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A vertical antenna is very compact but it usually delivers great reception for an antenna of its size. This is the reason why it is often preferred by many users of amateur radios, also referred to as ham radios. There are several things to consider in order to choose the best vertical antenna. These include knowing the size of antenna that fits your installation space, and knowing the kind that is suitable for your needs. You can also consider making your own antenna.
If you are a ham radio user, the first thing you should consider is the size of vertical antenna that is appropriate for your intended area of installation. You may need to find the highest possible point in your installation area and determine what kind of antenna can be installed there. It is also beneficial to know if you can extend its length as high as possible without compromising its structure and signal reception.
Installing an amateur radio antenna near the ground can often be as effective, sometimes even more, than vertical antennas mounted on top of roofs. This is because ground-mounted antennas use the ground to reflect signals, thus, amplifying their strength. For this reason, it is recommended that you only get a ground-mounted vertical antenna with good radials so you can be assured of maximum signal reception. Without good radials, your antenna will frequently lose signal strength and gain as the area below it absorbs some its signal waves.
If you can't find a vertical antenna that is suitable to your needs or your installation area, you can also do modifications and adjustments. Different types of vertical antennas can usually be modified using tools and equipment that are available in regular hardware stores. There are also several tutorials and manuals available online that can give you instructions in doing this. You can even use a vertical antenna calculator to precisely compute the length that you will need based on the frequency you want to access and the wavelength of your antenna.
Sometimes, the best vertical antenna for you may not be something that you can buy from the store. If all your requirements and specifications require more than the average vertical antenna available in the market, it is also possible for you to build one that meets your needs. You can sometimes use objects and materials you can find in your own home, or you can buy your materials in the nearest hardware store.