What Kit to Build, Part 5

By now we have a VE3DNL marker generator, a TiCK keyer, a SWL+ CW
transceiver and an Emtech ZM-2 tuner. What we need next is an antenna or as
the Arizona ScQRPions say, an antler. Antennas are like opinions, everyone
has one. This recommendation will cover two antennas, one for the home
station and for taking into the field.
First the home station. We want something here that will give us all band
coverage, cheap, and easy to put up. We also want the lowest loss we can
have in the feedline. My choice here is the ladder line fed dipole that is
135 feet long and tuned with a tuner (now you know why we build the ZM-2).
The ZM-2 will allow you to have a low SWR on all bands. This antenna is
built using #18 or bigger copper wire. Take a 135' piece of wire and cut it
in half. Then, you need a center insulator. My recommendation is that you
buy the "Ladder Grabber" for $7.95 from Emtech. This neat little center
insulator is made to hold ladder line. You attach the two wires to the
center insulator, then the ladder line, and everything is supported by the
center insulator. You then pull it up and get it as high as you can. L.B.
Cebik, W4RNL who is a QRP Hall of Famer, has one of the best antenna web
sites that I know of. He discusses this very antenna and has lots of
antenna charts that show the patterns of the antenna on various bands. Here
is the url for that article
I strongly urge you to visit L.B's site.
When you build this antenna, you have a good general purpose antenna that
will work on all bands, is easy to build, and won't cost an arm an a leg.
What do you need?
135' of #18 or bigger wire. Radio Shack used to sell some copper stranded
wire that was #16 that is perfect for this application. But any wire will
do, and it doesn't matter if it is bare, coated, or enameled.
Lengths of rope, string, wire, something to tie off the ends.
End insulators. Anything works here. Egg insulators, PVC pipe that has
been drilled, 1" PVC couplings (schedule 40) etc. Or, if you use rope, make
a loop in the antenna wire and don't use an insulator.
Emtech "Ladder Grabber"
Length of ladder line to reach your tuner. You must use a balanced line
tuner here, and the Emtech ZM-2 has a balanced line input. I buy my ladder
line from the Wireman. He advertises in QSTand has a website. Here is the
url for the ladderline.
I recommend that you buy the 553 at $.16 a foot or the 562 at $.18 per foot.
They are lighter in weight and easier to handle. Be sure to buy plenty as
you don't want to splice it.
Another alternative is to buy some 300 ohm tv twin lead. It works fine, but
is not nearly as durable as the ladderline. The antenna will cost you about
$30 depending on your location (how high, etc, length of feedline).
Now for the second alternative. What if you have a small lot? Can't put up
a 135' wire? Joe Everhart, N2CX is the guy on the white horse galloping to
the rescue. He sells the best antenna kit out there for an antenna if you
don't want to build the above antenna. I'm talking bang for the buck here
guys. This is value. I'll let Joe describe the kit. The kit comes with
high quality parts, and the manual is excellent, especially if you have
never put up an antenna before. Are you reading this new guys on the block?
Get this kit if you are unsure of how to build a good dipole. And yes, your
ZM-2 will tune this thing too!
My advice is to build both of these, the 135' Ladderline Dipole for home,
and the Gusher for the field or portable use. I use mine a lot, especially
when I go camping. The nice thing about the gusher kit is that Joe provides
everything you need, and the price is right.
Info below provided by Joe Everhart, N2CX
Gusher-2L Multi-band Portable QRP Antenna
1 pound dipole ideal for portable use as an inverted vee
Can be configured for multiband use
Complete with all parts - you cut to length
14 page configuration/application manual
Gusher Classic
1 pound dipole ideal for portable use as an inverted vee
You cut it for any single band from 40-10 meters
Complete with all parts - you cut to length
10 page configuration/application manual
Gusher 20-20 Economy 20 meter QRP Dipole
1 pound (-) dipole ideal for portable use as an inverted vee
Similar to the Classic precut for 20 meters
5 page info pamphlet
All antennas are supplied with complete cutting and application info.
Gusher 20-20 $19.00 -special price- postpaid (US)
2 for only $35.00 postpaid
Gusher-2L $25.00 plus $3.00 postage
Gusher-Classic $22.00 plus $3.00 postage
Postage is for US addresses. Contact me for foreign postage
Antennas are usually in stock and will be mailed promptly to US
addresses. Contact me for foreign postage info.
For additional info contact:
[email protected]
or write to
Joe Everhart, N2CX
214 New Jersey Rd
Brooklawn, NJ 08030
The Gusher antennas are simple dipoles with small diameter hookup
wire for the elements, a sealed center insulator and an RG-174
feedline. They are intended for use as portable inverted vees. A
similar antenna was first used by K6MDJ and called the BIC Flamethrower
since its center insulator and end insulators were made from a
sawed-apart disposable lighter. The PVC Gushers use plastic pipe
parts - a slip cap for the center insulator (sealed for weather-
proofing)and short sections of PVC pipe for end insulators. 35 foot
coaxial feedlines are permanently attached for strength and are
terminated at the far end by a BNC connector. Total weight for either
antenna is approximately one pound and they can be carried in a plastic
zipper bag for portable use.
There are three Gusher models, the Gusher Classic, Gusher 2L and the
Gusher 20-20. The Classic model has wire elements permanently attached
and can be cut for a single HF band between 40 and 10 meters. The
Gusher-2L is more sophisticated with protruding studs and wing nuts on
the center insulator on to which removable wire elements can be
Multiband operation can be achieved by replacing wire elements or by
constructing either a "leapfrog" or "fan" dipole. All components are
included with the Gusher 2L for several multiband configurations. The
Gusher 20-20 is an economy version of the Classic pre-cut for 20 meter
(only) use in recognition of the recent availability of a very popular
20 meter QRP rig.
Detailed illustrated manuals are included with all three antennas
complete construction information. Single band configurations of either
antenna can be constructed and on the air in less than 15 minutes. As
mentioned above the 20-20 is supplied "ready to roll" all you need to
do is hoist it up in the the air, hook up your rig and start operating!
Gusher 2-L
The 2-L is the premium Gusher antenna. As can be seen in
the accompanying photograph (gush.jpg), it includes the
- a sealed center insulator with attached feedline and attachment
- a coaxial feedline terminated in a crimp-type BNC connector
- two 50 foot dipole elements
- a quantity of insulators, ring lugs and alligator clips for
several different antenna configurations
- a 13 page detailed instruction manual
The 2-L is intended for use as either a single or multi-
band dipole antenna for use between 40 and 10 meters. The
wire elements are not permanently connected. It uses ring
lugs that connect to the center insulator via threaded
hardware and wing nuts. Extra wire and hardware are supplied
along with directions in the manual to make both single-and
multiband configurations. Since the wires are removable,
separate elements can be cut for several bands and either
swapped out for band changing or paralleled and fanned out
for no-switch multibanding. Alternatively a segmented multi-
band configuration can be made and bandswitching done using
the alligator clips to select which segments are used. The
13-page instruction manual gives complete information on
constructing single and multi-band setups and gives advice on
how to get optimum results with the Gusher 2-L.
Tomorrow we continue with #6, the KI6DS recommendation for a full blown,
single band QRP CW transceiver. Hint, I have a major and a minor
recommendation, depending on how you are going to use the rig. Thanks also
for all the kind words and encouragement on this series. Please remember
that it is just my opinion and I am not implying that my opinion is any
better than anyone else's, but I do have one!! Grin. 

72, Doug, KI6DS