National NC-101X. Testing the newly installed coil rack, with the bronze bushings and fabricated band indicator. Slides like it’s on glass, super smooth and low effort. Very pleased.
Here’s the solution to the sliding coil deteriorated bushing problem on the National NC-101X shortwave receiver. Unlike that other National products with “plug in” coils, like the HRO, the early NC-100 series use a “catacomb” coil assembly that slides inside the chassis to switch bands. A very ingenious design, and it works very well..for 80 years or so, and then the plastic bushings deteriorate from age and use.
The chances of finding new old stock bushings is slim to none, and even if they were available, they’d be just as deteriorated as the ones inside my receiver.
The solution, order a 1/2” to 9/16” bronze bushing from McMaster Carr, machine it down so the outside diameter is .512 inch, press in place using Loctite to retain, ream the ID so the shaft slides through the bushings freely.
I’d like to thank Marc KA2QFX for his very gracious and kind skills in the machine shop, machining the new bushings to fit properly into the sliding coil form.
After two long months, I can finally see the end of the NC-101 project in sight.
If You Build It They Will Come (In). Regenerative receiver kit from Borden Radio Company. Wind your own coil. Building like old time radio. Plays like a dream. #hamradio #shortwave #kit #ifyoubuildittheywillcome #arrl #awa #hamradio #amateurradio #w1ujr
Tonight, Radio surgery.
1937 National NC-101X shortwave receiver.
Replacing 80 year capacitors.
Four down, seventeen to go.
Making ready for another 80 years.
The following is a reply to a friend via email, about the offer of a set from my hometown of Buffalo, NY.
It’s something that has been on my mind the last few years, he just provided the opportunity to share it.
A long answer to a simple inquiry, please excuse, I thinking out loud here.
As tempting a radio set from my old hometown of Buffalo would be, I’m kinda of at radio saturation right now. Still picking up the selected home brew set or rig, National and Gross Radio items, and ocassional parts, but I’m starting the long process of culling the herd.
Since I was first licensed in 1994, so many times at a hamfest I’d see that perfect project, “rescue it”, and bring it home to the radio barn for that moment in the future when I was “retried and had time to work on it”. I realized two things, one I’m not likely to retire, life is too interesting, and I love learning, two years ago started a second career in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as an EMT. My diagnostic skills, honed over the years on car service and radio, serve well, its just a systems approach to assessment and diagnostics, and then developing a treatment plan, same thing I do every day at work. Unlike the radio or car world, I’ve only got two models to master as an EMT, and neither has changed much in a thousand years.
I’m pretty young at 53, and blessed with good health (and a wife who keeps me so), but having helped more than a few friends who have become silent keys deal with the estate, I know first hand what a burden some radio collections can be. All of one’s beloved radio gear, parts, tubes, lovingly curated over a lifetime, sadly so often becomes a burden, and ends up in the dumpster. My own Elmer’s gear, beautifully hand built transmitters, deserving of a place in a museum, suffered that fate.
I don’t want to focus on my own mortality, and I know well where I’m going after I pass on, but the fact of the matter is things happen. Working as an EMT in EMS I see that every day.
What makes me sad is so many of the young folks today, whom I imagined giving some of my radio gear on to, have zero interest in radio. It’s Facebook, the internet, instant message….I guess can’t fault them, it’s likely the same excitement that you and I had tuning in that shortwave broadcast station late at night, so many years ago.
I used to plan to donate all my gear, once friends had first dibs, to the Antique Wireless Association, but lately I’m having second thoughts about that. Not sure they want it, can use it, or if it will even be on display. My other plan to was to offer it some younger local hams, budding radio amateurs, but they seem as scare as hen’s teeth.
A few weeks back I read an article in the news about the children of some older folks rejecting the inheritance of their mother’s prized tea cup collection. The essence of it went like this, the mother had spent most of her adult life collecting special tea cups, antique tea cups, painted tea cups, imported tea cups, you name it. The mother, having amassed this collection at great effort and not inconsiderable cost, understandably thought her children would be as delighted with it as an inheritance gift. Turns out the new generation views collections of anything, tea cups, old books, and I guess even radios, as “burdens”. Who knew, guess that explains why younger folks are not as excited about my offer of vintage ham radios.
I’ll share with you an analogy that has haunted me for the past few years. I’m reminded of growing up on an old farmstead, complete with barn, farmhouse, and old farm equipment sitting outside. Growing up I vividly recall an old horse drawn plow sitting on hill near the barn. It was next to a stream, by the garden, and as children we played on that plow. As teenagers and adults we watched it dissolve, over the next two decades, into the fields it once plowed. The farmer that spent his hard earned money to buy that plow was undoubtedly quite proud of it, and I’m certain he treasured it, never thinking it would be left to weather the elements. Unfortunately time, and frankly utility of use passed it by, and it was left rust and decay by future generations. Of the millions of plows like that made, our current society only valued a few that were to be placed into museums.
I’ve got to wonder if the story of the old farmer’s plow is to be the fate of my radio collection, of the sets that I and others once prized, chased, and restored with loving care. Sets we operated, and obtained countless hours of joy and satisfaction with and from. Radios that somehow represented a time capsule of our society, a snapshot of a time gone by.
I’m currently restoring a National NC-101X, which had been purchased in 1937 lovingly cared for for 75 years by the original owner, but after his passing, the son and grandson had no interest. Nor did they have interest in the impressive collection of old radio and automotive books and parts he had collected over the years, they were placed outside on the lawn to be given or thrown away.
In the past I spent nearly a year each restoring a Gross Radio CP-25 transmitter, and another year restoring a home brew TZ40 rig. I can’t begin to count the hours I spent. The parts cost and the powder coating were minimal in comparison to the long, and late hours I spent in the barn documenting, researching, disassembling, and rebuilding those sets. They turned heads, no doubt, won a Matlack Award at the AWA Convention, but other than that, no one is interested in them, the average person on the street would think them “old radio junk”. And after I go onto my reward, I expect they’ll be…well I’m not sure.
I’m starting to think that reward, the real value in these Herculean efforts, and even in the rigs or sets themselves, is in the joy they brought me during the process, the lessons learned, and the friendships made. I’m reminded of a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” In less eloquent words, “The joy is in the journey.”. And I’m thinking out loud here Bob, that may be, just may be, the best joy of all…
What do you think?
This is the letter that started the entire “Rotten” series in QST, written by “The Old Man” himself, not other than Hiram Percy Maxim.
By “The Old Man”
This QRM business is getting my Nanny. Here it is midnight, and this msg. from a fellow whose girl has not had a letter from him for a full twenty-four hours, is still stalled. I have smoked myself into a state of funk, the floor is covered with burnt matches, I am losing a perfectly good temper, and there is no sign that this will not continue all night long. How long do these radio bugs sit up at night any way? Right now, as I write, there is that old gink 2AGJ up in New York State fluttering along with that bird –in-the-cage spark of his, 8YO is yelling his darned head off for somebody over on the Pacific Coast, apparently, 8NH is still trying her best to be ladylike in spite of a full hour of trouble, old 8AEZ is booming out QSA but QRM bad CUL, 9PC is trying to do something to 5BV, I distinctly heard 4DI say a bad word, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, no one has got anywhere.
What are we going to do about this business? It used to be that we were perfectly satisfied to listen to SLI and once in a while on Saturday night when we could stay up late, we would listen to Arlington send time. When heard some commercial say QRM, we had to look it up on the chart to see what it meant. Later, we began talking to the fellow over on the other side of town and then was born amateur QRM. Sometimes, the “little boy with the spark coil,” (the latter is all right, but dog gone the hide of the former) would try to call us at the same time, and we used to think we were in trouble. Still later we used to think we were bothered when we were in the middle of a “conversation” with a fellow in the next town, and some whop would butt in. It about this era that we began to organize Radio Clubs, with high faluting ambitions about “promoting radio communications and controlling interference.”
But when we have a fellow who has not written to his girl for a full twenty-four hours, and who positively must get the msg. to her over in Illinois, it becomes a serious matter to have some one else getting gay with the ether, especially when the later had no conception of the existence of the word “brevity.” One thing I will say, and that is that good old 8AEZ is brief. His spark may drown out every-body in the western hemisphere when he sends, but he is brief. He says what he has to say in a few words in a few signals and he stops. He also does not go in for the long technical discussions about gap speed and condenser construction while forty or fifty others of us are waiting with five or six messages each, many of which have been stuck on the pin a week. Far be it from even me, a real blown-in-the-bottle radio grouch, to find any fault or mention any names, but some of the young gentleman who burn up my valuable time every night and thereby multiply this QRM business, ought to look up in the dictionary the definition of that particular combination of letter indicated by B-R-I-E-F. I could call off a dozen of them right now, and I would if I thought that Editor down east would print them.
The trouble is, the young squirts don’t stop to think. They start out and call somebody somewhere every three minutes. Everybody they hear, they immediately call. If they don’t hear anybody, they send a QST something like this: — QST QST QST QST QST QST QST de 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT. Any station more than fifty miles distant hearing these sigs. please send postal to Willie le Nut, Nutville. Willie repeats each of this msg. three times. Each letter is sent so slowly it puts you to sleep. He uses up just exactly twelve valuable minutes sending out this hogwash, and drives an old timer to the point where he radiates brush discharge from every hair on his head. These fellows ought to be limited to hours between supper time and 8:30, and any one of them slopping over ought to get a letter from every respectable amateur within his range threatening to spank him if he ever transgresses again. I know a certain some one who will put in his bid for election to the office of Chairman of the Committee on Chastisement.
Here is a sample coming in right now. Listen to this slop:– Columbus co 2pp 18co all sigs charles 9vy u no hf a motor little heavier than the racine sorry sorry om qrm qrm pse qta k fish smell rotten yes yes wyd boston how do you get me gap bum bum rubber band qta pwf about motors. (Bad squeaks here. Sick spark coil near at hand. Wheezes terribly.) Want to hear tone like commercial? ark r r r yes ark r r r listen nw.
Here begins ten minutes of the darndest scratching, screeching, groaning, blowing off steam, blubbering that ever mortal ear heard. At its worst it goes on into — — fine fine how do u do it? ark r r r rubber band on vibrator—BANG. My friend with the one k.w. over on the other side of town explodes. He calls an 8 station. When finishes, the scratching reduces. Then we get the long distance QRM again. Cul om sk spfscity bunk allemo bish mela hash breakfast wunkey wunkey lala lala 2asj arm bad qsl 3zw must go to bed now hw hw hw abt abt abt msg msg msg pse pse pse k k k. This is the way my log book this evening looks. It’s enough to raise a blister on a wooden leg.
Here is another sample of qrm slush:–v v v v v v v v v v—————- (Somebody sitting on his key.) v v v v v v v v v linneg se with the wlce sore feet commercial wirlih. Now what in Heaven’s name would you make out this? Is it to the effect that somebody has a line a commercial who is on the warpath for some amateur with sore feet? One cannot be sure of these matters. It might be that it is the commercial who has the sore feet, chasing down some poor amateur around town probably.
Listen to this:– Yes yes jst wyd glucky wait a mt muddy wouff hong bliftsfy monkey motor. We assume from this msg that Glucky is being asked to wait a minute while Blifsky seeks a wouff hong with which to wallop a monkey the next time the latter faces toward the motor. I do not think I know just exactly what a wouff hong is. Probably some piece of apparatus used in the southern states to beat monkeys with.
It is this form of uninteresting “conversation” which clutters up the air with QRM. Of what moment is it to the rest of the world that this fellow Blifsky is going to smear somebody’s monkey with a wouff hong? When anybody relapses into such mental slop as to want to operate with a thing named a “wouff hong”, he ought to keep his trouble to himself and not compel all of us respectable amateurs to listen to his drool. To slaves and slobber a lot of foolish twaddle like this when that poor girl out in Illinois has not had a letter since yesterday, is plain wicked.
Sorry om qrm qrm 9vy few words schlipsh nuzzle his mucket faded undershirt cfrish reptg pain in neck sus gup om cul ark. This is a real relay, evidently. 9VY over in Fort Wayne is mixed up in it in some way. Whose undershirt they are talking about and what schlipshing one over is, I do not know exactly, although I have a rough idea. Whether the signals faded or the undershirt faded, or what was the matter with the sus gup of the neck of the undershirt, I be darned if I know.
Just cast a lingering look at this:– Biirgrmp bru rotary ge ge ugerumf om with my set rettysnitch spitty tone hit in potimus? Now what do you suppose the poor gink was trying to say when unreeled that? You have to guess a lot in wireless, and how would you guess this? Something is wrong with this fellow’s biirgrmph, his rotary also has a bad case of ugerumf and somebody around the place must have spit on his rettysnitch, because his tone was so rotten it hit him on his potimus. Sound bad to me. Why will some people send such personal matter by wireless when the whole country can overhear it. It isn’t decent, and it makes the QRM more rotten than ever, and just think of the way it makes a perfectly good log book appear.
I spent the better part of an hour trying to make out what ailed the poor fellow’s biirgrmpg, but had to give it up while I listened to a child with a spark coil scratch out this at a rate of around three words a minute:– how do s……..e…….? how be …..? how do I cowp ……. cw ….v v v v v v ——————— come in ? ? ?ark After a long wait another trouble maker with a bad cold in his head stumbled back with:– r r r r r r r r r r r r ok ok please ? ? ? ark Another pause followed by the first little demon with:– r r r r r r r r r r qta qta qta pse rat . . . . . . . ve . . . . . . . .? pse ttt . . . . . . . . . . .qta pse repeat ark. These brats kept this up for twenty minutes and they ended up just where they began.
What we ought to do is organize an Anti QRM Association. Then let us elect for Chairman the worst plug-ugly we can find in these U.S.A. Then let us chip in for a little money and hire a clerk with a bad disposition who will write letters threatening the life of everybody whom the members report as causing needless QRM. If anybody gets balky, we will all join together and swear the gink is sending with a decrement greater than two-tenths, and so report to the local Radio Inspector. If the latter does not within twenty-four hours have the boy arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, we will all band together and find another job for said Radio Inspector. Let us rise, fellow bugs. Rise and crush this octopus which is engulfing and overwhelming us. Eight hours a day and triple time for overtime is death and starvation to our families. Hash for breakfast, rotten smelling fish, and QRM — — — We will have naught of it. Down with the fellow with the scratchy spark coil, down with the fellow who calls three times three, down with the fellow who calls everybody he hears and down down down with that unspeakable skunk who calls somebody and sends a long relay message repeating each word three times when the station to which he is sending is sending something himself.
There by heck, I have that off my chest. Now you there in Illinois, get this call. Let everybody else stand back from now on. I’m tired and sleepy and cross, and I don’t care who I QRM until I get that pin cleared off.
-The Old Man
Uses a single UX-210 tube, built by Al Wentworth – Lexington, MA K1BSX (SK April 2004), based on a 1928 QST article.
Click here for the August 1928 QST article “Overhauling the Transmitter for 1929 – Ross Hull” in Abode PDF format.
Collins 30K Series Transmitter Data Site
The purpose of this site is to act as central resource, or clearinghouse, for information, schematics, images, and tech tips on the Collins 30K series of transmitters. Many have been very generous over the last year, sharing tech information, scans of Collins docs, and service information with me, and this is my effort to give back to the 30K community. Thanks to John Dilk K2TQN efforts, the story of my 30K-1 station appeared in John’s “Vintage Radio” column in QST during late 2007. Since that time, I’ve been sent numerous images, photos, and stories from other hams about the 30K series. You can view the complete story at www.w1ujr.net/30k-1_restoration.htm
One of the greatest challenges I faced with the restoration of my 30K-1, and now with the 30K-4, is the lack of information. I felt collecting all this information which has been graciously shared with me, would be helpful to other 30K owners, and hams. Unfortunately much information have been lost over the preceding 60 years since the first 30K rolled off the line at Collins Radio. This site is an effort to capture, and share, what remains.
Let me begin with a few words about the 30K series. I have been a Collins fan since I was first licensed in the 1990s, but really fell in love with the 30K when I viewed one at the home of a fellow ham who owned the commercial version of the 30K-1, known as a 30K-5. Very similar in design, the 30K-4 and 5 are commercial models offering two discreet tank circuits for rapid frequency changes but lack the band switching arrangement of the 30K-1.
The 30K series was designed by Collins engineer Warren Bruene in 1945 and was first offered for sale the following year. It was, in some way, a “Hail Mary Pass” for Collins as the war contacts were drying up, and yet amateur radio operation was still banned during wartime. Collins forecast a pent up demand from the return of GIs from the war, and with the elimination of the wartime ban on amateur operation, hoped the 30K would fill the gap. Sales were somewhat limited as the 1946 cost of the 30K-1 transmitter and 310A exciter was $1450, the equivalent to approximately $15,000 in today’s dollars. According to Jay Miller’s, KK5IM, excellent publication, “The Pocket Guide to Collins Amateur Radio Equipment 1946-1980”, less than 100 of the 30K-1 are known to have been built, and few survive today, making the 30K-1 series a rare bird indeed. Less accurate records exist on the commercial variants, suffice to say they are not at all common.
Visually, the 30K transmitter series are most impressive to behold, housed in a cabinet 5 ½ feet tall, finished in black wrinkle paint, and weighing over 350lbs, this is a big transmitter! The design of the unit is pure art deco; vertical and horizontal chrome accent strips, a large window for viewing the 4-125 final tube, and a most impressive meter panel at the top of the cabinet, also housed behind glass. Looking every inch a serious transmitter, the 30K is of robust construction along the lines of commercial broadcast gear. Emission modes are CW and Fone (AM), with the plate input power given as 500 watts on CW, and 375 watts on AM. The 30K-1 offered coverage from 80 to 10 meters using two plug-in output coils. With a tube compliment of 11 tubes in the transmitter, and 10 tubes in the 310A exciter, the 30K station as much a delight to operate, as it is to look at.
In closing, my thanks to those who have taken the time to send in photos, scans, stories, or to share their experiences over the years, please feel free to contact me or forward information which you feel may be of value or interest to other 30K owners.
73 Bruce W1UJR
Collins 30K-1 Transmitter Restoration
The Cleaning, Restoration and Service of a Collins Time Capsule
Shipping a 400 lb transmitter across the country is no easy task, but thanks to a
good packer and BAX Airfreight it arrived safe and sound in just two days!
You can’t use Styrofoam peanuts with these heavyweights, nothing less than high
density packing foam will do the trick!
The 30K-1 RF Deck, with a W7MGA mod, the DPDT knife switch attached to the
bandswitch. MGA was using multiple antennas and his implementation of a
switching network was both elegant and easily reversible. For my purposes, a
single antenna fed with balance line, I removed the switch. Thankfully he had
left the bandswitch connectors hanging on a loop of wire on the inside of the
cabinet, it was simple to reinstall for a single output.
The one and only casualty of the cross country move were the four porcelain
standoff insulators which attach the Output Network to the front cabinet. It
would appear that the inertia of the moving was too great. Thankfully my
junk box yielded four perfect spares!
The back of the meter panel and top of the RF Deck, prior to cleaning work.
The removed Output Network, prior to cleaning. Note plug in coil set on the left
side of the air variable cap, I have both the low and high band sets, so the TX
will cover 75 – 10 meters.
The Output Network after cleaning, a quick trip through the dishwasher did
the trick, washing away nearly half a century’s worth of dirt and dust.
The Front of the RF Output Network, note the insulation panels on the front of
of the unit. I assume these prevent arc over from the meter terminals.
The cleaning of the RF Deck. The large Johnson cap was removed and
disassembled for a through cleaning. Sure it takes time, but look at the results!
The Modulation Deck before and after cleaning photos. Love that 75th glow!
I did have a problem with the audio gain pot on the audio deck, the
unit was defective and a replacement 500K A/B pot was found and installed.
Low Voltage Deck
The Low Voltage Power Supply Deck, before and after cleaning. The unit
cleaned up very nicely, no repairs were needed, other than cleaning relay
HV Power Supply Deck
The High Voltage Deck, shown with the 866 rectifiers removed for cleaning.
The 30K-1 cabinet with all deck removed and ready for cleaning.
30K-1 Tour After Cleaning
Amateur Radio Station W1UJR
This was written back in the last 1990s when I lived near Buffalo, NY, in a suburb that had zero lot lines, and little space for antennas. A vacant field in back of my home became the antenna field for my station.
– Bruce W1UJR
Where there is a will…
Often, one of the first problems one encounters when first getting onto the HF bands is the antenna. It is now a simple matter to buy a commercially manufactured transceiver, but the antenna still remains the biggest challenge. At times it is the ability to even have an antenna, such in the case of covenant and deed restrictions, or local town ordinances. But often it is simply that newcomer lacks sufficient room to allow the installation of a decent “skyhook”.
Such was my case nearly 5 years ago. I had purchased my home before I was licensed, and as such did not anticipate the need for extra land to accommodate an antenna. Nor, as it turns out, would my homeowners association permit the installation of a tower. After some pondering, and being resourceful, as we hams often are, I was able to use a large undeveloped tract of land in back of my home to erect a 160-meter loop antenna. In part thanks to the natural tree supports, I was able to secure over 500 feet of wire suspended in the air, ready to send and receive RF.
How did work? Well if you read my article last year, you know that it worked great! It was quiet on receive, as loops typically are, and radiated strapping signal with very few RFI issues. You will notice that I use the past tense in talking about my 160-meter loop, as it now no longer exists.
In the name of what goes as progress today, the developer deceived it was time to cut down all of those nasty trees that once proudly held my antenna, and turn the forest floor into a brown, muddy, soupy mess for all the neighborhood to enjoy. Aside from my new eyesore, I faced a more critical problem, critical at least for me as a ham. No antenna. No antenna equals no fun. While I was away in Maine, the contractor clearing the land had cut the wire for my antenna in half. My fault really for not removing it earlier.
So what does one do with 250 feet of wire on a piece of property that measures perhaps 160 feet in depth, by 60 feet in width? I pondered making a large loop antenna that would surround the perimeter, but quickly dismissed the idea in light of the RFI, which would be experienced by my own home, and my neighbors. The beauty of my former loop was that it was in back of my house, and the RF radiated out into the woods not scrambling anyone’s TV or phone, just warming a few chestnuts and squirrels.
I thought for a bit, and then it dawned up me. (I wish that I would say it came to me as a blinding light and a flash of inspiration, but that never seems to be my case. Instead it was only after downing a good part of a pot of very black coffee one evening.) Sure my loop used to be horizontal, but it would also work in the vertical plane, in fact it would radiate irrespective of its orientation to the ground. The wire does not know or care which way it is suspended; it just wants to get rid of the RF, caring not a bit which way it sends it out. Hence the creation of what I fondly term as my “Zig-Zag” loop.
Imagine if you will, a loop antenna where three sides are horizontal to the ground, but the fourth side is vertical. In fact, not just vertical, but “zig-zagging” several times from the tops of the trees, to about 7 feet from the ground. Using my trusty slingshot I was able to launch my antenna support ropes into the trees perhaps 40 feet in the air. I then attached the antenna wire to this rope, pulled it up to nearly its full height. The dangling wire was then tied off about 7 feet from the ground, and the process repeated again, resulting in a series of zigs and zags. This allowed me to fit 250 feet of wire into an area that really would have been hard pressed to allow even a quarter of that. Each 40 foot vertical excursion ate up 40 feet of wire, creating an antenna that was electrically a full wave loop on 75 meters, but physically took up very little room.
How does it work you may ask? In one word, outstanding! I was able to do my first formal check-in on the STARS Saturday morning net last week, and the signal reports were excellent. Perhaps slight decreases from the longer loop, but respectable never the less. As far as loading up with my transmatch, no problem on 75, 40 or 20 meters. I have not tried the higher bands yet, but I suspect the same results. And reception? It is very good, and quite, nearly free of all of the RF hash emitted by the numerous light dimmers, TVs, and other electric noisemakers in my neighborhood.
Is there a lesson in this? Not really, I just had some extra time and owed Terry an article. Of course that is a lesson here, something that we can all learn from. First, when you buy a home, consider the important things, like how many trees there are for antenna supports, will the power service handle that legal limit amp you just built up, and how much space is there to install that beverage antenna you have been dreaming about for the last 10 years. Let the XYL be concerned about the other minor details like local schools, exterior color and price, you need to concern yourself with the important things! Those of us already in a home are often challenged in the amount of space we have to erect our antennas. Do not let this discourage you. Often we think we need to have large elaborate antenna arrays to enjoy the hobby, and to radiate an effective signal. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You can spend thousand of dollars on commercial antennas when a simple spool of #18 wire will at times work just as well, if not better.
Like the solution to so many other problems, return to the roots. Experiment! Whether you use my zigzag loop, a folded dipole, or other form of shortened antenna, do not give up. Too often if a “textbook” antenna cannot be erected, we give up the battle. The funny, and really delightful thing about antennas is that there is no such thing as a textbook antenna. Each and every QTH is different, and what works for your friend a few miles down the road, may not work for you. Ground conductivities, houses, trees, and other RF reflectors and absorbers all vary with location. Get out there, try and experiment, you will be pleasantly surprised. After all, even the smallest wire can radiate and receive, and something, no matter how small, is better than nothing.
Where there is a will, there is a way!
73 Bruce KG2IC