I have been experimenting with a matchbox end fed antenna that I got from nelson_antennas on ebay. He makes them and sells them on ebay. Here’s a link to his page https://www.ebay.com/usr/nelson_antennas   I have had great luck with this little guy. I was able to hear Australia last night with a Yaesu 450 and a lazy measurement of 60 feet of wire. The Yaesu will only tune for SWR’s below 3:1. I am happy to report that I can tune this antenna from 6-160 meter bands with no issue right out of the box. He constructs them with a 9:1 toroid wound balun. 

The local hardware store didn’t have anything copper I could use for an antenna so I bought a 1/4 mile of 17 gauge zinc coated electric fence wire to use my antenna.

I strung the wire up in a tree off my back deck using a bow and arrow with a fishing rod. I shot the arrow through the tree with a helper manning the fishing pole. I can’t believe I got it in one shot. Tied some 275 paracord to the fishing line and reeled in my catch on the other side to feed the antenna wire up the tree. Here’s a shot of the wire.

Dutch (K0AWS) gave me the idea of counter weighting it in the tree so the tree can sway in the wind and not tension the wire. The rock is about 18 inches off the ground.

I am using my fence as my ground. I brightened up a spot with a file and wrapped some of my wire around it and tied the other end to the ground lug of the balun. Below are some photos of what that looks like.

This antenna cost me $38 for the balun and about $20 for  1/4 mile of wire and has been working great for DX’ing. I liked it so much I bought one for the mobile ARES station to replace the dipole we have been using.

73 and Happy DX’ing


5 Responses

  • Adam Bailey

    I love end fed-antennas! I’ve got 20W and 200W versions that (I think) are similar. They are very nice for portable operation since you only need to get the wire over one tree and you don’t need a lot of feed line. I’ve got a whole bunch of 20 or 22 gauge wire from an invisible fence you can have if you want it. Not sure how much difference it will make in terms of performance but it’s a lot easier to work with!

  • Mike E Borrego

    Great Job Brian! This is what Ham radio is all about, experimenting and building radio stuff. Thanks for sharing

  • Brian, thank you for the great review of the Matchbox you purchased from me. Nice to see them “out in the wild” doing their thing!

  • Cliff W3KKO

    Great article and keep experimenting! Wire antennas are a great mystery to explore. I too have one of Shane’s matchboxes (had 2 but one got crushed when the branch broke in a storm). Its deployed in a “lazy L” style, box at about 10ft, 84 ft of 14ga wire through a 50ft tall pine, then sloping slightly down. 75 ft of coax.
    It’s a great performer even without a counterpoise and tunes 160m-6m. I took it portable once, strung along the top of a 4ft high wooden fence. Had a nice qso with a ham in England. Excellent value…keep up the great work Shane!

    • KE0LTD

      Do you run your coax in any particular orientation to the matchbox? I’m also curious if you ground yours or not? I ended up buying a couple and have had some of the boxes break on me, but it was easy enough to move it to another project box I found on amazon. They work great.


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