Portable End Fed Zepp

I first saw what I now call the 5 minute - $5 antenna mentioned on a QRP reflector by Peter Millis , M3KXZ. Pete called it the ďNo CounterpoiseĒ antenna, and heís done considerable EZ-NEC work on it. Additionally heís phased two 20M versions in a vertical configuration.

The No Counterpoise is a neat version of our old friend, the End Fed Zepp..

Iíve used EFZís over the years, along with many other cheap and easy wire antennas. Some Iíve actually called Cheap and EZís - doublets, really long doublets, dipoles, verticals, long wires, not so long wires, short wires, tall verticals, short verticals, etc. etc.

I have returned often to the EFZ because it seemed like the ultimate multiband Cheap and Easy antenna to me. Itís easy to build, easy to erect, easy to tune and easy on the pocketbook. It does require a tuner most of the time, but if itís used for a single band, the radiator and the feedline lengths can be adjusted so a tuner may not be needed.

As is common knowledge, a true End Fed Zepp is a half wave radiator and a quarter wave balanced feedline. It has many followers and proponents, at least I hear and see it mentioned often. Maybe not as often as the gold standard dipole or center fed doublet of some length, but often enough. Why do some of us like them? Because theyíre quick, cheap, easy, and they work. One attribute that is often seen as a negative is actually a positive in this antenna, the feedline radiates. Since itís up in the air thatís not a bad thing, especially at QRP levels. Easy to Build Ö Easy to Erect Ö Easy to TuneÖ and Cheap too A few real life examples will help illustrate these points.

Example #1 Ö Home QTH A small, semi-hidden factoid is that it doesnít have to be the classic EFZ to work quite well. Since I moved into town Iíve been cramped for space, my city lot is rather small, even for town. Luckily I have a very nice neighbor who loaned an antenna support to me, of course he thinks itís a tree. From the 60 foot top of his tree down the 20 foot tree in to my back yard is just right for a 111 foot wahr, err wire. I could have used it as a long wire, but decided to feed it 450 ohm ladder line. An electric fence insulator was installed on each end, one side of the ladder line soldered to it and the other end was run into the basement. I shot a couple of arrows into the air (carefully) and hoisted the ends up and that was that, done - quick an easy. Easy to build and easy to erect, but was it easy to match? Yes indeedy! I installed an SGC 239 autotuner on the inside basement wall and it matched the wire perfectly from 160M to 6M, and everywhere in between! Itís no red hot DX antenna, but it gets out reasonably well on all bands, and I have worked a fair amount of DX on it, in the last 2 years.

Example #2 Ö Portable Ops. Iíve been using a 50 foot version of the no counter poise/end fed zepp/ end fed random wire/whatever for several years now for portable ops. Itís a 25 foot radiator fed with a 25 foot balanced feedline. My BLT matches it well on 40 and up, and itís easy to put up. Just throw the far end into a tree and the feedline end guzzinta the camper or taped to the picnic table. Itís seldom been more than 30 feet up, and still works fine. One additional attribute is that it seems to be less succeptible to hand capacitance than a wire and counterpoise. Iíve put up a 100 footer to cover 80M and up, and it worked well also. So well that I decided to hack my venerable BLT to cover 80M. I wound up using a T-Match to get it, but thatís another story..

Example #3 Ö WōMQYís QTH Last August Joe invited me stay with him while attending the Joplin hamfest. Of course we hooked up a rig and made a few contacts.. We made up and threw up a 50 footer in his front yard, ran the feedline in the garage and fired up a rig on his vanís tailgate. We worked a few and entertained some passerbyís at the same time. He was using a manual tuner, I think it was a Z-100. The antenna didnít load well on 40M and later we decided that it must have been due to the feedlineís close proximity to the garageís aluminum siding. The After the hamfest on Saturday, Gene, NōMQ , came by for a cookout - we ate first and played radio second, or maybe that was the other way around.. The food was first rate, and so was the radioín. Gene brought his No Counterpoise, purchased on Ebay, and we gave it a workout. As expected it worked well with the far end up about 30 feet and the near end taped to the deck railing. Many stations were worked that evening before the mosquitoes finally drove us inside. The following day Joe hooked his antenna up in the same tree that Gene used the night before and it played properly, matching nicely on 40 and up. Proving that the aluminum siding was the culprit the day before.

So whatís the 5 minute - $5 thing all about?

As mentioned above, Pete, M3KXZ, called it the ďNo CounterpoiseĒ antenna. I call my 40M version the 5 minute-5 dollar antenna because I make it from a $5 -50 foot roll of Radio Shack speaker wire, and it takes only about 5 minutes to make. Hereís the quick steps, 5 minutes total time - guaranteedÖ

1. Unroll it
2. Split it back halfway
3. Cut off one side
4. Tie a loop on the end of the single wire
5. Strip and tin the ends of the feedline

Thatís it! Antenna building doesnít get any easier than that. Give this Cheap and EZ antenna a try. Itís great for portable ops and it proves my antenna motto: ďTry It Ė It Might Work!Ē

Revised 5 Dec 2012
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