End Fed Antenna Review

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

Okay, let’s review. By the title you can tell that this is going to be a review of an end fed antenna. Now, the review part. A wise man once said, write what you know about, and me being an advocate of advanced humor, I’m going to try to combine a little bit of knowledge with a little bit of humor. 

A disclaimer. Anywhere on this site, whether it is radio or chickens or pigs, we make no profit off of anything. There has been no gratuity awarded for any product endorsement. For those that do profit off of what they write, great! It is just not our forte.  

It’s been 3 years since I posted any type of article. A lot happens in three years. I have tried some antennas, some radios, I decided to try out heart surgery. I’ve now got one of those zippers from stem to stern. Not literally of course. And not being a person of nautical persuasion, I do not know the difference between stem and stern. But for those of you that are interested, I will share information about the bypass at a later date.

At a radio meeting one night, I heard a guy talking about his new antenna, and he was raving about it. Now all this guy does is CW, or morse code, he doesn’t even have a microphone attached to his radio. Let me back up here a little. This article is not being written at an entry level knowledge base. I’m sorry. So, if we’re speaking of CW and end fed, then you know I’m talking about HF radio. And yes, I know there is some CW on VHF, but that is not what we’re talking about here.

So, continuing. I listened to this guy, and he is a senior operator. So I listened for a while, and this guy learned CW from the United States military. And this guy talks CW all over the world. I’ll get back to this part of the story later.

Okay. The antenna I’m going to review today is made by MyAntennas.com  Yes, that is the name of the company. I will start off by saying I am highly impressed with this product. Are they pricey? Yes. Could you build your own? Probably. And if you would like to do that they will sell you the parts to do so. I bought the EFHW-8010

It is 130 feet long, resonant on 80/40/30/20/17/15/12/10M. It is rated at 1kW maximum. These are the specifications. If you’re not familiar with an end fed, which at the time, I was not, it is basically half of a full wave dipole, in this case, for 80 meters. Because if you remember, the number 468, that is your magic number that you use to figure the length of a half wave dipole. A small example, 468 divided by 3.5 equals 134. 3.5 is the lower end of 80M. So, 468 divided by 3.5 is 134 feet. If you were building an 80 meter dipole, it’s full length would be 134 feet, which would be 67 feet on each leg of the dipole.


Now follow me here. Through the miracle of using a balun, using the end fed half wave length antenna, then you can tune all of the afore mentioned frequencies. Or that’s how it works in theory anyway. Now I’m going to tell you how it works for me in reality.

Equipment used. My power supply is solar. The radio is an IC-718. I have approximately 100 feet of RG-8X from the radio to the end fed antenna. The feed end of the antenna is at 30 feet in the air, it runs approximately 50 feet to an apex of 40 feet and then continues whats left to a 30 foot height. This works okay for me. Your mileage may vary. I have a power transformer from the electric company about 50 feet away, and the apex of the antenna passes over a metal roof that is about 16 feet from ground level. These are the parameters that I have.


Now. This antenna will not transmit on 160M, but it will receive. I did not check for SWR on 30, 15,  or 12 meters because I don’t use those. It did work great on 40M, so 15M should also be good. Here’s what I got. 
All the following readings are SWR. 
80M – lower end 1:1.1
80M/75M – right at the higher end 1:2.5
40M – entire band 1:1.1
20M – entire band 1:1.1
10M – lower end 1:1.8
10M – middle and upper part 1:1.4
60M – the 5 channels 1:2.5
11M/CB – 1:2

As you can see, these are all easily tunable without a tuner. But with a tuner, your radio is happier. So, example. If you have a radio with a built in tuner, it would easily tune these numbers. If you have an external tuner like I do, then for most bands I don’t even use a tuner, and if I do, it just makes my radio a little bit happier.

Because this is a review of an antenna, I’m not going to discuss the theory of SWR. It’s one thing if you’re running 100 watts power, and another if you’re running a 1000 watts. But if you’re looking at this antenna, then you already know the difference.

This company, MyAntenna.com, also provides higher power antennas, just look around. They also sell baluns, RF isolators and other assorted goodies and toys.

Here is a link to eHam.net. I think you will find the reviews impressive.

If you have the space, or the desire, I would highly recommend this antenna. For me, it works. You can also configure it like you would any other dipole. Yes, it is a little pricey and it takes up 130 feet. What do I use it for? I do not contest, nor do I use CW, therefore there is no review of 30 meter. I have made contacts on 80/40/20M, and mostly on 40M. I seldom DX. And I seldom talk, but the reports I receive back are all 5/9, or easily intelligible. 

Again, I have no other end fed experience, I have never used a directional antenna, yes I know these are directional, but you know what I mean. For 10 & 11 meters I primarily use a vertical A99. 


 

I would appreciate your feedback, how your antennas are configured and what type of results you get. We’re all in this ballgame together, and if we can help out a fellow man, let’s please do so. If you have found mistakes in my writings or calculations, please let me know. This is just my experience. I look forward to hearing from you.

My XYL just reminded me that I need to let you know why I do this. First off, I listen. I want to know what’s coming down the road. As mentioned earlier, I operate from solar, not my whole house, but all of my radios, and that’s what it’s for. The system I use is simple. For me simple works better. The man I mentioned earlier that I learned about this antenna from operates all over the world when conditions permit.

In a future article I will tell you about my IC-7300 experience and why I went back to an IC-718. Thanks for being there.

We’ll talk more later. 73, Frank

23 thoughts on “End Fed Antenna Review

  1. Hi, Mark.Mark, I would never go on a rant, especially about one of our government agencies. The government is our friend and they are here to help. Sorry, Mark, I think my medication just kicked in.Thanks for reading, Frank

  2. I'm a little late to the party but welcome back.I have to admit, the post was not what I thought it was about. I just KNEW this was going to be a rant about some FCC shenanigans concerning reviewing the legalities of certain types of antennas… Silly me

  3. Yup, now I've seen one! Mike is doing great, he is 68,out shooting at a black powder contest today. You can find Glenn's podcast on You Tube as Prepping 2.0.

  4. Christi, thank you for all the information. I am also not an expert on anything. I will certainly look into the ferrites, especially for the power cables. For my coax I use an RF isolator, an MFJ 915, but I really can't tell any difference in my S level. Maybe a ferrite would do better. Yes, I'm familiar with ferrites, I've just never used them, except for the ones that come built in to pieces of equipment. There is a veteran ham about 5 miles from me whose equipment is sharply more sophisticated and he comments about S9 on his radios also.As mentioned earlier I bought a how-to digital book from ARRL, but either I don't have the basic knowledge, or the book is a little shallow in content. Either way, it doesn't answer my questions. An area I am slowly investigating is DMR, another one of those things I would like to know more about.Again, please share any comments you have and comments from your Elmers. The last 2 days about 400 people have read this article, and I hope they read the comments. There are a lot of people like me, I just don't talk much, but if the ones reading can get something out of your comments, that's a good deal.In a few days I'll post some more radio stuff, and probably some articles about baby goats and just life. The primary reason I am looking into digital is to use less power. I believe someday power may be somewhat limited and if I can use 10 watts as opposed to 100 watts, then my batteries will last much longer.Thank you again for sharing.73, Frank

  5. Hi Frank,I did not see the linked dipole on DX Engineering. I ordered it directly from England from SOTAbeams.I have S9 on 40m here when we get rain and around S5 otherwise. There are some old transformers in the area and we think that is the cause. I was also having trouble on digital with noise from my laptop charger. I am not an expert on baluns or ferrites. My elmer recommended ferrites, so I ordered a kit from Palomar Engineers. I put ferrites on my coax, my power cord from the radio to the power supply, my computer power cord, and my monitor HDMI cable. It did fix my issues on digital and did help lower the noise on 40m. My elmer also is teaching me about using the features of my radios – adjusting the gain, using the filters. That also helps hear stations that are hard to hear. I have had success using them to pull a station out of the mud. I started out on digital with my 897 and a SignaLink. It worked fine but it was fiddly. I bought the 991 to have a radio that could do digital with no extra equipment required. I also enjoy that it has a touch screen menu so that I can adjust settings easily as needed. The 897 is a great radio but it takes more steps to change settings. I do have a computer to use with my radio for digital and for my contact log. I struggle with being around people and am pretty reclusive as well. I found a group of guys that don't mind my lack of people skills. We meet weekly in the park to play radio, test antennas, do projects, learn new skills. They showed me how to do PSK and FT8. It wasn't enough for me to read or watch youtubes. I agree with you that ham radio is an important skill and gear to have for whatever is coming down the road. I look forward to more articles from you on this subject. I also look forward to any article from you and Fern and am glad you are back. Thanks for indulging me in radio talk.73, christi

  6. TB, if you will look down the right hand side, starting from the top, you will see a section called Frank's Radio Communications. It is all written, well most of it anyway, about entry level information about radios. Not just ham radio equipment but CBs, GMRS, scanners and just general radio operation. If you have the time and inclination, give it a look.My favorite thing about radio is just listening. I turn on my radios about everyday, and I might talk on one once a month maybe. I just listen.Now of course, I'm not talking about the handheld radios we use around the farm. We talk on those everyday, multiple times. I talk about those little radios too, under Frank's Radio Communications.Thank you for reading.Frank

  7. Hi, Christi. Lots of information and thank you for sharing. Almost everything I do is self taught and I'm also a tad bit of a recluse. So, most things I learn come from either YouTube or information from another ham. Your set up sounds very interesting to me. I would like to learn how to use digital. I've looked at Tigertronics SignaLink, and I even bought a book on using PSK and FT8, but it just didn't quite answer all of my questions.I've seen Field Day operations of the FT-897 and a SignaLink, and it seemed very interesting. He also had a laptop computer with it. I built an OCF dipole for 80 meters and it worked fine, but the noise level was extremely high and I couldn't figure out how to get it down. It was your standard 45' and 90' and a good 4:1 balun. It would transmit and receive like a charm. Where I live has a high noise level to begin with. I have a constant S9 on all bands. But the OCF was much higher, it was hard to pick out signals out of the noise.As mentioned in another comment, I'm trying to get people talking and sharing, which is what you just did.You said you used a ferrite on your coax to help deal with RF. Is this the same thing as an RF isolator? Or an inline 1:1 balun? I currently use a 1:1 balun on my HF feedline. I'm not sure it helps much, but I know it doesn't hurt. I tried it on my VHF radio and it didn't work at all. And I tried it on my scanner antenna just to see if I could reduce some noise, and I did, I got nothing. So it didn't work there either. I understand it is made for the HF bands, but I thought I would try anyway. I'm not familiar with a SOTAbeams. I found it on DX Engineering, but I couldn't find what you made reference to.I tried to learn CW. I took a radio class via a local repeater, five nights a week for six weeks, for about an hour a night. The instructor used a standard teaching method, but it just didn't click with me.My wife and I both have our Extras. Actually every test we've ever taken she has done better than I have on all of them. The guys at the test site always think this is humorous for some reason. Well so much for bird walking. Thank you for sharing, please continue to do so anytime you have something you want to say. And I thank you again for your comment.73, Frank

  8. CW, thank you for your comment. There are lots of ways to communicate via radio and it doesn't necessarily have to be ham radio. On the right hand side of this blog, start at the top and scroll down and you will see Frank's Radio Communications. There are articles there about CB, GMRS, scanners and ham radio, and how to get your ham radio license. The getting your license articles are out dated, but there are lots of good articles there and it will get you started learning about radio. I taught a class here locally one night a week for about 7 weeks, and about half the guys were there getting their ham radio license and the other half were there just to learn about radios. And it was not all guys, there were 3 ladies in the class.Peruse through the articles under Frank's Radio Communications, you might find some ideas there you like. Some of those ideas may be just what your family needs.Thank you, Frank

  9. Well, Scott, thank you.The 20' fence top rail? My A99 is mounted on one right now. It's in the picture. Yes, the 20' top rail is on a 30' tower, and the A99 works great for me. We have some strong winds here in Oklahoma and it's still standing.Before I got a wild hair and went and bought a bunch of Rohn 25, all of my towers consisted of 1\” galvanized pipe. I used about 75 bags of RediMix and 100' of Rohn altogether, plus some back breaking digging, and nothing improved. Actually, I wish I still had the old tower system.Your equipment seems to work, and if that works for you, that is all that is important. I looked up all the various pieces of equipment you have. See, I use a VHF/UHF dual band radio, the Anytone AT-5888UV. It cost $209 on Amazon and it does everything in the world I want it to do. My HF is an IC-718, and I have had more than one ham ask me why I don't get a real radio. The reason I use mine is because it works and it does what I want it to. My wife and I have a small farm here in Oklahoma and we use HTs everyday. A Baofeng UV5R+, it costs new about $27. I have used some of these handhelds for years and they work just as well on MURS & GMRS. Your Nelson antenna? I looked it up on eBay and eHam. Great idea. My first antenna ever was two 33' pieces of Romex. One side was black and one side was white. Worked great.I'm trying to get folks here to share ideas, like your Nelson antenna. Thank you for what you have shared, and please continue doing so. We can all use good ideas. Take care.73, Frank

  10. Hi Frank, well the station is pretty low budget, an Alinco DX-SR8 Radio I picked up used, with a vintage Kenwood TS-520 as a backup. No amp, run through a MFJ-949E tuner, also bought used. Microphone is a Kenwood MC-60, bought used at a hamfest. Coax is Jefatech LMR-400 style ($0.59/ft) with soldered on PL-259's. A99 antenna is on 20' of fence top rail, no radials. Wire antenna has a Ebay sourced 9:1 unun, 300W capacity. Worked a few stations in Europe and South America, so it's got some potential. SWR isn't an issue, since I'm using a tuner. Also have a basic 2 meter setup, an old FT-211 Yaesu which I got cheap & fixed.

  11. Hi Frank and Fern,Great article. I am an Amateur Extra and I like to contest. I also have a group I meet with that operates portable from a park weekly. I use SSB and Digital (PSK and FT8). Started learning CW but on a break due to chemo brain.For my portable ops, I use either a Yaesu FT-897 or FT-991 off a battery. I use a SOTAbeams linked dipole on 40m and 20m deployed on a 30' Jackite pole. Works great, resonant, and easy to put up and take down. Use it for both SSB and Digital. I also use it at home during contests to cover different directions than my home antenna if I think it will help.At home, I currently use an Off Center Fed Dipole hanging off my horse arena light pole at about 25 feet. This is a compromise location since I am in the desert and we have no tall trees and I don't have a tower. It works 80m – 6m. I do use the internal tuner on my Yaesu FTDX-3000 to tune all but 80m. For 80m I have to use a manual MFJ tuner. I do use a ferrite on my coax (RG8X) because I was having some issues with RF. I also use this antenna when we go out in the desert for Winter Field Day deployed from a military mast at 32 feet. I do make sure to deploy my antenna in an orientation that captures most of the populations centers for contesting.Hamfests are great places to pick up antennas. I picked up a Gap Titan DX for $80. The great thing about them is that you can get replacement parts directly from Gap. These things go for $470 new. I also picked up a 10m – 15m – 20m beam for $40. Gotta have a tower for it though. I am very happy with my results. For me, the number one antenna requirement is resonant. I don't want to have to tune them. Except for 80m on the OCF, I don't have to tune. I just do to make it nicer for my radios. I do want to learn about radiation patterns so I can be better at placing my antennas, especially when I am in the field.Sorry so long, but wanted to answer your question about sharing. 73, christi

  12. I think the ability to communicate via that type of radio setup would be extremely useful. I will have to see if other family members would be interested in starting with a basic system. Thank you again. You and Fern have much to offer through your blog. CWfromIowa

  13. Spinnersaw, I will be 69 in a couple of days and I get as much done now as I probably ever have. Not the heavy lifting and the hard work, because my body at 69, is, well, 69. My heart is still the compassionate, loving creature it has always been. People that know me are rolling in their chairs right now. But outside of the occasional scare, my heart is fine mechanically. If you will look at the picture at the top of this blog then you will see a ham radio. Now don't you feel that one of your unachieved goals in life has been satisfied? There goes that humor again. Humor has caused me lots of trouble in life. I know that God has a since of humor, He reminds me of it every time I look in the mirror.Matching zippers, eh? Not something I'd wish on anybody. And if I have to have it done again, it's not going to happen. I'll tell you about it in an article in the near future. The only reason I use ham radio is a means to communicate when other sources go down. There are lots of other men like me, and women. To me it's not a hobby, it is a survival tool. Glen Tate? Fern and I really enjoyed his 299 Days series. I've never heard him speak, though.Look at that header up there again. Now you've seen ham radio twice.How is your hubby doing?Take care, Frank

  14. I'm in my 60s and have never even seen a ham radio. My husband got a new aortic valve a year ago. Now we are working on being \”prepper fit\”, that's a term I learned from an episode on Prepping 2.0 with Glenn Tate and Shelby Gallegar I bet you and my Mike have matching zippers.

  15. Hi, SJ. An HF radio, which means high frequency, can also double as a shortwave receiver. They are both in the same frequency range. Radio is not difficult and getting a license is not difficult either. I know you are in a different country, but the requirements are very similar. Check out ARRL.com and play around in their website.The solar panels? I use to charge my batteries and power my radios. Don't be turned off by the high dollar radios you see. You can do the same thing for a whole, whole lot less money.Thank you for reading.73, Frank

  16. Hi, Scott, thank you for the come back. What you have pretty much covers all of the HF bands. Can you share with me what type of radio you have? Are you running power? And what type of coax? Others reading would really appreciate this type of information.Your MFJ tuner? Is it manual or auto? I forgot to mention in the article, I use an LDG IT-100 tuner. Other folks would like to know what other people are running. Most won't comment, but many will read this information.Do you ever try 60 meters? I have been listening to 60 meters now for a few months and have only heard one conversation where I could hear both people. I have made zero contacts on 60.Did you have to add any loops or coils to get your end fed to work okay? And do you have any concerns about SWR?I'm sure other folks would like to know about your equipment. On some occasions my A99 will also tune on 20, but it's a strain. Does your A99 have a radial kit on it? Mine does. I'm not sure if it makes a great deal of difference, just wanted to see about yours.Thank you again. It's nice to compare notes.73, Frank

  17. I read the article and was fascinated. So much to learn. I have getting into ham radio on my wish list. I remember listening to a short wave receiver my dad had when I was very little. And I noticed the solar panels on your one shed, nice to see.SJ in Vancouver BC

  18. Glad to see y'all back. I got my ham ticket about the same time as your blog went quiet. I also use an end fed wire, about 84' for 80-40-20 meters, an Antron 99 for 17-11-10 meters. I used my own wire and just bought the balun from Nelson Antennas. About 30' at the apex and 2' at the ends. Combined with the high iron content in the soil, it works well when conditions permit.MFJ tuner keeps the radio happy.

  19. Well, thank you. We'll see what the future holds. Did you read the antenna article? Do you do radio? Would you like to do radio? It's funny, the first article about Unbelievable received numerous comments, and they were kind and welcoming and that's good. My antenna article. Let me back up a little bit here. My radio articles used to get few comments but numerous reads. And my antenna article today? Well, it's still early in the day. But you did comment under the antenna article so I will consider this a comment about my antenna article.Remember, humor is a four letter word if you take 'u' out. Maybe I need a nap…..Thank you for your kind words. Think radio.Frank

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