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True Ladder Line and Wire Antennas


I already have a balun!

Posted by Brian Duerr/WB2JIX on

I seem to get this question quite often so I thought I would post the answer with a couple of photos.

Whenever you compare items, especially in the ham community, you know you're walking a thin line. I am not speaking negatively about any particular brand. I am simply pointing out MY experience as well as feedback from customers and actual in the field use. 

When I get an email or a phone call, telling me "your antenna won't tune!", I look to the tuner and/or balun they are using.

It's not the antenna. It's the tuner and/or the balun. I have worked with many hams that have swapped out the popular, compact tuner and replaced it with a different brand that seems to have far more range. Problem solved! The small, compact tuners can't be expected to handle the wide range of SWR's present on a 10-160M doublet.

Take a look at the four baluns in the photos and form your own opinion.

Yes, I'm prejudiced as I am a reseller for Balun Designs. I have NEVER heard of any of my customers over the years, complain about one of his baluns. 

This first one is RadioWavz

This balun is LDG

This is Radio Works

This is Balun Designs

The terminals in this one have been disconnected for an experiment

  • balun designs
  • radio works
  • ldg
  • tuner
  • balun
  • 4:1 balun
  • 1:1 balun
  • SWR

Will I have to "TUNE" my feedline?

What follows are excerpts from an email reply to a customer that purchased a 240', end to end, 160M Doublet with 150' of feedline.. He was reading a lot of "expert" comments on the web about how much trouble it is to tune 600 ohm feed and was a bit concerned about what he may [...]

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Recent "Contact Us" Email

I have no clue who sent this to me as it was labeled anonymous sender. I just thought since it came out of nowhere, it would make a nice, quick post."I bought a 40 meter doublet from K5JYB a number of years ago. I'll never use another antenna unless I find room for the 80 [...]

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Balun Selection Notes by Bob Rumsey, KZ5R, of Balun Designs

Baluns for Multiband Antennas fed with Open Wire or Ladder linePosted by Bob, KZ5R on November 20, 2014 At least once a week we receive a request a for high ratio balun to manage the transition from high impedance open wire feedline to [...]

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VSWR Explanation, just for fun!

A bunch of us hams get together on Friday nights to work on various projects and when boredom sets in, we often search YouTube for some fun videos. This one never fails to bring lots of laughter. Enjoy!

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May 9th Snow In Vermont

This is a photo I took of my 10-160 meter doublet on the morning of May 9, 2017. At our elevation in the mountains, we tend to get snow when the valley's are left untouched.The auto tuner didn't seem to mind one bit and I was on 80M for part of the morning, chatting with [...]

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All Baluns Are NOT Created Equal

Many of my customers call me after they've attempted to setup their complete True Ladder Line antenna system and report problems with the tuning. This can be pretty frustrating as well as easily solved, in most situations.Many times, the balun being utilized is just not up to the task demanded of it. I hear this [...]

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Don't I Need a 12:1 Balun to Convert 600Ω to 50Ω?

I get that question quite often and it's pretty difficult for many hams to try to comprehend the use of a non-resonant antenna system. All we are conditioned to think about is 50 ohm cable, a matched, resonant antenna and attempting to tune for that perfect 1:1 SWR. Here's just a copy/paste response to an [...]

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Using the True Ladder Line Doublet for Florida Winter Field Day February 2017

I am a member of BARS (Beaches Amateur Radio Society) here in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. My wife and I are here for the winter. The club holds their own "winter" field day and ours was on Saturday, February 4th. We operated at a shooting range and lodge for the Fraternal Order of Police. A wonderful [...]

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Keeping the mis-named "Ladder Line" terminology alive in December CQ Magazine.

Author R. Scott Rought, KA8SMA has an article in the December issue of QST.The title of the article is "IMPROVING QRP STATION EFFICIENCY", "The Wonders of Ladder Line. The only problem is, there's no ladder line pictured in the article!I see some of the old-fashioned twinlead as well as 450 ohm WINDOW LINE. I have [...]

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