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:
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.