Homebrew Satellite Antenna
(created 16 September 2003)
The Arrow Antenna is a design classic: it combines light weight, compact design and functionality in a single package for operating FM dual band satellites such as AO-27, UO-14, SO-41 and SO-50 (and I've had lots of success on the linear transponder birds too with this antenna). I've tried reproducing the exact design out of aluminium stock a couple of times and have failed. So I decided to try building an Arrow look-alike from two WA5VJB Cheap Yagis on the same boom.
Take a look at the WA5VJB Cheap Yagi antennas at http://www.clarc.org/Articles/uhf.htm. These antennas are special because (a) they can be made from parts from your local hardware store and (b) they are reproducible. This second criteria is most important! I've built many antennas over the years, and I have a huge pile of twisted metal as testament where my failure rate was very high. I now believe that at least part of this was because the designs I was building weren't easily reproducible.
I used a spare 2m/70cm duplexer so I could connect right into my dual band HT. The aluminium stock is 1m lengths of 4mm ali rod and 6mm ali tube from B&Q. the 4mm rod fits inside the 6mm tube, and by crimping the 6mm tube over the 4mm rod you can extend the lengths as required for the 2m part of the antenna. I used the inside bits of choc block to make an electrical connection - it's much easier to solder to choc block terminals than to aluminium! Be aware that for permanent outside installation, the electrolytic effect between the terminals and the ali rod is not good news, so you might need to rethink that one.
Mail Howard, G6LVB