80/160m vertical work

Today I completed some work on my 80/160m vertical. My design is somewhat unique, using two parallel vertical wires connected at the feed point – one side is 1/4L on 80m, the other side is connected to top loading wires and is resonant on 160m. The system works very well for me and allows me to share one extensive radial system.

Until today, I always used copper clad window line for this vertical section, because the rigid spacing would keep SWR from fluctuating. I have had lots of problems with mechanical strength however, both with broken wires and some arcing issues if I was transmitting when the wind blew the line into a wet tree branch. This quick arc would burn off the copper cladding, and the steel core would quickly rust, form a high resistance point, and eventually break.

Yesterday I made up a length of homebrew balanced line, using spacers made of 1/2″ PVC sprinkler line which is very light, cheap, and easy to work with. The new antenna should be much more reliable and easy to repair. I also made some extra effort to keep the wire away from branches.

This is the top of the vertical portion of the antenna – left vertical wire for 80m (terminates at the white PVC insulator), right vertical wire continues up to the three top loading wires for 160m.
The feed point has not changed, but you can see the two vertical wires connected together at the feed. The white vacuum relay and coil are used for matching purposes on 160 and acts as a hairpin match.
Here’s the top of the antenna – you can see the new ladder line and the three top loading wires used for 160 and also to support the somewhat flimsy mast in the wind.