After 50+ years of experimenting with ham radio antennas, it’s time to share a few notes. With 100+ topics in the queue, this may take a while. I hope to have significant content up here by the middle of 2021, but, as Robert Burns observed, “The finest schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.”

Please be patient.

“Practical Antennas” means antennas that meet your specific needs within your specific limitations and resources. I won’t tell you how to build a specific antenna, but will show you several different ways to do so, depending on the materials and skills you have available. I won’t tell you what antenna to use, but will help you evaluate what criteria are important to you so you can choose one that best meets your needs.

I’m a pragmatist. Theory is important; modeling antennas is a great approach and can save lots of time; building and testing antennas is the proof of the pudding; and the ultimate goal is to get on the air. All are important pieces. As is making mistakes: I’ve made plenty of them over the years, and will share some, along with what I learned from them. Sometimes my approach will offend perfectionists. There are many trade-offs to be made, and sometimes one takes shortcuts to be able to get on the the air. That doesn’t mean that we should ignore theory and good engineering practice, but rather use them to consider what issues we may encounter if we need to do it differently. That’s what Practical Antennas is about.

-Dale WB6BYU

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