A $50 Beverage

by Randall Thompson, K5ZD

YCCC Scuttlebutt #119, October, 1995

I built my first Beverage this past year. It was so easy I can't believe I lived without one. Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to Home Depot (or other large hardware store) and buy a 500 ft roll #16 THHN or MTW wire. It's available in every color you can imagine for about $15 per 500/ft roll.
  2. Go to local feed store and get some electric fence insulators. This cost me about $3.
  3. Call your favorite radio dealer and order an ICE Beverage matching box. Cost: about $30.
  4. Go to Radio Shack and get a 400-600 ohm resistor. I actually used four (4) 2KW resistors in parallel!
  5. Roll out the wire in the desired direction. Mount the fence insulators to convenient trees (my Beverage is not perfectly straight) about 7-9 feet up. Connect one end of the wire to ground through the resistor. Connect the other end to the matching box. Connect coax. Enjoy!

I did follow the conventional wisdom of sloping the ends down. I used 4 foot ground rods at each end. I only have room for a 500 foot run. W3LPL has pointed out that 580' might be a better length. It’s simple to solder some more wire on.

This antenna makes 80 and 160 enjoyable. Less than $50 to hear Europeans all summer on the LF bands seems like a good deal if you have the space!

When the antenna broke this summer, I used a split bolt connector to join the two pieces back together. You can find these for about $1 in the electrical aisle of the Home Depot (or hardware store). No solder required!