Jim's Crystal Radio Page



Even the best possible crystal set will not work without an antenna.  The longer and higher your antenna is the better your set will perform. DX work can be accomplished with a simple end fed wire antenna 50 to 100 feet in length, although longer antennas are better. 

The height is important, but not as important as the length; just get it up highs as you can, preferably high enough to be in the clear and above any existing structures.  Scattered trees in the vicinity will not materially degrade the signals, but metallic objects might.  If one end of your antenna is attached to the top of a tower do not bring the lead-in down along side the tower. If you do the received signal will be greatly attenuated by the proximity of the lead-in to the grounded tower. Instead, place an insulator approximately as far away from the tower as its height. Use support rope or wire from the insulator to the tower, and then bring the antenna lead down at about 45 degrees into your shack.

 I am located in Central Florida between Tampa and Orlando.  My best antenna is a 450 foot end fed wire about 30 feet above the ground, running south from my shack.  It  receives stations all over the southeast and up the eastern seaboard.  It receives best from the north.  I also have three more antennas, a 190 foot running to the southeast, a 380 foot antenna running to the west, and a vertical running up at an angle from the shack to the 200 foot point on a nearby tower.   I have a relay switch box outside where the antennas all converge.  I can switch in any antenna, or any combination of antennas from the operating position.  I have never found any advantage to combining more than one antenna. In fact, it almost always results in a serious reduction in the signal

The vertical is pretty much non-directional.  The others are very directional in the direction opposite to the way the wire runs.  In other words, the antenna that goes south is much better on stations to the north. It is probably more of a null in the direction that the antenna runs because they seem to work pretty good broadside to the wire.  In the evening switching antennas is like having a different broadcast band because some stations disappear and others appear.  For instance, stations from the northern states come in very strong almost any evening on the antenna that runs south, but they are weaker on the other antennas.   Because of the difference in directivity of the antennas, any station received will be best one specific antenna.


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