Top 5 Best HF Antenna: Reviews in 2022 (Recommended!)
Did you know that having the best HF antenna is more important than having the best radio? No doubt, buying your first ham radio is exciting!
You go through several options and pay top dollar for the best radio but the work is not yet done. Many beginner hams have experienced the problem of having a great radio that can't seem to reach a nearby repeater.
You try every trick you know but you can't hear anything. The problem is not your ham radio, it's the antenna you're using.
No matter how great your radio is, you will always have transmission issues if your antenna is weak. We can help you avoid this problem by closing the distance between you and the best hf antenna in the market.
Numerous products fit that description in the market but how do you choose one?
With this guide, we will equip you with all the knowledge necessary for you to spend your money in the right place and get the antenna of your dreams.
Best HF Antenna Reviews
1. Comet CHA 250B Vertical HF Antenna
If you’re looking for simplicity and efficiency, this is the best HF antenna you will ever lay your hands on. Everything is straightforward from the first time you unwrap the package. This antenna is very easy to put together.
It only takes 10 to 15 minutes from the unwrapping stage to when the full antenna is coupled. Although the instructional manual is written in Japanese, there is a detailed pictorial depiction of the required steps to help you with the setup process.
This antenna should not be pushed beyond the 250W limit. It is the perfect tool for any casual amateur radio enthusiast.
If you're a short wave listener, you will love this antenna because it has a low profile, is easy to erect, and best of all, it is an all-band-in-one antenna. Apart from ham radio bands, UTE & SWBC band signals work excellently with this antenna.
This HF antenna is rather small in size and does not have an extensive radial system. Nevertheless, it is the perfect tool for ham radio amateurs living in a location with strict restrictions on radio antenna mounting. Bigger antennas are usually better but when strict rules are forbidding them, you have to find another way to survive.
This antenna is very easy for one person to set up and bring down without help. That means you can put this up at night and bring it down in the morning before anyone notices what has happened.
- Works on 6M to 80M bands.
- Do not use radials.
- Can handle 250W power.
- Resonant on ham and shortwave bands.
- Works broadband without tuning.
2. GRA 1899T Multiband HF Antenna
Whether it's their elite technical team, innovative ideas, or years of experience in the game, this brand always delivers great wireless communication equipment to their customers.
For over 15 years, Gabil Co. or GRA have been shaping the future of communications through excellent products like the 1899T antenna. This portable telescopic antenna was specifically designed to pair with multimode HF, UHF, and VHF portable transceivers and the Yaesu FT-817.
The antenna is excellent for covering all WARC and HF bands from 6M to 80M. It works best on 20M and 40M but it will work just fine on others as well. For all the ham radio lovers, this antenna also covers 4M bands.
Need to compromise on your antenna’s standards for fast and portable use? You don’t need to suffer searching the web any further because this is the perfect antenna for you.
This antenna is versatile. If you’re going to set up POTA or SOTA, you can test out your bands with this antenna before going through the long process of setting up. The instructions could be better and clearer but you can manage setup just fine without them.
It would have been nice to go beyond 25W or have more taps on the inductor, but you cannot have it all with portable HF antennas. For a fair price, this is an excellent radio antenna that delivers high value for a long time.
- Works on 4M to 80M bands.
- Maximum power is 25W
- Collapsed length is 19 inches.
- The extended length is 65 inches.
- Covers Ham, WARC, and HF bands.
3. Comet HFJ 350M Portable HF Antenna
When using radio antennas for portable operations, it is always convenient to have maximum flexibility. The base coil has a plug wire, five taps, and 10 sections of telescopic whip top to deliver a super lightweight antenna that is simple to use.
If you manually change the plug tap connection, you can tune this HF antenna to any band based on the length you want.
If you need to add a counterpoise connection, this antenna has a side terminal on the UHF base. There is space for additional band capacity through the base coil section.
For best results, you should use this antenna on an HF/UHF adapter or mount it with a tuner and counterpoise wire.
If you’re traveling and you need a strong antenna on the go, this portable HF antenna is an excellent choice. With this antenna, you will enjoy the easiest setup available.
This antenna will surely not function as powerfully as a 35-foot vertical HF antenna mounted on a fiberglass pole, but it gets the job done. If you pull the antenna longer, you can find what you’re looking for in 3 minutes or less.
Make sure to read all the instructions, especially the part where the manufacturer recommends the use of a tuner. Because of the narrow bandwidth, tuning by hand will be very difficult. However, you should have no problems when using an antenna tuner.
Overall, the antenna is solidly built from strong materials and will last long. All parts come together quickly and easily and everything works well.
Another plus is the wonderful and prompt customer service you get if you have any problems. Skilled technicians are on standby to help answer your questions and make your ham radio experience more enjoyable.
- Works on 6M to 80M bands.
- Maximum power is 75W on 3.5MHz and 100W on 50MHz
- The minimum length is 15 inches.
- The maximum length is 63 inches.
4. Hustler 5BTV Multiband HF Antenna
If you had a limited budget to make one pick for a tool that functions as a fixed or portable antenna, the 5BTV will be an excellent choice.
This antenna can be roof or ground-mounted, making it flexible to meet the needs of different settings. Apart from the 10M, 15M, 20M, 40M, and 80M bands, this antenna can also reach 11M, 12M, and 17M bands if you're operating it with a tuner.
The instructions in the manual are very accurate. It can take 1 to 5 hours to fully install this antenna with radials. If you're not using permanent structures, it can take you just 20 minutes to install them. Do not rush.
Do not skip any setup steps. You have to make it a point to measure everything very accurately. A little mistake can make a huge difference in your SWR. We started testing out this antenna after assembling it to a 6-foot pipe installed in the ground.
Even before radials were laid down to finish the installation, it worked pretty great, especially on 20M and 40M. it did not work as well on 80M too but this is a compromise so that was expected.
This antenna works very well as a portable operation antenna. If you’re trying to stay incognito in your neighborhood, it will also serve as a strong antenna for ham and other purposes. No matter the style of your base, the 5BTV will work for you.
- Works on 10M to 80M bands.
- Can be ground or roof-mounted.
- Can handle up to 1500W.
- About 25 feet tall.
5. Hy-Gain AV 18VS Vertical HF Antenna
Some people want to throw as much money as they can at the radio and antenna and just hope it works. The AV 18VS from Hy-Gain proves that it's not about the money.
What you need is to have time to build your antenna properly so that it functions optimally. This antenna is available at a very low price but the performance is shocking.
The antenna is mounted on a vertical element and tuned with a loading coil. We prefer using a remote tuner base with it but the coil works just as well. Make sure you plan for radials on this antenna. The longer the radials, the better this will be, so aim for 15 to 35 radials.
There is nothing to hate about the AV 18VS. The aluminum construction of this antenna makes it very solid. The design is somewhat slender and good-looking.
The value you will get for the price is amazing. Sure it won’t perform like a $2,000 antenna of 100feet, but this bad boy will work excellently. You will be able to connect with up to 50 countries without ever going past 100W of the 1500W capacity of this antenna.
- Works on 10M to 80M bands.
- Can take 1500W of power.
- The antenna height is 18 feet.
- Antenna wind survival is 80mph.
- Adjustable mono-band operation.
What To Look for While Buying HF Antenna
Before you run off and buy any one of the HF antennas listed in this review, take a couple of steps back and consider the following crucial points.
this is the most crucial consideration you must go through before buying an antenna. You might be looking for a low-profile antenna because of the strict laws in your area or you might have the freedom to go as big as you want without running into legal issues.
With antennas, size is proportional to power so you must choose wisely. If you are selecting a smaller, low-profile antenna, bear in mind that it will not perform as powerfully as a bigger antenna.
it is very convenient to fix down your antenna and enjoy it forever. However, this will not work for all radio users as some people need to communicate while on the move.
If you're hiking in the woods or taking an off-road trip with your friends, you're going to want a portable antenna for your radio.
In such cases where you will move camp very often or mostly be in a moving vehicle, only a portable antenna will suffice.
Portable antennas are usually very small and super easy to set up and take down. Some come in multiple collapsible parts and others don’t require any setup before you can start transmitting.
some antennas must be mounted into a spot and can hardly be moved after that. Others don't need to be mounted and can be moved around easily.
You have to consider the mounting style of the antenna you select so it agrees with your needs, whether you can handle the permanent installation or need something you can take down and move houses with easily.
If you're renting and don't have permission from your landlord to erect a permanent structure for your radio, you will have to ditch the fixed and go for the easier to mount and disassemble antennas.
some antennas function on a single band. Others have double or triple. If you think you do not need a multiband antenna, you should get one anyway.
Because they come in handy for versatile purposes. Most HF antennas feature the common bands; 10M, 15M, 20M, 30M, 40M, and 80M. A regular ham radio amateur should be satisfied with these bands.
If you want to receive more channels, you will go for one that has some uncommon bands like 4M, 12M, 17M, and the likes.
The level of power your antenna can transmit should line up with how far you want to send and receive a transmission. The higher the wattage, the further your messages can go and come in. For example, you can operate within a distance of about 100 kilometers on a 25W antenna.
On the other hand, an antenna of 100W can transmit over more than 700,000 kilometers. If you're only concerned with transmitting to your neighboring town, an antenna with low wattage will work excellently, but the same tool will be useless for communicating across continents.
Now that you have a list of the best HF antennas, you still have some consideration to do before you make a final choice for a buy.
Carefully consider every point discussed here so you can make the best possible pick out of the great choice of HF antennas we have reviewed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Antenna Do I Need For HF?
HF antennas come in different types but the most popular is probably the wire dipole. This type of antenna is straightforward.
A wire is cut to the length of the required frequency and fed up to the center of a pole for connection. Portable HF antennas are convenient and easy but not as strong as wire dipoles.
2. Are vertical hf antennas good?
Vertical hf antennas will always be relevant. They can get away with being a standard height and still transmit signals optimally.
Also, the direction of the vertical antenna is an advantage when interference needs to be canceled from close-by stations.
3. How high should a hf antenna be?
As a general rule of thumb, your HF antenna should sit about 30 feet above the ground. You can try to salvage something lower, but this is the real height that any HF antenna will work most effectively.
Higher antennas are great but anything higher than this is simply a welcome addition.
4. Do I need a big antenna for ham radio?
If you want to cover a great variety of bands on ham radio, get a multiband HF antenna and another UHF/VHF antenna that covers a 2M band.
This combination will reach many bands but not everything. It's a great place to start.
5. What is the best multiband hf vertical antenna?
The best multiband HF vertical antenna is the Comet CHA 250B Vertical HF Antenna. This powerful antenna has a maximum power outage of 250W allowing it to reach close by and distant stations alike and it doesn’t need radials to operate.
6. What is the best mobile hf antenna?
Comet’s HFJ 350M Portable HF Antenna is an excellent portable antenna. It has a maximum power capacity of 75W and can operate on several bands.
There is a great variety of antennas out there for you to try. You don't have to go through many options, testing your luck until you happen on the right fit for you. Or a detailed review of the best HF antenna will guide you to make the right pick the first time around.
After the outward appearance of an antenna, there are some crucial factors to consider depending on how antennas function. Everything from size to band matters a lot and you should compare according to these factors before you make a final purchase.
It is easier to deal with the poor performance of a bad radio with a good antenna than it is to handle a terrible antenna with a good radio.
Since this decision is so important, make sure not to rush into it. Take your time as you sift through the noise of the market with our trusty detailed guide and you will not waste your money or time on the wrong product.