A cheaper antenna: the Red Green J-Pole

January 08, 2021

What else would you expect?

People make J-Pole antennas out of all kind of things… copper pipe… twin-lead/ladder line. But who has that kind of stuff lying around the house? And the tools to work it?

Everybody has speaker wire!

Old speaker wire. Now that’s something a lot of people have lying around. If you took a ham radio class, (and you should! Right here!) you would know that the extra length of it lying behind the speaker or the amp is not a good thing – it acts as an antenna. So why not use it to make a real antenna?

Bonus: when you split it, you might have enough for two antenna!

Next we make the classic J-shape. Strip down some old co-ax, strip the speaker wire at the right places, and connect in the shield and the centre wire at the right places. Since normal people don’t have soldering irons, seal it all up with electric tapes. And use some cardboard to keep that all important spacing.

Add coax, cardboard and electric tape

We don’t need to detail this too much. There are already way too many videos out there about how to make J-poles with ladder line. Look it up.

Looks a little loose, but don’t worry. We secure it with… more electric tape.

Now we need to secure everything so the wires are at a constant distance from each other.

Lay out a nice strip of duct tape

Lay out some duct tape, and use a few thumb tacks to keep it nice and taught. Everyone has some of those.

Carefully lay down the speaker wire in the classic J-Pole pattern.

Seal everything in place

Secure everything in place with… a nice top layer of duct tape.

Top layer of tape to finish it up

Press and seal all along the whole length to secure everything.

Rolls up nicely – just like the finest ladder-line antennas!

First tests on the cheapo radio show its working. More comparisons later. Its supper time.

Post a comment if you know the dielectric values for duct tape.

And don’t try this at home until we’ve reported back on the SWR!

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