Dollar Tree Broomstick Antenna
Update: Bought the brush portion of the broom from Dollar Tree. The bristles were easily removed with a pair of pliars (they were stapled in), leaving a nice flat surface. It had a sort of decorative shell, which I removed and rotated 90deg. Strapped it together with some rubber bands, and screwed it to the base of the antenna, and now the thing stands upright on its own!
A few months ago, I think it was, I purchased a pool noodle and some floral wire from the Dollar Tree, and built a vertical antenna that landed me some out of state JS8 contacts. Yesterday evening, I built version 2 of that little mess. It's built from:
- a broomstick handle ($1.25)
- a 6ft extension cord ($1.25)
- a bit of pool noodle foam (from the previous Dollar Tree antenna, on hand)
- a coax stub, some solder, a piece of shrink tube, and a piece of metal (on hand)
- a broom brush ($1.25)
The build was very simple. It went something like this:
- Fill off a spot for soldering, at the base on the broomstick
- Cannibalize the 6ft extension cord and solder it together to form a single 12ft piece of wire
- Cut about 10" of pool noodle, and slide it over the base of the broomstick
- Feed the wire through the noodle to secure, then wrap it
- Strip the ends, solder one to the filed-off bit of broomstick
- Add shrink tube, then solder the other end to the center of the coax stub, cover with shrink tube
- Solder the bit of metal to the shielding of the coax stub
Setup was also simple:
- Lean it against the spare bed in my office
- Attach a counterpoise that I keep in my go bag, unwind about 10ft and set it on the floor
- Plug in the coax and connect to the radio
To be more accurate to what happened, I plugged the thing into a NanoVNA first, and found that the SWR on it was very low in the 30m band... then I plugged it into a Xiegu G90. It tuned up instantly on 30m, but it also tuned well enough in the JS8Call portion of the 40m band. On 30m I transmitted 12w and got replies from Ohio and Kentucky. On 40m I was only able to transmit 5w (maybe could have gone a little higher, but 12w was causing trouble), and got a response from Arkansas.
Not too bad for a cheap antenna with no design considerations!
This build is much more sturdy than the last one (the pool noodle with a wire through the middle was the vertical last time). Since the broomstick has a threaded portion which I've located at the base, I might even be able to make some kind of stand for it. An improved version 3 would have a longer coil at the base, with an exposed portion to jumper for more tuning... if there is ever a version 3!