Attic Dipole


2/10/16

Ideally you'd like to set up your dipole as high as you can, say suspended horizontally between two very tall trees. That, however, is not always possible, due to lack of knowledge of how to do that, lack of trees, or due to the rules if you live in a homeowner's association (HOA). There is a solution for this scenario, the attic dipole.

The attic dipole is what it sounds like; a dipole suspended in the attic of your home. There are some benefits and drawbacks of this solution. Some benefits are that you get your antenna up, no one can see it, and you don't have to worry about bad weather. The con of this approach is that you lose the strong benefits of having a dipole up high, as well as most likely having to have your dipole not be in a straight line.

This is the dipole that I ended up using, a Falcon 40m half-wave dipole:

I always run using ~5 watts, so therefore I just hung the dipole from the rafters. If I was using high power I'd definitely take a different approach. The coax cable goes out from the dipole and runs under some insulation and drywall (which I drilled a coax cable sized hole) into the room where I have my radio.

Note that there may be a "not in a straight line" issue I mentioned because you run out of length of your attic space. This happened to me. We compromise and make due with what we have.

From this layout, and a simple QRP radio (the MFJ-9200), I have been able to have Morse code contacts from the DC metro area, Canada, Oregon, and Cuba. Considering this is with a compromise antenna setup, this is a great success.

In the future I'd like to have two dipoles and an antenna switcher. I'd have an identical dipole up high in our tall trees which I would use primarily. Then, if weather is poor, I'd switch to the dipole in the attic.



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