So there I am sitting with a brand new TS-2000X, with only a VHF/UHF antenna connected. After working my first ever HF station the previous day from the clubhouse rig, I was bitten.

The first thing i did was to order an HF vertical as space is pretty limited at my QTH. But it would still be at least 5 days for that antenna to arrive, so what to do in the meantime?

Build a 20m ‘dirty dipole’.

To be honest, I am a klutz and seldom build things because they usually don’t work. Even for me, this is so simple that I could do it!

So why 20m? Simply, I lack the space for a full 40m one and this one can get me onto the 20m, 10m and 6m bands in super-quick time.

Why is it ‘dirty’? Because we are only roughly measuring the two elements. No precision needed!

So, what does a 20m dipole consist of?

For a start, just 10 meters of wire, split in the middle to give you two 5 meter lengths. You can use pretty much anything for wire as long as it’s a good conductor.

I had a couple of rolls of 19 gauge ‘naked’ copper wire in the shack. May as well use that.

What else?

An insulator goes at each end and in the middle. The quick and dirty method is to just cut up some plastic tubing in to 1-inch lengths. You can also use electric fence insulators if you can get them. Basically you can use anything that doesn’t conduct electricity.

To each insulator you’ll tie rope to hold up your antenna.

The RF feed point of a dipole is in the middle, so there’s 5 meters of wire on each side (plus a couple inches for folding around the insulators).

Even though this is a balanced antenna, and coax is unbalanced, I just solder the coax directly to the antenna.

Mesh the shield together with one ‘wire’ and solder it.

Do the same to the center conductor and solder it to the other wire..

You’ll want to cover this well with electrical tape and also make sure that the coax doesn’t hang by the soldered connections, but rather by something physically tied to the center insulator.

There are two ways to mount the antenna:

The first is to get each end up as high in the air as you can so that the antenna is a straight line (it’ll droop a bit in the middle). This is the standard configuration.

The second way is to get the center of the antenna up as high as you can and pull the ends out as far as you can get them. This creates an inverted V configuration.

I used the second option due to not having any poles and the like. I used a broomstick tied onto a wooden fence to get some height (hard to explain but I get some height in this case).

Just ensure that the antenna is high enough in the air that no one will run into it.

Also remember that if you use bare wire (as in my case), the ends of the antenna is where the high voltage is, so keep these up and out of reach.

what about the coax?

RG-8X and RG-58 both work well. It just needs to be as long as is needed. Try to avoid it being too long. Make sure you have enough slack that you’ll be able to move your transceiver around easily.

Now is the time to solder the PL-259 connector to the end of the coax so you can connect this to your transceiver.

And that’s it!

You now have an antenna to use on 20 meters, and you probably don’t even need an ATU!

Luckily the TS-2000 has a pretty good in-built ATU, so I can tune the antenna properly. Don’t forget that with the ATU, you will be able to use this antenna on the 10m band, and also on the 6m band!

From start of construction to my first CQ – about an hour. My first QSO was to Ukraine and my second to Papua New Guinea.

 

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