Sunday, May 05, 2013

PA0RDT Mini-Whip E-Field antenna

A recent presentation at the WIANSW Home Brew group about receiving on the 630m band mentioned that a very small E-Field antenna works almost as well as a full size antenna at these very low frequencies.

I wrote off to Roelof Bakker and ordered his pre-built "Mini Whip" antenna (plus another for local ham James, VK2JN). The circuit is very simple and Roelof has published it but I decided to go with his selected parts and weather proof construction on this occasion.

A few weeks later and the antennas arrived. Construction of the external probe part and also the power injection box are both very solid. BNC connectors are used everywhere.

The antenna came with a "9V" out 230V plug pack with european round prongs.

This is an active antenna with a small area of copper for receiving that should be mounted a bit above roof line on an insulating pole. Power is sent up the co-ax and is injected with a little box in the shack.

At first I had trouble - it turned out that there is water in my co-ax and the 15V inserted in the shack was just 3V at the antenna! (Amazingly I've been having WSPR contacts on 20m for months with this arrangement).

I find that the PA0RDT Mini Whip works best at 40m and lower frequencies. It's not quite as good as a full size dipole but has the benefit of being broad band. Here's a video of the parts and a bit of local reception on 40m.

If you don't have room for a full size antenna and are interested in lower bands I can recommend one of these active antennas.

Here's how I receive Ross, VK1UN who is about 750km away on 80m WSPR:

Given the tiny size of this antenna, it's amazing to receive anything at all on 80m in a suburban house.


Grant said...

Hi Peter. nice little unit. Do you mind if I ask what the cost of purchasing an antenna was? - Grant VK3VIM

Peter Marks said...

I bought two, The cost was Euro 80 for two antennas, plus shipping to Australia at Euro 25 by registered mail.