My quest for an all-band HF antenna that is both reasonably quiet and performant may finally be over. In my last update, I shared that I had forsaken my end-fed random wire (too noisy) for a 40m dipole. I did more research and decided to try an off-center-fed (OCF) dipole instead. Because I am lazy and short of free time, I purchased a PAL-4010OCF 40m–10m OCF Dipole from Palomar Engineers. The legs are roughly 18% and 82%, and the total length is about 65 feet. I knew I needed to support the 4:1 balun so I threw an extra line in the tree so that I'd end up with a flat top configuration.
This worked and I was able to tune and make contacts on several bands. However, I was not too happy that there was a lot of strain on the long leg. So I did a reset and hoisted the balun up close to the tree and sloped the short end out away for more of an interted-L shape.
This also has the added benefit of pulling the feedline in closer to the tree, making the whole installation a little less conspicuous. With the antenna reconfigured, I set about testing.
Will it tune?
So at this point, there wasn't a lot of suspense since I'd already tuned the antenna as a flat top and made several QSOs. But I didn't break anything in the reconfiguration. I've since made QSOs on all the bands from 40m through 6m. Signal reports on FT8 haven't been great, but neither have the bands. I'm looking forward to giving this antenna a spin when conditions are more favorable. I'm also very curious about how the inverted-L configuration will affect my pattern. As a dipole I'm very biased toward Europe and working the far East and Oceania is difficult. I wonder if this will help.