ZeroFive

ZeroFive Antennas

Stealth Antennas were covered on another page of our web site (stealth antennas) and yet we felt the need to cover the Zero Five line of amateur radio antennas. The reason for this is that the Zero Five line of antennas will cover any and all HF1 bands as well as all the shortwave radio frequencies. Along with the frequency coverage the Zero Five is excellent for stealth work. With no traps2 or coils3 sticking out it is difficult to see, paint it with colors that blend in with the surroundings and it is even harder to detect.

Why Does It Work So Well ?

The popular ZF-43 43 foot vertical cannot be matched for quality and can be a great multi-band antenna for an antenna restricted QTH4. 05-ZF43_InstalledThe VSWR5 presents a very manageable load on all the HF ham bands except 30m. Our customers find that their built-in radio auto tuners can tune this antenna. The design goal was accomplished with careful design of the antenna feed point and taper, careful measurements and design of the nylon insulator and capacitor it creates, and the matching transformer/balun to achieve this kind of VSWR5 performance. For a better view of the Zero Five ZF-43 antenna shown here just click on the picture and it will open in a new browser window at full resolution. In this case you could paint the antenna a flat dark green and it would difficult to spot until you were up close to it.

The Flagpole Series

Why a flagpole antenna? Stealth! It doesn’t matter if you are a survivalist or you simply live in an area where antennas aren’t allowed the Zero Five 05-flagpolewebFlagpole antennas are the answer. These fantastic antennas come in three different sizes: 18 foot, 24 foot, and the 33 foot model. These antennas are made from heavy duty T-6 1/8″ wall aluminum tubing. The custom welded bolt down base with its massive 4 inch OD CNC machined base will let you run your rig at legal limit all day long. The Zero Five Flagpole antenna comes complete with a 3 inch gold ball for the top, pulley truck, 3 x 5 foot American Flag, and rope with a tie off. This particular antenna is made for a more permanent installation due to the mounting requirements. All of these antennas require a concrete base to bolt the antenna base to so that it will withstand the forces placed on it by the flag as it blows in the wind. While this may not be an ideal antenna for someone on the move it will prove to be a great addition to a permanent base camp installation.

1HF when used to describe radio equipment refers to the High Frequency bands.

2Traps part of an antenna used to make it multiband.

3Coils part of an antenna used to make it multiband.

4QTH this is a “Q” code that hams use for your house/camp/location.

5VSWR Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR). A comparison of the power transmitted to the power received back from the system with respect to a 50 Ohm line impedance. A VSWR of 1.0 is a 100% efficient antenna, a VSWR of 1.5 is 97%, a VSWR of 2.0 is 89%.

Stealth Hidden Camouflage

Stealth Hidden Camouflage

Stealth: stealthy – furtive or surreptitiously, denoted or otherwise marked by quiet, caution, and secrecy, it can also mean to take great pains to avoid being observed;

Stealth is an absolute necessity when you are in survival mode especially when it comes to your communications equipment. The very best communications antenna for a survivalist is one that no one can see. You know yourself that paranoia will run rampant and anything seen as a “threat” will be reported. The last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself or your location by having a huge antenna sticking up in the air. Sure, the big antennas work so much better but they also tend to attract unwanted attention. So with this page we will show you some antennas that will perform very well for the bands they are created for and yet will not draw a lot of attention.

Before you go any further on this page you may want to read about a ham operator who specializes in working stealth modes with stealth antennas. The article is entitled: “Secrets of a Successful Stealth Operator“.

Stealth Antennas

The Grasswire

Grass Wire Antenna
Grass Wire Antenna
What is it? Put simply, it is an end-fed, longwire antenna that is laid right on the grass. Hence the name. The original grasswire used by K3MT in the summer of 1988 was just 204′ of #18 AWG magnet wire laid along the property line, anywhere from 1″ to 6″ above the ground. This sketch shows plan and elevation views of a typical installation. Both an 8′ ground rod and optional counterpoise wires are shown. Use one or the other. Both are not needed. (Click the image for a better view of the Grasswire Antenna.)

Small Loop Antennas

Magnetic loops are very effective small antennas. these 3 to 3 1/2+ foot antennas perform close to and in some cases (low mounting heights for one) better than even a small beam. The reason is that a magnetic field is much more concentrated than an electrical one, for example a small horizontal loop at 17 feet performs better (lower radiation angle) than a full size dipole at 35 feet, in fact better for DX than a beam at that height because of the much lower takeoff angle. If you place a beam 1 foot off the ground it will only radiate straight up while a vertical loop will still work DX stations quite well. This smaller more intense magnetic field also has the advantage of greatly reducing TVI – RFI potential if the loop is more than 15 feet or so away from TV antennas, electronics etc. Another advantage of this magnetic field is the very low background noise heard on the loop because most man made noise is electrical fields. For example if you lived next to a Shopping Mall the loop would not hear all that lighting and power transformers. Also reducing interference is the loops “Hi Q” which means that it receives & transmits on a narrow band range compared to the “full size” antennas. This effect is very pronounced on the lower bands that the loop will work.

Low Profile Operating Outside Antennas

Antennas outside ? Not here ! Well you might be surprised. There are many methods to get your antennas out in the free air. The key here is do the very best you can to blend in or conceal your installation. Do your best not to attract attention. Install your antenna at night if possible, another way is to mix it in with some other project like painting, repairs or hanging Christmas lights.

PAINT

A little paint does very little to your RF efficiency but goes a long way to disguise your antennas. Since my house is in the clear with few trees I use a blue-gray color that blends into the sky and in my case my house. Use a flat color if possible. Also there is a line of camouflage paints that are made for cars that are great around foliage, fences or decks. Experiment by painting boards to see what will work best for you.

VERTICALS

Radials: On HF the length of the radials on the ground is is not as critical because the earth detunes them. Run as many as you can as close as you can to the 1/4 wave length for your lowest frequency. I would suggest that you bury them down about 1 inch. Radiator(s): On VHF & UHF full size and radiators are usually fairly easy to hide. For example use 3/16 rod instead of 1/2″ tubing for your J-pole and paint to match, or hide it in a fake roof vent. Several amateurs have built 1/4 and even 5/8 wave antennas into a working wind vane. On HF verticals can be built into “birdhouses” on a pole, these can be full sized on 10 meters or so and loaded or capacitance hats in the “house” itself for other bands. A popular theme is the flagpole antenna. One design for a multi-band version is in the ARRL antenna book, it consists of a pole made of PVC with home made traps inside. Another good way is to feed a ground isolated 26 foot pole against a radial system with a concealed remote turner at its base. Also a wire radial can be run up a wood flag pole. Coax: Use a good quality coax cable to reduce RF & interaction problems.

DIPOLES

Dipoles can be very effective and also being balanced usually are some of the cleanest in terms of TVI and RFI. The eves of your house is a good spot to hide a dipole, just staple it up there and paint to match. Also a dipole laid flat on your roof can have good results. Inverted Vee configurations tend to work best to stateside contacts while flat tops high in the air work best for DX. A surprisingly good choice is the “invisible wire”, small gauge wire as small as 30 gauge can be used if suspended properly, I suggest 26 gauge magnet wire. These small wire sizes will create some loss but not too much until you get to the low bands and even there will work OK. Also 18 gauge or so wire can be used and allowed to oxidize to have no reflection of sunlight. Caution with colors is necessary to prevent birds from running into your wire. I found light green is invisible to our feathered friends but they avoid dark green. These antennas can be supported by trees, fences etc. Fishing line is very useful for tying to structures and pulleys with small springs or weights can be used to let the dipole move in the wind without stretching. Feed line: A little care is needed here, be careful of running parallel to electrical lines or duct work if using balanced lines. Use the best coax or twin lead you can but if you can use 300 ohm TV lead with some loss for easy routing.

BEAMS

This is a bit tougher, VHF & UHF beams can be hidden from view behind chimneys or trees. HF beams even on 10m are big and hard to camouflage but a clever ham could possibly shorten one to look like a TV antenna. I expect to see more antennas like the new Hy-Gain 2/6 meter beam that looks a lot like a TV yagi and lets you take advantage of the Communication act of 1996. This FCC ruling states that if you own your property you can have a outdoor TV antenna despite local covenants etc.

Commercial Antennas For Stealth Mode

portable vertical antenna BuddiPole – It’s a dipole… It’s a vertical… It fits in your travel bag! The Buddipole™ is more than an antenna, it’s a versatile system for launching your signal. Optimized for transmit power and proven for DX work, the Buddipole™ is the secret weapon used by HF portable operators all around the world. Precision engineered for maximum performance using ultra light composite materials and High-Q coils. Zero-loss balun with Quick-Connect feedpoint.

The CliffDweller II antenna!

The Original Variable Length HF Antenna

The CliffDweller II is the Original variable length HF antenna that adjusts it’s size to fit YOUR operating environment. 6 to 80 Mtrs. – QRP to 100 Watts – Anywhere you need it. Composed of 130 feet of wire (a full half wavelength on 80 mtrs!), the CliffDweller II operates in as little as 16 feet (8 feet per side) to a fully extended length of 50 feet (25 feet per side) or anywhere in between. It works in any space you have available!

For traveling or for storage, fully compressed (as shown), the CliffDweller II takes up less than one foot of space. Take it with you anywhere you’ll need an HF antenna. Operates great in permanent or portable operation. Makes a great emergency “have on hand” antenna – used by several emergency ham services around the country.

The Force 12 flagpole antenna is a large diameter aluminum pole that is the actual antenna. It is not a plastic tube with a wire inside. The Force 12 flagpole is an effective antenna and is a solution for many people who live in restricted areas, while allowing us to be patriotic. The basic flagpole antenna system is composed of the flagpole, the radials and the feed line. The optional feed point kit contains a feed point pigtail that connects the flagpole to the coax feed line and four (4) radials.

One of the best choices in stealth antennas is those produced by the Zero Five antenna company. Their antennas are quite hard to discern and can be made even more stealthy by applying a coat of paint that coincides with the surrounding areas. Zero Five also sells flagpole antennas that are virtually impossible to discern with Old Glory displayed on them. We have a little more detail on the Zero Five antennas on this link: Zero Five Antennas.

Grasswire Antenna © MICHAEL TOIA, K3MT .

Small Loop Antennas © CLIFFORD HOLLOWAY, N0HC

Low Profile Operating Outside Antennas © CLIFFORD HOLLOWAY, N0HC

How To Launch An Antenna

How To Launch An Antenna

Now How Do I Get It Up There? Getting an antenna up into a tree is the single most easy method of getting your antenna up and operational. Many people have come up with many unique ways of getting the middle or ends of their antennas into the trees. Among the many methods used to “launch” antennas:

While all of these are good, proven methods they are not exactly the safest at times. As mentioned earlier the spud gun might have legal issues to deal with in your area and also has a side issue of the noise it creates when fired. Bows and arrows would seem to be the best but it takes and accomplished archer and a good bow to get the arrow to the top of the tree where you need it to be. Slingshots with fishing weights can work but the weights need to be just right or you risk them getting snagged in the branches. To use a rock would require someone with a major league pitcher’s arm to get the rock anywhere near the top of a tree of minimal proportions. Using a fishing rod seems to be a great way to get an antenna up into a tree but you better be good with it or else you’ll wind up wasting time and fishing line in failed attempts.

So what’s left? What’s the secret? Well, it isn’t really a secret and is actually a compilation of several of the methods listed above. Rather than blather on it would be best to hear from the manufacturer of this fine product which, by the way, is widely used by amateur radio operators (hams), cable installers, and tree surgeons, and phone installers.

EZ HANG — SlingShot & Reel Device for installing wire antennas.

THE NEW AND IMPROVED Custom EZ HANG WITH FOLDABLE WRIST SUPPORT with UV protected 11″ long Bands and 1 1/2″ pouch, The EZ HANG’s basic construction is welded steel attached to a reel that is corrosion resistant plastic and stainless steel. The reel comes with 300 feet of 10-pound-test monofilament line installed, a quick disconnect clip to release weight has a easy-to-see “bright yellow” powder coated cannon ball one-ounce lead weight. Plus one extra weight and clip. (Preceding & image copyrighted by EZ HANG).

EZHANG antenna launcher

Please note: we are not affiliated with the EZ Hang Company.

Knots

Now once you get everything where you want it you will need a way to secure the antenna to prevent it from falling down. The best way is of course to tie it off with rope and this presents another problem which is that of tying knots. We went to the best knot site we know of to get some information on the tying of knots (www.realknots.com).

Instruction Pages

Terminal Knots, Overhand-knot, (Flemish)eight and more.

To bend two lines together. Reef-Knot, Sheet-Bend, Carrick-Bend, True-Lover’s, and more.

To tie on an object. Timber Hitch, Constrictor, The Eight, and more.

Bowline, Bowstring, and more.

The running bowline, hangman, and more.

The monkey fist, Dolly (trucker-hitch).

Some Fancy work.

1 Spud guns: A spud gun is a pipe-based cannon which uses air pressure, or combustion of a gaseous fuel, or both, to launch large projectiles at low speed. They are built to fire chunks of potato, as a hobby, or to fire other sorts of projectiles, for practical uses. In some jurisdictions spud guns are outlawed or have restrictions on their use and may require licenses and certification of the gun.

Commercial

Commercial Antennas

Why use commercial antennas for your SHTF needs? Availability. Price. Performance. There’s something to be said for antennas that you can build yourself but then again there’s no reason to not use commercial antennas for survivalist needs.

Then there are times when you can find really good deals on commercial antennas that you just can’t pass up. Sometimes people are not pleased with an antenna and will just give it away, never realizing the antenna might have been assembled or installed improperly. Many times a so-called ‘poor antenna’ is the result of using poor feedline. We can’t stress enough how important the coax is to a communications system.

In this section of our web site we go into a few of the commercial antennas that a survivalist or prepper should at least take a look at for their communications needs. A note in advance, we aren’t ‘affiliates’ with these antenna companies nor do we receive anything from them to put their antenna on this web site.



Stealth antenna 02          

Build Stealth Antennas

Build Stealth Antennas

Building stealth antennas to keep prying eyes from detecting your communications resources takes some skill and a lot of ingenuity. The skill part comes into play when it comes down to building antennas that will be sturdy and will perform optimally for the frequency/band desired. The ingenuity part of a stealth antenna comes about when it comes to hiding the antenna from nosy people with nothing better to do than to concern themselves with YOUR antenna. A lot of survivalists and others who want to hide their communications antennas think that mostly wire antennas are the type of antennas used the most and for the most part that’s fairly true. But that doesn’t mean that your HF/VHF/UHF beams and vertical antennas can’t be also hidden. In this picture to the right, you can see how easily a multi-element VHF beam was hidden in the average looking attic of this home. Admittedly it may not work as on receive or transmit as well as it would if it was mounted higher up on the outside Stealth Antenna 01of the home but it is thoroughly hidden away in the attic. Since this antenna is directional it has the characteristics of other beam antenna in that the transmit signal is higher in strength along with it having the ability to better receive signals that might otherwise be too weak to hear.

What Other Ways Can Be Used?

There are many but here are a a couple ideas to get your “idea factory” working on your own stealth antenna ideas.

This type of stealth antenna has been discussed elsewhere on this web site but it was decided that it should be included on this page. Can’t see the antenna yet? Just take a look at Old Glory wafting in the breeze and Stealth antenna 02you will see the antenna. Give up? It’s the flagpole! These flagpole vertical antennas are popping up all all over the place, especially where outside antennas are restricted or forbidden altogether. If you wish to erect any sort of flagpole antenna such as this one then you might want to be sure there aren’t restrictions on flagpoles in the area where you wish to erect it. Some homeowner associations have an even more restrictive policy towards communications by stating that no radio emissions are allowed. Of course this would not apply to shortwave listening but it is best to check first. The flagpole antennas are permanent as they require a concrete base under them and this might keep them from being used in some survivalist situations.

Stealth antenna 03
The owner of this home has built a loop antenna that literally circles his house and no one is the wiser. Take note of the coax exiting the attic vent and running over to the balun1 which is connected to the wire running around the eaves of the house. Wire loop antennas like this one are quite effect and stealthy as well. Along with this is the fact that loop antennas tend to be broadbanded and can readily used on more than one band.

Well, about the time you think you have seen it all there comes around something like the Stealth antenna 04antenna to the right of your screen. It is manufactured by Rohn Products and should hide any antennas systems contained within fairly well. Of course it will also tend to make people stop and point thereby drawing more attention to it than one might desire. Nevertheless, it shows what can be done to hide your antenna.

1 Balun: Derived from the terms “balanced” & “unbalanced”. It is an adapter that converts an unbalanced signal, eg 93 ohm coax to 100 ohm.

Tilt-N-Raise Portable Antenna Mounts

Tilt-N-Raise Portable Antenna Mounts

Antenna mounts are always an issue when running a portable radio set up. Elsewhere in this web site you read information about fixed base antennas, mobile antennas, portable antennas, and even stealth antennas. This product reviewed on this page is a new type of portable antenna mount that should prove to be quite popular with portable radio operators as well as survivalists.

The Tilt-N-Raise® portable antenna mount is not a mobile antenna mount. Although it does go in to the receiver hitch on the rear of your vehicle it is not meant to be used while the vehicle is moving. Survivalists will really enjoy rolling up to a camp hooking up the Tilt-N-Raise and getting your antenna up and operational in 5 minutes or less.

The antenna mount will take all the work out of getting a portable communications antenna up and running quickly and efficiently. Sure, you could make these yourself. But do you have the time and tools to do so? Besides, we are an affiliate site for the mount so we get to make $5 for each mounts sold through this web site. Helps pay for our server so thanks in advance.

Instead of going on and on about all the features of the Tilt-N-Raise® we invite you to look their web site over thoroughly. The link is provided below: Tilt-H-Raise Portable Antenna Mount: www.tiltnraise.com



Tilt-N-Raise Portable Antenna Mounts  

Antennas for 160 Meters

Antennas for 160 Meters

Antenna: 160 meters, Range: 1.8 to 2.0 MHz

Good 160 meters antennas are easy to build with nothing more than readily available materials. Since 160 meters covers the frequency range of 1.8 to 2.0 MHz you can use a few algebraic formulas to compute antenna sizes. One thing about 160 meters as a survivalist band, you won’t see many others there! The use of 160 meters for survivalists is likely never to come about for several reasons. One reason is the size of antennas needed for the 160 meter band are rather large. On HF communications radio operators generally use antennas that are one quarter wavelength for the band they wish to use. On 160 meters a quarter-wave antenna is in the neighborhood of 130 feet. Shortened verticals and dipoles are used with some success and there are some hearty souls who have develop massive beam antennas for 160 meters such as the one shown below. 160 meter beam 01 160 meter beam 02  
Of course these 160 meter beam antennas would not be practical for any type of survivalist communications. Problem number two with 160 meters is that it is primarily a nighttime, wintertime band due to its propagation characteristics.

Antennas for 80 Meters

Antennas for 80 Meters

Antenna: 80 meters, Range: 3.5 to 4 MHz

Good 80 meters antennas are easy to build with nothing more than readily available materials. Since 80 meters covers the frequency range of 3.5 to 4 MHz you can use a few algebraic formulas to compute antenna sizes.

80 meters antennas are a great deal like those for 75 meters but there is a problem in the bandwidth of 80 meters antennas. The problem is the bandwidth which is the frequency at the upper and lower edge of the antennas before excessive SWR comes into play. Like 75 meters, 80 meters is a good band for survivalists to consider.

This formula: 234/f can be explained by dividing 234 by the desired frequency in megahertz which will give you the length, in feet, of a 1/4 wave antenna. This formula isn’t exact in that it assumes the radiating element is infinitely small. What this means is if the radiating element was one inch in diameter then the resonant length of the antenna would be a little shorter than the calculated one given by the formula gives you.

Using the formula above you will soon see that an antenna for 80 meters is approximately 65 feet 4 and 3/8 inches in length. This antenna measurement can be used for either a vertical antenna for 80 meters or a horizontal antenna for 80 meters.

All though 80 meters is a good band for regional communications you will find mostly Morse code and digital communications in place. 80 meters includes the 75 meter band where voice operation is permitted.

80 meter antenna  

Antennas for 75 Meters

Antennas for 75 Meters

Antenna: 75 meters, Range: 3.6 to 4 MHz

Good 75 meters antennas are easy to build with nothing more than readily available materials. Since 75 meters covers the frequency range of 3.6 to 4 MHz you can use a few algebraic formulas to compute antenna sizes.

As you can see, the size of a quarter wave antenna for 75 meters is rather large at almost 64 feet for 3.665mhz. For survivalist use a vertical antenna for 75 meters is impractical while a dipole for 75 meters could be quite useful. The band known as 75 meters is actually part of the 80 meter band but is designated as voice only.

This formula: 234/f can be explained by dividing 234 by the desired frequency in megahertz which will give you the length, in feet, of a 1/4 wave antenna. This formula isn’t exact in that it assumes the radiating element is infinitely small. What this means is if the radiating element was one inch in diameter then the resonant length of the antenna would be a little shorter than the calculated one given by the formula gives you.

Using the formula above you will soon see that an antenna for 75 meters is approximately 63 feet 10 and 3/16 inches in length. This antenna measurement can be used for either a vertical antenna for 75 meters or a horizontal antenna for 75 meters.

75 meters is a great band for regional interstate and intrastate communications. It is quite capable of good intercontinental communications as well but generally requires an amplifier to do so. 75 meters and even 80 meters should also be a part of a survivalist communication system.

75 meter antenna

Antenna for 40 Meters

Antenna for 40 Meters

Antenna: 40 meters, Range: 7.0 to 7.3 MHz

Good 40 meters antennas are easy to build with nothing more than readily available materials. Since 40 meters covers the frequency range of 7.0 to 7.3 MHz you can use a few algebraic formulas to compute antenna sizes.

Antennas for 40 meters are used as verticals and dipoles with great success. 40 meters antennas are a bit large as verticals but dipoles for 40 meters are quite manageable. A dipole for 40 meters can easily be strung between two tall trees located near a survivalist camp.

This formula: 234/f can be explained by dividing 234 by the desired frequency in megahertz which will give you the length, in feet, of a 1/4 wave antenna. This formula isn’t exact in that it assumes the radiating element is infinitely small. What this means is if the radiating element was one inch in diameter then the resonant length of the antenna would be a little shorter than the calculated one given by the formula gives you.

Using the formula above you will soon see that an antenna for 40 meters is approximately 32 feet 6 and 9/32 inches in length. This antenna measurement can be used for either a vertical antenna for 40 meters or a horizontal antenna for 40 meters.

Propagation is very good on 40 meters for local and DX work. Intercontinental contacts are very common on voice, Morse code and the digital modes. Of all the bands available it might be said that 40 meters is the most versatile.

40 meter antenna