Adding counterpoise

Counterpoise on Icom AH-4For a while now I have changed my ZS6BKW antenna with an Icom AH-4 as coupler into a single wire antenna (still attached to the AH-4). The ZS6BKW is symmetrical antenna so not much need for a counterpoise. But a single wire does need a counterpoise. As a temporary solution I didn’t attache anything, but that is quite noticeable due to a lot of static in receiving signals. But creating a counterpoise on the roof is a bit of a challenge. After a few months of thinking how to solve this problem and much irritation due to way too many crackling in the received signals I got an idea how to solve this counterpoise issue.

From roof to ground level

After searching in the shed for some time (I really need to clean up there) I found some assembly wire which is long enough to pull from the roof to ground level. So climbing up the roof again to attach the wire to the AH-4 coupler and throw the wire into the garden. In the garden I tried to get a copper water pipe into the ground with the garden hose on top of it. I got two pipes of three meters. So it should be possible to put it six meters under ground level. If…. Because after about one meter the water pipe didn’t want any deeper. I have tried several places in the garden but no luck. After a while I run out of patience and got a big hammer to hit the hose into the ground. This way I almost got 3 meters into the ground but no way I was able to get more meters in. So I stopped trying and connected the counterpoise wire to the pipe.

First on-air results with counterpoise

When I put on the Icom IC-7300 in the shack the improvement was noticed immediately! Signals are much less noisy and crackling. I was able to make QSO’s on 160m! That was impossible before! Noise floor didn’t drop in signal significantly but it did in signal/noise-ratio. Actually there is so much improvement, it is fun again to search the bands for DX. Decoupling the wire from the pipe and attaching it again did made a difference. So even 3 meters of pipe in the ground works quite nice.

Conclusion

A good counterpoise does do the job in draining static crackling in your receiving signals. In my case there doesn’t seem a shortcut to get a piece of metal deep into the ground. A rod sticking out in the middle of my garden is far from ideal. So I have to look for another solution. Searching a little on the web learned me I can ask a lightning arrestor company hit a counterpoise for me for around 150 euro’s. They will hit a rod as deep as 16 meters and measure it for the correct impedance. This seems like the best option for me. Now first save some money…

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