Choosing an Antenna

What factors are important for you?

Choosing an antenna can be a baffling experience, especially for new hams.

The purpose of this section is to help you look at your specific needs / desires to help narrow down the options. And, in some cases, to add options that you might not have thought of. First, however, keep in mind a bit of my philosophy of antennas :

  • There is no one “best” antenna. Often several options will work as well.
  • You aren’t limited to just one antenna.
  • Start simple and build from there
  • Consider prototyping a temporary antenna to see how it works before investing in a more permanent version.

As you consider each of the following factors in choosing an antenna, consider how important, or how much of a limitation, it is to your particular situation. The highest ranked ones will probably be the ones driving your decision.

Factors to consider:

Cllck the links to read a discussion of each factor.

Simplicity. How easy is it to install and get working?

Size. What space do you have available for it?

Cost. What is your budget?

Availability. How easy is it to get the antenna, or parts to build it?

Visibility and aesthetics. What will the neighbors think?

Gain. How strong of a signal does it produce?

SWR. How well does the antenna match your transmitter?

Frequency Coverage. What bands do you want to use this antenna on?

Bandwidth (of various parameters)

Weight. Particularly important if you have to carry it!

Radiation Pattern: who do you want to talk to?

Efficiency. How much of your power actually gets radiated?

Weather Survival rain / wind / ice / sun / salt

Power Handling.

Feedpoint Impedance – Is it easy to match? Does it need a tuner?

Adaptability. How easy is it to adapt it to different situations?

Portability. How convenient is it to take down / transport / install?

Why I often build my own antennas.