Fitting a full size longwire suited for the lowest part of the HF spectrum into the average back garden is usually made impossible from a lack of space. Things can be made a little better by a bit of crisscrossing, but in the end your just eating away at how well the antenna works.

I still remember one of the places I lived while growing up that was a radio nuts dream. A Ridiculously long garden with decent trees at either end, made it perfect for all types of radio comms antenna’s. Then I look out at the small plot I,m dealing with at the moment and am instantly snapped back to reality.

homebrew shortwave longwire antenna

My Next Victim?

Taking an early morning stomp around the local wood last week I noticed how the trees between the hilly bits and the rest of the wood had amazingly long sight lines. Doing a rough pace count between some of the trees proved it would be very easy to sling up a full length “true” end fed longwire for 160 meters.

As the whole woodland area is one big conservation project, I don’t think the people who care for it would take kindly to me dangling huge lengths of wire from the trees, besides sitting in the middle of an urban wood at night with expensive electronic gear doesn’t strike me as a very safe way to spend my time.

This is going to need somewhere remote with no chance of anybody getting in the way, gawking or moaning. As the summers here that means its a great experiment to tryout on one of our upcoming wild camping trips.

Choice Of Wire

enameled copper antenna wire

Thick Gauge Enameled Wire

If I was doing this at home my first choice would be a good thick gauge enamel coated wire but the remoteness of the planned location presents a problem.

With all the other kit we drag up mountains, a mess of heavy wire is most likely going to be too much to carry.

Add this to the fact that a large percentage of what I had is already serving as antennas in the back garden (and replacing it isn’t going to be cheap).

Settling for plastic coated mains grade wire for the antenna gives a massive weight saving and I’d already have the extension cable pictured above, striped down, joined and cut to length, if only I thought no one was going to miss it.

Its one thing to be slightly overjoyed when electrical equipment breaks down because I can “harvest” it, but another to ruin things that still work just to enhanced my hobby 🙂

Luckily this type of wire is cheap enough to buy so I’ll just have to fight the urge, wait and get some in, rather than land myself into trouble.


Took at while searching though old wild camping pictures (along with my memory) to find a likely spot to string the antenna up. An out of the way favored camping spot in Wales beats all the others hands down as it has the space, accessible trees and in itself is a good height above see level.

The other side of doing something like this on land that doesn’t belong to you is making sure it can be done without getting discovered and more importantly be safe enough not to harm anybody who might be passing by.

Along with a few insulators and maybe some light duty rope, the location looks ideal for putting up a full length 160 meter longwire.

The Radio

Going to all this trouble then plugging the finished antenna into anything less than a decent radio would be crazy. Taking a big box shortwave receiver instead of a smaller portable unit does add the problem of powering it but I’m already digging through the Ni cad/NiMH batteries I have hanging around to make up a long lasting power pack.

Making use of headphones instead of the on board speaker does (from previous experience) cut back on power drain, making for a lighter, smaller battery pack. This will also keep the wife happy by not inflicting what she calls the “horrible” sound that sideband transmissions make 🙂

There will be much taking of pictures and video during the setting up of this antenna so expect a detailed post sometime in the next few months.

Over To You

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this longwire project, feel free to drop them in the comment box below.

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