Dollar Tree Broomstick Antenna

This page has gotten to be a bit of a mess, but it still works. The photos show two versions of the same antenna, one that isn't tuneable (white coils), another that is (green and white coils). Updates are newest-on-top. These first photos are of the non-tuneable original version (both with and without the stand):

Dollar Tree Broomstick Vertical Antenna Dollar Tree Broomstick Vertical Antenna

Update 2 -- Tuneable Coils: I've expanded the possibilities of the base coil a bit. Purchased two additional Dollar Tree extension cords, which were only available in green this time of year. This added $2.50 to the total. Cut off the ends and seperated the wire, for a total of 4 new 6ft segments. Then, carefully stripped exposed areas on the wire (without cutting the wire itself) every 18-24in. strung the wires together, soldered the joints as well as any exposed wire which received a coating for protection.

Re-wound the base coils, very poorly. I didn't have any extra pool noodle (got rid of it a while ago), so I was trying to make two scrap pieces work. I recommend starting with one piece of the right length. I had a couple alligator clips, which I soldered to a piece of wire to make the jumper.

Using a nanoVNA, I was able to tune this to 1.5 SWR on 40m by placing the jumpers on different exposed wires. Made a contact in Idaho, and was seen around the country with it sitting on the nightstand. Operated with no external or internal tuner in the mix, with a 25ft counterpoise. Ideally, I should have measured the coil windings and exposed more contacts, but I was only willing to do the amount of stripping and soldering that I did.

Below are photos of the tuneable version:

Dollar Tree Broomstick Vertical Antenna Tuneable Wire Dollar Tree Broomstick Vertical Antenna Tuneable

Update 1 -- Stand: 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!

Original Post:

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:

  1. a broomstick handle ($1.25)
  2. a 6ft extension cord ($1.25)
  3. a bit of pool noodle foam (from the previous Dollar Tree antenna, on hand)
  4. a coax stub, some solder, a piece of shrink tube, and a piece of metal (on hand)
  5. 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!

Dollar Tree Broomstick Vertical Antenna, solder to vertical
Dollar Tree Broomstick Vertical Antenna, solder to coax
Dollar Tree Broomstick Vertical Antenna, finishing

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