The G3NGD Semi-vertical Trap Antenna
for 1·8 MHz, 3·5MHz and 7·0MHz
Mk.V1 - December 2003
Vertical section showing Mast coupler & guys. The 7·1 MHz trap coil can be seen in the horizontal section running to the left. Pot Insulators are fitted in each guy rope to improve the insulation at radio frequencies. A pulley and halyard can be seen attached to the top of the vertical, which runs down to the left. This is used to hoist up one end of a Six Band Trapped Dipole Antenna designed for the 20/17/15/12/10/6 Metre Bands. (14MHz; 18MHz; 21MHz; 24MHz; 28MHz and 50MHz).
For details of this Multiband Trapped Dipole, Click this link. ( Multiband Dipole)
The original Antenna was designed by G3NGD in 1975.Many changes and improvements have been made over the years, and this Website shows the latest developments to date.
Since his Short-wave listening days (SWL A1456), John has always shown a keen interest on the 160 Metre band.
("Top Band" 1·810 - 2·000MHz)
In addition to constructing many "Top Band" transmitters and receivers, he always tried to compete with other Radio Amateurs in putting out a strong signal although his garden had always been too small to accommodate a good aerial.
The ideal aerial for transmitting is a half wave dipole, and for this band the length would be approximately 264 ft long.
John's main desire was to communicate "across the pond" - across to Canada and the USA using this band. The band is normally used for local contacts during the daytime, and communication for the whole of the U.K. at night.
During the day, there is only a ground wave available (50 Miles radius), and so long distance is only possible using Sky wave during the hours of darkness.
At that time (1974), the prospects looked grim, but he who persists usually achieves success.
QSL card to confirm contact with Canada on "Top Band" using Morse Code.
QSL card to confirm contact with USA on "Top Band" using Single Sideband.
Another QSL card from Leverett, Western Massachusetts, USA, using Single Sideband on "Top Band" 1840 KHz. The antenna is still used by John, and over the past THIRTY-NINE years has radiated signals into many countries of the world.
It is still working well!
October 2009 (7MHz); WB3HUZ, ZL4IR (New Zealand), VK7GK (Tasmania).
Now the 7MHz allocation has been extended (7.100 - 7.200MHz), this allows stations in the USA to be contacted without having to use 'cross-band' - (Split frequencies).
In the past, this was only possible if a separate receiver was available.
Now in 2014; Top Band includes R70KRC (1.840MHz) SSB, in the Crimea and UA9YMT in Gornyak,which is 3342Miles from my QTH.
Eighty Metres includes KB1H (USA) and VY2TT in Canada. I worked VY2TT also during the same evening on Forty Metres.
Forty Metres includes: W2PV; WE3C; KI1C; VO1KVT; K3LR; and VY2ZM at Souris, Canada.
Just to show that the signal goes to the East as well as the West! The performance on 3·5 MHz (80 Metres) and & 7·0 MHz (40 Metres) is equally as good: 3·5 MHz - CN8, W2, JX2, WA8, YV5, JA6, VO1, VP1, W9, OX, HK4, VU2, VP2, 6Y5, all on SSB.
7·0 MHz - EP2, EA5, IV3, Y22, OJ0, UK9, N2, K3, W1, W4, VK3, VK7, ZL4 all on SSB. (ZL4 has been worked R5 S9 both ways).
(28/10/00 contacted W4MYA, W1FJ, K3LR, KQ2M on 7MHz (SSB) - all R5 - S9)
May 2001 - TA3, SV9, RW6, 9M6, T95, CX5, PY6, 4N8, OY9, I2, EA4, CE8, D44, 9G0, LU2, ZP5, YC3, CN8 all on Single sideband (SSB).
For the novice: LU2 is the Callsign Prefix for Argentina
ZP5 - Paraguay, CE8 - Tierra del Fuego (Chile)
D44 - Cape Verde, CX5 - Uruguay,
VK3 - Australia, W - USA.
ZL4 - New Zealand VK7 - Tasmania.
9M6 - Sabah (Malaysia)
You can find the location of Radio Amateurs by clicking your mouse on the website: http://www.qrz.com
The aerial arrangement
The vertical section is constructed from two 12ft lengths of 2in dia aluminium tube, joined together with mast couplers.
The dimensions are as shown above.
On the latest Version (Mk.IV), Pot Insulators are fitted on each guy rope.
After a period of time, soot (carbon deposit) forms on the 'Poly chord' which could introduce R.F.signal losses.
The base insulator, mountings, and feed point connection
Please read on to find details about the modifications.
The feed insulator is made from 2in dia vinyl drainpipe which was found to be a push-fit over the aluminium tube. This insulation is sufficient as the aerial is a quarter wavelength long on all three bands, and the impedance at this point is very small. The current is therefore a maximum and the voltage should be zero.
The 7·1MHz trap assembly
The 7·0MHz trap is wound with 20 turns of 20 swg copper wire spaced by one turn to prevent arcing, on a 6in length of 1½in diameter vinyl tube.
The coil has a 50pF capacitor rated at 3KV wkg wired in parallel across it.
It is vital that the tuned circuit is resonated at 7·1MHz using a dip oscillator. As a dip oscillator calibration is usually poor, it is best to measure the dip oscillator frequency at dip (resonance) using either a digital frequency meter or the station receiver. The coil is protected with a 6in length of 2in diameter vinyl tube, placed over the coil assembly. The ends are sealed with fibreglass filler, as shown above, the fibreglass ends being held in place with four brass screws.
The 3·7MHz trap assembly
The 3·7MHz trap assembly is similar to the 7·1MHz assembly as shown above.
The coil is wound with 40 turns of 20swg copper wire spaced by one turn to prevent arcing. The mica capacitor is 75pF at 3KV wkg.
Note: two 100pF pulse capacitors at 2KV wkg (used in a Television receivers line output stage) could be used when connected in series.
If you still cannot obtain High Voltage Capacitors, you can make your own using Copper plated, Double sided, Fibre Glass Printed Circuit Board; details elsewhere on this Website.
The resonant frequency of the trap should be adjusted to 3·7MHz with the aid of a dip oscillator. This is done by winding more turns on the coil
than stated, then subtracting the number of turns until the resonant frequency is achieved.
Note: John resonated the trap on 3·7MHz because he wanted to work mainly D.X. (Long distance), Single Sideband, which usually appears at the H.F. end of the band.
If an operator uses C.W. (Morse Code), then it would be better to resonate the trap in the centre of the 80 Meter Band.
The wire used for the top sections is 2·5mm² pvc insulated copper wire.
Length (a-b) is 10ft in length and length (c-d) is 26ft in length.
Length (e-f) is approximately 24ft in length, and depends on the highest resonant frequency required on the 160 Metre Band.
The Mk.IV version resonates at 2·0MHz when on 'Top Band', and the lower frequencies are tuned using a "Roller Coaster" at the feedpoint of the vertical section. (Between the 'Matching Unit' and the base of the vertical).
This Roller Coaster is fitted on top of the Impedance Matching Unit, in series with the lead attached to the feed point of the Vertical tube.
It is connected when on 160metres
General Erection. A site should be chosen approximately 10 ft from the bottom of the garden, and a 5ft length of 2in diameter aluminium tube fixed vertically in the ground with concrete to a depth of 4ft. This leaves 1ft protruding above the ground which when sleeved with 2in diameter vinyl pipe forms the base insulators. Guy clamps should be fitted on the vertical, and polypropylene rope attached with anchor rings. This rope is sold in the UK at "TOOLSTATION" and is inexpensive and is available at www.toolstation.com. I replaced my rope two years ago with that purchased at Toolstation and it is excellent.
On the latest Version (Mk.IV), Pot Insulators are fitted on each guy rope.
After a period of time, soot (carbon deposit) forms on the 'Poly chord' which could introduce R.F.signal losses. - [This was done after reading an article in Radcom.]
Earthing. There are two earth rods, each 5ft long which are hammered into the ground and wired with copper wire to a point underneath the base insulator.
It is an advantage to connect as many radial wires as possible to this point, but not absolutely necessary.
Coaxial Cable. The coaxial cable used is Uniradio 43 (50W) and is connected braid to earth and inner to the feed point (50W - see below) on the toroidal matching unit. This unit is built in a Diecast Aluminium box and mounted on the ground at the base of the vertical.
The cable is fed from the shack to the matching unit inside a length of 20mm diameter plastic conduit or a length of blue water pipe buried 2ft deep.
It would be even better if copper tube was used as this would provide an excellent earth.
Below is the circuit of the toroidal auto-matching transformer using an Amidon T157-2 ferrite ring core available from "Cirkit Electronics". This is fixed at the feed-point at the base of the vertical section.
The switch wiper contact feeds the base of the antenna and provides an impedance match
in the range 12·5W to 50W.
When on Top Band (160 metres) the wiper is connected to the lower end of the 'Roller Coaster', whilst the 'slider' of the 'Roller Coaster' goes to the base of the antenna.
The transformer is wired with 2 x 20 turns "bifilar wound" 18swg enamelled copper wire. Both windings are connected in series, in phase. The secondar winding is tapped every other turn and a wire from each tap is connected to a contact on a "RS Components" 1-pole, 11 way wafer switch. The assembly is as shown below. It is built in a Diecast Aluminium box and mounted on the ground at the base of the vertical.
When using 3·8MHz and 7·0MHz, the switch wiper can go directly to the base of the vertical. When using 1·8MHz, the 'Roller Coaster' is wired in series with the switch wiper and the base of the vertical.
(It should be noted that, if the 'Roller Coaster' is tuned to its first turn, then it could be left in circuit).
Setting up. When the aerial is erected, the only adjustment necessary should be for 1·81 - 2·0MHz.
With the transmitter tuned to 2·0MHz (or the highest resonant frequency required), the length e - f should be tuned to give an swr of 1 : 1 using an swr bridge. Checks should then be made with distant stations to establish whether or not the signal decreases in strength on either side of resonance. Start with the Matching Unit switched to the 50W (position 1) with the 'Roller Coaster' slider on the first Turn of the coil.
Adjust the switch on the Toroidal Matching Unit until the swr is the lowest value or (1:1).
When using other frequencies between 1·81 - 2·0MHz rotate the 'Roller Coaster' for the best match. It was found that: 1·830MHz resonated swr 1:1 with 16 turns on the 'Roller Coaster'; 1·900MHz resonated swr 1:1 with 11 turns; 1·950MHz resonated swr 1:1 with 8 turns. On 3·5MHz the swr is 1 : 1 on the resonant frequency of the trap and cannot be altered by adjusting the length c - d. A useful bandwidth of about 100KHz is possible. The bandwidth on 7·0MHz is wide due to the large diameter of the vertical radiator. The best impedance match using the Toroidal Matching Unit, for each band is as follows: 'Top Band' 1·810 - 2·000MHz - 18W (Position 3) 'Eighty Metre Band' 3.500 - 3·800MHz - 28W (Position 6) 'Forty Metre Band' 7·000 - 7·200MHz - 21W (Position 4)
General notes of interest noted after experimenting.
It should be remembered that on a quarter-wave aerial, the signal radiates best between the feed-point and the lower section of the vertical, where the current is a maximum and the Impedance is a minimum. It doesn't radiate from the far end of the aerial where the Voltage and the Impedance is a maximum.
If a coil is placed at the feed-point, to give a good SWR, when the aerial is used at the low frequency end of the 160 metre band (in order to make the aerial resonant), the current maximum point is moved. This negates the purpose of using a vertical aerial some-what. If one only wishes to use the LF end of the 160 Metre band, then it is better not to use the roller coaster, but to lengthen the section e - f. If one hasn't got the room to extend this section, then one can wind a coil on a PVC tube, to extend the length. The
coil should be placed immediately after the 3·8MHz trap. (This has been tried and works well.) The impedance at the base was found to be approximately 28W (Position 6 on the base matching unit). When using the roller coaster to resonate, the base impedance was found to be 25W (Position 7).
It was suggested by another Radio Amateur to resonate the Aerial on 1·850MHz to provide full vertical radiation for DX, and then to use a capacitor to shorten the antenna for working at 1·950MHz. This was tried using a 500pF air-spaced variable capacitor and worked successfully up to approximately 1·920MHz. It was found however, that as the frequency was increased above 1·920MHz., the feed impedance also increased to over 50W. The matching unit would not bring down the SWR as its impedance range is limited to between 50W and 12·5W.
As John uses both the LF and HF sections of top band, the capacitor idea was rejected.
Currently, August 2010, John doesn't use the 'roller coaster' but uses a 'Wire Link' connected across an insulator fixed 105cm from the end of the Aerial. This link can be reached easily by simply lowering the
aerial at the house end using the Halyard.
This aerial was originally designed so as to work effectively in a relatively small garden (50ft). In the original design, the 7MHz Trap coil was fitted on top of the vertical section which was 33ft high. This webpage only shows the modifications. The original design can be found in my Article written in Radcom, August 1976 or in CQ Magazine January 1977.
Just to confirm that the antenna works at least as well as the original version (1976) which was 33ft vertical, with the 7·1MHz Trap coil mounted on the top.
John has worked 38 countries on top band during January, February and March this year (2004), all on SSB. These countries included Morocco, Greece, Azores, Italy, Cape Verde, and Canada.
A final note of interest.Although the antenna was designed for use on Top Band, Eighty and Forty Metres only, it has been successfully used on the 30 Metre Band (10.10MHz - 10.150MHz) without modification.
Originally, an Inverted 'V' Trapped Dipole was suspended from the top of the Vertical Section for the 20/15 and 10 Metre Bands, but has now been replaced by a Six Band Trapped Dipole to include the 17/12 and 6 Metre Bands.
This new antenna is working well on the HF Bands and also on VHF (50MHz). In June/July 2010, Forty-six Countries were worked on 50MHz using SSB. The HF Bands are also giving excellent results. A photograph of this Antenna together with details can be found on: Multiband Dipole
(c) G3NGD 2003 --- Updated April 2014.
Original Version 1975.
Printed in RADCOM August 1976 and CQ Magazine January 1977.