This is just a brief post about a 20m dipole build, as a sort of journal entry in my ham activity.
I often leave my main radio running during the day, on JS8call 40m. It is on an EFHW 8010, so it could be on other bands, but I find that 40m has the most activity, and the best chance of catching people I know around me. Actually, it does really well, even with friends who are < 10miles away. The 8010 is configured such that it's probably doing NVIS, but that's just because I haven't tried to get it setup any better than it is, not by design. However, it also has no problems with stations around the world, at the right time of day, at least on JS8Call... so, no complaints.
That said, I have two other radios here that are not being used. I wanted to get one on the air on 20m, which seems to be next in line for JS8Call activity. The easiest way that I could find to do that was a 20m dipole.
I guess a lot of hams build dipoles. They're cheap, easy, and fast. Calculators abound online, for getting the measurements close, and tuning by trimming is easy too.
The build went well. Probably should have taken a few pictures, but I'll substitute words instead. I started out with a pre-designed 3D-printable center from thingaverse. The one I used (there are many) is this one:https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:894073
It was compact, and had everything I wanted (holes to secure the lines, a hold for mouting to a carabiner, etc.) It printed well, and to it I added two insulator ends:https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1581018
Which also worked well. After that, it was a matter of adding the SO-239 chassis mount connector, and the wire. I had the connector, the wire I picked up from the hardware store for about $0.29/ft.
There's not a lot to say about the build, except that it went smoothly. Trimming was just a matter of getting it to tune well at the desired frequency; I started long, and trimmed until it seemed to work well. Not rocket science (though, I assume there are more accurate methods out there.)
The functioning seems adqueate. I have the antenna hanging under my roof eave. It's too close to the ground, and surrounded by things that might be causing problems. And it's under power lines, just to keep things fun. I'd prefer for it to be inverted-V and much higher in the air, but that's just not what's happening right now. For what it is, I feel that it's working out pretty well. When the band is good, I am getting JS8Call HB responses around the country. Most of the time I've just got it in RX mode (but still sending to PSKreporter). It's a little close to my 40m setup, so there is some interference there... but it's all working out.
If you're on the fence about building a dipole, hop off and get to work. It really is easy, cheap, and fun.