solder the other one to it. This part may be a bit  tough to do - take your time.

 3. Using the wire removed in step 1, solder this wire from an SO239 ground lug to the right hand bolt.

 4. Re-install the two #10 bolts, tighten the nuts and your done!

 5. Install the cover and re-attach the balun to your antenna. (If you have found water inside of your balun - drill a couple of tiny holes in the SO-239 side of the box to allow water to drain  better. The water will not hurt anything as it is all stainless.) This will convert the balun to to an UN-UN configuration and it should begin to work the way you expect.

 Many of these installations - like mine - have worked just fine. Mostly due to not having excellent ground systems. Mine is minimal.   -Bob

-----Original Message----- #1

Hi Bob,

Long time no talk :-) I've finally got my zero-five completely  installed with all 120 radials, and everything by the book.  The problem I'm having is that it's receive capability is about 50% that of my alpha-delta dipole across all bands, under all conditions, and at any distance from the TX station. I've got folks locally telling me that the AS-200-T balun I'm using  is "A voltage balun and not a current balun, and won't work w/ the  Zero-Five vertical." Based on our discussion below, almost 2 years ago, I can't believe I got it wrong. Can you confirm for me that the  AS-200-T is indeed what I should be using??  If you'd like to see a full description of the set-up and discussion  regarding the installation, you can go to:  http://www.eham.net/forums/TowerTalk/16020


Now that I have made the conversion from the Voltage balun AS-200-T to an UN-UN, as described above, the 05 is working much as I would expect. It is doing well for signals beyond a ~500 mile bubble. It seems to be working VERY well on 160m and depending on the station, condition, distance, it's doing quite well on 20m too. I was listening to a pile up on a Japanese station in the 80m DX window last weekend, and I could "smell" him with the 05, and had no such luck w/ the AD. 

As is my usual experience with using a vertical in conjunction with a horizontal antenna. Very often it's truly an A/B experiment as to whether a station is better, or worse, with either of the 2 antenna. As we know, the ionosphere  can twist a signal any which way, and sometimes you can do better with it in vertical polarization, and sometimes horizontal is better. The 43' vertical is by no means the "Lord of all that is Ether", but all things considered, I'm glad I have a good horizontal dipole, and an excellent vertical set up as well. 

I may just set things up such that I do my receive via the AD and my transmit via the vertical, and see how that works out.

I've not heard much on 10m or 17m, but I've not spent much time there either. I spend virtually no time on 40, so I can't comment on the performance there. I must say I have heard a lot on 60m with the vertical, and may just try some QSOs there, since it seems to work well on those channels! 

I've only had things in "fine working form" for about a week now, so plenty more test and debug results will be forthcoming. Stay tuned. 

UPDATE - 12/3/08 -----

This weekend (Sunday 11/30) I was tooling around 17m with the vertical and heard several Italian and GB stations very well on the band! I worked 2 of the Italian stations barefoot (100w) using the vertical and got 5x4 reports w/ QSB. (They were giving everyone the QSB report). If I switched to the AD Dipole they simply DISAPPEARED! With the vertical they were 5x7-9. I noticed on E-Ham someone commenting that a 43' vertical was useless above 20M. This apparently proves that little bit of "lore" as complete BS. I also worked KJ4BX in Montgomery Alabama, 5x9 both ways on 20M (roughly 800 miles). So a bit more data on the antenna for your consumption.

More will be forthcoming. Stay tuned. 

[[I'm sorry, but I've taken for granted that you've seen the rest of my web site at www.n3eaq.net and know that I'm using an Elecraft K3 as my Xcvr, a Alpha 91B as an amp, and Palstar AT-AUTO as my tuner as my chain (when not barefoot). You can factor that into these observations.]] 

I hope this has helped SOMEONE in SOME WAY either as an intellectual exercise, or a practical one in installation of their vertical. 

Best to all, happy radio days, and good DX.....

M. K. Hess 11/30/2008


Mike Hess - N3EAQ - N3EAQ@N3EAQ.NET

Links of Interest:

Zero Five Antennas:    http://www.zerofive-antennas.com/

Array Solutions:    http://www.arraysolutions.com/Products/baluns.htm#4:1%20balun

DX Engineering:    http://www.dxengineering.com/

Andrew -Commscope:     http://www.commscope.com/andrew/eng/index.html

Steppir Antenna:    http://www.steppir.com/pdf/radial%20systems%20for%20vertical%20antennas.pdf 

WC7I Theory Page:     http://www.wc7i.com 

W8JIs Noise Theory Page:    http://www.w8ji.com/noise.htm

Radio World Newspaper (RWOnline)    http://www.rwonline.com/  














Comments, and Feedback:


A Small Rumination:

Someone sent this to me in an E-Mail, kind of an interesting observation:

All this once again REALLY makes me question the Eham reviews. Ever notice that most reviewers never met a piece of equipment they didnít love?

I think they donít want to admit they spent money on a dog, or made a bad decision, OR only folks who love something take time to post reviews, folks who are merely satisfied, or donít like something, donít bother. Since you discovered that the AS-200-T was really the incorrect feed device for the antenna, how can it be that all these folks are using it, and getting such stellar results?

It makes you wonder. Either they had a frame of reference that was so bad that simply anything made it seem stellar, they are full of it, or they didn't use that device, which they never point out, and as such never had your problem. 

I have to say that this emailer does seem to have a point! N3EAQ


From Roland W3FDK:

Some Work he's done with verticals!


I am attaching a letter about 5/8 wavelength antennas that I wrote to a group that I showed my go-pack ecomm antennas to. 

I will be anxious to hear how it performs. I have a 43' vert, thats 5/8 wavelenght on 20 meters, that I use and it works great on 20 and 40 and probably other bands also.  

ON 40 cw I have worked Texas and Michigan and Mass with 3 W cw and the Michigan station was running  one half watt! I don't spend a lot of time on hf but do listen around once in a while. 

I have been building 5/8 verticals for several years for different bands and I wrote up my antenna for the World Radio, 1992 April issue I think it was. 

I think you will find that antenna will work very well!! 

I have two 2 meter 5/8 wave length for go pack for ecom and a 5/8 wavelength for go pack for 6 mtrs. They are just waiting for an emergency I hope never happens HI. 

Mine is made of aluminum tubing from a 20 meter beam boom and the top of an 18 AVQ among other aluminum tubings I had on hand.  I used a couple of ground rods driven at the base to handle any ground, or counterpoise, currents. 

Thanks for the info! 

Rolan w3fdk - five_eights_wave_antenna.doc

Thanks for the adjunct info. Roland! N3EAQ


Message: 4

Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 20:00:35 -0600  From: "D. Chester" <k4kyv@charter.net>  Subject: Re:[AMRadio] 43' Vertical "How To" and Tutorial   To: <amradio@mailman.qth.net>  

There are a couple of things I would do differently in building the radial ground system.  It is a good idea to use insulated wire if available, since the insulation protects the wire from soil corrosion and will extend its life.  But why do you recommend stranded wire (unless that's what happens to be available at a good price)?  Solid copper will last much longer than stranded in the corrosive environment of the soil, and even with the insulation, some of the wire will inevitably be exposed to corrosive minerals.

N3EAQ> Shielded Stranded was used because: A) it's easy to come by, B) it's cheaper, C) (Here's the biggie!) It's WAY easier to work with! Imagine having to cut, maneuver and lay 240 SOLID radials! Way more of a PITA than I'd be willing to go to! Finally, if you run the analysis on your favorite modeling software you'll find that solid buys you almost nothing over stranded, so why bother?

Using the staples, the wire will bury itself within a year or two.  First, with regular mowing, the wire will become buried under the thatch, and within a season will be embedded in the sod.  I have left copper wire lying on the ground for some period of time, and when I retrieved it, it  was buried a quarter inch or so under the surface of the soil, and it took a real effort to pull it up.  I did mine the  hard way, burying the radials about 2" in the ground using a special plough attachment to a garden tractor that I built for  the occasion, but if I had it to do over again, I would probably just lay the radials on the ground and let them bury themselves with the help of  Mother Nature.

N3EAQ> Absolutely correct, that's why I went that route. Actually, I found the yard "eats" the radials VERY quickly! In about a month, 1 batch of "lay downs" is gone from sight, and the next are laid "blind" from where the previous were. 

Rather than using a stainless steel plate with screw terminals, it would be much better to use copper strapping or a heavy solid copper conductor, or even copper tubing, to make a bus bar in the form of a circle or rectangle around the base of the vertical.  Braze the radials to the copper bus bar, using a silver alloy solder that is available at any plumbing shop.  It comes in sticks about 18" long, flat about 1/8" width.  No flux needed.

N3EAQ> Yep, you can probably use all kinds of things for the ground plate. This was an article of what I DID, not of what you could do. I didn't use a copper plate for a few reasons. A) I didn't have one, and with the price of copper, didn't want to pay for one, even if I knew where I could find it! B) The store bought plate came all nicely machined and ready for use. I didn't have to cut, machine, jigger, braze, or otherwise mess w/ it. C) Stainless will NOT corrode, need cleaning, or deteriorate, ever.

When the stuff becomes molten, copper sucks it up like a sponge sucks up water.  The only thing you have to clean off the copper is any badly oxidised areas or surface scale.  The brazed connection will last for ever even  buried in the soil.

Never use lead/tin  solder to solder ground wires or radials.  When exposed to the corrosive soil, within about a month all the solder will turn to a white powder and the soldered connection will literally fall apart.  

N3EAQ>  And I didn't... The solder is between the wire and the lug sleeve. The lug is bolted to the plate, and the plate is an inch or 2 above the ground. Only air contact, not soil. the lug depends on the bolt to mate it to the SS plate. 

The silver alloy stuff, while not dirt cheap, is reasonably priced because it abundant,  mandated by building codes for plumbing, because with lead/tin, there is concern that the lead might leach into the water line.

You will need a brazing torch and a tank of Mapp gas.  A regular butane torch will not get hot enough to melt the silver alloy.  Be careful not to get the copper hotter than a dull red glow.  It is very easy to melt copper wire into a blob with the mapp  gas torch.

N3EAQ>  If you have all that "stuff" on hand, and the time, I say go for it! Sounds like a nice way to do it. In my case neither applied.

I have inspected some of the brazed connections in my ground system that used the silver alloy solder, and they are still intact after more than 25 years.  Don k4kyv

Thanks for the alternate approach Don! N3EAQ


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Related Topics:


How to put radial wires down without digging

The best time to do this is early spring but it can be done other times, as well. I have even done it in the fall and had good success.

The idea behind this is to get the grass of your lawn to grow over the radials and protect them from the mower.

First, mow the grass pretty short in the areas where you will be laying the radials down. Notice, I didn't say "scalp" it. Just lower the mower until the grass is about 1 inch long after cutting. Readjust the height of the mower back to normal and put it away.

Next, connect the radials to the radial plate with wire terminal ends (which you can get at the store where you bought the radial wire) and stretch them out while arraying them evenly around the antenna. Some AM broadcast engineers tell us that the radials should be as long as you can make them up to about 1/2 wavelength. If you can only do 1/4 wave or 1/8 wave in certain directions then do that and donít worry about it. You will be surprised how much better your vertical will work. After you install a few radials and see how much better you antenna performs you will have an urge to put in more of them. Donít resist. More really is better.

OK Ė back to the installation.

Starting from the antenna end of the radials and about every 3-4 feet hold the wire down with a radial wire anchor pin while pulling the radial out from the antenna to keep it taut. Push it in as far as possible to get the wire as close to the grass roots as possible. I typically use a hammer to drive it home. If the radial wire is sticking up any place due to uneven ground or the wire is loose just put another staple there. The idea is to get all parts of the wire down as close as possible to the ground so that the grass can grow over it.

When you finish the last radial, your job is done. Mother Nature will do the rest. If you have done this in the early spring, the grass will grow up, surround the wire and pull it down firmly along its full length. If you do it in the fall after the grass has stopped growing, it will happen the next spring. This will be done so completely that in a few weeks you will have to actively look for the radials to see them.

Your mower will miss them completely, too; but you and your contacts will hear them right away!
73, Paul  NO8D