Saturday, March 30, 2019

Loading up the gutter

Living in a place where you absolutely can't have any visible outside antennas?

Poor you!

Still, where there's a will there's a way and hams have used almost any metal object as an antenna.

Including rain gutters around your house.

The first thing I'll say is they are a severely compromised antenna on both receive and transmit.

Unless you live in a multi-storey building they're not very high. Their proximity to electrical wiring and appliances inside means they will pick up a lot of noise on receive. And if you're near an AM broadcast station you may even hear signals that aren't really there due to harmonics generated by rectification caused by bad connections between sections.

As for transmitting, the same bad connections or dissimilar metals could cause a perfectly clean transmitter to radiate harmonics. The low height means poor performance. And their odd shape might cause unpredictable performance. You will need a wide-range antenna coupler to match it; the one built into your transceiver might not do it, unless you are lucky. Still, especially for efficient modes like WSPR, a gutter antenna should get you some results.

A rain gutter antenna is the type where you'd really want to read about others' experiences before trying one. Some are presented here:

* Experiences of rain gutter antenna with SG230 antenna coupler (commercial link)
* K5IJB rain gutter antenna
* N3VEM rain gutter antenna
* WB3GCK downspout antenna
* WMOG's results with rain gutter antennas
* W6NBC on rain gutter wire loop antennas (not loading up the gutter as such)

Have you used a gutter antenna? Or even worked someone with one? If so please leave your comments below.

PS: Want to support The Daily Antenna
You won't be charged extra and I'll get a small cut from any purchases you make (affiliate link). You can buy lots of stuff there, including electronic parts and my books.

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