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MULTIBAND HF DIPOLES

By Tim W. Shaw

Forward I first met Tim Shaw in Dec. 1967 during a TDY trip to HQUSASTRATCOM at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. Tim had relocated there in 1966 when the personnel of the old US Army Signal Corps Radio Propagation Agency at Ft. Monmouth, NJ were transferred to the Communications Engineering Installation Agency (CEEIA) under STRATCOM. He specialized in antenna design and ionospheric radio wave propagation. He had also been an instructor at the Signal Corps Signal School at Ft. Monmouth. Since I still considered myself to be a chemist even though the Signal Corps had tried to turn me into a HF radio officer in 6 months, I really welcomed meeting someone who could educate me in these damn wiggly radio waves! My tour of duty was at the Pacific Field Office of CEEIA-PAC on Okinawa with projects all over the Far East and Southeast Asia. Tim Shaw was my savior as he was always willing to show me a new trick or a better antenna design. Around 1968, I had an assignment to build new antennas on Taiwan for a very short distance circuit to an off-shore island. I remember they wanted 100% reliability just in case the Red Chinese decided to take the island. This paper is the design of a multiband dipole that Tim Shaw came up with. It must have worked as the customer never came back to get me. In 1972, I was reassigned to Ft. Huachuca and was looking forward to working with Tim Shaw again. But to my dismay, he had retired in 1971. I visited his home several times in Benson. But a few years later he died. I really owe Tim for educating me so well in practical HF radio engineering as I was able to make a full 30 year career of it with the Government and 10 more years as a poor consultant. I hope you will find Tims work as interesting and worthwhile, as I did.

George Lane

MULTIBAND HF DIPOLES
These comments are based on two reports. The first is a Stanford Research Institute report by Cecil Barnes and others, A Field Guide to Simple HF Dipoles and the second is an ECOM report, Multiband HF Antenna. In each case the report concerns the building and testing of multielement dipole antennas. The SRI report recommends that the supporting poles be made /4 high at the highest operating frequency and that the elements be separated in the vertical direction at the center by 14 centimeters and at the ends by a meter. The low frequency element is on top, and each half of this dipole is made equal to .36 /4. Each half of the center dipole is equal to /4, and each half of the bottom dipole is equal to 1.01 /4. The advice of the SRI report is that more than three dipoles is very hard to adjust for a low VSWR. The ECOM report shows factors near to, but different from the SRI report. Tests were made at only one height, 25 feet above the ground. Vertical separation between the elements at the center of the dipoles was 0 feet, and at the outer ends the separation was made 5 feet. A number of readings were taken at various frequencies and the average ratio was taken for each element. For this experiment, they found that after the antenna was completed, when they inverted the elements, that is placed the highest frequency element at the top and the lowest frequency element at the bottom, the low frequency element had 2 dB less gain than before, but the mid-frequency dipole gained 2.7 dB, and the high frequency element gained 4.7 dB over the previous arrangement. The conclusion was that since they were working at near vertical incidence, the low frequency elements were screening the higher frequency elements in the original position. Another factor, which may have been overlooked, since it was not mentioned in the report, is that in the second position the high frequency element approached a /4 above the ground the optimum height for maximum reinforcement at vertical incidence. However this theory does not explain the increased gain at the midfrequency. The most likely explanation is a combination of the two. Further experiments are recommended to determine more fully the effects of inverting the assembly. If SRI recommendations on height--i.e., /4 at the highest frequency of the combination - had been followed, different results may have been found. Also, if measurements had been taken at other distances results may have been different. Other factors to be considered are the dielectric constant and conductivity of the soil underneath the antenna, although for horizontally polarized antennas the effect will not be as pronounced as for vertical polarization. The ECOM report recommends frequency separation of 30% to keep down excessive coupling between the dipoles. The frequencies assigned for this test do not have sufficient separation. Difficulty may be experienced in pruning the two low frequency elements, as well as the two high frequency elements, for minimum VSWR. Any pruning of elements will affect other elements near the same length. It is recommended that the following frequency complement be used with the lengths shown opposite- each frequency:

Frequency (kHz) 4030.0 5239.0 8160.5 10608.5

Length (Feet) 114.64' 92.60' 60.41' 46.50'

At the centers the wires should be separated by about 5 inches vertically. At the ends the wires should- be separated by at least 39 inches and preferably by 60 inches to insure minimum coupling. A method of pruning for minimum VSWR is suggested by SRI: a. Make each half of the dipole about 6 inches longer than the computed length. b. Raise the assembled antenna into place. With low power, start with the lowest frequency and tune the transmitter for Minimum VSWR. If the wire has been measured correctly, the frequency at which minimum VSWR occurs will be lower than the desired frequency. Call this the measured frequency. The amount of wire to cut - off the low frequency dipole is found from the following rule: To increase the resonant frequency of a dipole by a certain percent, shorten the wires by the same percent. To decrease the resonant frequency by a certain percent lengthening the wires by the same percent. If the measured frequency is 3% below the desired frequency, the dipole is too long and its length should be decreased by 3%. Measure and record the resonant frequency of each dipole. Another way of finding the amount by which the dipole is to be shortened is shown in the graph of Figure 1. The graph shows how much to remove from each half of the dipole to make the resonant frequency rise by a small amount. The frequency change is called Delta f ( f) and is plotted along the bottom of the graph in kilohertz. The amount to cut off to make the frequency rise is called Delta ( ) And is plotted vertically. The first step in using this graph is to draw a straight diagonal line; between the lines on the graph, representing the desired frequency. The location of this line may be estimated visually. Use this line to adjust an antenna for that frequency. c. Lower the dipole to make preliminary adjustments. Do not cut the wire off at first. Make each half of the dipole shorter by pulling the wire through the insulator and folding it back on itself with the extra length wrapped loosely around the main part. This procedure allows the wire to be lengthened again in case it has been made to short. Adjusting one dipole of a multiband antenna may detune the one next to it. d. After preliminary adjustments have been made to all dipoles, raise the antenna back into position and tune the transmitter to the frequency that produces the lowest VSWR, beginning with the lowest frequency and working toward the highest frequency. The measured frequency for each dipole should be very near to the desired frequency. If not, lower the antenna and make adjustments to the individual dipoles to bring them to resonance at the desired frequencies. When resonance is obtained, lower the antenna and make tight

wire-wrap connections at the insulators, cutting off the excess length of wire. The minimum VSWR should be no greater than 2:1. Should it not be possible to obtain a VSWR as low as 2:1, it is because the feed line is not matching the radiation resistance of the antenna. Raising or lowering the antenna will change the radiation resistance by a small amount and may allow a closer match. The antenna may be fed with RG8 coax. A balun should not be necessary. A table is shown below for their frequencies presently assigned for this experiment in case no change can be made. It is emphasized that coupling between the dipoles for the two lowest frequencies may be considerable, as well as coupling between the dipoles for the two highest frequencies, making it difficult to prune to exact resonance. Narrower bandwidths will also be experienced for the various dipoles. Frequency (Khz) length (feet) 4030.0 114.64 4323.5 112.18 8160.5 60.41 9122.5 54.04 The same procedure should be followed in adjusting the dipoles to final frequency as described above. In case other frequencies may be chosen, the dipole lengths may be computed by the following: Lowest frequency dipole length = Next low frequency dipole length = All other dipole lengths = 462 ft F(MHz) ft 485 F(MHz)

493 ft F(MHz)