Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Home Depot and antennas

 Home Depot is a home improvement store. What's that got to do with antennas - right?

Actually a lot. In fact, I'll be going there sometime in the next few days to buy some wire. I am going to futz around with an extended W3EDP over this coming weekend. This is how a standard W3EDP is built.

I am going to build one with the radiator wire that shoots off from the ladder line for 85 feet instead of 67 feet. This will load up on 160 Meters better than the one I am using now. I get decent results on 160 Meters with my "standard" W3EDP, but I am hoping to get better results with this new one. I recently ordered a 4:1 current balun from Gigaparts. Some wire from Home Depot is on my list. Hopefully, I'll get some decent weather to put it up over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.

Other things from Home Depot that you can use for antennas are things like electrical enclosures for balun boxes, PVC for various antenna supports and the like. But what do you think you can use one of these for?

A 5 gallon paint bucket? What can you possibly use these for anything to do with antennas? Something I never considered, but my good friend Dave KD2FSI had the vision to think of. Actually, it's not the bucket itself, but the lid. Dave used the lid to come up with these:

He looked at the lid and how he figured this out, I'll never know! He cut out a circular part of the lid and turned it into a "flower". He made cuts and the little circular punches in order to prevent the plastic from cracking. When you alternately bend the "petals" in opposite directions, you now have a storage device for your wire antennas. Dave made me two,  a smaller one for my PAR ENDFEDZ and a larger one for my MFJ-1982LP that I used for Field Day and will use for the Skeeter Hunt. Look how nicely that stores! And it will now fit into my portable ops backpack much more nicely.

I wish I had the vision to think of things like this. You could sit me in a room with one of these buckets for a hundred years, and I'd never envision what Dave saw in a couple of minutes. That's just one of the things that I admire about him. He sees and find solutions to Amateur Radio problems that I'd never even consider.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. David Ryeburn VE7EZM and AF7BZ2:09 AM

    Unless you continually rotate the lid as you install (or remove) the antenna wire from it, you're going to get horrible kinks in the wire. A better way to handle wire (or rope) is to wind it in a Figure 8 pattern. I guess you could use paint can lids for that too, but you'd only want four sectors, not eight. To unwind the wire, fasten one end of it to something and then, holding the form on which the wire is wound in one hand, just walk away. Try it!

  2. Going QRP in the hills of TN I use a bucket to help carry my equipment into the forest. Its great way to carry batteries,snacks,thermos,bug spray,etc. Then after you set up you can use it to sit on, two buckets are better than 1 then you have a operating desk. AG4P