Building the PA0RDT Mini-Whip Antenna

The PA0RDT Mini-Whip Antenna is a small and compact active antenna that acts as a full-size antenna for bands ranging from VLF to HF. It’s ideal for cases where you can’t put up a large antenna or are restricted on space. Most of the feedback on the design I found online was quite positive, so I decided I’d get one and try it out for myself.

A few weeks back I bought a Mini-Whip active antenna kit from a seller on eBay. While I could have built it completely myself, I liked the idea of having a neat and tidy antenna on a printed circuit board, so this was great, and I was able to put it together in about half an hour.

PA0RDT kit

PA0RDT kit

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Testing Dipole Antenna and Radio Mod

Not content with just modding my radio today to give it an external antenna socket, I had to go and build an antenna to try it out!

The washing line in the garden seemed like the most obvious place to put it as it’s quite high off the ground. This gave me about 13m to play with for a dipole, with an effective frequency of about 23MHz. Since my current radio doesn’t go as high as that, I instead used the antenna as a halfwave dipole, where it becomes useful at around 11.5MHz. This was quite a rough-and-ready experiment so I didn’t bother with matching or baluns or anything like that; I just plugged that bad boy in. Continue reading