Not long ago I would have said that I could spend all of my radio time on 40 meters. It’s ham radio’s favorite HF band, a place where there’s always activity and it reliably delivers the goods, even when not in good shape.

But we’ve reached a point in the doldrums of this fading solar cycle where 40 can be just as fickle as 20 meters and it’s even been completely closed from time to time. Having an efficient antenna for 80 meters is becoming less of a “nice to have” and more of a necessity.

My current antenna is a compromise at 3.5 mHz and not very efficient. It loads with the tuner, but there’s a lot to be desired about its performance. I’m making plans to replace it once the weather breaks but in order to fit more wire on my lot I’m going to have to go higher.

My center support is thirty-feet off the ground now but I’m looking at a few options to install a forty-foot support. It will have to be guyed but the only other option is a single wire in an inverted-L format. But that requires ground radials…

With eight inches of snow headed this way, this is a project for May or June and I’ll just have to tough it out between now and then.