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Thread: Could I strip a TV cable and use it as a SW Antenna?

  1. #1

    Question Could I strip a TV cable and use it as a SW Antenna?

    Hi Everyone!
    I just got a Kenwood R1000 , but I don't have an antenna, I do have an outside antenna, with a tv connector In my room, could I strip the cable of it's tv connector, attach a coaxial connector, and use it as a SW antenna?
    Thanks Everyone!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Meneou, Cyprus


    You could, but the TV antenna is for TV frequencies, it will not be sensitive enough outside those frequencies unless the signal is very powerful or you're close to the transmitter.

    Try it! - a huge part of amateur radio is experimenting.
    Antennas for receiving are pretty straightforward, a "random longwire" is exactly that, a single wire going to the center pin of the receiver antenna socket, the length determines the approximate fraction of the resonant frequency.

  3. #3


    You wouldn't be any better off with a TV antenna for SWL than with a telescoping antenna. It's just too small.

    Also, TV coax is 75ohm, communications coax (like your Kenwood is expecting) is 50ohm, so feedline losses will be so bad you'd probably be as well off with no antenna at all.

    Just string up a long wire. Get some stranded wire, doesn't matter at all what kind, string as much of it as you can up as high as you can (avoid power lines!) and solder a coax connector on one end. Receiving antennas are simple, it's just a question of getting as much wire in the air as possible.
    You should also ground your receiver, or you will also pick up a lot of static with a long wire, but that may be more work than you want to put in. The long wire by itself will do you worlds better than a way-too-small TV antenna fed by mismatched coax!

  4. #4


    Actually, there is a way you could use it (assuming the coax run is reasonably long) for SW reception.

    A receiving ATU is a good idea (and pretty cheap) but even without, what you do is this. First, find a decentish ground (central heating pipework is OK for this, admittedly crude purpose!) and hook up the ground terminal on the receiver to it. Secondly, connect the antenna input "hot" side to the screen of the coax downlead. Leave the centre conductor unconnected.
    This will work but is a crude approach but sometimes you just have to run with what you have!



  5. #5
    G0HCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014


    All the things above will work and get a signal into your rig. But it I were in your position, I would read and understand about random wire antennas, then get down to the local DIY shop to buy your chosen quantity of wire, and get hold of a cheap RX antenna tuner.

  6. #6


    Thanks everyone, I am going to try the TV antenna first, and then try random wire, and stick to the one I like best!

  7. #7
    GTGallop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Cave Creek, Arizona 85331


    Cheap... Antennas are the cheapest part of the Ham Equipment and probably the most crucial.
    Get on YouTube and look for DIY or Home Brew kits. You'll have so much fun making your antenna that you'll never look back again. GOOD LUCK

  8. #8


    They're the cheapest part individually, but then you want to try a G5RV, and maybe a vertical, and there's this double Zepp thing you keep hearing about, and maybe you're gonna try NVIS, and what about a nice tribander Yagi cos you want to work DX contests...

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