It comes to you with just about everything you need, minus the PVC pipe. It's not your father's Heathkit
- and really not a beginner's project. If you are less-than confident about your technical skills, ask
around, look for someone to help you with some of the "tech" details. There are a lot of electronics
companies a who employ skilled craftsman, and of course, there must be a Ham Radio club near by.
Regardless of how you get there, if you take your time and follow the instructions, you'll have a very
nice working active antenna.
The preamp is low noise, and the gain is very adequate.
The nice thing is that it is not a "proximate-type" active antenna, that is, the receiving element can
(should) be remoted - outside if possible, but definately away from household noise.
Above and below: The preamplifier PC board and power inserter (bias-tee). Note the nice die-cast RF
proof enclosure. One of the most difficult operations is winding the toroid transformer. It uses very
fine wire and must be done with care. Just read and follow the instructions. Do not rush through this,
or any part of the assembly. Take your time and enjoy the experience - once you are done, it's yours to
enjoy for a very long time.
Above: You can clearly see the
stainless steel bolt that is attached to
the inside of the top cap through the
solder lug and held in place with a jam
nut and the aluminum standoff.
On the left is a photo of the finished
antenna leaning against the window. I
wanted to try it as a proximity antenna
before putting it outside.
At right is the antenna finished, and
waiting to be tested.
Above left: The power inserter (bias tee). There are no holes drilled in the case when you receive the
kit, so some thought must be put into the component layout. My layout is pretty much in the same
order as the schematic is drawn.
Above right: The preamp installed in the PVC pipe. Here I made three mods: First there are two short
pigtails from the antenna input to the PC board and another to a solder lug which is under the screw
that holds the actual whip. Just prior to assembly the two pigtails get soldered together and taped.
Note that this is a mod that I decided to do. You my just want to follow the North Country instructions
The second mod was to attach a 3 foot brass brazing rod to an aluminum standoff (6 x 32 thread). This
arrangement will allow for future experimentation with different whips, wires, etc.
The third mod was to NOT glue the PVC pieces together. Instead, I coated the parts with silicone
grease and used 3 short sheet metal screws around the periphery of the upper coupling and the end
cap. This will allow for future mods...if any. Note: the amplifier adjustment hole was covered with
electrical tape after setting the amp level. I set mine to min since that's all it needed to work well
without overload from the flamethrowers nearby.
That same afternoon and night, I did
some very extensive testing.
Bottom line first: If I had to pick a
one-sentence summary, I'd equate this
antenna, mounted about 15 feet up on a
mast, outside, to a 45 to 60 foot end fed
wire, properly fed through a 9:1 balun,
with a shielded lead-in.
Of course this is all so subjective. Your
results may be better or worse. That
relates to my location in Southern
Connecticut, about 15 miles from the
shore. I'll bet that if you live in a
high-rise apartment and can stick this
thing out the window a bit, you would
have great results, depending on local
noise. If you live out in the country and
can put a 130 foot end fed up 60 feet in
the air, you may consider this as just a
convenient portable antenna for when
you are away from home.
Condo owners with covenants, this
baby is probably perfect for you.
The HF bands lit-up with the
arrangement you see above
on a Sunday afternoon. By
nightfall, the antenna was up
about 5 meters on a TV mast.
The reception was very good.