Building a radial system

I’ve been using my Homebrew multiband HF vertical for a few months now and have decided that it’s time to have a go at laying a good radial system for it.

In theory, a good radial system will help lower the take-off angle of the radio waves and provide more DX contacts.

This is what I used:

2 x 100 Meter reels of 2.5mm stranded copper cable (brown pvc covered)
2 x boxes of 100 large (76mm) paper clips
small pencil blow torch

I started by cutting the grass as low as my lawn mower would go. Note that dogs and chickens are not very helpful when cutting grass. My dog likes to lay down in front of the lawn mower and one of my chickens likes to try and get her head into the grass ejection port!

Once that was done, I got a nice cold beer and turned my attention towards the paper clips. Why paper clips? Well I was looking for soil staples to hold the radials down against the ground and it is very hard to find cheep soil staples. Most of the ones that I found were heavy duty and designed for holding down weed-block fabric so I decided to make my own. A box of 100 large paper clips worked out at £1.20 so I bought 2 boxes to make 200 staples.

I simply took the paper clip and bent it into the shape of a staple.

The plan is to lay as many radials out from the base of the antenna in all directions. I started by tying one end of the wire to the base of the vertical support and running the cable out as far as it would go. Then working from the base of the vertical, I moved outwards and placed a staple roughly every 2 Meters.

I repeated this until I ran out of staples. I laid 20 separate radials and used about 130 Meters of wire.

Next I took 1 Meter of the wire, removed the insulation and folded the wire in half. I twisted the ends together to make a ring around the base of the vertical and attached each radial to the ring by stripping about 30cm of insulation and twisting the wire around. I also added about 200cm of wire to the ring and terminated it in a bullet connector so that I could quickly unplug the antenna from the ground radial system. I soldered all of the connections with lots of solder and a small pen blow torch.

The results are great and now, 4 days later, it is hard to see the radial wires. I think that within a month or two they would have completely disappeared. The new radial system has made it much easier for my ATU to get a match compared with the 4 loose radial wires I had laid out before and So far I have worked most of Europe on 20M and some inter-G on 40M.

2 Replies to “Building a radial system”

  1. Thanks for the idea about using paper clip for wire staples! I was about to spend a couple of hours cutting and bending wire to make staples. Buried my previous wires by slitting the earth and shoving the wires in, but that is very hard on the back! I’m looking to add another 12 radials without all the hard work!

    73, Jimmie, K9JFK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *