Easy Bucket Antennas

By Tony King

Arthur De Maine’s antenna antics have prompted me to reveal my portable antenna masts that enable me to erect dipoles, longwires and beverages, V’s, slopers, horizontal open and closed loops, and if I wish – pack them all away at the end of the DX session !

They ‘re based on portable movable short masts – 3 metre lengths of 50 x 50 mm timber embedded in concrete in 10 litre empty paint pails. I have five of these – in fact Mk II is a one metre length of 50mm PVC downpipe embedded in the concrete – into which a pole slots. Made with Quikcrete (sets in 15 minutes) the poles are embedded in concrete until the pail is half full (or more if your pole is longer). Once set you can move the pail by carrying it by its handle, rolling it on its edge, or tilting it and carrying it with one hand on the pole. To measure your antenna dimensions (like a 60 m open loop= four 50′ sides) so that you place your poles correctly you either measure the distance with a tape or stride it out with your own pre-measured stride (heel to heel). Put a stick or stone on the spot and that’s your bearings for future open loops, in this case, if you decide to pack up after the DX session.

The antenna wire is attached to the poles by simply pulling them towards yourself, curling the wire through a cleat hook screwed on vertically ($3.50 for 2) at the top of the pole for tension, and then pushing the poles upright again. Just do the reverse if you wish to vary your array or pack it all away, and wind up the wire. Label the bundle so you know which aerial it is.

This idea is a boon if you don’t wish to erect permanent fixtures for poles, and of course two ‘on the back lawn’ and cleats on the house eaves could also give you an open loop. There’s also the added opportunity of “cleating” more than one aerial on each pole at a lower level so that you could have a open loop, a long wire and a V all erected at the same time. ! And if your ‘significant other’ says the pails “ ain’t pretty” in the garden, decorate the pails, or only half fill them with concrete and plant flowers around the pole ! May you get buckets full of DX
from this adventure !

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