NVIS Antennas

Understanding Amateur Radio NVIS Antennas and Propagation

Copyright © 2002-2011 by Harold Melton, KV5R. All Rights Reserved. Feel Free to Link to This Page.

NVIS Antennas: Page 1

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The author, a professional technical writer and training developer, has written adult vocational training materials for the petroleum refining, chemical, and aviation industries; and various technical articles for amateur radio. He has also been studying, building, and testing antennas for about 30 years as a hobby.

The material in this article is derived from The ARRL Antenna Book, 1957, 1974, and 1999 editions; Army Field Manual 24-18 and others, several QST articles, and various web articles written by other NVIS experimenters and HF antenna and propagation experts such as W4RNL. Various specifications given as examples are rough estimates, some with wide variability. They do not represent the absolute limits of performance, but practical applications where a high percentage of messages may be passed accurately, under average conditions.

This article is not intended to be a complete primer on HF radio propagation or emergency communications. Users needing background in HF radio propagation should see several of the excellent links at www.eham.net/DX/propagation, the many links at the bottom of this article, and the ARRL Antenna Book. The author assumes that the audience for this article has a general understanding of HF antennas and ionospheric propagation. Users needing background in emergency communications should see the various web sites of ARES and RACES groups, as well as FEMA and MARS sites.

The author wishes to thank all that have contributed useful information on this subject, and encourages comments, in writing, that may be used to improve this article. To quote a great writer from the 1830s, “Before you can convince me of error, you must first convince me you understand what I say.” Please read carefully.


4 thoughts on “NVIS Antennas
    • Unfortunately he didn’t say… But generally speaking, a reflector is a linear conductor that is ~5% longer than your half-wave dipole, spaced ~.2-.25 wave behind. It also needs to be >8 feet high to (a) decouple it from earth and (b) keep it out hair/mower/tractor/wife/dog, etc, thus, if your dipole is <~60 feet high don't mess with a reflector under it.

  1. well been using a 10ft high 40mtr NVIS for abt 3 mo. I have 10ft wide ‘reflector’ under ant. BOY! it makes me look like am running a kw or more(rig is kenw 520, 100 wts). I get called a lier by some of those old timers when I tell them abt the ant. my 100wts is as strong to them as I see them. hi hi. it’s the ONLY 40 mtr ant I have………….WB5HDS

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