I am going to build a flying saucer vertical antenna. Don’t worry, this will be a simple, down-to-earth project for my backyard.
So, I have a new project in mind. At present, I do not have a transmitting antenna for either the 30 or 80 meter ham bands. I can receive well on both 3.5 and 10.1 MHz with my wideband loops, but of course, not transmit. My goal is to erect a small space antenna for these bands.
Five years ago, my May 2017 QST magazine featured an article called “Flying Saucer Resonators for the HF Bands” written by Barry Boothe, W9UCW. Barr is a long time expert in high frequency mobile antennas. He came up with a method of building and attaching resonators to a short vertical antenna. You can see these above left and right.
His resonators look like small flying saucers. You can use these to resonate a short vertical antenna to specific bands of interest. If you are an ARRL member, go find your May 2017 QST and take a look.
Normally, a quarter wave monopole for 30 meters would be 24½ feet long. But you can use a much smaller length, say 8 feet, to pretend it’s much longer by using top loading with a coil and capacity hat. Barry’s flying saucer vertical antenna uses small saucer shaped (pie wound) coils (inductors) inside a capacity hat, as shown top left above.
My goal is to fabricate a resonator for each band of interest, attach them to an 8 foot aluminum tube, and see what happens.
Flying Saucer Vertical Antenna My Way
You will see in his articles and construction notes, W9UCW uses a complex mechanical approach for fabrication of sturdy mobile antennas. Since I will not be mobile, my approach will be simpler and take advantage of 3D printing. Rather than machining parts, I will build the saucers and structural connectors out of plastic. All the rest of my hardware will come from Home Depot or, in the case of spring steel wire, eBay.
Finally, this will be a great project for me to learn more using my NanoVNA for measuring and recording my antenna’s performance.
If you don’t subscribe to QST, here is an alternative write-up of Barry Boothe’s project in Roadrunner magazine, starting on page 12.