Vertical Dipole at Lighthouse

Radio Lighthouse Activation

Enthused by the reasonable success of the prototype Asymmetrical Hatted Vertical Dipole at Field Day, I took it to the beach… much to the surprise of the family.

My first goal was activating one or more of the lighthouses at Hatteras including the popular one, but also the ARLHS numbers for the original location and the long gone original light.

Along for the ride was a KX3 with stock mic and 7AH 12V gel cell battery. This connects to the antenna balun via a 12 foot length of RG316 coax.

This is, essentially, a very lightweight, easy deploy, QRP setup.


Here are various pictures of nothing in particular starting with another boring view of the mechanical heart of this antenna design…

Feedpoint of Vertical Dipole
Feedpoint of Vertical Dipole

UPDATE 2014: Here is a better looking choke assembly.

Assembling the Vertical Dipole
Assembling the Vertical Dipole

My chair makes the perfect “stand” to hold the antenna during length adjustments. By the way, all the elements have black marker at each band setting for quick length adjustment.

Vertical Dipole Side View
Vertical Dipole Side View

The wind was always present… probably about 10-15 mph. The antenna on its stand had no problems at all. I did push the antenna by hand in the same direction of the wind vector to see how close it was to tipping over. It didn’t take much. It was close…, but not close enough to be an issue this time.

Vertical Dipole and Hatteras Light
Vertical Dipole and Hatteras Light

This was early morning and the lighthouse grounds were not open. This particular location meets the ARLHS distance rule.

Vertical Dipole Side View 2
Vertical Dipole Side View 2

With just two radials I quickly learned to point them along the wind vector so they didn’t help topple the antenna.

Sidewalk view of Vertical Dipole
Sidewalk view of Vertical Dipole

You can pick up the whole thing with one hand.


Everything was set for 20m. I tuned around. I wasn’t very efficient, but was in no particular rush. I made the following contacts within about 90 minutes…

  • YW2LV – 59 both ways
  • K2K – 59 both ways – 13 colonies event – NH
  • KB2ZVP – 59 Sent, 41 received – NY
  • K2C – 59 both ways
  • K2L – 59 both ways

This isn’t stunning performance, but certainly confirms the antenna works.


That’s about it. For what it is this thing simply works. This isn’t very exciting, but that’s kind of the point. This is a very simple antenna that is easy to build, easy to tote and easy to setup. So long as you have the lengths for your band figured out in advance and have a good balun, this antenna provides satisfaction.

I didn’t have a lot of time for radio during this beach trip. The quick setup of this portable QRP operation was possible because of this no-fuss antenna.

I realize propagation makes or breaks contacts, but I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome with QRP levels of power. I have to give some credit to the audio quality of the KX3 as several folks specifically mentioned the good tone.

1 thought on “Vertical Dipole at Lighthouse”

  1. I don't know why this antenna doesn't get more credit than it does! I printed out a copy of the drawing for this antenna and purchased all the irrelevant parts to make it. A few weekends work and a homemade balun, the antenna was ready for the outdoors. Setup for 17m and with the measurements provided I connected a SWR meter to get an a more accurate reading than that of the radio. First reading was 1:0.1 no tuning needed. Set it up for 10m reading was 1:0.1

    I haven't set the antenna up for any other band yet as the weather turned to winter and has been too cold to deploy portable. I got 2 to 3 S-POINTS over any other antenna I have used mobile of portable. I think the design looks real cool and as for a "NO GAIN" antenna, this really does works extremely well for me. This antenna really does need a bit more credit, It was a joy to make and with 5 bands to play with I reccommed it for small spaces or portable field days.

    A happy 2E0KPX

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