AMANDX PRESENTS


BEVERAGE ANTENNAS


No, not drinks, but beverage antennas, the ultimate DX'pedition or large area antenna.
A beverage antenna is a long wire,  a very looooonnng longwire.  Once you take the 
longwire we are familiar with, and run it out 500 feet or more, you get a wire 
antenna that is directional in the direction it is pointed as well as the opposite direct to a lesser extent. 
 Many beverages are 1000, 2000 or more feet in length, but a mini beverage can be 500 feet if space is limited.
One thing you may have read about beverages, is that if they are to work well, they 
must be about 6 feet up in the air and be terminated with resistors and ground rods.
This may be so in all the antenna theory books, but experience has proven this not 
necessarily to be the way they work. 
Over the years I have been using beverages that
are up in the air or on the ground, terminated or unterminated, and it is my opinion
that they all work, and work well.  I am not claiming to be a technical expert in the
antenna field, but on an open field, it is my experience that a beverage antenna laying
on the ground or, for that matter, under the snow, can be a great antenna that will 
bring in a lot of new DX.These are BOG's or Beverages On the Ground.
If you are out for an overnight DX'pedition and do not wish
to spend hours putting in stakes and supports, just take your wire and walk out in the
direction you have chosen and enjoy the DX as it rolls in.  If you have sufficient wire
and space, put out 2,3, or 4 beverages in different directions.  You will be surprised 
by the diversity of signals each beverage antenna can hear on a frequency (due to their
directional abilities).  One important thing to remember is that a beverage which is not
terminated will be able to hear signals from the west, if the beverage is run in a western
direction, but will also pick up stations from the back of the beverage, the east.  This
bidirectional ability of an unterminated beverage can be taken advantage of if space or
wire is limited at your site.  If space and wire are a consideration, you might want to 
try some mini beverages around 500 feet.  Four 500 footers can be more fun than one, 
2,000-footer.

Putting Out a Beverage Antenna

The first step is to decide which direction you want to go with your antenna.  Look at a
map to get the correct directions for the part of the world you are targeting.  

Once you have chosen a direction, look at the objects in that direction and pick one as
a reference point.  This will help you keep a straight line when you are walking out an
antenna.  If you are going through some trees or a bushed-in area, be careful to try and 
stay on course.  This is not easy as you have no reference point to use.
If your wire is on a spool, all you have to do is put a stick or large screw driver 
through the holes to allow the spool to rotate freely as you walk out.  Before you start,
make sure that you secure the end of the wire to a solid object near your receiver.  
Ensure you have left enough wire to reach the receiver or your antenna switch if you are
using one.

When you get to the point where you run out of wire or go as far as you wish, you must 
secure this loose end.  This does not have to be a solid tied off end, unless you are 
terminating the beverage to a ground stake.  Put a rock on top of, or loosely wind,
the end on a branch or other object.  If you do this very loosely, you will not have 
to walk out to untie the antenna.  A solid tug on the antenna while rewinding will 
loosen it and you can rewind from the DX site.  If you have several beverages out, 
this can save a lot of walking around.

One other tip: take out wire for two antennas at a time if possible.  That way, you 
can put out a second antenna on the way back in and save some time and energy.  You 
are here to DX, not work yourself ragged and sleep through the good openings.

Winding Up a Beverage Antenna

As you have seen, putting out an antenna is easy.  All you do is walk out the wire.
Now, how do you get it back onto the spool?  There are several options:

a) First you can hand rewind the wire onto the spool.  This can take a very long
time and will result in sore arms.  I have used this method and it is not my favourite,
especially when it is below zero outside.

b) The second option is to fit your spool to an electric motor and rewind the antenna 
by allowing the motor to do the work.  This will work well on spools that have about 
1000 to 2000 feet of small gauge wire (20 gauge or so).  You should ensure you have 
a power source to run the motor, whether it be 110 or 12 volts, depending on your 
location.  An adaptor from the motor's shaft to your spool will have to be made, and 
all the spools must fit the adaptor.

c) The third method is the one I have used the most.  It is fast, inexpensive, and 
efficient with all types of wire.  My beverage wires are wound onto a spool stand 
assembly, sold at hardware stores, which winds up outdoor extension cords.  They 
are intended to hold a 100-foot extension cord, but will hold 2000 to 3000 feet of 
beverage wire (if it around 20 gauge).  To put your wire onto the spool stand assembly,
all you do is secure it to the drum of the spool and turn the hand crank on the side.
This will pull in your wire and, by moving your other hand back and forth across the 
front of the unit, it will give you a good rewind as the wire goes across your hand.
Wear a glove on this hand to avoid burns or cuts.  I can rewind a 1000 foot beverage 
in about 10 minutes this way.  The wire, once on the spool, can be easily unwound by 
attaching an end to a solid object. Just walk out while holding onto the handle that 
is on top of the unit.  This simple unit allows you to unwind, rewind, and store your 
wire all in one easy mechanism.

I have been asked if in an urban or semi-urban setting is it OK to bend the
antenna to fit a piece of property. I would say yes even if it changes some of
the properties of the antenna the more wire the better at lower frequencies. All I can say is try it and see what happens.

You can also mark off the wire on these spools in 500 foot lengths so you can put out
the amount you want each time.  If you are buying coated wire, you can buy 500-foot 
spools in different colours so you know where your 500-foot marks are more readily. 
Personally, I have never really measured out my beverages.  I have just run them out
 as far as possible and listened to what they bring in.  This is supposed to be fun,
remember.



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