My attempt at making a PA0RDT mini-whip active antenna

Besides being a ham radio operator I’m also a general SWL (Short-Wave Listener). I heard about this active HF antenna called the mini-whip very popular by the design by PA0RDT.
This is my attempt at making one.

I didn’t want to buy some ebay already made antenna. I wanted to do my own, so I took the design instructions from here and put my hands to work.

I didn’t want to make something over bare cooper, so I decided to design a printed circuit board. I designed the PCB using eagle CAD (if you do your own PCB designs, you probably heard about it). I knew that the manufacturing was the same price up to 10X10cm boards, so I panellized the design. This is the result:

It features 2 mini-whip active antennas and 2 DC injection boards. All good, right? No.

I made a mistake. On the mini-whips you can see there’s a trace over the 470uH inductor that shorts it out. At the time I noticed that, I already had the boards ordered. A manual fix would be required.  If you’re wondering, manual fixes on PCB boards are made literally by cutting the traces with a box cutter and then rewiring manually. This is the required fix:

Basically cutting where the black bars are and then do the connection in yellow manually. It’s doable.

In the meanwhile I received the PCB batch. I had to cut out the boards out of the panel myself, but that was easy with the help of a guillotine.

They look nice, don’t they?

Now, it’s up to soldering the parts. I’m not the exaclty best soldered, but this was the result:

IMG_20160324_085439

IMG_20160324_085446

The wire on the top of the BNC connector is a “patch” solution as the boards and the connectors didn’t have the same footprint.

I connected the bias-tee (DC injector) to a 12V PSU, put the antenna outside and….

Nothing. It didn’t work.

I’m still trying to debug it. When I figure out what’s wrong I’ll post it here.

Worth the shot.

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5 thoughts on “My attempt at making a PA0RDT mini-whip active antenna

  1. Is it possible to get the program design printed circuit boards?
    I’m a doctor senior engineer telecommunication and am very interested in the use of these design programs
    thank you very much
    panisse

    1. Is it possible to get the program design printed circuit boards?
      I’m a doctor senior engineer telecommunication and am very interested in the use of these design programs
      thank you very much
      panisse

      1. Sure thing. Sorry for the delay.
        It’s Eagle CAD. A very known software on this kind of uses.

        Thanks for your visit.

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